Helden in Tirol [Heroes in Tyrol] (1998)

Helden in Tirol
Director: Niki List
Writer: Niki List, Walter Kordesch
Cast: Christian Schmidt, Elke Winkens, Christian Pogats, Wolfgang S. Zechmayer, I. Stangl, Gregor Seberg, Werner Brix, Adrian Zwicker, Andreas Vitásek, Rüdiger Hentzschel, Walter Kordesch, Ludger Pistor, Adele Neuhauser, Silvia Fenz, Rudolf Strobl, Patrizia Moresco
Seen on: 14.2.2021

Content Note: rape, sexism, misogyny, transmisia/homomisia

Plot:
Helden is a sleepy village in Tyrol, but the mayor (I Stangl) has big plans for it. It has been 25 years that Lorenz Luftsprung, who owns most of the village, disappeared and since no heir could be found, the mayor is about to gain control over it. And when he does, he will make Helden in a tourist paradise. But not everybody is okay with his plans. Foremost Max Adler (Christian Schmidt) fears the ecological consequences of the mayor’s plans. A fight for Helden starts.

Helden in Tirol is a catastrophe of a film that mistakes sexism for humor. It’s the kind of film that will appeal to people who cry “it’s satire” whenever a sexist, racist or otherwise offensive joke is made, but if you are not one of those people, you best stay away.

The film poster showing a drawing of the main characters, front and center shirtless Max Adler (Christian Schmidt), playing an electric guitar.
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Urban Ghost Story (1998)

Urban Ghost Story
Director: Geneviève Jolliffe
Writer: Geneviève Jolliffe, Chris Jones
Cast: Jason Connery, Stephanie Buttle, Heather Ann Foster, Nicola Stapleton, James Cosmo, Elizabeth Berrington, Siri Neal, Andreas Wisniewski, Billy Boyd
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 24.9.2019
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Plot:
Lizzie (Heather Ann Foster) only barely survived a car crash. She actually died for three minutes, but was reanimated. Only something seems to have followed her back to the world of the living. Her mother Kate (Stephanie Buttle) is more than disconcerted by the weird things happening around her daughter, and since she doesn’t get any other help, she turns to journalist John (Jason Connery) who uses their problems to write sensationalist news stories. In the ensuing chaos of their lives, Lizzie is struggling to hold everything together.

Urban Ghost Story works as a horror film, but even more than that it works as a character study of Lizzie and her environment shaped by poverty. It’s a beautiful, emotional and political film that should be much better known than it is.

The film poster showing mostly unfocused faces in red.
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Bride of Chucky (1998)

Bride of Chucky
Director: Ronny Yu
Writer: Don Mancini
Sequel to: Child’s Play, Child’s Play 2, Child’s Play 3
Cast: Jennifer TillyBrad DourifKatherine HeiglNick StabileAlexis ArquetteGordon Michael WoolvettJohn RitterLawrence Dane
Seen on: 19.9.2017
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Plot:
Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly) has a plan: she will get her hands on the remains of the Good Guy doll that hosted Chucky’s (Brad Dourif) sould and she will get him back. He was her boyfriend before he became that doll after all. She actually succeeds, but their reunion isn’t quite as romantic as Tiffany wanted it to be. What’s more, Chucky changes her plans substantially when he decides that Tiffany should become a doll herself and makes it happen. Nevertheless, the two of them decide to go on a bloody holiday together.

I can understand if you think that the series lost it entirely with this installment, but for me, it was a step upwards again from the last films, although there was still more than enough that wasn’t really great about Bride of Chucky.

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Very Bad Things (1998)

Very Bad Things
Director: Peter Berg
Writer: Peter Berg
Cast: Jon Favreau, Leland Orser, Cameron Diaz, Christian Slater, Jeremy Piven, Daniel Stern, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Kobe Tai
Seen on: 11.4.2016

Plot:
Kyle (Jon Favreau) and Laura (Cameron Diaz) are about to get married. As Laura is fully occupied organizing everything, Kyle’s friends Charles (Leland Orser), Robert (Christian Slater), Michael (Jeremy Piven) and Adam (Daniel Stern) are mostly looking forward to his bachelor party in Las Vegas. Kyle isn’t quite as excited about it, especially not when a sex worker (Kobe Tai) shows up in their hotel room. As Michael goes to have sex with her in the bathroom, she hits her head and dies. The guys start to panic but agree to cover things up – which is only the start of the problems.

