The Ugly Truth (2009)

The Ugly Truth
Director: Robert Luketic
Writer: Nicole Eastman, Karen McCullah, Kirsten Smith
Cast: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler, Bree Turner, Eric Winter, Nick Searcy, Jesse D. Goins, Cheryl Hines, John Michael Higgins, Yvette Nicole Brown
Seen on: 21.1.2018
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Plot:
Abby (Katherine Heigl) is a producer of a morning show. Due to faltering ratings of said show, her boss hires Mike (Gerard Butler), whose claim to fame is hosting The Ugly Truth, a show that tackles matters of relationships in a very male, if not misogynistic way. Abby is outraged at this choice of host. But since she herself doesn’t do very well in matters of relationships either, pining after her neighbor Colin (Eric Winter) who she thinks of as the perfect man, she strikes a deal with Mike at his suggestion: he will help her reel in Colin, and she will work with him.

The Ugly Truth is absolutely horrible. It bowled me over with its hatred masquerading as some good old fun. It’s sexist and misogynistic. It’s so bad, it even makes a case that misandry does, in fact, exist. I hated it.

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The Proposal (2009)

The Proposal
Director: Anne Fletcher
Writer: Peter Chiarelli
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Betty White, Denis O’Hare, Malin Akerman, Oscar Nuñez, Aasif Mandvi
Seen on: 27.12.2017
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Plot:
Margaret (Sandra Bullock) is a good editor and she loves her job. She is not so much a good boss as her assistant Andrew (Ryan Reynolds) knows from his own experience. When the Canadian Margaret is confronted with the fact that she might be deported because her visa expired, she pressures Andrew into marrying her. But the immigration officer Mr Gilbertson (Denis O’Hare) isn’t convinced, so they can’t just leave it at the formalities. That’s how Margaret ends up at Andrew’s grandmother’s 90th birthday party. With his welcoming family and the two of them in a decidedly unworklike environment, their relationship starts to change.

The Proposal is cute, if you manage to ignore a lot of things about it (heteros are exhausting). I enjoyed it while it lasted, but it won’t become a favorite or a film I’ll revisit at all.

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The Rebound (2009)

The Rebound
Director: Bart Freundlich
Writer: Bart Freundlich
Cast: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Justin Bartha, Andrew Cherry, Kelly Gould, Lynn Whitfield, Kate Jennings Grant, Rob Kerkovich, Sam Robards, John Schneider, Joanna Gleason, Art Garfunkel
Seen on: 27.12.2017
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Plot:
Sandy’s (Catherine Zeta-Jones) live fell apart after she discovered that her husband of many years cheated on her. Now she’s living in a new apartment above a coffee shop with her kids and tries to get a fresh start in life. Aram (Justin Bartha) who is a barista in said coffee shop may be much younger than Sandy, but his life is at a low point as well. Having just got out of a relationship that turned out to be a green card scam, he doesn’t really know what he wants to do with his life. When Sandy ends up hiring him as a babysitter, they become closer and even start dating. But are they really just rebounds for each other?

I liked the idea of The Rebound, what with the older woman dating a younger man and it not being portrayed as cougar-like predatory behavior. Or at least that’s what I expected. But The Rebound is so quintessentially male in its perspective, I could barely stand it.

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Re-Watch: Coraline (2009)

Coraline
Director: Henry Selick
Writer: Henry Selick
Based on: Neil Gaiman’s book
Cast: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, John Hodgman, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn FrenchKeith David, Robert Bailey Jr.
Seen on: 8.12.2016
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning) moves with her parents (Teri Hatcher, John Hodgman) to a new house. Her parents are always busy so Coraline is left to explore things alone. One day she discovers a hidden door in her house and when she goes through, she meets her Other Mother, who is everything a child could hope for and more. But her Other Mother has buttons for her eyes. She wants Coraline to stay, but for that, Coraline will need to give up her eyes as well…

Coraline is a sweet and very beautiful film, although not unproblematic in some things. I liked it, but with a little more reservation than the first time round.

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Whip It (2009)

Whip It
Director: Drew Barrymore
Writer: Shauna Cross
Based on: her own novel Derby Girl
Cast: Ellen PageKristen WiigZoë BellEveDrew Barrymore, Andrew Wilson, Juliette Lewis, Marcia Gay Harden, Alia ShawkatCarlo AlbanLandon Pigg, Jimmy Fallon
Seen on: 17.9.2016

Plot:
Bliss’ (Ellen Page) mother Brooke (Marcia Gay Harden) has been raising Bliss to participate in beauty pageants. But Bliss has no interest whatsoever in being pretty or in pageantry. That becomes even clearer to her when she discovers roller derby. On a whim she goes to a match, and falls in love immediately. After talking to team captain Maggie Mayhem (Kirsten Wiig), she decides to try out for the team herself. Despite the fact that her parents can’t know about it or that she isn’t the required 21 years old yet. So she dons skates and starts practicing, findig her place in the team and the world.

Whip It is a sweet film, with a lot of fun moments and it wouldn’t surprise me if it made at least half of its audience fall in love with roller derby. There’s one big draw back though – and that’s the fact that they didn’t dare to make this a queer story. But other than that I enjoyed it a lot.

