Advantageous (2015)

Advantageous
Director: Jennifer Phang
Writer: Jacqueline Kim, Jennifer Phang
Cast: Jacqueline Kim, Samantha Kim, James Urbaniak, Freya Adams, Ken Jeong, Jennifer Ehle, Jennifer Ikeda
Seen on: 2.7.2021

Plot:
Gwen (Jacqueline Kim) has been the face for a big cosmetics and aesthetic surgery company for a while and she hopes that with the introduction of a revolutionary new product, she will get a raise – a raise that would mean that her daughter Jules (Samantha Kim) could afford to continue to go to school. Instead Gwen is informed that she has become too old for the job, making her consider some very risky options for Jules’s sake.

Advantageous is a really excellent Science Fiction film, in both the sense that it is just a good movie and that it builds a very interesting, and scarily realistic future. The pacing isn’t perfect, but other than that, I really liked it.

The film poster showing a large letter A in front of a light blue wallpaper-like background. Inside the letter A, we can see Gwen (Jacqueline Kim) wearing a strange cap with wires coming from it.
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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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Chaos Walking (2021)

Chaos Walking
Director: Doug Liman
Writer: Patrick Ness, Christopher Ford
Based on: Patrick Ness’ novel The Knife of Never Letting Go
Cast: Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, Demián Bichir, David Oyelowo, Kurt Sutter, Cynthia Erivo, Bethany Anne Lind, Mads Mikkelsen, Nick Jonas, Ray McKinnon
Seen on: 21.6.2021

Content Note: cissexism

Plot:
Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) is the last boy in Prentisstown, a settlement town on another planet. When the human settlers arrived, the men got telepathic powers. Shortly after their arrival, the native inhabitants killed all the women and girls. Todd grew up knowing nothing but the Noise of the men around him, and as the youngest settler is just about to reach adulthood. But one day he is out and about with his dog Manchee and finds a crashed spaceship – and a girl (Daisy Ridley). He lets the Mayor (Mads Mikkelsen) know, but soon has doubts about how the girl is treated. Doubts that his guardians Ben (Demián Bichir) and Cillian (Kurt Sutter) strengthen. In no time, Todd and the girl – Viola – are on the run together.

I only recently read the book this is based on and hated it. But I watched Chaos Walking anyway because the cinema has air-condition and I knew I’d be getting my puppy a few days later which means no cinema for a while. And, okay, for Mads Mikkelsen. And even though my expectations were lower than low after my experience with the book, I was still underwhelmed.

The film poster showing Todd (Tom Holland) and Viola (Daisy Ridley) superimposed over an eclipse and a moon and a rocket.
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Possessor (2020)

Possessor
Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Writer: Brandon Cronenberg
Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rossif Sutherland, Gabrielle Graham, Tuppence Middleton, Raoul Bhaneja, Sean Bean
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Festival
Seen on: 20.6.2021
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Content Note: suicide

Plot:
Tasya (Andrea Riseborough) has a very special job: she takes over people’s bodies, using them to fulfill her company’s missions – usually assassinations. It’s a job that doesn’t allow for errors, and it definitely doesn’t allow its operatives to lose sight of who they are. But Tasya has had some troubles recently, and her new job – taking over Colin (Christopher Abbott) – might be more than she can handle.

Possessor has a really good concept and came with some accolades, but ultimately I’m afraid that I expected a little more than it delivered. Which doesn’t mean that it isn’t an engaging and thoughtful film worth your time.

The film poster showing somebody wearing a mask that looks like a melted face and holding a knife.
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Cyst (2020)

Cyst
Director: Tyler Russell
Writer: Tyler Russell, Andy Silverman
Cast: Eva Habermann, George Hardy, Greg Sestero, Jason Douglas, Gene Jones, Darren Ewing, Torren Davis, Terri Merritt Bennett, Keturah Branch, Francesca Santoro
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Festival
Seen on: 20.6.2021
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Plot:
Patricia (Eva Habermann) has been working as a nurse for Dr Guy (George Hardy) for a while now and she has seen her fair share of things. Dr. Guy’s foremost area of expertise are cysts and he has been working on a machine for the treatment that he hopes to patent. But the last time he tried, Patricia paid the price for it, so when she hears that the people from the patent office are coming again to see the machine, she is outraged. Not even she could have predicted the actual effect of the machine, though.

Cyst leans into its schlocky B-movie nature and that is fun, but maybe not for a full-length feature. It was okay, overall, but not quite as fun as I expected it to be.

The film poster showing the drawing of a back in a hospital gown. The back is covered in pustules and there is a gap in the middle with an eye peeking out.
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The Mitchells vs the Machines (2021)

The Mitchells vs the Machines
Director: Michael Rianda, Jeff Rowe
Writer: Michael Rianda, Jeff Rowe, Alex Hirsch
Cast: Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Michael Rianda, Eric André, Olivia Colman, Fred Armisen, Beck Bennett, Chrissy Teigen, John Legend, Charlyne Yi, Blake Griffin, Conan O’Brien
Seen on: 9.5.2021

Plot:
Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson) can’t wait to finally go to film school where she has found nerdy people like her. She will miss her little brother Aaron (Michael Rianda) and her mother Linda (Maya Rudolph), though things are a little more complicated with her father Rick (Danny McBride). When Katie and Rick get into a fight on Katie’s last night, Rick changes their plans to make up for it. To Katie’s horror, he arranges everything to drive the entire family across the country to drop Katie off at college himself. The road trip is tense, and things get even worse when a newly developed robot line gets out of hand and starts to capture all humans. As unlikely as it may seem to all of them, it’s up to the Mitchells to stop the robot apocalypse.

