Blue Ruin (2013)

Blue Ruin
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Writer: Jeremy Saulnier
Cast: Macon BlairDevin RatrayAmy HargreavesKevin KolackEve PlumbDavid W. ThompsonBrent WerznerStacy RockSidné Anderson
Seen on: 8.1.2017

Plot:
Dwayne (Macon Blair) has hit rock bottom. He doesn’t have a job, he lives out of his car, he doesn’t have any friends. It is only when he is told that the man who killed his parents is being released from prison that he starts moving again: he goes to find him and take his revenge. After he does, he goes to find his sister Sam (Amy Hargreaves). But revenge provokes revenge – and this spiral has only just begun.

Blue Ruin was entertaining enough but didn’t blow me away. Emotionally, I just never connected all that much to Dwayne and his ploy for revenge.

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Re-Watch: HK: Hentai Kamen [HK: Forbidden Super Hero] (2013)

HK: Hentai Kamen
Director: Yûichi Fukuda
Writer: Yûichi Fukuda, Shun Oguri
Based on: Keishū Ando’s manga Kyūkyoku!! Hentai Kamen
Cast: Ryôhei Suzuki, Fumika Shimizu, Ken Yasuda
Part of: /slash Filmfestival (special screening)
Seen on: 9.9.2016
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Kyōsuke Shikijō (Ryôhei Suzuki) is a high school student with a strong sense of justice, but unfortunately nothing to back that up with. So when he stands up against bullies, he regularly gets beat up. When Aiko Himeno (Fumika Shimizu) comes to his school, he immediately falls in love. Then Aiko is taken hostage during a bank robbery and Kyōsuke wants to save her. To not be recognized, he wants to pull on a mask, but pulls on a panty by mistake. But through that mistake his superpowers are released and Kyōsuke becomes Hentai Kamen – Pervert Mask.

When I first saw Hentai Kamen, I already loved it and I’m happy to say that it definitely holds up to re-watching it. It again had me laughing more often than not.

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Fear is an Option – Short Film Program

Fear is an Option [a play on the VIS motto of Fear is not an Option] was a collection of horror short films curated (among others) by the /slash Filmfestival as part of the VIS Vienna Independent Shorts film festival. They showed the following short films:
The Simpsons Couch Gag [You’re Next] (2015)
Directed and written by: Lee Hardcastle
[Can be watched here.]
The Chickening (2015)
Directed and written by: Nick DenBoer, Davy Force
Based on: The Shining
[Can be watched here.]
Invaders (2014)
Directed and written by: Jason Kupfer
Cast: Ricky Wayne, Jordan Woods-Robinson
[Can be watched here.]
Jack Attack (2013)
Directed and written by: Bryan Norton, Antonio Padovan
Cast: Helen Rogers, Tyler Rossell, Steve Anderson Jr.
Monster (2005)
Directed and written by: Jennifer Kent
Cast: Susan Prior, Luke Ikimis-Healey, Trash Vaudeville
[Can be watched here.]
One Last Dive (2013)
Directed and written by: Jason Eisener
Cast: Catherine Maltais, Peter Allen
[Can be watched here.]
Polaroid (2015)
Directed and written by: Lars Klevberg
Cast: Annika Witt, Thea Sofie Loch Næss, Anne Cloetta
Baskin (2013)
Directed and written by: Can Evrenol, Co-Directed by: Ogulcan Eren Akay
Cast: Muharrem Bayrak, Fadik Bülbül, Gorkem Kasal, Aydin Orak, Remzi Pamukcu
Lights Out (2013)
Directed and written by: David F. Sandberg
Cast: Lotta Losten
[Can be watched here.]
Seen on: 29.5.2016

They put together a strong collection of short films here, some of which were connected to the /slash Filmfestival – where they did show You’re Next, the basis for the Simpsons Couch Gag; both Baskin and Monster were turned into feature films that were also part of the festival program – Baskin and The Babadook respectively; and Jason Eisener had segments in V/H/S 2 and The ABCs of Death, where Lee Hardcastle also made an appearance. The short films ranged from very funny and silly to outright terrifying and most of them were really effective, even if not all worked for me.

fearisanoption

[After the jump I’ll talk about each of the films individually.]

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Fack ju Göhte [Suck Me Shakespeer] (2013)

Fack ju Göhte [yes, a deliberate misspelling of fuck you, Goethe]
Director: Bora Dagtekin
Writer: Bora Dagtekin
Cast: Elyas M’Barek, Karoline Herfurth, Katja Riemann, Jana Pallaske, Alwara Höfels, Jella Haase, Max von der Groeben, Anna Lena Klenke, Gizem Emre, Aram Arami, Runa Greiner, Valentina Pahde, Uschi Glas
Seen on: 20.11.2015

Plot:
Zeki (Elyas M’Barek) was just released from prison and has only one thing in his mind: collecting his loot. His friend Charlie (Jana Pallaske) has hidden it in the ground, but when they get there, it turns out that a school has expanded and the treasure is now somewhere under the building. Zeki wants to apply as a janitor there, but is inadvertently hired as a teacher. To pass as long as it takes to get to his money, he uses the diligent teacher Lisi (Karoline Herfurth). But when he gets to teach the most difficult class in school, things start to change.

