Re-Watch: Trainspotting (1996)

Trainspotting
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: John Hodge
Based on: Irvine Welsh’s novel
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Macdonald, Peter Mullan, Shirley HendersonJames Cosmo, Irvine Welsh
Seen on: 12.3.2017

Plot:
Renton (Ewan McGregor), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Tommie (Kevin McKidd) and Spud (Ewen Bremner) are friends. At least as much as you can be friends with anybody you share a heroin addiction with. And don’t necessarily like each other all that much. As they tumble through Edinburgh, alternatively looking to buy the next hit and to kick the habit altogether, their paths cross with the same people over and over again, people like the violent Begbie (Robert Carlyle). They all struggle with their own problems but at least they are not stuck in the wheel of capitalism. Or that’s what Renton tells himself.

It’s been many years since I saw the film (although some images have burned themselves into my retina, they are that present in my head). Re-watching it now, I’m still very much taken with it. It’s a really great film, despite a couple of weaknesses.

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Jenseits des Krieges [East of War] (1996)

Jenseits des Krieges
Director: Ruth Beckermann
Writer: Ruth Beckermann
Seen on: 2.1.2017

“Plot”:
In the 90s, the Wehrmachtsausstellung reached Vienna. It detailed the war crimes committed by the Wehrmacht during World War II and created a lot of controversy, as the Wehrmacht thus far had been thought to have a relatively clean record (after an extensive review of the exhibition and its materials after the criticism, they found certain inaccuracies and a few generalizations that were too big, but the core argument still stands).
Beckermann visited the exhibition with her camera and interviewed the visitors to the exhibition, most of whom were Wehrmacht soldiers themselves.

Jenseits des Krieges is an incredibly important cinematic document and one that should be much older than it actually is. It proves that we had and still have a long way too go when it comes to our confrontation with World War II.

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Re-Watch: Independence Day (1996)

Independence Day aka ID4
Director: Roland Emmerich
Writer: Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich
Cast: Will SmithBill PullmanJeff GoldblumMary McDonnellJudd HirschRobert LoggiaRandy QuaidMargaret ColinVivica A. FoxJames RebhornHarvey FiersteinAdam BaldwinBrent SpinerJames Duval
Seen on: 4.8.2016

Plot:
Satellites pick up a strange signal from outer space and soon huge spaceships arrive and position themselves around the earth in strategic points. Communications expert David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) is convinced that the aliens will attack and tries to get in touch with the President of the USA (Bill Pullman). Since the two of them don’t have the best history, this is easier said than done. When counterforces are finally mobilized – led by people like Airforce Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) – the aliens turn out to be near invincible. What is needed now is creative problem solving and everybody working together.

I was 11 when Independence Day came out and I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the film since, though it had been years that I’d seen it. After the catastrophe of the new film, I decided that a re-watch was in order to wash away the bitter aftertaste. An excellent decision, as ID4 is still an entertaining bit of popcorn cinema, even after all these years.

independenceday

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Escape from L.A. (1996)

Escape from L.A.
Director: John Carpenter
Writer: John Carpenter, Debra Hill, Kurt Russell
Sequel to: Escape from New York
Cast: Kurt Russell, Steve Buscemi, Peter Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Valeria Golino, Stacy Keach, Pam Grier, Bruce Campbell, Georges Corraface, Michelle Forbes, A.J. Langer, Ina Romeo, Peter Jason, Leland Orser
Seen on: 26.5.2016

Plot:
2013. The future. After an earthquake, Los Angeles was turned into an island, separated from the rest of the USA, and used as a deportation station, not only for illegal immigrants, but also for people who lost their citizenship because they didn’t conform to the ultra-conservative morality enforced by the government. But the President’s own daughter Utopia (A.J. Langer) rebels against him and manages to get stranded in L.A. with a deadly device. Fortunately it’s just then that Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) is caught once more and threatened with deportation himself – unless he retrieves both Utopia and the weapon.

Well. Since I wasn’t particularly taken with the first Escape film, it is not surprising that I didn’t love the second one either – a film that is inferior in almost every way to its predecessor.

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Re-Watch: Mission: Impossible (1996)

Mission: Impossible
Director: Brian De Palma
Writer: David Koepp, Steven Zaillian
Based on: The TV Series
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle Béart, Henry Czerny, Jean Reno, Ving Rhames, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vanessa Redgrave
Seen on: 03.08.2015

Plot:
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is part of a team of spies led by Jim Phelps (Jon Voight). Their newest mission is supposed to prevent the sale of classified material. But things go very wrong and Ethan’s entire team is killed. All but Jim’s wife Claire (Emmanuelle Béart) that is. When Ethan’s loyalty is called into question and he is suspected of killing them off himself, he knows that he has to uncover and solve this mystery. Together with Claire, they ask Franz (Jean Reno) and Luther (Ving Rhames) for help, both disavowed agents and they take on the case.

Mission: Impossible follows the spy formula to the letter and while the plot doesn’t offer much that’s new, the execution is beautiful, although not exactly flawless.

