Morgen ist auch noch ein Tag, wenn du willst [Postcards from Sicily] (2020)

Morgen ist auch noch ein Tag, wenn du willst [literally: Tomorrow is another day, if you want]
Director: David Gräber
Writer: Andreas Neu
Cast: Hannah Zieziula, Christina Völz, Bo Anderl
Part of: Transition Queer Filmfestival
Seen on: 11.7.2021

Plot:
Claudia (Hannah Zieziula) and Marcus (Bo Anderl) have been dating for a while, but their relationship isn’t at its best anymore. Marcus feels that Claudia is distant, so he seeks to reconnect with his ex-girlfriend Jana (Christina Völz). What he doesn’t know is that Claudia is distant because she, too, met Jana and fell in love with her – and vice versa. Marcus, living out of his van, takes turn staying with the two women, but he can’t stop them both from turning away from him.

Postcards from Sicily didn’t work for me. I found it very tiring and couldn’t get into the story or the characters.

The film poster showing Marcus' van from above. Marcus (Bo Anderl) is lying on the roof, smoking, while Claudia (Hannah Zieziula) and Jana (Christina Völz) are standing in the open doors looking up at the sky.
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Kapana (2020)

Kapana
Director: Philippe Talavera
Writer: Senga Brockerhoff, Mikiros Garoes
Cast: Adriano Visagie, Simon Hanga, Mikiros Garoes, Dawie Engelbrecht, Foreversun Haiduwah, Albertina Hainane, Felicity Celento, Elize de Wee, Jeremiah Jeremiah, Lukas Paulus
Part of: Transition Queer Film Festival
Seen on: 11.7.2021

Content Note: (critical treatment of) homomisia

Plot:
George (Adriano Visagie) and Simeon (Simon Hanga) meet in a bar. They flirt, they have sex. They don’t really expect more, especially not in Namibia where homosexuality is criminalized. But then they run into each other again when George comes to buy Kapana for his lunch break, and finds that Simeon is the one who is selling it. Simeon panics, he isn’t out to anyone in his life, but George finds a way and they start dating. Only, George has a secret, and this could threaten to end things between them before they ever really started.

Kapana is a very sweet film that tries to deal with a lot of stuff in its short runtime, but also keeps its emotional side in sight. I really liked it.

The film poster showing Simeon (Simon Hanga) selling Kapana, grilled meat.
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L.A. Story (1991)


L.A. Story
Director: Mick Jackson
Writer: Steve Martin
Cast: Steve Martin, Victoria Tennant, Sarah Jessica Parker, Richard E. Grant, Marilu Henner, Susan Forristal, Kevin Pollak, Sam McMurray, Patrick Stewart
Seen on: 29.6.2021

Content Note: misogyny

Plot:
Harris (Steve Martin) is the wacky weekend weatherman for a local L.A. TV station. He is dating Trudi (Marilu Henner), but he is not particularly happy. When he meets Sara (Victoria Tennant) at a brunch party through their mutual friend Roland (Richard E. Grant), Harris is instantly smitten. But not so smitten that he doesn’t also find saleswoman SanDeE* (Sarah Jessica Parker) very attractive. After a magical incident where an electronic billboard starts to give Harris advice, he has to decide between the women in his life.

L.A. Story is a whimsical film, more interested in a ribbing love letter to L.A. itself rather than the characters in it. There are some nice laughs here, but also some stuff that hasn’t aged particularly well. I suspect that people who have a direct connection to L.A. will be particularly fond of it.

The film poster showing the silhouette of a person doing a handstand on a railing in front of a sunset over the ocean.
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Ich bin dein Mensch [I’m Your Man] (2021)

Ich bin dein Mensch
Director: Maria Schrader
Writer: Jan Schomburg, Maria Schrader
Based on: Emma Braslavsky‘s short story
Cast: Maren Eggert, Dan Stevens, Sandra Hüller, Hans Löw, Wolfgang Hübsch, Annika Meier, Falilou Seck, Jürgen Tarrach, Henriette Richter-Röhl
Seen on: 25.6.2021

Plot:
Alma (Maren Eggert) is a scientist specialized in cuneiform. To secure funding for her research, she has agreed to participate in another experiment, despite her doubts about it: she is one of several scientists testing humanoid robots by living with them and seeing whether they can become actual romantic partners for humans. Her robot is Tom (Dan Stevens). Specifically designed for her, he is supposed to stay with her for three weeks. But with Alma’s resistance against the idea, Tom has his work cut out for himself.

