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.

500DaysofSummer

[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.

knochenmann

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The Sky Has Fallen (2009)

The Sky Has Fallen
Director: Doug Roos
Writer: Doug Roos
Cast: Carey MacLaren, Laurel Kemper
Seen on: 25.06.2015
[Screener Review. Available here.]

Plot:
A mysterious illness has hit earth and wiped out most of humanity. The few remaining survivors start seeing dark shapes that carry away the bodies of the dead to experiment on them and bring the results of their experiments back to life – yet another thing the survivors have to fight. Two of those survivors are Lance (Carey MacLaren) and Rachel (Laurel Kemper) who stumble over each other in the woods and together figure out a plan how they might fight back.

The Sky Has Fallen was obviously made out of love for practical special effects and it is quite ingenious with them. Unfortunately the rest of the film hasn’t got quite the same amount of attention as the SFX – and it shows.

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Re-Watch: Valhalla Rising (2009)

Valhalla Rising
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Writer: Nicolas Winding Refn, Roy Jacobsen
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Maarten Stevenson, Alexander MortonGary LewisJamie SivesEwan Stewart
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Around 1000 A.D., a man (Mads Mikkelsen) is enslaved by vikings for his almost supernatural fighting strength. When he is sold from one king to the next, he manages to escape [among other things because he can see the future] together with a boy (Maarten Stevenson). When they meet a group of templars, the boy and the warrior – now called One-Eye – decide to join forces with them to go to the holy land.

I saw Valhalla Rising almost five years ago and the film intrigued me. A lot. So getting another chance to see it in the cinema was quite a treat, especially since I might be even more intrigued after the second watch.

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Tales from the Script (2009)

Tales from the Script
Director: Peter Hanson
Writer: Peter Hanson, Paul Robert Herman
“Cast”: various Hollywood screen writers
Seen on: 15.3.2015

“Plot”:
Tales from the Script is a documentary about screen writing in Hollywood. Hanson and Herman interviewed several more and less famous screen writers about their experiences in Hollywood with the movie industry.

Tales from the Script was really interesting. Partly simply delightful, partly making you want to headdesk incessantly, but always entertaining and insightful.

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