Beast from Haunted Cave (1959)

Beast from Haunted Cave
Director: Monte Hellman
Writer: Charles B. Griffith
Cast: Michael Forest, Sheila Noonan, Frank Wolff, Wally Campo, Richard Sinatra, Kay Jennings, Linné Ahlstrand, Chris Robinson
Seen on: 12.6.2021

Content Note: One of the character’s names is a racial slur (g*psy), sexism

Plot:
Under guise of taking a simple ski trip, Alexander (Frank Wolff) is planning a robbery with his two accomplices (Wally Campo, Richard Sinatra) and his girlfriend G*psy (Sheila Noonan). As they stake out the situation, they take skiing lessons with Gil (Michael Forest) who is very intrigued by G*psy. The group’s plan awakens something in a cave, though, something monstrous that goes on the hunt now.

Beast from Haunted Cave has some nice special effects but overall, it left me pretty cold. I was hoping for a charming old B-movie, but it lacked charm for the most part.

The film poster showing a very pulpy drawing of a green monster that has a tentacle wrapped around a woman in ripped clothing.
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I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore. (2017)

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore.
Director: Macon Blair
Writer: Macon Blair
Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Elijah Wood, Devon Graye, David Yow, Jane Levy, Myron Natwick, Gary Anthony Williams, Lee Eddy, Macon Blair, Christine Woods, Robert Longstreet
Seen on: 30.5.2021

Plot:
Ruth (Melanie Lynskey) is a nursing assistant. Meek and quiet, she has a hard time standing up for herself. But when she finds her house robbed one day and the police absolutely unhelpful, she decides to embark on her own investigation. She asks the neighborhood weirdo Tony (Elijah Wood) for help, and they try to figure out who took Ruth’s things.

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore. is a quirky film that doesn’t forget that quirkiness isn’t a substitute for actual characterization. It could have profited from a little more tonal consistency, but I did enjoy it for the most part.

The film poster showing Tony (Elijah Wood) and Ruth (Melanie Linskey) standing with very serious looks in front of a garden fence.
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Lost Girls (2020)

Lost Girls
Director: Liz Garbus
Writer: Michael Werwie
Based on: Robert Kolker‘s book
Cast: Amy Ryan, Thomasin McKenzie, Gabriel Byrne, Lola Kirke, Oona Laurence, Dean Winters, Molly Brown, Miriam Shor, Ana Reeder, Grace Capeless, Reed Birney, Kevin Corrigan
Seen on: 13.5.2021

Content Note: whoremisia

Plot:
Mari (Amy Ryan) is waiting at home with her two daughters Sherre (Thomasin McKenzie) and Sarra (Oona Laurence) for her oldest daughter Shannan to arrive. But she never comes. When she doesn’t here from Shannan for a few days, Mari tries to activate the police to search for her. But the officer (Dean Winters) shows little interest in the disappearance of a sex worker, despite the fact that they have a frantic 911 call from Shannan on record. But when they find four bodies close to the gated community where Shannan was last seen, things gather a little more momentum and Mari does everything she can to make sure that there actually is an investigation.

Lost Girls is based on a real case of a serial killer that hasn’t been solved yet (they make sure at the beginning that you know the case is unsolved). It’s usually not my kind of film, but I found myself in the mood for it. And it’s okay, but it didn’t surprise me that I didn’t really love it.

The film poster showing a close-up of Mari (Amy Ryan) and below her a car driving behind a girl running along a street in the dark.
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In The Land Of Lost Angels (2019)

In The Land Of Lost Angels
Director: Bishrel Mashbat
Writer: Bishrel Mashbat
Cast: Erdenemunkh Tumursukh, Iveel Mashbat, Mike Cali, Robert Corsini, Saint Ranson, Sam Bayaraa, Uyanga Mashbat
Seen on: 26.4.2021
[Screener review.]

Plot:
Ankhaa (Erdenemunkh Tumursukh) lives in LA, but his family is still in Mongolia, and in some trouble. They need money, and Ankhaa, having made it to the USA where he says he just got a big job feels responsible to deliver it. But fact is, he doesn’t have a good job. He doesn’t have any money. So he and his best friend Orgil (Iveel Mashbat) have come up with a plan, even if that plan isn’t legal.

In the Land of Lost Angels is a beautifully shot and well-acted film that hasn’t quite gotten its rhythm right. But it’s definitely a very promising debut.

