Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

Resident Evil: Afterlife
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Based on: the video game series
Sequel to: Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Resident Evil: Extinction
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Wentworth Miller, Shawn Roberts, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Boris Kodjoe, Kim Coates, Spencer Locke, Sienna Guillory, Kacey Clarke, Norman Yeung, Fulvio Cecere
Seen on: 10.9.2022

Plot:
Alice (Milla Jovovich) is still on her mission against the Umbrella Corporation. When she has finally dealt them a harsh blow, she heads to Arcadia, supposed safe haven, to catch up with her friends. But instead of paradise, she finds Claire (Ali Larter) in a bad state and with some amnesia. Returning to LA, they receive a call for help from a group sheltering in place in an abandoned prison, surrounded by zombies. The group does have news about Arcadia, but no way out. Unless the mysterious prisoner Chris (Wentworth Miller) speaks the truth. But can they risk it?

Resident Evil: Afterlife is pretty much what I’ve come to expect from this movie series. That is: it’s okay, but not great, with some good action and some questionable narrative choices. But to really love the movies, you’ll probably have to have played the games and I didn’t.

The film poster showing Alice (Milla Jovovich, with two guns pointing upwards. It's raining.
Continue reading

How Do You Know (2010)

How Do You Know
Director: James L. Brooks
Writer: James L. Brooks
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson, Jack Nicholson, Kathryn Hahn, Tony Shalhoub, Dean Norris, Teyonah Parris
Seen on: 6.9.2022

Plot:
Lisa (Reese Witherspoon) is a softball player who lives for the game. But when she is cut from the team, she has to reconfigure her entire life. That also includes deciding about her relationship with Matty (Owen Wilson), a baseball player with certain commitment issues. Her teammate (Teyonah Parris) tries to set her up with George (Paul Rudd), but George is going through a rather tumultuous life phase himself, to put it mildly: under investigation for fraud, he lost his job at his father’s (Jack Nicholson) company. Despite everything, Lisa and George meet for a friendly dinner, and actually have a connection. Now they both have to figure out where their life should be heading.

How Do You Know is okay overall, but it only gets really good at certain points. It’s watchable, but it is not particularly exciting or memorable.

The movie poster showing separate headshots of Lisa (Reese Witherspoon), Matty (Owen Wilson), George (Paul Rudd) and Charles (Jack NIcholson).
Continue reading

Faster (2010)

Faster
Director: George Tillman Jr.
Writer: Tony Gayton, Joe Gayton
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Carla Gugino, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Maggie Grace, Xander Berkeley, Tom Berenger, Matt Gerald, Mike Epps, Moon Bloodgood, Jennifer Carpenter, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Seen on: 31.5.2021

Plot:
The Driver (Dwayne Johnson) spent ten years in prison after a bank robbery, but now he is finally being released – and he has people to go after. He immediately goes for it, too. Leaving the investigating detectives (Billy Bob Thornton, Carla Gugino) puzzling over his motives. Meanwhile, a bored billionaire and killer-for-hire (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) is sent after the Driver as well. The Driver doesn’t have much time to finish his business.

Faster was probably the worst Dwayne Johnson film I ever saw. I mean, usually his films are, if not exactly good, at least entertaining all the way. But this one was just dreary and trying way too hard.

The film poster showing the Driver (Dwayne Johnson) standing tall, revolver in hand.
Continue reading

It’s Kind of a Funny Story (2010)

It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Writer: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Based on: Ned Vizzini‘s novel
Cast: Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, Dana DeVestern, Lauren Graham, Jim Gaffigan, Aasif Mandvi, Zoë Kravitz, Thomas Mann, Viola Davis, Bernard White
Seen on: 16.5.2021

Content Note: (attempted) suicide, suicidal ideation

Plot:
Craig (Keir Gilchrist) has been thinking about suicide a lot. So much so that he has scared himself into getting committed. To his horror he realizes that the psychiatric ward for teens is closed at the moment, though, and he finds himself in the adult station. There the charismatic Bobby (Zach Galifianakis) takes him under his wing as Craig tries to figure out whether he actually belongs in the hospital, and what he feels for fellow patient Noelle (Emma Roberts).

It’s Kind of a Funny Story is a rather realistic look at what a psychiatric ward looks like, with a problematic take on mental health regardless and a slightly too sweet ending that doesn’t fit the setting of the film.

The film poster showing close-ups of Craig (Keir Gilchrist), Bobby (Zach Galifianakis) and Noelle (Emma Roberts) above an image of Craig and Noelle hugging on the hospital roof.
Continue reading

Till det som är vackert [Pure] (2010)

Till det som är vackert
Director: Lisa Langseth
Writer: Lisa Langseth
Cast: Alicia Vikander, Samuel Fröler, Josephine Bauer, Martin Wallström, Helén Söderqvist Henriksson
Seen on: 16.4.2021

Plot:
Katarina (Alicia Vikander) lives with her boyfriend Mattias (Martin Wallström) and fights with her mother (Josephine Bauer). Her life seems to stretch out before her: working a dead-end job, always this close to poverty, and having many children with Matthias. When she discovers classical music, a new world opens up to Katarina. After actually attending a concert together with Mattias, Katarina is even more intrigued. After losing her job, she returns to the concert hall and just stumbles into a job interview. Much to her surprise, the HR manager (Helén Söderqvist Henriksson) hires her. Her position is more than she hoped for, and puts her in the sight of conductor Adam (Samuel Fröler) who takes a liking to her.

Pure was a fantastic film debut for both Langseth and Vikander. It’s an intense portrayal of a young woman and a sharp look at the intersection of gender and class.