Ich bin dein Mensch is an entertaining film with fantastic performances that discusses a topic that may not be entirely new, but still gets a fresh and thought-provoking spin here.

The film poster showing Alma (Maren Eggert) and Tom (Dan Stevens) lying next to each other. Tom is repeated,  into infinity.
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Ammonite (2020)

Ammonite
Director: Francis Lee
Writer: Francis Lee
Cast: Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Jones, Fiona Shaw, Alec Secareanu, James McArdle, Claire Rushbrook
Part of: Queertactics Festival
Seen on: 23.6.2021

Plot:
Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) lives in a small town at the sea with her mother (Gemma Jones). Every day, Mary goes down to the beach to look for fossils, having made many important finds already – not that the scientific establishment cares much about her. Nevertheless, one day a geologist, Roderick Murchinson (James McArdle) comes to her shop and hopes to accompany Mary to the beach to learn from her. He is willing to pay for it, and Mary is poor, so she agrees. A little while later, Murchinson leaves on a trip to the continent, but leaves behind his sickly wife Charlotte (Saorise Ronan). Mary finds herself suddenly responsible for Charlotte, a charge she resents at first. But slowly the two of them warm to each other.

Ammonite is a really nice film with excellent performances and good characters. It could have done with a little more happiness, but I did like it a lot.

The film poster showing Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) looking to the right and Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan) to the left. Their inages are pale apart from where their two faces intersect.
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Gaby Baby Doll (2014)

Gaby Baby Doll
Director: Sophie Letourneur
Writer: Sophie Letourneur, Anne-Louise Trividic
Cast: Lolita Chammah, Benjamin Biolay, Félix Moati
Seen on: 29.5.2021

Content Note: attempted rape

Plot:
Gaby (Lolita Chammah) just moved into a big country house to get some rest. She is anxious, afraid of everything and can’t sleep alone. That’s why her boyfriend Vincent (Félix Moati) is supposed to stay with her. But Vincent feels used by Gabby, more like her handler than her boyfriend and soon takes off. Gaby desperately looks for anybody to stay with her overnight and finally latches herself onto Nico (Benjamin Biolay) who lives like a hermit in the garden shack of a grand estate nearby. Nico just wants to be alone, but despite himself, Gaby gets to him.

I have to admit that I struggled with Gaby Baby Doll, especially with Gaby. While I’m usually here for the portrayal of difficult women, the way she constantly blazed past any boundary really didn’t work for me. Especially since the story proved her right in the end.

The film poster showing Nico (Benjamin Biolay), Gaby (Lolita Chammah) and Nico's Dog sitting in the grass in the sun.
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Post Grad (2009)

Post Grad
Director: Vicky Jenson
Writer: Kelly Fremon Craig
Cast: Alexis Bledel, Zach Gilford, Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch, Bobby Coleman, Carol Burnett, Rodrigo Santoro, Catherine Reitman, Mary Anne McGarry, J.K. Simmons, Craig Robinson, Fred Armisen
Seen on: 28.5.2021

Content Note: (critical treatment of) racism

Plot:
Ryden (Alexis Bledel) is just about to graduate and she knows exactly how things are going to go from there. She will get her dream job at a big publishing house and live in an awesome apartment. She has both lined up already. Her best friend Adam (Zach Gilford) is less sure about what to do, but he knows that he would like to romance Ryden, but she is not interested. But after Ryden does not get the job, and she has to move back home with her eccentric family (Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch, Bobby Coleman, Carol Burnett), she needs to rethink her life entirely. Maybe with the help of her hot neighbor David (Rodrigo Santoro)?

Post Grad is not a great film, but it is cute and funny and light. There’s really nothing weighing it down, not even particular emotional depth. If you want to just float through 90 minutes, it’s the film you should choose.

