Plot: It’s midsummer night and Miss Julie (Jessica Chastain) is alone at home. That is, her father the Baron is gone and most of the servants are at the festivities, but Jean (Colin Farrell) and Kathleen (Samantha Morton) have stayed behind. Jean and Kathleen are an item and they are rather disturbed by Julie’s presence in their kitchen. Jean, with the power of propriety, tries at first to push Julie away, but when Julie, with the power of her social position, pushes back, both of them get caught in a sexually charged power struggle.
Miss Julie is an intense film with extraordinary performances that fails to subvert its heteronormative perspective in the slightest, thus becoming too hopeless for its own good.
Plot: Cayden (Lucas Till) is the star of his school and things should be going great for him. But then he starts turning into a werewolf, loses control and kills his parents, who he realizes adopted him. He flees town, looking for answers and finally finds another werewolf (John Pyper-Ferguson) who points him in the direction of Lupine Ridge, a town full of wolves. Cayden hopes to find a new home and some control over his condition there. As Cayden finds a place to stay with John (Stephen McHattie) and settles into town, he meets Angel (Merritt Patterson) who runs the bar in town and whom local tough guy Connor (Jason Momoa) has his eye on.
Wolves is uninspired at best, and offensive more often than not. I was willing to overlook a lot for seeing Jason Momoa as a werewolf, but in the end, it was too much.
Plot: Gaby (Lolita Chammah) just moved into a big country house to get some rest. She is anxious, afraid of everything and can’t sleep alone. That’s why her boyfriend Vincent (Félix Moati) is supposed to stay with her. But Vincent feels used by Gabby, more like her handler than her boyfriend and soon takes off. Gaby desperately looks for anybody to stay with her overnight and finally latches herself onto Nico (Benjamin Biolay) who lives like a hermit in the garden shack of a grand estate nearby. Nico just wants to be alone, but despite himself, Gaby gets to him.
I have to admit that I struggled with Gaby Baby Doll, especially with Gaby. While I’m usually here for the portrayal of difficult women, the way she constantly blazed past any boundary really didn’t work for me. Especially since the story proved her right in the end.
Plot: Six stories all about revenge. On a flight that seems to be just like any other, two passengers (Darío Grandinetti, María Marull) get to talking and realize something strange. In a remote restaurant, the waitress (Julieta Zylberberg) recognizes her family’s tormentor in her guest. Two men (Leonardo Sbaraglia, Walter Donado) become competitive as they drive past each other. An engineer (Ricardo Darín) feels exploited by his car being towed from an unmarked spot. Two parents (Oscar Martínez, María Onetto) will do anything to save their son from going to prison. Newlyweds (Erica Rivas, Diego Gentile) have to face a crisis when she finds out at the wedding that he cheated on her.
Relatos salvajes is supposed to be funny, but it just wasn’t my sense of humor for the most part. There were moments, but overall I felt that it was trying a little too hard for “gotchas” that only worked half of the time.
Plot: Sam (Sarah Jeavons) is babysitting her little sister Maddie when a woman (Kerry Ann Reid) knocks on their door, asking to use the phone. Sam is suspicious, but at this point, it is already too late. Sam wakes a short while later in the trunk of a car driven by Karl (Andreas Sobik). Fearing for herself and for her little sister, Sam starts to fight with everything she has.
Inner Demon does a lot with very little, but after a very strong beginning, it starts to run out of steam a little. Still, it’s not bad.
Plot: Akin (Joe Swanberg) comes to work on the farm of Jeremiah (Robert Longstreet) and his daughter Sarah (Sophie Traub). Jeremiah and Sarah are an odd pair. Jeremiah is always on the verge of insulting and ridiculing Akin, and Sarah seems to be only half in reality. Akin settles in awkwardly, especially since he is hiding that he is actually married. Sarah seems interested in Akin, and Akin starts to be drawn to her as well, but there is a touch of violence to everything.
Thou Wast Mild & Lovely is an unusual film that cultivates a sense of “everything being off” until things really escalate in a suprisingly bloody way in the end. It’s not the easiest thing you can watch, but it is worth thinking about.
Content Note: a couple of transmisic and fatmisic jokes, but not central to the story
Plot: Rocco (Xian Lim) can’t wait for the day he turns 25 and will finally get access to the trust fund his grandmother (Pilita Corrales) is taking care of for him. Rocco is living a life of leisure, parties and women and he intends to keep it that way with the money. But his Lala has other plans: she puts a stipulation into the contract that Rocco can only get to the money if he gets married. Rocco and his friends come up with the plan to hire an actress for the role of his wife and deceive his grandmother just long enough to get the money. Enter Rocky (Kim Chiu), a struggling actress from a poor family, hoping to make it big. Even though she feels slightly uncomfortable with the part, she can’t say no to the money. That she has a bit of a crush on Rocco is a bonus. But things quickly become more complicated.
Bride for Rent is a sweet RomCom with a couple of questionable jokes, but overall a fun watch with a nice emotional core.
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.
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.
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.