A Second Chance (2011)

A Second Chance
Director: Clay Glen
Writer: Clay Glen
Cast: Emily Morris, Nina Pearce, Adam Tuominen, Carmel JohnsonAmy Handley, Lilly Blacker, Julie Kay Lumasag
Seen on: 16.9.2016

Plot:
Maddy (Emily Norris) loves nothing more than doing gymnastics and she is pretty good at it, though she lacks confidence. When their old trainer Beverly (Carmel Johnson) becomes ill, Kate (Nina Pearce) takes over the team to train. But at their first competition together, things don’t go well for them. Head of the jury is Sally (Amy Handley) who shares a long history with Kate – and it’s not a positive one. And Sally uses that against Maddy and her team. Both Kate and Maddy are ready to give up, but Beverly suggests that they should get the help of Shane (Adam Tuominen), the boys’ coach, and give it another go.

Good grief, people. It is actually embarrassing that this is a professionally made film, proving that people more often than not just don’t give a shit about quality if it’s a film made for kids. And – since I watched it only because it was my niece’s favorite film at the time – that kids often don’t care, either.

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What’s Your Number? (2011)

What’s Your Number?
Director: Mark Mylod
Writer: Gabrielle AllanJennifer Crittenden
Based on: Karyn Bosnak‘s novel
Cast: Anna FarisChris EvansAri GraynorBlythe DannerEd Begley Jr.Joel McHaleChris PrattZachary QuintoMartin FreemanAndy Samberg, Anthony MackieAziz Ansari
Seen on: 4.9.2016

Plot:
Ally (Anna Faris) has been dating for a while but so far she wasn’t very lucky. But then two things happen that makes her tackle the issue more aggressively: she gets fired from her job and needs to re-orient herself and she reads an article that says that women who sleep with more than 20 men usually don’t get married. After a quick count, Ally realizes that she slept with 19 men so far – and so she decides to look up all her old boyfriends to re-date them and not add to the list. To track all of them down, Ally gets help from her neighbor Colin (Chris Evans) who in turn gets Ally’s help to get rid of the girls he brings home all the time.

What’s Your Number? does pretty much everything wrong that a RomCom could possibly do wrong (apart from getting Chris Evans naked a lot, that’s excellent), but at least Ally and Colin are surprisingly likeable. But when that’s the best thing you can say about a film, it’s probably clear that the film really doesn’t need to be seen.

whatsyournumber

[Slight SPOILERS]

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Re-Watch: The Mechanic (2011)

The Mechanic
Director: Simon West
Writer: Richard Wenk, Lewis John Carlino
Remake of: the 1972 Charles Bronson film
Cast: Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Donald Sutherland, Tony Goldwyn
Seen on: 29.8.2016
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is a contract killer, the best there is. Even when his next assignment is his mentor and best friend Harry (Donald Sutherland), he only waits to see the evidence that Harry is guilty until he kills him. Yet, afterwards he takes on Harry’s son Steve (Ben Foster) as an apprentice, despite all his doubts about Steve as a person and social proximity in general, and teaches him everything he knows.

I completely missed that a sequel to this film was coming, so when I saw the posters for that, I was all excited and decided that I really needed to re-watch the first film – and then I missed the sequel because they didn’t show it at decent times in the original version and how can I watch a film with the Stat without hearing his voice? Does not work. In any case, watching The Mechanic a second time is as entertaining as watching it the first time, which is to say: very.

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Puncture (2011)

Puncture
Director: Adam KassenMark Kassen
Writer: Chris Lopata
Cast: Chris Evans, Mark Kassen, Marshall Bell, Brett Cullen, Jesse L. Martin, Vinessa Shaw, Roxanna Hope Radja, Michael Biehn, Kate Burton
Seen on: 14.8.2016

Plot:
Mike (Chris Evans) and Paul (Mark Kassen) have a law firm together, but their lives are looking very different: while Paul is a settled family man, Mike loves nothing more than to party – with drugs. They meet nurse Vicky (Vinessa Shaw) who contracted HIV/Aids froma patient by way of a needle he stabbed her with, and who introduces them to a safety needle that would make infections like hers impossible but that the hospitals refuse to buy. They know that somebody has to fight on her side. But suing the company who runs the hospitals in the area is a huge undertaking and who knows whether they’ll be able to keep up with it.

Puncture tells a big story, but unfortunately it tells it in such a boring way that I could barely make myself pay attention. Despite Chris Evans in suspenders (and often without a shirt), which is really saying something.

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Re-Watch: Hanna (2011)

Hanna
Director: Joe Wright
Writer: Seth LochheadDavid Farr
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana, Tom HollanderOlivia WilliamsJessica Barden
Seen on: 18.4.2016
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) grows up with her father Erik (Eric Bana) in complete seclusion. He trains her to be the perfect spy and she grows up knowing that once she leaves her solitary life, she will be hunted down by Marissa (Cate Blanchett). Nevertheless Hanna wants to head out into the world and finally Erik also agrees that she’s ready. So the first thing Hanna does is to head out and try to kill Marissa, before Marissa can kill her.