Very Bad Things is a prime example of the worst kind of edgy humor, confusing offensiveness with being funny at every turn and ending up a tired, uncomfortable  mess. No wonder it’s virtually unknown – it would have been better if I had kept it that way as well.

verybadthings

[SPOILERS]

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Re-Watch: The Truman Show (1998)

The Truman Show
Director: Peter Weir
Writer: Andrew Niccol
Cast: Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone, Ed Harris, Paul Giamatti
Seen on: 8.3.2016

Plot:
Truman (Jim Carrey) is living an absolutely ordinary life as an insurance salesman in a small town. His wife Meryl (Laura Linney) is a nurse and they are reasonably happy together and may have children soon. So far, so good. What Truman doesn’t know is that Meryl’s name is actually Hannah Gill. She’s an actress and he is the star of a reality TV show that has been chronicling his life since birth. Everything around him is TV – everything but Truman. Bit by bit, though, things are falling apart and Truman is starting to doubt.

It’s been years, probably a decade, that I saw The Truman Show and while the technology has changed a lot in that time, the film is still remarkably current. Plus, it is simply a good film.

thetrumanshow[SPOILERS follow]

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The Thin Red Line (1998)

The Thin Red Line
Director: Terrence Malick
Writer: Terrence Malick
Based on: James Jonesnovel
Cast: Nick Nolte, Jim Caviezel, Sean Penn, Elias Koteas, Ben Chaplin, Dash Mihok, John Cusack, Adrien Brody, John C. Reilly, Woody Harrelson, Miranda Otto, Jared Leto, John Travolta, George Clooney, Kirk Acevedo, Mark Boone Junior, Nick Stahl

Plot:
The Guadalcanal is an important strategic point in World War II. Therefore a group of soldiers is brought in to battle for an airfield held by the Japanese which quickly turns into a slaughter with pressures from within and without rising for everyone.

I never liked Malick movies. I wanted to watch this one anyway because it’s a classic and so I decided to jump at the chance when it was shown at the Filmmuseum in Vienna. Now that I have seen it, I can say: I really don’t like Malick movies.

Thin_Red_Line

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Re-Watch: The Faculty (1998)

The Faculty
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Kevin Williamson
Cast: Elijah Wood, Clea DuVall, Josh Hartnett, Laura Harris, Shawn Hatosy, Jordana Brewster, Robert Patrick, Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen, Jon Stewart, Piper Laurie, Christopher McDonald, Bebe Neuwirth, Usher Raymond, Daniel von Bargen

Plot:
Something weird is going on in Herrington High School, Ohio. Even weirder than the usual high school occurrences, that is: aliens are slowly taking over the teachers, starting with the football coach (Robert Patrick). But a group of teenagers notice that something weird is going on: nerdy Casey (Elijah Wood), gothy Stokely (Clea DuVall), jock Stan (Shawn Hatosy), cheerleader Delilah (Jordana Brewster), bad boy Zeke (Josh Hartnett) and country girl Marybeth (Laura Harris) get thrown together by circumstances and decide to fight.

I think I saw The Faculty the first time when I was 14, maybe 15. Until then I hadn’t had much contact with horror in general (though I probably had read a Stephen King novel or two), but I knew high school movies. And in its combination of High School and Horror, The Faculty proved to be my gateway drug into the entire horror genre (arguably also because I was madly in love with Josh Hartnett’s Zeke afterwards). I love it for that. But also as a movie in its own right, it’s pretty damn awesome.

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Another Day in Paradise (1998)

Another Day in Paradise
Director: Larry Clark
Writer: Christopher B. Landon, Stephen Chin
Based on: Eddie Little‘s book
Cast: James Woods, Melanie Griffith, Vincent Kartheiser, Natasha Gregson Wagner, James Otis, Peter Sarsgaard
Part of: Road Movie Special at the Filmmuseum

Plot:
Bobbie (Vincent Kartheiser) and Rosie (Natasha Gregson Wagner) are young, in love, drug addicts and criminals. After a break-in that goes pretty badly for Bobbie, they meet Mel (James Woods) and his girlfriend Sid (Melanie Griffith). Mel sees potential in Bobbie and kind of adopts him – to use him for robberies and drug deals, introducing him into the “big league”. What at first seems to be a functioning, if morally dubious ersatz family soon gets out of control when they encounter problems with the drug deals.

Another Day in Paradise is a tight film with an excellent cast. It’s not perfect but it tells its story very well.

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