Ballon [Balloon] (2018)

Ballon
Director: Michael Herbig
Writer: Kit Hopkins, Thilo Röscheisen, Michael Herbig
Cast: Friedrich Mücke, Karoline Schuch, David Kross, Alicia von Rittberg, Thomas Kretschmann, Jonas Holdenrieder, Tilman Döbler
Seen on: 6.10.2018
1-gif-review

Plot:
Peter (Friedrich Mücke) and Doris Strelzyk (Karoline Schuch) live in the GDR with their family, as do Günter (David Kross) and Petra Wenzel (Alicia von Rittberg). They would all like to leave the GDR, but exit is severely limited and they don’t have the right connections to get an exit visa. When they have the idea to fly across the border to West Germany in a home-made hot air balloon, they start the work. But their activities are noted by Seidel (Thomas Kretschmann) whose job it is to hunt down people who try to flee. And he is very good at it.

Ballon is an exciting, tense film that makes the repression in the GDR very tangible. I was surprised to get a film like this from Herbig who I only know as a comedy director – but it was in no way a bad surprise.

The film poster showing balloon silk burning.
Continue reading

Venom (2018)

Venom
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Writer: Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg, Kelly Marcel
Based on: David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane‘s comics character
Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, Reid Scott, Jenny Slate, Melora Walters, Woody Harrelson, Peggy Lu
Seen on: 5.10.2018
1-gif-review

Plot:
Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is a journalist and he loves to dig deep. When he gets the chance to interview Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) who runs a huge tech company, he can’t resist asking some hard questions. But that choice leads for his entire life to explode around him – he loses his job and his girlfriend Anne (Michelle Williams). A year later, he is still reeling – and still obsessed with Drake. So when he gets a chance to take another dig at him, he does – and that brings him in touch with one of Drake’s projects: Venom, an alien who hitches a ride in his body.

Venom was a lot more fun than I expected. It’s not necessarily a good film, but it is definitely entertaining and very enjoyable.

The film poster showing Tom Hardy's face, half of which is an Alien with a huge eye and a mouth with sharp teeth.
Continue reading

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018)

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
Director: Terry Gilliam
Writer: Terry Gilliam, Tony Grisoni
Cast: Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Joana Ribeiro, Jordi Mollà, Olga Kurylenko, Stellan Skarsgård, Jason Watkins, Paloma Bloyd, Óscar Jaenada, Will Keen
Seen on: 5.10.2018
1-gif-review

Plot:
Toby (Adam Driver) is a director who is trying to shoot Don Quixote in the Spanish countryside. He actually attempted this before when he was a film student – and when he stumbles upon a copy of the film he made back then. He is inspired to track down the two key actors of the film, the shoemaker who played Don Quixote (Jonathan Pryce) as well as his Dulcinea, played by Angelica (Joana Ribeiro). But when he discovers that the shoemaker is still convinced that he really is Don Quixote and that Toby is Sancho Panza, Toby is roped into quite an adventure.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote was 25 years in the making and Gilliam fought hard to have it made. Having seen it now, I wonder whether it was worth the fight. It has its moments, but those really aren’t enough to make the film work.

The film poster showing a giant hand on which a couple of figures are standing in front of a windmill. Above it is a collage of the main characters of the film.
Continue reading

The Nun (2018)

The Nun
Director: Corin Hardy
Writer: Gary Dauberman
Prequel to/Spin-Off from: The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2
Cast: Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Bonnie Aarons, Ingrid Bisu, Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Lili Taylor
Seen on: 4.10.2018
1-gif-review

Plot:
After the suicide of a nun there, Father Burke (Demián Bichir), an exorcist weighed down by his past, is sent to Romania to investigate her suicide and to figure out if something more is going on. By his side is the novitiate Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) who had visions that might relate to the incident. As they arrive at the convent in the middle of nowhere, they find that there is more to the suicide and to the convent itself than they had anticipated.

As a fan of the Insidious and Conjuring movies, I wanted to see The Nun, but I have to admit that it can’t quite keep up with this films. It’s an okay horror film, but I just expected a little more.

The film poster showing a young nun in white, but the image is torn across her face, revealing the creepy face of a nun in black behind her.
Continue reading

Artefacts and Other Stories (Rebecca Burns)

Artefacts and Other Stories is a short story collection by Rebecca Burns.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away. I am not early with my review, but honest.]
Finished on: 3.10.2018

Artefacts and Other Stories is a decent short story collection. It’s not amazing, but there are some good stories in there. The collection could have profited from a little more variation between stories and a little more narrative within the stories. But mostly, it’s okay.

Read more about each of the stories after the jump.