The film poster showing Katarina (Alicia Vikander) looking fiercely at the camera, while Adam (Samuel Fröler) holds her and smells her neck.
Continue reading

Bastard (2010)

Bastard
Director: Kirsten Dunst
Writer: Kirsten Dunst, Sasha Sagan
Cast: Juno Temple, Brian Geraghty, Lukas Haas, Lee Thompson Young, Joel David Moore, L.M. Kit Carson, Callie Hardy
Seen on: 2.4.2021

Plot:
A girl (Juno Temple) and a man (Brian Geraghty) are making their way through the desert. They are looking for shelter, while some men in a car (Lukas Haas, Lee Thompson Young, Joel David Moore) are looking for them.

I saw that Juno Temple was in Bastard and decided to watch it, so I was a little surprised by the Christianity of it. Your mileage will probably vary regarding that. I felt that the film was a bit sensationalistic. But Juno Temple is still wonderful.

The film poster showing the girl (Juno Temple), her face hidden behind her hair, her shoulders drawn high, underneath a red haze.

Re-Watch: Easy A (2010)

Easy A
Director: Will Gluck
Writer: Bert V. Royal
Cast: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Malcolm McDowell, Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow, Dan Byrd, Cam Gigandet, Fred Armisen
Seen on: 29.11.2019
[Here’s my first review.]

Content Note: sexual assault, abuse

Plot:
Olive (Emma Stone) is a good student, though not a particularly popular one. But when a rumor is started that she sleeps around, it puts a quick end to her going unnoticed. Not content with just accepting the sexist double standard, Olive gets into a catfight with the religious do-gooder Marianne (Amanda Bynes), poses as a sex partner for various guys (who are gay or unpopular) and causes general mayhem at her school.

For whatever reason, I had it in my head that I had kinda not liked Easy A all that much when I first watched it (reading my review from back then, that seems not to be true) and that I wanted to give it another try because everybody else seemed to love it so much. Having done so now, I can confidently say that it is a fun film with even some feminist attempts, but it does have problems and I am still not sure why Easy A is the cult classic it seems to have become.

The film poster showing Olive (Emma Stone) in front of a blackboard. There are misogynist curses on the blackboard with arrows pointing at her. She holds a sign that reads: The rumour-filled totally FALSE account of HOW I RUINED my flawless reputation.
Read more

The Experiment (2010)

The Experiment
Director: Paul T. Scheuring
Writer: Paul T. Scheuring
Remake of: Das Experiment
Based on: Stanford prison experiment
Cast: Adrien Brody, Forest Whitaker, Cam Gigandet, Clifton Collins Jr., Ethan Cohn, Fisher Stevens, Travis Fimmel, David Banner, Jason Lew
Seen on: 26.6.2019

Content Note: homomisia, orientalism

Plot:
Travis (Adrien Brody) is a pacifist in need of money. That’s why he agrees to participate in a study that simulates a prison to find out about the violent tendencies of people. He and 19 others get put into two groups of prisoners, while 6 men, among them Helweg (Travis Fimmel) get appointed as guards. They all get a set of rules to follow and things are on their way. But pretty soon, the “guards” turn vicious and the “prisoners” have to fight for basically their lives.

The Stanford prison experiment is a famous sociopsychological study that has seen its fair share of criticism, but has nevertheless persisted in its claim to fame. The Experiment takes that real-life science project, dials the bad things about it up to eleven and believes it has something meaningful to say about the human condition in that way. In short, it is a very bad film.

The film poster showing Travis (Adrien Brody) holding on to iron bars.
Continue reading

You Again (2010)

You Again
Director: Andy Fickman
Writer: Moe Jelline
Cast: Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Odette Annable, Victor Garber, Betty White, James Wolk, Kristin Chenoweth, Sean Wing, Kyle Bornheimer, William Brent, Christine Lakin, Meagan Holder, Patrick Duffy
Seen on: 10.6.2019

Plot:
Marni (Kristen Bell) was not particularly popular in high school, and that’s putting it mildly. Her main tormentor was Joanna (Odette Annable). Marni thought that she left all of this behind her – until she finds out that her brother (James Wolk) just got engaged to Joanna. The Joanna now seems all kindness and charity, but Marni doesn’t believe this new Joanna one bit and is dead-set on exposing who she really is. Things get even more heated when Joanna’s aunt Ramona (Sigourney Weaver) shows up – and turns out to be the former best friend turned enemy of Marni’s mother Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis).

You Again was okay to watch, but – despite the really awesome cast – nothing more than that.

The film poster showing Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis), Marni (Kristen Bell), Ramona (Sigourney Weaver) and Joanna (Odette Annable), each holding a phote of one of the other women that is ripped apart. In the middle is Grandma Bunny (Betty White) trying to hold it all together.
Continue reading

Eine Flexible Frau [The Drifters] (2010)

Eine Flexible Frau
Director: Tatjana Turanskyj
Writer: Tatjana Turanskyj
Cast: Mira Partecke, Laura Tonke, Franziska Dick, Angelika Sauter, Katharina Bellena, Sven Seeger, Torsten Haase, Fabio Pink
Seen on: 12.11.2017
1-gif-review

Plot:
Greta (Mira Partecke) is an architect and has a son she’s estranged from. When she unexpectedly loses her job, she desperately tries to get back on her feet. Or drink enough that she forgets that she has lost her footing. She doesn’t seem built to participate in the neoliberal gig culture in the city around her, but is there a place that isn’t within that culture?

Eine flexible Frau is somewhere between art film, narration and sociological cinema – and it’s a really good mix at that. It’s challenging cinema, but if you’re willing to let yourself be challenged, you can get a lot out of it.

Continue reading