The Mitchells vs the Machines is an extremely well done animated film that had me laughing out loud. The story may be a little predictable, but it has more than enough charm to make up for that.

The film poster showing the Mitchell family in their car, flying through the air, their pug sitting outside on the hood.
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Love and Monsters (2020)

Love and Monsters
Director: Michael Matthews
Writer: Brian Duffield, Matthew Robinson
Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Jessica Henwick, Michael Rooker, Dan Ewing, Ariana Greenblatt, Ellen Hollman, Tre Hale, Pacharo Mzembe, Senie Priti, Amali Golden, Te Kohe Tuhaka
Seen on: 25.4.2021

Plot:
7 years ago, the world basically ended. There was a meteorite heading towards earth. To stop it, humanity blew it up, but the chemicals that got blown back to earth changed things forever, creating monsters and forcing people underground. Joel (Dylan O’Brien) is one of those people, living in a community in a bunker. Joel is not a fighter, so he hasn’t actually left the bunker, but through a radio, he has found Aimee (Jessica Henwick), the girl he dated when everything went down. Her colony is only a week or so away, but a week among monsters is a very long way. But after the radio dies, Joel decides that he has had it – he will make the trek and find Aimee. Easier said than done, though.

Love and Monsters is cute enough. Not great and probably not a film that will become a favorite of mine, but I enjoyed it while it lasted for sure.

The film poster showing the main characters, including a dog, in various sizes in front of a desolate landscape.
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A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

A Wrinkle in Time
Director: Ava DuVernay
Writer: Jennifer Lee, Jeff Stockwell
Based on: Madeleine L’Engle’s novel
Cast: Storm Reid, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Peña, André Holland, Rowan Blanchard, Bellamy Young, David Oyelowo
Seen on: 22.3.2021

Plot:
Meg Murry (Storm Reid) is an unusual child from an unusual family. Her mother (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is a scientist, as is her father (Chris Pine) – who has been missing for a while. He was working on tesseracts when he just disappeared. Meg’s genius little brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) seems to know more about it. And he has made some strange friends who know even more than that: Mrs Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs Which (Oprah Winfrey). The three women prompt Meg, Charles Wallace and Meg’s class mate Calvin (Levi Miller) to go looking for her father – all through the universe.

I was rather disappointed when A Wrinkle in Time never got a big cinema release here in Austria, and I still think I would have appreciated seeing it on the big screen – the film is at its best, after all, when it just creates visuals. Other than those, it is very fine, but not great.

The film poster showing the main characters arranged in a circle.
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Gemini Man (2019)

Gemini Man
Director: Ang Lee
Writer: David Benioff, Billy Ray, Darren Lemke
Cast: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong, Douglas Hodge, Ralph Brown, Linda Emond, Ilia Volok, E.J. Bonilla
Seen on: 16.10.2019

Plot:
Henry (Will Smith) can look back on a very successful career as a hitman and has decided to call it a day. But his plans to simply retire are crossed when he receives the information that his last kill, and who knows how many, may not have been quite as purely motivated as Henry thought. As Henry starts to question his jobs, he quickly becomes a target himself. And who better to hunt a seasoned assassin than a younger, cloned version of him?

Gemini Man is not an awesome film, it’s a little too clichéd and predictable. But I have definitely seen much worse.

The film poster showing Henry (Will Smith) with an automatic weapon, behind him a fancy building and his own de-aged face in close-up-
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Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
Director: David Leitch
Writer: Chris Morgan, Drew Pearce
Spin-off from: The Fast and the Furious series
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Helen Mirren, Eiza González, Eddie Marsan, Eliana Sua, Cliff Curtis, Lori Pelenise Tuisano, John Tui, Joshua Mauga, Joe Anoa’i, Rob Delaney, Ryan Reynolds
Seen on: 12.8.2019

Plot:
Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) hate each other, and that is putting it very mildly. But when a dangerous virus, called The Snowflake, is about to get into the wrong hands, they are asked to put aside their differences and go after it together. It was last seen with MI6 agent Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby), as in Deckard’s younger sister. But even though Hattie is keeping it safe at the moment, somebody is still after it and her: Brixton Lore (Idris Elba) who has his own agenda and enhancements to make it happen.

Hobbs & Shaw is a great spin-off form the Fast and the Furious series, hitting just the right tone and style (albeit leaving gaping plot holes with regards to the other films that should not be discussed). I had great fun with it.

The film poster showing the main characters, Big Ben bathed in red light, an explosion, a car, and a motorcycle.
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