Continue reading

Der Besuch der alten Dame [The Visit]

Der Besuch der alten Dame
Director: Frank Hoffmann
Writer: Friedrich Dürrenmatt
Cast: Maria Happel, Rolf Mautz, Hans Dieter Knebel, Burghart Klaußner, Petra Morzé, Roland Koch, Dietmar König, Daniel Jesch, Marcus Kiepe, Michael Abendroth, Harald Retschitzegger, Franz Schöffthaler, Peter Nitsche
Seen on: 1.10.2018

Plot:
Claire Zachanassian (Maria Happel) returns to her hometown of Güllen for the first time in decades. She had to leave the town in shame, betrayed by her lover. But she rose from the ashes, married rich and now she has a plan to get revenge on everybody who ever wronged her – especially her ex.

Der Besuch der alten Dame seems to be a good play, but this production of it really didn’t work. They managed to have a comedy where I could see the funny bits and yet I never laughed. That’s really a problem.

Continue reading

Indecision (Caragh Bell)

Indecision is a novel by Caragh Bell. It’s the first in the Follow Your Heart series.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away. I am not early with my review, but honest.]
Finished on: 30.9.2018

Plot:
Lydia loves her boyfriend Dominic with whom she’s been quite a long time already. When she moves away to do a Master’s degree, the separation isn’t easy to take. Plus, there’s Luca right there beside her: gorgeous, flirty, American, he is as intriguing to her as he is off-limits. But the effect he has on her makes her start to question her life’s decisions so far.

Indecision, unfortunately, didn’t work for me. It was badly written and full of unlikable and/or clichéd characters. I found it an exhausting read.

Continue reading

Au poste! [Keep an Eye Out] (2018)

Au poste!
Director: Quentin Dupieux
Writer: Quentin Dupieux
Cast: Benoît Poelvoorde, Grégoire Ludig, Marc Fraize, Anaïs Demoustier, Orelsan, Philippe Duquesne, Jacky Lambert, Jeanne Rosa, Vincent Grass
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.9.2018
1-gif-review

Plot:
Police officer Buron (Benoît Poelvoorde) has a murder to solve. And his witness Louis Fugain (Grégoire Ludig) has a story to tell. But as the officer tries to trip up Fugain, believing him to be a suspect in the death, Fugain starts to fumble in his account and the interview situation becomes ever stranger and more tense.

Au Poste! may be a little subdued compared to Dupieux’s earlier films, but that didn’t take away from its entertainment factor at all. It’s a beautiful exercise in absurdity.

The film poster showing a police officer and a man in handcuffs.
Continue reading

Blood Fest (2018)

Blood Fest
Director: Owen Egerton
Writer: Owen Egerton
Cast: Robbie Kay, Jacob Batalon, Seychelle Gabriel, Barbara Dunkelman, Chris Doubek, Nicholas Rutherford, Tate Donovan, Rebecca Lynne Wagner, Owen Egerton, Gavin Free, Zachary Levi
Part of: the Secret Society Screening at the /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.9.2018
1-gif-review

Plot:
Dax (Robbie Kay), Krill (Jacob Batalon) and Sam (Seychelle Gabriel) are absolutely excited: Blood Fest – the mega fun fair slash fan convention about all things horror is coming to their town. And they know that they have to be there. But Dax’ father (Tate Donovan) is dead-set against it, as he is against everything horror-related since Dax’ mother was killed. Dax manages to go anyway, but once there, it turns out that something sinister is going on at Blood Fest.

Blood Fest is no masterpiece, but it’s fun and entertaining. Horror movie fans will feel a little like watching a bobble head with all the nods the film throws at them and that makes most of its charm. I enjoyed it.

The film poster showing a group of teens in front of a mostly red background with scary figures.
Continue reading

Gatta Cenerentola [Cinderella the Cat] (2017)

Gatta Cenerentola
Director: Ivan Cappiello, Marino Guarnieri, Alessandro Rak, Dario Sansone
Writer: Ivan Cappiello, Marino Guarnieri, Alessandro Rak, Dario Sansone, Marianna Garofalo, Corrado Morra, Italo Scialdone
Based on: Cenerentola, Giambattista Basile‘s take on Cinderella
Cast: Mariacarla Norall, Massimiliano Gallo, Maria Pia Calzone, Alessandro Gassmann
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.9.2018
1-gif-review

Content Note: sexualized violence, sexism, homomisia and racism

Plot:
Mia’s father was an engineer and he designed and built the Megaride, a huge ship with the most novel of technologies that lies in the port of Naples. But he was killed, leaving Mia (Mariacarla Norall) to grow up with her evil stepmother (Maria Pia Calzone) and her daughters. Growing up mostly ignored by everybody but her father’s bodyguard (Alessandro Gassmann), now that Mia is a teenager, her stepmother’s lover and the boss of Megaride Salvatore (Massimiliano Gallo) starts to take more of an interest in her.

Cinderella the Cat is an animation film for adults. And it appears that to make it perfectly clear that this isn’t a film for children, despite being animated and based on a fairy tale, the filmmakers decided that it should definitely have sexualized violence, sexism, homomisia and racism. No, thank you.

The film poster showing a young woman in a ball gown with a gun in her hands and the much bigger image of a man in sunglasses with a cigarette in his mouth.
Continue reading