Ani Mulalu? The Crazy World (2014)

Ani Mulalu? The Crazy World
Director: Nabwana I.G.G.
Writer: Alan Hofmanis, Nabwana I.G.G.
Cast: Isaac Newton Kizito, Kirabo Beatrice, Nattembo Racheal Monica, Kayibaare Fausitah, Lubega Jojo, Kyazze Phillo, Alex, Mukiibi Alex, Kabuye John, Nakabiiri Tisha, Kasigwa Diana, Wephukulu Anthony, Nabaggala Phionah, Bisaso Dauda, Kagolo Francis, Farouk
Part of: We Are One Film Festival
Seen on: 29.5.2020

Plot:
Tiger Mafia have been kidnapping children at the behest of Mr. Big (Mukiibi Alex). When they kidnap the daughter Diana (Kirabo Beatrice) of the greatest commando (Bisaso Dauda) just as he returns home, it seems at first that they have bitten off more than they can chew. But in the end, Tiger Mafia succeeds and the commando turns crazy. But when another father (Wephukulu Anthony) stumbles upon him as he tries to chase after his son Kido (Isaac Newton Kizito) who has been kidnapped as well, the two fathers team up to save their children. Not that they need much saving, given that their kids are proficient martial artists themselves.

I haven’t seen many Wakaliwood movies so far (Who Killed Captain Alex? and Bad Black), but those I have seen have been utterly delightful in the anarchist way they pay hommage to action movies. Ani Mulalu? The Crazy World is another case in point. As long as you don’t expect the films to adhere to Western storytelling standards, you’ll have the time of your life.

The film poster showing a drawing of planet earth in a trench coat holding a gun to its head; and a bunch of kids in karate poses.
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The Other Woman (2014)

The Other Woman
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Writer: Melissa Stack
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Don Johnson, Kate Upton, Taylor Kinney, Nicki Minaj
Seen on: 16.5.2020

Content Note: sexism, possible transmisogyny, racism

Plot:
Carly (Cameron Diaz) is usually all business and has no time for love. But Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) somehow made it into her life anyway – and she’s ready for him to meet her father Frank (Don Johnson). But when he cancels the meeting on short notice because of plumbing problems at his house, Carly decides to surprise him there – only to find Kate (Leslie Mann), Mark’s wife. When Kate realizes what’s happening, she finds that she only has Carly to talk to and to understand what it’s like to get cheated on by Mark. They start plotting their revenge together, especially when they find out that Mark has been seeing Amber (Kate Upton), too.

The Other Woman is a nice take where the cheating dude gets his due and the women don’t get the blame for once. But they could have made more of that premise, I thought, both with regard to the basically-feminist message and the comedy.

The film poster showing Carly (Cameron Diaz) standing stiffly as Kate (Leslie Mann) and Amber (Kate Upton) cling to her.
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Glassland (2014)

Glassland
Director: Gerard Barrett
Writer: Gerard Barrett
Cast: Jack Reynor, Toni Collette, Will Poulter, Michael Smiley, Harry Nagle
Seen on: 2.4.2020

Plot:
John (Jack Reynor) is a taxi driver. He lives with his mother Jean (Toni Collette). Jean is an alcoholic and John doesn’t really know how to take care of her anymore. After he has to bring her to the hospital and the doctors inform him of how bad her state really is, he know that he will have to get her sober. But programs that could help require money, money he doesn’t really have.

Glassland is a small film in the best way: it doesn’t need much to tell its story and it tells it well. Unfortunately, the film steps out of its own perimeter and tries to go big in the end – and that just doesn’t really work. Still, up until that part, it’s very much worth seeing.

The film poster showing Jean (Toni Collette) leaning against John (Jack Reynor), Shane (Will Poulter) standing behind them.
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Veronica Mars (2014)

Veronica Mars
Director: Rob Thomas
Writer: Rob Thomas, Diane Ruggiero-Wright
Sequel to: the Veronica Mars TV show
Cast: Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Enrico Colantoni, Chris Lowell, Percy Daggs III, Tina Majorino, Krysten Ritter, Martin Starr, Gaby Hoffmann, Andrea Estella, Jerry O’Connell, Francis Capra, Ryan Hansen
Seen on: 18.10.2018
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Plot:
Veronica (Kristen Bell) made it out of Neptune, California. She is now a lawyer in New York and in a relationship with Piz (Chris Lowell). But when her high school friend slash big love Logan (Jason Dohring) calls and asks for her help, Veronica returns. Logan’s girlfriend Bonnie (Andrea Estella) and Logan is being accused of the crime. Not wanting to get into deep, Veronica just agrees to help Logan find a good lawyer, but keeping the distance is easier said than done.

Veronica Mars (the movie) does offer some closure that was lacking in Veronica Mars (the TV show), but other than that, it doesn’t really have much to offer. For fans of the series, it will be a must see, for everybody else it’s definitely not.

