Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

Velvet Buzzsaw
Director: Dan Gilroy
Writer: Dan Gilroy
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Zawe Ashton, Tom Sturridge, Toni Collette, Natalia Dyer, Daveed Diggs, John Malkovich, Billy Magnussen, Pat Healy
Seen on: 11.4.2021

Plot:
Morf (Jake Gyllenhaal) is an art critic, always looking for something new and good. But currently, he is rather more occupied with Josephina (Zawe Ashton). She works in the gallery run by Rhodora (Rene Russo), hoping to become a successful agent herself, and Morf is deeply in love with her, despite having a boyfriend. When Josephina finds out that a recently deceased tenant in her building was an artist who wanted to have all his art destroyed upon his death, she is convinced that his art is something special. She is not wrong, though she couldn’t have foreseen what kind of special it really is.

Velvet Buzzsaw is visually engaging, and has a great cast who obviously had a lot of fun chewing the scenery in this one. But the metaphor at its heart feels a little flimsy and could have done with a little more work.

The film poster showing a white frame on a white wall with the words Velvet Buzzsaw spraypainted across it, the red paint dripping down and over the frame.
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Butter on the Latch (2013)

Butter on the Latch
Director: Josephine Decker
Writer: Josephine Decker
Cast: Sarah Small, Isolde Chae-Lawrence, Charlie Hewson, Emily Decker, Stephan Goldbach, Yury Yakor
Seen on: 13.3.2021

Plot:
Sarah (Sarah Small) lives the hectic New York Life behind for a few days to spend it with her friend Isolde (Isolde Chae-Lawrence) at a Balkan song and dance camp that takes place in the middle of a forest. They spend their days talking and drumming and singing and talking some more – until they have a falling out over an apparent triviality and Sarah starts pursuing Steph (Charlie Hewson).

Butter on the Latch is Decker’s debut feature and having seen (almost all) her films now in (almost) reverse chronological order, it is clear how much she has grown as a filmmaker since her first film. But that doesn’t mean that Butter on the Latch doesn’t have good qualities. It is still a very strong debut.

The film poster showing a drawing of two women holding each other surrounded by swirls and swirls of hair.
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Thou Wast Mild and Lovely (2014)

Thou Wast Mild and Lovely
Director: Josephine Decker
Writer: Josephine Decker, David Barker
Cast: Joe Swanberg, Sophie Traub, Robert Longstreet, Kristin Slaysman, Matt Orme, Geoff Marslett, Erica McClure, Shelley Delaney, Brooklyn Shuck, Raleigh Shuck, Bennett Alderdice
Seen on: 27.02.2021

Plot:
Akin (Joe Swanberg) comes to work on the farm of Jeremiah (Robert Longstreet) and his daughter Sarah (Sophie Traub). Jeremiah and Sarah are an odd pair. Jeremiah is always on the verge of insulting and ridiculing Akin, and Sarah seems to be only half in reality. Akin settles in awkwardly, especially since he is hiding that he is actually married. Sarah seems interested in Akin, and Akin starts to be drawn to her as well, but there is a touch of violence to everything.

Thou Wast Mild & Lovely is an unusual film that cultivates a sense of “everything being off” until things really escalate in a suprisingly bloody way in the end. It’s not the easiest thing you can watch, but it is worth thinking about.

the film poster showing a thick carpet of flowers with a pair of lips.
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Rebecca (2020)

Rebecca
Director: Ben Wheatley
Writer: Jane Goldman, Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse
Based on: Daphne du Maurier’s novel
Cast: Lily James, Armie Hammer, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ann Dowd, Tom Goodman-Hill, John Hollingworth, Keeley Hawes, Sam Riley, Bill Paterson
Seen on: 20.2.2021

Plot:
Working as a companion to Mrs van Hopper (Ann Dowd) has brought the unnamed protagonist (Lily James) to Monte Carlo where Mrs van Hopper spies Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer), whose somewhat tragic story precedes him: he is a widower and lives at the grand estate of Manderley, now all alone. When Mrs van Hopper falls ill, the protagonist and Maxim de Winter start to spend more time with each other and finally he asks her to marry him. But living in Manderley, where the shadow of Maxim’s deceased wife Rebecca hangs over everything and her housekeeper Mrs Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas) makes sure it doesn’t leave, proves quite a challenge for them.

Rebecca is an okay adaptation of a really excellent novel. That squandered potential leaves a film that is decidedly meh, but very pretty.

The film poster showing Maxim (Armie Hammer) looking into the distance as he holds the protagonist's (Lily James) face. She is looking up at him.
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Greta (2018)

Greta
Director: Neil Jordan
Writer: Ray Wright, Neil Jordan
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, Colm Feore, Zawe Ashton, Thaddeus Daniels, Raven Dauda, Stephen Rea
Seen on: 17.5.2019

Content Note: stalking

Plot:
When Frances (Chloë Grace Moretz) finds a handbag in the subway station, she makes sure to return it to its owner, widow Greta (Isabelle Huppert). Greta, a retired piano teacher, seems lonely and the kind-hearted Frances resolves to spend some time with her. But soon things start to become a little weird. There seems to be more to Greta than Frances suspected at first.

Greta has unfortunately more holes than plot and for a film that tries so hard to lure people on the wrong path, that is more than unfortunate. It breaks the film.

the film poster showing a purse dangling on a fish hook.
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Die Kinder der Toten [The Children of the Dead] (2019)

Die Kinder der Toten
Director: Kelly Copper, Pavol Liska (aka Nature Theater of Oklahoma)
Writer: Kelly Copper, Pavol Liska
Based on: Elfriede Jelinek‘s novel
Cast: Andrea Maier, Greta Kostka, Klaus Unterrieder, Georg Beyer, Lukas Eigl, Tamara Pregernigg, Renate Stoppacher-Rainer, Jula Zangger
Seen on: 23.4.2019
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Plot:
In the hotel Alpenrose in Styria, everything seems to be alright. Travelers Karin (Andrea Maier) and her mother (Greta Kostka) are enjoying their evening at least. But shortly after Karin dies in an accident. Only she isn’t really dead. And she isn’t the only undead around: when a Nazi widow (Renate Stoppacher-Rainer) starts an underground cinema that shows movies that celebrate the fascist past, it draws zombies to the area.

Die Kinder der Toten is incredibly absurd. While I may not have liked everything about it, I really enjoyed it. And I definitely haven’t seen something as strange in a long time.

The film poster showing the mother (Greta Kostka) leaning over the body of her daughter Karin (Andrea Maier) next to a car wreck. The entire image is in inverted colors.
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