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Contact High (2009)

Contact High
Director: Michael Glawogger
Writer: Michael Glawogger, Michael Ostrowski
Sequel to: Nacktschnecken
Cast: Michael Ostrowski, Raimund WallischPia Hierzegger, Georg Friedrich, Detlev BuckHilde Dalik, Alina Pölzl, Jeremy Strong, Anna Frances Dioso
Seen on: 15.8.2016

Plot:
A spanish drugdealer forgot a bag in Poland, so he asks his partner/employee Harry (Detlev Buck) who works in Vienna to retrieve it for him. Harry passes on the job to Schorsch (Georg Friedrich) who in turn asks Mao (Pia Hierzegger) because he wants to watch the 24 hour Le Mans race. But Mao has to babysit, so she sends Max (Michael Ostrowski) and Johann (Raimund Wallisch) to do it instead. But those two can’t necessarily be trusted, and Harry is anxious to see the bag home safe and sound. While Max and Johann think of the entire thing as a nice adventure and an excellent opportunity to make some much-needed cash, Harry convinces Schorsch to follow them and make sure that they fulfill their mission.

Contact High is often funny and sometimes stronger than Nacktschnecken, but for the most part it’s clearly weaker.

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Today’s Special (2009)

Today’s Special
Director: David Kaplan
Writer: Aasif MandviJonathan Bines
Based on: Aasif Mandvi’s play Sakina’s Restaurant
Cast: Aasif Mandvi, Naseeruddin Shah, Jess WeixlerDean WintersKevin CorriganMadhur JaffreyHarish Patel
Seen on: 1.8.2016

Plot:
Samir (Aasif Mandvi) loves cooking but his career as a chef seems to have hit a dead-end. So he has decided to go to Paris for a while and get some fresh wind into his cooking. Unfortunately that’s when his father (Harish Patel) has a heart-attack and Samir has to take over the family restaurant, a dingy Indian place. So far, Samir has always avoided engaging with Indian food, but facing the very real possibility of the restaurant having to close, he digs in with the help of cab driver and former chef Akbar (Naseeruddin Shah) who seems to have done everything at least once in his life. And maybe going back to his roots is just what Samir needs for his own cooking.

Today’s Special is a sweet film with lively characters. Plotwise there’s not much that can’t be seen from a mile away, but that’s not a bad thing if you simply want some nice entertainment. Which is exactly what you will get from this film.

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Talhotblond: (2009)

Talhotblond:
Director: Barbara Schroeder
Writer: Barbara Schroeder, Pat Lalama, Glenn Boozan
Narrated by: Steve Clement
Seen on: 9.1.2016

Plot:
Talhotblond: is a documentary on a murder case that happened a few years ago: Thomas Montgomery shot co-worker Brian Barrett, out of jealousy over a girl they were both chatting with, known to them as Jessi/talhotblond.

Talhotblond: is probably the most misguided documentary I have ever seen. I don’t know anything about the real case, but the way things are presented here is deeply and absolutely problematic.

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Re-Watch: (500) Days of Summer (2009)

(500) Days of Summer
Director: Marc Webb
Writer: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Chloë Grace Moretz, Matthew Gray Gubler, Clark Gregg, Patricia Belcher, Rachel Boston
Seen on: 10.12.2015
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a hopeless romantic, just waiting to meet a girl he can fall in love with. When he meets Summer (Zooey Deschanel), he believes that he has found her. But since the movie is told in flashbacks, we know that things didn’t turn out the way he had planned: Tom only got 500 days with Summer.

When I saw (500) Days of Summer the first time, I thought it was nice, but I couldn’t really understand the amount of praise the film got. But since that praise kept on coming and since the movie was part of my film course, I decided to give it another try and see if maybe I missed the magic the first time round. Turns out I’m still of pretty much the same opinion as I was six years ago.

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[SPOILERS]

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Der Knochenmann [The Bone Man] (2009)

Der Knochenmann
Director: Wolfgang Murnberger
Writer: Wolfgang Murnberger, Josef Hader, Wolf Haas
Based on: Wolf Haas‘ novel
Sequel to: Komm, süßer Tod, Silentium
Cast: Josef Hader, Josef BierbichlerBirgit MinichmayrChristoph LuserPia HierzeggerSimon SchwarzDorka GryllusStipe ErcegIvan Shvedoff
Seen on: 13.8.2015

Plot:
Simon Brenner (Josef Hader) is getting by. With the help of Berti (Simon Schwarz) he can earn a little money by repossessing things. When Berti sends him to find a guy and his car, Brenner ends up at an inn in the middle of nowhere looking for him. The guy’s car is there, but nobody admits to knowing him. Sufficiently intrigued by circumstances and with nowhere else to go, Brenner decides to stay for a bit. Despite the foreboding presence of owner Löschenkohl (Josef Bierbichler) whose daughter in law Birgit (Birgit Minichmayr) may have something to do with Brenner’s interest. But a missing guy is only the beginning of the weird events at the Löschenkohl inn.

While the Brenner movies continue their increasing technical proficiency here, regarding plot and script Der Knochenmann is the weakest movie in the series so far.

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