Hemel (2012)

Hemel
Director: Sacha Polak
Writer: Helena van der Meulen
Cast: Hannah Hoekstra, Hans Dagelet, Rifka Lodeizen, Mark Rietman, Eva Duijvestein, Barbara Sarafian
Seen on: 29.8.2021

Content Note: rape

Plot:
Hemel (Hannha Hoekstra) is young and beautiful and drifts from man to man, hook-up to hook-up. Never anything serious. The only man she has emotional space for in her life is her father Gijs (Hans Dagelet) who has never settled down himself – until now. Gijs seems to have finally found a partner in Sophie (Rifka Lodeizen) with whom he is willing to get serious – and that completely throws Hemel.

Hemel is yet another film about a beautiful, young and fucked up woman who struggles with relationships with men in her life. I have to admit that I expected a little more from it – a little more insight, a little more feminism – but it couldn’t deliver.

The film poster showing Hemel (Hannah Hoekstra) making out with a guy while wrapped in a string of lights.
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American Mary (2012)

American Mary
Director: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
Writer: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
Cast: Katharine Isabelle, Antonio Cupo, Tristan Risk, David Lovgren, Paula Lindberg, Clay St. Thomas, John Emmet Tracy, Twan Holliday, Nelson Wong, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska, Russ Foxx
Seen on: 4.7.2021

Content Note: rape, whoremisia

Plot:
Mary (Katharine Isabelle) is a promising medical student but she struggles to make her student loan payments. Hoping for some quick cash, she decides to apply for a job as a stripper in Billy’s (Antonio Cupo) club. Instead he asks her for an impromptu backroom surgery. At least the compensation is enough to keep Mary over water for a while. When Mary is contacted by Beatriss (Tristan Risk), one of Billy’s employees, for another kind of surgery, she isn’t willing to participate at first, but she can hardly afford to say no to the money Beatriss offers. Soon Mary is deeply involved in the body mod scene.

American Mary has been on my watchlist since about forever, and I finally got around to it, and I’m glad I did, even though I didn’t like everything about it.

The film poster showing Mary (Katharine Isabelle) surgery tools in hand, wearing a mask and an apron over a business outfit.

[SPOILERS]

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L’enfant d’en haut [Sister] (2012)

L’enfant d’en haut
Director: Ursula Meier
Writer: Antoine Jaccoud, Ursula Meier, Gilles Taurand
Cast: Léa Seydoux, Kacey Mottet Klein, Martin Compston, Gillian Anderson
Seen on: 8.5.2019

Plot:
12-year-old Simon (Kacey Mottet Klein) lives in a Swiss ski resort with his older sister Louise (Léa Seydoux). She only works rarely and Simon has found a way of making a living by stealing from the wealthy skiers and reselling the things to the poor locals like him. When Simon is caught by seasonal worker Mike (Martin Compston), they start to work together. But it’s still a risky endeavor.

Sister is a harsh and really good film that, on the one hand, contrasts rich and poor and, on the other hand, considers families and belonging, bringing both together in a beautiful, yet sad way.

The film poster showing Simon (Kacey Mottet Klein) with several pairs of ski goggles strapped to his arm and Louise (Léa Seydoux) with their backs to each other.
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The Lucky One (2012)

The Lucky One
Director: Scott Hicks
Writer: Will Fetters
Based on: Nicholas Sparksnovel
Cast: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Riley Thomas Stewart, Jay R. Ferguson, Adam LeFevre, Robert Hayes
Seen on: 22.2.2020

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.

The film poster showing Logan (Zac Efron) and Beth (Taylor Schilling) almost kissing.
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LOL (2012)

LOL
Director: Lisa Azuelos
Writer: Lisa Azuelos, Kamir Aïnouz
Remake of: LOL (Laughing Out Loud) (2008)
Cast: Miley Cyrus, Demi Moore, Douglas Booth, Lina Esco, Ashley Hinshaw, Gina Gershon, Ashley Greene, Adam Sevani, Jay Hernandez, Thomas Jane
Seen on: 13.10.2019

Plot:
Lola (Miley Cyrus) lives with her single mom Anne (Demi Moore). The two have been close, but since Lola has grown up more, they have grown further apart. Lola is busy with her friends in any case. After learning that her boyfriend cheated on her, she realizes that she may actually have feelings for her best friend Kyle (Douglas Booth) – and vice versa. But things are complicated when you’re young and in love. Or when you’re older and in love, as Anne has to figure out her love life as well. But most of all, Lola and Anne need to figure out how to be mother and daughter again.

LOL is a nice film. Not amazingly good, but good enough to watch in any case, especially if you like mother-daughter stories.

The film poster showing Anne (Demi Moore) hugging Lola (Miley Cyrus), with several party stills of Lola's around them.
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Slutterball (2012)

Slutterball [click to watch]
Director: Jérôme Vandewattyne
Writer: Jérôme Vandewattyne
Cast: Ignacio Bort, Jasmine Arabia, Lavandra May, Christian Maes, Remy S. Legrand
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.9.2017

Plot:
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?

Jabberwocky (2012)

Jabberwocky
Director: Ted Eschweiler
Writer: Ted Eschweiler
Based on: Lewis Carroll‘s poem
Cast: Todd BruseErin Mae JohnsonDerek Prestly
Seen on: 6.8.2017

Plot:
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.

The Iceman (2012)

The Iceman
Director: Ariel Vromen
Writer: Morgan Land, Ariel Vromen
Based on: Anthony Bruno’s book of the same name about Richard Kuklinski
Cast: Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, David Schwimmer, Danny A. Abeckaser, John Ventimiglia, Ryan O’Nan, McKaley Miller, Megan Sherrill, James Franco, Stephen Dorff
Seen on: 30.4.2017

Plot:
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.

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Wanderlust (2012)

Wanderlust
Director: David Wain
Writer: David Wain, Ken Marino
Cast: Paul RuddJennifer AnistonJustin TherouxAlan AldaMalin Akerman, Ken Marino, Joe Lo TruglioKathryn HahnJordan PeeleKeegan-Michael KeyRay Liotta
Seen on: 9.4.2017

Plot:
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.

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Vamps (2012)

Vamps
Director: Amy Heckerling
Writer: Amy Heckerling
Cast: Alicia Silverstone, Krysten RitterSigourney WeaverDan StevensRichard Lewis, Larry Wilmore, Zak Orth, Wallace Shawn, Kristen JohnstonMalcolm McDowell, Gael García Bernal
Seen on: 1.1.2017

Plot:
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.

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