The film poster showing Ryden (Alexis Bledel) wearing a graduation cap askew, looking worried.
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Kiss Me Before It Blows Up (2020)

Kiss Me Before It Blows Up
Director: Shirel Peleg
Writer: Shirel Peleg
Cast: Moran Rosenblatt, Luise Wolfram, Rivka Michaeli, Juliane Köhler, Bernhard Schütz, Irit Kaplan, Salim Dau, Eyal Shikratzi, Aviv Pinkas, John Carroll Lynch
Seen on: 23.5.2021

Plot:
Shira (Moran Rosenblatt) is just about to move in with her girlfriend Maria (Luise Wolfram). Shira having long been out and proud, her family doesn’t have an issue with Maria being a woman, but they struggle much more with the facts that a) Maria is not Jewish and b) she is German. Especially Shira’s revered grandmother Berta (Rivka Michaeli) doesn’t handle the news very well – much to Shira’s surprise because she was sure that Berta would understand as she is in love with a Palestinian man, Ibrahim (Salim Dau), herself. When Maria’s parents announce a visit, the chaos becomes even bigger.

More often than not, culture clash comedies are more cringeworthy than anything else, a regurgitation of stereotypes instead of their subversion. I found Kiss Me Before it Blows Up (unfortunately named Kiss Me Kosher in German) a welcome change from that. Now it might be that I saw it with rose-tinted glasses because it was the first cinema visit for me since November 1, 2020 (202 days without cinema, I cry), but I thought it was entertaining and very well observed.

The film poster showing Shira (Maron Rosenblatt) and Maria (Luise Wolfram) sitting on a couch, Maria's legs across Shira's lap and Shira stroking Maria's hair.
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Re-Watch: Love and Other Disasters (2006)

Love and Other Disasters
Director: Alek Keshishian
Writer: Alek Keshishian
Cast: Brittany Murphy, Matthew Rhys, Catherine Tate, Santiago Cabrera, Elliot Cowan, Stephanie Beacham, Jamie Sives, Will Keen, Michael Lerner, Dawn French, Gwyneth Paltrow, Orlando Bloom
Seen on: 20.5.2021
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Jacks (Brittany Murphy) works at Vogue, lives with her best friend Peter (Matthew Rhys) and is kinda dating James (Elliot Cowan) who she broke up with – but the break-up didn’t stick. Jacks is always rooting for her friends to find love, though, above all Peter – who just ran into the guy of his dreams but didn’t manage to talk to him. So maybe the photographer’s new assistant Paolo (Santiago Cabrera) may be a good match for Peter. Jacks certainly thinks he’s great.

It’s been a long time that I saw Love and Other Disasters, but I had a very fond memory of it – and fortunately, my memory isn’t wrong: this is a sweet and funny film that has a smart message.

The film poster showing Jacks (Brittany Murphy) sitting huddled together with crossed legs.
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Re-Watch: But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)

But I’m a Cheerleader
Director: Jamie Babbit
Writer: Brian Peterson
Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall, Melanie Lynskey, Katrina Phillips, Katharine Towne, Joel Michaely, Douglas Spain, Dante Basco, Kip Pardue, Cathy Moriarty, Bud Cort, Mink Stole, RuPaul, Eddie Cibrian, Michelle Williams, Wesley Mann, Richard Moll, Julie Delpy
Seen on: 16.5.2021
[Here’s my first review.]

Content Note: (critical treatment of) homomisia, conversion therapy

Plot:
Megan (Natasha Lyonne) comes from a good Christian household, is a cheerleader, has a boyfriend. That’s why she is completely blindsided when her parents (Bud Cort, Mink Stole) suddenly cart her off to True Direction, a “rehabilitation facility” for turning homosexuals into heterosexuals. There Megan undergoes rigorous training together with other kids in the same position. But what happens when you put five lesbians into a room? Well, sparks fly – and so Megan finds herself drawn to Graham (Clea DuVall).

When I watched But I’m a Cheerleader for the first time, I hadn’t realized yet that I was into women myself, and let me tell you, the film hits differently when you know you’re queer. I definitely liked it more now than I did back then (though I did like it then, too). In fact, I adored it.

The film poster showing Megan (Natasha Lyonne) in a pink ball gown, holding a cheerleading pompom.
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