The film poster showing a black and white shot of a man looking at some palm trees.
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Thoroughbreds (2017)

Thoroughbreds
Director: Cory Finley
Writer: Cory Finley
Cast: Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin, Paul Sparks, Francie Swift, Kaili Vernoff
Seen on: 14.3.2021

Content Note: ableism/saneism

Plot:
Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke) used to be friends when they were children, but they haven’t seen each other in a long time. Now Amanda’s mother has asked Lily to hang out with her again since Amanda got quite a reputation after an incident with her horse. And Amanda is weird, no doubt about it. But despite initial awkwardness, they bond over their mutual dislike for Lily’s stepdad Mark (Paul Sparks) – which leads to a plan that could solve their problem.

Thoroughbreds has excellent performances and a good sense of style, but also an ending that ruined the film for me, unfortunately.

The film poster showing Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke) sitting as far away from each other as possible on a white couch in a white room wearing white and gray.
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Ich oder du (1984)

Ich oder du [literally: I or You]
Director: Dieter Berner
Writer: Dieter Berner, Peter Mazzuchelli
Cast: Beate Finckh, Hansi Lang, Karl Kröpfl, Johannes Weidinger, Wolfgang Ambros, Hilde Berger, Bobby Prem, Helmut Vinaccia, Rainer Egger
Seen on: 7.2.2021

Content Note: domestic violence, abuse

Plot:
Christina (Beate Finckh) is dating Robert (Hansi Lang), a singer of local renoun. But he is volatile – addicted to drugs and prone to violence. It seems to come as no surprise that Christina feels also drawn to Franz (Karl Kröpfl) who appears Robert’s opposite in every way: a young farmer to Robert’s city flair, he is much more grounded. Franz is also smitten with Christina. But whether Robert and Christina can give each other up so easily is a different question.

Ich oder du is an exhausting film that seems mostly built around Hansi Lang (a rather famous-at-the-time-and-place musician) and his star appeal – and I have to say that he didn’t appeal all that much to me, and so the film did neither.

The film poster showing Robert (Hansi Lang) and several film stills arranged like the photos from a photobooth.
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Skin (2018)

Skin
Director: Guy Nattiv
Writer: Guy Nattiv
Cast: Jamie Bell, Danielle Macdonald, Daniel Henshall, Bill Camp, Louisa Krause, Zoe Margaret Colletti, Kylie Rogers, Colbi Gannett, Mike Colter, Vera Farmiga, Mary Stuart Masterson
Seen on: 23.10.2019

Content Note: (critical treamtent of) fascism, racism

Plot:
Bryon Widner (Jamie Bell) has basically grown up in the neonazi scene and is one of the bigger players in his area. He is really committed to the cause – covered in tattoos from head to toe that make his allegiance visible for everyone, and taking part in more than one act of violence against marginalized communities. But when Bryon meets Julie (Danielle Macdonald) and her three daughters, his desire to quit the neonazi scene grows. The scene isn’t willing to let him go that easily, though.

Skin tackles a difficult topic and tries to do so with complexity, but doesn’t always do it justice. The great cast makes up for a lot, though.

The film poster showing Bryon (Jamie Bell), his face covered in tattoos.
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Nur eine Frau [A Regular Woman] (2019)

Nur eine Frau
Director: Sherry Hormann
Writer: Florian Öller
Based on: Matthias Deiß and Jo Goll’s book Ehrenmord: Ein deutsches Schicksal about the murder of Aynur Sürücü
Cast: Almila Bagriacik, Rauand Taleb, Aram Arami, Meral Perin, Mürtüz Yolcu, Armin Wahedi Yeganeh, Jacob Matschenz, Merve Aksoy, Mehmet Atesci
Seen on: 16.5.2019

Plot:
Aynur (Almila Bagriacik) is only a teenager when she is married to a man she barely knows in Turkey. When he turns out to be abusive, she escapes and returns to her parents (Meral Perin, Mürtüz Yolcu) in Germany. But her parents aren’t happy with Aynur’s actions. As Aynur attempts to build a new life for herself and her child, the relationship with her parents and her brothers remain very tense.

Nur eine Frau is a well-made, sometimes a little over-directed film that tells an interesting story and tells it well.

The film poster showing Aynur (Almila Bagriacik) in red and black.
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