Fack Ju Göhte is not exactly a smart comedy, but it is fun to watch as long as you don’t think too much about any of it and ignore the sexism and classism.

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The Last Halloween (2013)

The Last Halloween
Director: Marc Roussel
Writer: Marc Roussel, Mark Thibodeau,
Cast: Ron Basch, Emily Alatalo, Drew Davis, Zoe Fraser, Brendan Heard, Jake Goodman
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2015
[Review by Maynard.]
[You can watch it here.]

Plot:
4 children (Drew Davis, Zoe Fraser, Brendan Heard, Jake Goodman) make their way trick-or-treating through a desolate city. Despite the destruction, most people manage to find something they can give. But not all.

The Last Halloween has cool costumes, a great idea and knows when to quit. I doubt that it would have workes as a feature film, but as a short film it was perfectly creepy and atmospheric. I liked it.

lasthalloween

Dédalo (2013)

Dédalo
Director: Jerónimo Rocha
Writer: Jerónimo Rocha
Cast: Sofia Helena, Frederico Amaral
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 21.9.2015

Plot:
A spaceship with a lone surviving astronaut (Sofia Helena), desperately trying to survive against weird creatures who have entered the ship.

Dédalo is a moody short film that noticeably didn’t have a lot of budget (especially for the CGI), but tries to make the most of it anyway, above all with a great creature design.There’s no real story to it (at least if you don’t consider the title’s mythical meaning, and even then it’s questionable), but for a few minutes of atmosphere it was more than enough.

dedalo

Desire for Beauty (2013)

Desire for Beauty
Director: Miguel Gaudêncio
Writer: Miguel Gaudêncio, Rafal Samusik
Seen on: 2.9.2015
[Screener Review.]

“Plot”:
The movie follows four people who are about to undergo plastic surgery. In interviews led by Agata Kulesza, they talk about their fears, reasons for the surgery and what changed for them afterwards. Additionally experts from various fields weigh in on what makes so many people opt for plastic surgery and what makes beauty beautiful.

Apart from the interesting topic, Desire for Beauty mixes fictional elements with personal stories and expert opinions, creating a varied structure that I liked a lot, even though it sometimes meant that it did get a little side-tracked.

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The Railway Man (2013)

The Railway Man
Director: Jonathan Teplitzky
Writer: Frank Cottrell Boyce, Andy Paterson
Based on: Eric Lomaxautobiography
Cast: Colin Firth, Jeremy Irvine, Stellan Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Tanroh Ishida, Sam Reid, Hiroyuki Sanada
Seen on: 6.7.2015

Plot:
Eric (Colin Firth) meets Patti (Nicole Kidman) by chance on a train and the two of them immediately hit it off. a short while later they get married and Pattie discovers that Eric is still stuck in his war experiences: as a young man (Jeremy Irvine), he was a prisoner in a Japanese labor camp for a good while and is now suffering from PTSD. When his best friend Finlay (Stellan Skarsgard) brings him a news report that shows his tormentor from back then, Takeshi (Hiroyuki Sanada), now working at a memorial of the labor camp and Eric decides to go back and make him suffer.

Railway Man is way too long and has so many issues I couldn’t like it one bit, despite the great cast.

The-Railway-Man[SPOILERS]

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Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)

Insidious: Chapter 2
Director: James Wan
Writer: Leigh Whannell
Sequel to: Insidious
Cast: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Ty Simpkins, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Lin Shaye, Steve Coulter
Seen on: 30.6.2015

Plot:
After what happened in their home, the Lambert family decide to stay a while with Josh’s (Patrick Wilson) mother Lorraine (Barbara Hershey). But that home brings up memories from the first time Josh was confronted with the Black Bride and Lorraine had to ask Elise (Lin Shaye) and Carl (Stve Coulter) for help. Maybe that’s the reason why Josh is behaving so weirdly. Or maybe there is more to it.

Insidious: Chapter 2 might not be quite as good as the first film, but the difference between the two is so small, it almost disappears entirely.

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La dune [The Dune] (2013)

La dune
Director: Yossi Aviram
Writer: Yossi Aviram
Cast: Niels Arestrup, Lior Ashkenazi, Guy Marchand, Emma de Caunes, Moni Moshonov, Mathieu Amalric
Part of: identities Festival
Seen on: 20.6.2015

Plot:
After breaking up with his girlfriend because he can’t see himself having children and thus tells her to get an abortion, Hanoch (Lior Ashkenazi) goes on a trip from Israel to France where he starts to basically stalk police officer Reuven (Niels Arestrup). Reuven works in Missing Persons and is ready for retirement after the catastrophic end to a case he worked. But then Hanoch is found, without any ID and refusing to talk, wandering in the dunes near a beach and Reuven is tasked with figuring out who he is.

Unfortunately, La dune proved to be the bland ending to this year’s identities Festival. It didn’t start off badly, but it never manages to build up any tension or make me care for any of the characters.

la-dune[SPOILERS]

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