Plot: Logan (Zac Efron) was a Marine in Iraq. One day he found a picture of a woman in the sand there, keeping him away from a blast site and saving his life. And he was lucky enough to return home, proof enough for him that that photo is a talisman that kept him safe. Once he returns to the USA, he becomes restless and starts walking – always looking for the woman on the photo. As luck would have it, he actually finds her, Beth (Taylor Schilling). Before he can tell her the real reason he came to her, Logan finds himself working in Beth’s family business – a dog grooming/training/lodging place.
I was in the mood for a sappy romantic film and I thought I could barely go wrong with a Sparks adaptation to scratch that itch. But The Lucky One is rather lukewarm, I have to admit – it feels a little too much like a color by number thing.
In a post-apocalyptic Belgium, Slutterball is the biggest from of entertainment: a prisoner is hunted through a zombie-infested park by two female roller-derby teams.
Slutterball is a short film and that’s a good thing. I did like the neon-color scheme and the visuals in general, but it was exhausting and the plot was missing. Most of all, it was sexist and transmisic and that just doesn’t work for me. But what else can you expect from a film that uses a fatmisic, sexist slur as its title?
Alice (Erin Mae Johnson) and the Hatter (Todd Bruse) have nowhere to go, and the Jabberwocky (Derek Prestly) is coming. That means one thing: they have to prepare for an epic fight.
Jabberwocky is a short film that transplants Alice from Wonderland into a post-apocalyptic setting. While I’m not the biggest fan of grimdark interpretations (anymore), it doesn’t overstretch the premise and the poem. And since the poem is made up of many nonsense words, there is enough space there to interpret them differently. In any case, it was well done and looked really good, especially for a small production.
Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon) works behind the scenes in the porn industry, a job that brings him in contact with Roy Demeo (Ray Liotta) who sees potential in Richard and promptly hires him as a contract killer. Richard takes to this new job with a sense of professionalism that includes keeping it very far away from his wife Deborah (Winona Ryder) and kids. But mob politics aren’t easy to navigate and Richard can’t make everybody happy at all times.
I didn’t expect much from this film, but despite a lengthy second half and some seriously atrocious 70s hair, it drew me in, mostly thanks to a magnetic Michael Shannon.
Linda (Jennifer Aniston) and George (Paul Rudd) are a young, urban couple set for success. Linda expects her documentary to be financed, George expects to be promoted. But life doesn’t play along and both find themselves without a job but with an expensive apartment they can’t afford anymore. Desperate, George agrees to work for his brother Rick (Ken Marino), even though that means moving across the country. But on the way, Linda and George coincidentally spend a night in a commune led by the charismatic Seth (Justin Theroux). Initially taken aback by the alterantive way of life, Linda and George quickly start to take to the lifestyle and decide to give it a try for real.
Wanderlust is pretty much how you’d expect it to be: not particularly smart or insightful or novel, but it’s often quite funny in a rather stupid way.
Goody (Alicia Silverstone) and Stacy (Krysten Ritter) are best friends, flatmates, vampires and single women in New York. They try to navigate all of this best as they can. They drink only animal blood that they get from their exterminator job and go to Sanguines Anonymous meetings. They have practically no secrets from each other (except Goody can’t really bring herself to tell the recently turned Stacy how old she truly is). They share their dislike of their maker Ciccerus (Sigourney Weaver). But when Goody meets her old flame Danny (Richard Lewis) again and Stacy falls in love with her classmate Joey (Dan Stevens), things will have to be re-evaluated.
Vamps may not be quite up to Clueless standards (Heckerling’s previous film starring Silverstone), but it’s an amusing film that entertains.
Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) and her mother Clara (Gemma Arterton) had to leave their old town in a hurry and have ended up in a small coastal town where they try for a new start. Being centuries old vampires, this is not the first time they had to do this. Eleanor is struggling with what she is, while Clara is pragmatic enough to always fall on her feet. She quickly finds Noel (Daniel Mays), who owns a run-down hotel, and with him shelter and work. Meanwhile Clare meets Frank (Caleb Landry Jones), a student with leukemia, and feels immediately drawn to him. But they aren’t save yet.
Byzantium has a great set-up and a great cast and it could have been utterly brilliant, but it did neither justice. To call it disappointing almost isn’t strong enough.
The two planets Up Top and Down Below are so close to each other, in some places they are within touching distance. There is even a big building, the TransWorld HQ, that connects both. This is made possible by dual gravity: both planets come with their own gravitational system that pull the things, living and otherwise, that belong to each in opposite directions. Adam (Jim Sturgess) grew up in the mountains of Down Below where he met Eden (Kirsten Dunst) from Up Top. They fell in love, but their forbidden contact was discovered and Adam had to leave Eden behind, believing her dead. 10 years later, he discovers that she is actually alive and works at TransWorld. Adam knows he has to find her again.
Upside Down was a poorly constructed film full of tropes. It just didn’t work for me at all, instead it remained nonsense. It doesn’t even begin to hold a candle to Patema Inverted that works with the same idea.
Isabel (Julia Volpato), Arturo (Pablo Sigal), Sofia (Macarena del Corro), Niki (Diego Vegezzi) and felix (Tomas Mackinlay) are lost in the woods. They’re wandering around, trying to find their way, not too worried about it. They pass the time as they walk with discussions and games, and sometimes they fight. They have a tape with a record of their own interactions that seems to hint at something, but they don’t know what it is. As their meandering way through the landscape becomes increasingyl circular though, they may have to figure that out.
Leones has an intriguing concept and nice camera work but nowhere near enough material to fill a feature film (even if it is only 80 minutes long). It could have worked, but really doesn’t.
Rahima (Marija Pikic) lost her parents in the Bosnian war and now has to raise her brother Nedim (Ismir Gagula) despite being only a few years older than him. Conscientous, Rahima tries her best to do everything right. She works hard in a restaurant where she barely makes enough money and still makes sure that Nedim always has food on the table and can continue to go to school. They used to be very close, but Nedim is alienated by Rahima’s decision to convert to Islam, and with him being a teenager now, he starts to slip away – and Rahima is afraid that it isn’t a good place he’s moving towards.
Djeca sounds interesting on paper, but during the film I found my mind wandering more often than not. I just never really got into that film so much.