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MURDER and murder (1996)

MURDER and murder
Director: Yvonne Rainer
Writer: Yvonne Rainer
Cast: Joanna Merlin, Kathleen Chalfant, Catherine Kellner, Isa Thomas, Yvonne Rainer
Part of: identities Festival
Seen on: 16.6.2015

Plot:
Doris (Joanna Merlin) and Mildred (Kathleen Chalfant) are both older when they fall in love, though that doesn’t mean that they can’t be happy with each other. Although it does make things a little more difficult since they are already set in their ways and sometimes that makes communicating with each other a little difficult. When Doris is diagnosed with breast cancer, director Yvonne Rainer (herself) steps in to provide information.

Rainer is an experimental filmmaker and MURDER and murder certainly doesn’t play by the usual cinematic rules. But for such an idiosyncratic film, it is surprisingly accessible and highly entertaining.

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Re-Watch: Fargo (1996)

Fargo
Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Peter StormareFrances McDormandJohn Carroll Lynch, Kristin Rudrüd, Harve Presnell, Tony Denman, Steve Reevis, Larry Brandenburg
Seen on: 15.3.2015

Plot:
Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) has a business plan and a foolproof way of getting the money for it: he hires Carl (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear (Peter Stormare) to kidnap his wife (Kristin Rudrüd) and extort money from his father-in-law Wade (Harve Presnell). But even before they can act out the plan, things start going wrong and pregnant police woman Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) takes up the investigation.

I haven’t seen Fargo in so long that I still watched it in German the last time I saw it (I’ve avoided dubbed films for about 15 years now). I still remembered the film quite well and I still love it. It’s just a wonderful black comedy.

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Re-Watch: Emma (1996)

[We’re nearing the end of my EmmaComparisonProject. So, if you’re tired of reading about this, it’s only Clueless tomorrow and we’re done. :)]

Emma is Douglas McGrath‘s adaptation of Jane Austen‘s novel, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Northam, Alan Cumming, Toni Collette, Ewan McGregor, Greta Scacchi, Polly Walker, Sophie Thompson and Juliet Stevenson.

Plot:
Emma Woodhouse (Gwyneth Paltrow) is “handsome, clever, and rich” and also very interested in matching the people around her. She credits herself with matching up her former governess Miss Taylor (now Mrs Weston) (Greta Scacchi) and Mr Weston (James Cosmo) and encouraged by that success, sets about her next “victim”, naive and unrefined Harriet Smith (Toni Collette). Despite the warnings of her friend Mr Knightley (Jeremy Northam), Emma wants to match Harriet with the local vicar, Mr Elton (Alan Cumming). For herself, Emma has no plans – other than Mr Weston’s son Frank Churchill (Ewan McGregor) (who she has never met) excites her curiosity.

It’s been a while since I have seen this film and I think that memory has slightly exaggerated its awesomeness. Especially the script and Gwyneth Paltrow didn’t impress that much this time round as they did before. But it’s still a wonderful movie and does have the best Mr Knightley, hands down.

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Emma (1996)

[Since I finished reading the novel, I figured that I’d watch the adaptations, too and I decided to start with the films I hadn’t yet seen. So, this is the first one, but there will be more.]

Emma is Diarmuid Lawrence‘ adaptation of Jane Austen‘s novel, starring Kate Beckinsale, Mark Strong, Samantha Morton, Dominic Rowan, Samantha Bond, Olivia Williams and Bernard Hepton.

Plot:
Emma Woodhouse (Kate Beckinsale) is “handsome, clever, and rich” and also very interested in matching the people around her. She credits herself with matching up her former governess Miss Taylor (now Mrs Weston) (Samantha Bond) and Mr Weston (James Hazeldine) and encouraged by that success, sets about her next “victim”, naive and unrefined Harriet Smith (Samantha Morton). Despite the warnings of her friend Mr Knightley (Mark Strong), Emma wants to match Harriet with the local vicar, Mr Elton (Dominic Rowan). For herself, Emma has no plans – other than Mr Weston’s son Frank Churchill (Raymond Coulthard) (who she has never met) excites her curiosity.

This movie has it hard. It came out in the same year as the more famous Gwyneth Paltrow version and so really doesn’t escape comparison. And mostly, it loses. But only mostly, not entirely.

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Jugofilm [Yugo Film] (1996)

Jugofilm is a movie by Goran Rebic, starring Merab Ninidze, Ljubisa Samardzic, Tamara Simunovic, Michael Jovanovic and Wolf Bachofner.

Plot:
A Serb emigrant family in Vienna: one of the two sons, Sascha (Merab Ninidze) goes back to Yugoslavia to pick up the grandmother since tensions are rising. But before they can get back, war breaks out and Sascha gets conscripted. About a year later, he manages to return to Austria, with a Bosnian wife, Suza (Tamara Simunovic) and a whole lot of war baggage. He thinks that he will be safe in Vienna, but he finds that the Yugoslavian conflict is also happpening in Austria – and in his family.

Jugofilm is a strong movie. It tells a good story and it tells it mostly well. But I really didn’t like the ending.

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