Terror – Ihr Urteil [The Verdict] (2016)

Terror – Ihr Urteil
Director: Lars Kraume
Writer: Oliver Berben, Lars Kraume
Based on: Ferdinand von Schirach‘s play
Cast: Burghart Klaußner, Martina Gedeck, Florian David Fitz, Lars Eidinger, Jördis Triebel, Rainer Bock
Seen on: 22.11.2017
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Plot:
Soldier Lars Koch (Florian David Fitz) is on trial. He shot down a civilian plane that was abducted by terrorists who threatened to fly it into the next city which would have raised the death toll considerably. So Koch didn’t wait for orders, he decided on his own to shoot down the plane. Now the judge (Burghart Klaußner) and his jury have to decide whether Koch’s actions were justified. As Koch’s defendant (Lars Eidinger) and the district attorney (Martina Gedeck) make their cases, big philosophical questions arise.

Terror – Ihr Urteil was made for an audience that gets to play the part of the jury. So the people watching the film get to vote in the end whether Koch should be found guilty or innocent. Two endings were shot for the film and depending on the voting results, one of them is screened. I saw the film as part of a scientific conference that couched the film in a lot of interesting discussions (and was able to screen both endings). That conference also made it even clearer that Terror – Ihr Urteil is expertly made bullshit.

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Maudie (2016)

Maudie
Director: Aisling Walsh
Writer: Sherry White
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett, Gabrielle Rose, Zachary Bennett, Billy MacLellan
Seen on: 18.11.2017
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Plot:
Maud (Sally Hawkins) needs to get out from under her family’s wing. She sees her opportunity when she learns that grumpy Everett (Ethan Hawke) is looking for a housekeeper. Even though he is hesitant to take her on because of her disability, he doesn’t exactly have much choice and Maud is persistent, so they give it a try. In her off time, Maud starts to paint and polishes her personal style, while also finding a home in the community and with Everett.

Althoughe Maudie is a sweet film, I’m not entirely happy with it. Some things I knew going in would bother me, other things crept up on me during the film. Nevertheless I found it entertaining.

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Anchiporuno [Antiporno] (2016)

Anchiporuno
Director: Sion Sono
Writer: Sion Sono
Cast: Ami TomiteMariko TsutsuiAsamiFujikoAmi FukudaHonoka IshibashiYûya Takayama
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 1.10.2017
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Plot:
Kyoko (Ami Tomite) is a young artist who takes great pleasure in humiliating her assistant Noriko (Mariko Tsutsui). But as their sexually charged relationship unfolds, things keep shifting.

I saw the trailer of the film and I was very doubtful that I would like it. But I didn’t think I’d actively hate it. It took me about five minutes to arrive at that point though, and even though I tried to give it more of a chance, I didn’t succeed.

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Dolphinman Battles the Sex Lobsters (2016)

Dolphinman Battles the Sex Lobsters
Director: John P. Brennan
Writer: John P. Brennan
Cast: Gibson Merrick, Zac Amico, John P. Brennan, Elizabeth D’AmbrosioAmanda FlowersLloyd KaufmanDoug Sakmann
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 1.10.2017

Plot:
A new STD is spreading around town – Sex Lobsters. And there’s only one person who is able to stop them all: Dolphinman (Gibson Merrick).

Troma doesn’t make my kind of films, and Dolphinman Battles the Sex Lobsters was no exception. Although it really did make me laugh once, when the diagnosis came that it wasn’t, in fact, crabs, but lobsters. Other than that though, I didn’t care for the film one way or another.

Killing Ground (2016)

Killing Ground
Director: Damien Power
Writer: Damien Power
Cast: Aaron PedersenHarriet DyerStephen HunterMitzi RuhlmannMaya StangeTiarnie CouplandIan MeadowsAaron GlenaneJulian GarnerAirlie Dodds
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 1.10.2017
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Plot:
Ian (Ian Meadows) and Sam (Harriet Dyer) decide to spend New Year’s Eve camping in the outback. As they set up their tent they discover an empty tent not far from them. Not thinking much of it at first, they become a little concerned when nobody comes back to the tent. When they find a lone toddler in the woods, their concern turns into panic. But before they can get help, they run into two men (Aaron Pedersen, Aaron Glenane) who probably aren’t up to much good.