I was rather disappointed in the film when I saw it the first time – I just didn’t think it lived up to its potential. So I hadn’t planned on watching it again but then it was part of my curriculum at uni and I decided to give it another try. With my expectations dialed down, I was able to enjoy Hanna much more than the first time.

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Uncle Kent (2011)

Uncle Kent
Director: Joe Swanberg
Writer: Kent Osborne, Joe Swanberg
Cast: Kent Osborne, Jennifer PredigerJosephine Decker, Joe Swanberg
Seen on: 16.9.2015

Plot:
Kent (Kent Osborne) is working on an animated film. His life is rather withdrawn. He gets occasional visits from his nephew Joe (Joe Swanberg) and otherwise spends a lot of time online. Direct personal encounters usually end rather awkwardly. Through ChatRoulette he meets Kate (Jennifer Prediger). Since she has to spend the weekend in the city, Kent offers that she can stay at his place. Kate accepts. Although she has a boyfriend, it becomes clear pretty quickly that Kent would like their meeting to become romantic.

Uncle Kent is a weird film, somewhere between fiction and reality. I probably would have never seen it, if the /slash Filmfestival hadn’t announced that they’d be showing the sequel. But I am glad I did.

Uncle_Kent

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Re-Watch: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Director: Brad Bird
Writer: Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec
Based on: The TV show
Sequel to: Mission: Impossible, Mission: Impossible II, Mission: Impossible III
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Tom Wilkinson, Ving Rhames, Michael Nyqvist, Anil Kapoor, Léa Seydoux, Josh Holloway
Seen on: 4.8.2015
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is currently in a Russian prison. But after another agent (Josh Holloway) gets killed, his team, consisting of Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Jane Carter (Paula Patton), breaks Ethan out of there and together they try to infiltrate the Kremlin to find more information about “Cobalt”, who is connected to the agent’s death. But the mission fails spectacularly and suddenly, the three of them plus data analyst William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) have to clear the entire IMF’s name.

Much as I remembered it, Ghost Protocol was one hell of an entertaining film. It’s far from flawless, but at least it’s straight-forward fun.

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Livide [Livid] (2011)

Livide
Director: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
Writer: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
Cast: Chloé Coulloud, Félix Moati, Jérémy Kapone, Catherine JacobChloé MarcqMarie-Claude Pietragalla, Béatrice Dalle
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
[Review by Maynard Morrissey.]

Plot:
Lucie (Chloé Coulloud) just started as a trainee care giver and tours through various houses with Catherine Wilson (Catherine Jacob) where they visit and take care of old people. One of them is Madame Jessel (Marie-Claude Pietragalla) who has been in a coma for years. Madame Wilson tells Lucie about a supposed treasure at the house, which Lucie passes on to her boyfriend William (Félix Moati) and his brother Ben (Jérémy Kapone). William decides that they should go and look for that treasure. Despite initial hesitation, Lucie goes along with the plan. But what they find in the house is very different from what they expected.

I absolutely loved Livide. The aesthetics, the story, the atmosphere, the attention to detail – it was really great.

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Your Sister’s Sister (2011)

Your Sister’s Sister
Director: Lynn Shelton
Writer: Lynn Shelton
Cast: Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mike Birbiglia
Part of: Framing Reality

Plot:
Ever since his brother Tom’s death, Jack (Mark Duplass) has been off, continuously spiraling out of control. So his best friend and Tom’s ex-girlfriend Iris (Emily Blunt) orders him a time-out. Alone. In the family cabin. But when Jack arrives there, Iris’ sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) is also there, recuperating after a break-up with her girlfriend. To overcome the initial weirdness, the two of them get drunk together and promptly sleep with each other – only to be surprised by Iris the next morning. As all of them have something they’re hiding, they go through all the shades of awkwardness together.

I have seen three Lynn Shelton movies so far and I honestly loved all of them. I would be hard-pressed to say which one was my favorite. As with the other films, Your Sister’s Sister combines issues and emotional content with a light, sweet sense of humor. I could have watched it for hours more.

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Re-Watch: Serbuan maut [The Raid] (2011)

Serbuan maut
Director: Gareth Evans
Writer: Gareth Evans
Cast: Iko Uwais, Doni Alamsyah, Joe Taslim, Yayan Ruhian, Ray Sahetapy, Verdi Solaiman
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Rama (Iko Uwais) is a young police officer whose unit is going on a raid of an appartment building that is firmly under control of the gangster Tama (Ray Sahetapy) and filled with his armed to the teeth henchmen. At first things seem to go rather well and the first few floors are taken without much of a fuzz. But then the alarm gets raised and the shit hits the fan.

When they showed The Raid as the surprise film at the /slash a few years ago, I was unprepared. I hadn’t heard about the film before and I got an action masterpiece. But it’s easy to surpass expectations when there are none and everything is new. So I was worried that it might not hold up to a second screening. But I need not have worried. No matter how many times you see it, it is a fantastic film.

The-Raid

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