The film poster showing Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) holding a huge camera.
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Chrieg [War] (2014)

Chrieg
Director: Simon Jaquemet
Writer: Simon Jaquemet
Cast: Benjamin Lutzke, Ella Rumpf, Sascha Gisler, Ste
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 3.3.2018
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Plot:
Matteo (Benjamin Lutzke) is not a bad kid, but he’s been getting into trouble and the relationship with his parents is not good. After another incident, Matteo finds himself practically kidnapped and carried off to a remote farm in the mountains where he is supposed to figure things and himself out by working hard and being removed from the troubles of the big city. But things don’t really turn out as expected.

Chrieg tells an extreme story in a realistic way. It’s engaging and very well made and especially for somebody like me who works with kids.

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Laggies (2014)

Laggies
Director: Lynn Shelton
Writer: Andrea Seigel
Cast: Keira KnightleyChloë Grace Moretz, Sam Rockwell, Mark Webber, Ellie Kemper
Seen on: 28.12.2017
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Plot:
Megan (Keira Knightley) and her boyfriend Andrew (Mark Webber) have been together since high school. In fact, nothing much has changed for Megan since high school even though she’s approaching 30. Then Andrew proposes and Megan is shocked by something so adult encroaching in her life. Chance lets her meet teenaged Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz) who is intrigued by the older woman who behaves so little like an adult. Megan, too, is drawn by Annika’s teenager life and it doesn’t take long for her to move in with her and Annika’s dad Craig (Sam Rockwell) while she mulls over Andrew’s proposal.

Laggies may not be my favorite of Shelton’s film but it is sensitive, fun and sweet – just the right fare for a cozy Sunday.

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Free the Nipple (2014)

Free the Nipple
Director: Lina Esco
Writer: Hunter Richards
Cast: Lina Esco, Lola Kirke, Casey LaBow, Monique Coleman, Griffin Newman, Zach Grenier, Janeane Garofalo
Seen on: 15.12.2017
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Plot:
A group of women in New York are starting a campaign to make it possible to walk around shirtless for women as much as men. Young journalist With (Lina Esco) hears about them and gets in touch. At first, she just wants to write a story, but intrigued by the charismatic Liv (Lola Kirke), the leader of the group, she becomes more engaged with the cause itself.

Free the Nipple builds on an actual campaign that Lina Esco started in New York, but the film gives it the fiction treatment in an attempt to condense it. Unfortunately that condensation just makes it very clear that the film is built on cis feminism which severely weakens the activism that is at its core.

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Top Girl oder La déformation professionnelle [Top Girl or La déformation professionnelle] (2014)

Top Girl oder La déformation professionnelle
Director: Tatjana Turanskyj
Writer: Tatjana Turanskyj
Cast: Julia Hummer, Rolf Peter Kahl, Susanne Bredehöft, Karim Cherif, Samia Dauenhauer, Sarah Grether, Stefan Mehren, Mario Pokatzky, Janina Rudenska, Anna Schmidt, Susanne Strach
Seen on: 18.11.2017
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Plot:
Helena (Julia Hummer) is an actress and a sex worker. She has a daughter, a strained relationship with her mother (Susanne Bredehöft) and is always looking for new possibilities. When she is approached to organize a special event with some of her colleagues, Helena takes the chance. But the event is not your usual escort gig.

Top Girl is a complex approach to sex work that I don’t necessarily agree with, but it gives the topic more thought than a lot of other films and it knows how to work emotions.

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Dohee-ya [A Girl at My Door] (2014)

Dohee-ya
Director: July Jung
Writer: July Jung
Cast: Doona BaeSae-ron KimSae-byeok SongHie-jin JangMin-jae KimSeong-kun Mun
Part of: identities Festival
Seen on: 12.6.2017
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Plot:
Young-Nam (Doona Bae) is a police officer who was just transferred to a small seaside town. It was a punitive measure, but what her misconduct actually entailed is unclear to her new colleagues. And since Young-Nam is stand-offish, they’re not bound to find out anytime soon. One night Young-Nam finds Do-Hee (Sae-ron Kim) at her door, a young girl from the village who seems taken with Young-Nam. Do-Hee’s family is difficult and Young-Nam gives her more and more space in her own life.

Dohee-ya may have bitten off a little more than it can chew, making the film feel a little crammed and too long. That being said, it still has many strengths and is definitely worth seeing.

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She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (2014)

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry
Director: Mary Dore
Part of: identities Festival
Seen on: 9.6.2017
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“Plot”:
Tracing the feminist movement in the USA in the late 60s, the documentary looks at the history of the modern feminist movement through interviews with some of the major players from that time.

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry has interesting insights into the history of the feminist movement and tries very hard to not just include white feminism, but reproduces the lack of trans feminism in Second Wave Feminism and only touches on lesbian activism, which I found a pity. Nevertheless, it was a good watch.

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