Killing Ground operates a little too much along the usual plot lines, but it does so rather effectively, making it a solid film.

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Colossal (2016)

Colossal
Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Writer: Nacho Vigalondo
Cast: Anne HathawayJason SudeikisAustin StowellTim Blake NelsonDan Stevens
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.9.2017
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Plot:
Gloria’s (Anne Hathaway) life is a mess. Gloria is a mess. When her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens) tells her things have to change or she has to move out, she decides to move back to her hometown to live in her parents’ empty house, instead of going to rehab which would have probably been the better choice. Once there she starts working for her childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) and keeps partying hard. When reports surface about a giant monster that terrorizes Seoul, Gloria starts to realize that the monster is connected to her somehow.

Colossal has a fun concept that works over long stretches as a metaphor but not always. I enjoyed it, despite a few misgivings.

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Boys in the Trees (2016)

Boys in the Trees
Director: Nicholas Verso
Writer: Nicholas Verso
Cast: Toby WallaceGulliver McGrathMitzi RuhlmannJustin Holborow
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 29.9.2017
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Plot:
Corey (Toby Wallace) spends most of his time with Jango (Justin Holborow) and their group of friends, knowing that things will soon change as they’re about to finish school. But first: Halloween. As they prowl through the neighborhood, they run into Jonah (Gulliver McGrath). Jonah and Corey used to be best friends, but by now, Jonah has turned into Jango’s favorite bullying target. But as the limits of reality shift around Jonah and Corey, they work through their past and present.

Boys in the Trees is a beautiful, atmospheric coming-of-age film that doesn’t focus on the result, but celebrates the transition itself. I really liked it.

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Fashionista (2016)

Fashionista
Director: Simon Rumley
Writer: Simon Rumley
Cast: Amanda FullerEthan EmbryEric BalfourAlex EssoeAlexandria DeBerryDevin BonnéeJemma Evans
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 28.9.2017
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Plot:
April (Amanda Fuller) and Eric (Ethan Embry) run a second hand clothing store together and are also a couple. Things have become tense between the two of them and April suspects that Eric has an affair. That’s when Randall (Eric Balfour) shows up. He’s rich, he is as interested in fashion as April is, and he feels dangerous – but to April, he is an irresistible draw as things with Eric go from bad to worse.

Fashionista was one of the strongest films of the /slash Filmfestival. A tense film with a great cast that had me on the edge of my seat with goosebumps all over pretty much the entire time.

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Fantastic Shorts Competition at the /slash Filmfestival 2017

A short note on all the short films at the /slash Filmfestival 2017 that were part of the Fantastic Shorts Competition. The winner was Rémy Rondeau for his short J’aime Eva Marsh.
Seen on: 22.9.2017, 25.9.2017, 26.9.2017

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Hounds of Love (2016)

Hounds of Love
Director: Ben Young
Writer: Ben Young
Cast: Emma BoothAshleigh CummingsStephen CurrySusie PorterDamian de MontemasHarrison GilbertsonFletcher HumphrysSteve Turner
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 26.9.2017
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Plot:
1987. Vicki (Ashleigh Cummings) sneaks out to go to a party. As she walks along the street, a car stops and Evelyn (Emma Booth) and John (Stephen Curry) offer her a ride, and the possibility to buy some dope. Vicki agrees and drives home with them. Once there, though, Evelyn and John tie her up and what began as a night of teenage partying turns into a fight for survival for Vicki as she tries to get between Evelyn and John.

Hounds of Love tells a story based on the Moorhouse murders of which I knew nothing before going into the film, but I have to admit that it did feel very realistic. Nevertheless, it somehow lacked the emotional impact I expected from the description of the film.

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