Baby Driver (2017)

Baby Driver
Director: Edgar Wright
Writer: Edgar Wright
Cast: Ansel ElgortKevin Spacey, Jon BernthalJon HammJamie Foxx, Eiza GonzálezLily JamesCJ JonesSky FerreiraFlea
Seen on: 1.8.2017
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Plot:
Baby (Ansel Elgort) loves music (that drowns out his tinnitus) and driving, at which he’s also very good. A fact that Doc (Kevin Spacey) is using to his own advantage: he coerced Baby to drive during the robberies he meticulously plans. But Baby will soon have worked off his debts with Doc and is looking forward to a free life then, maybe with Debora (Lily James). But Doc isn’t willing to give Baby up all that easily.

Baby Driver wasn’t bad, but I expected it to be more than just nice. It’s well-made but there are quite a few things that didn’t work for me. I can’t help but feeling disappointed about it.

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The Party (2017)

The Party
Director: Sally Potter
Writer: Sally Potter
Cast: Timothy SpallKristin Scott ThomasPatricia ClarksonBruno GanzCherry JonesEmily MortimerCillian Murphy
Seen on: 1.8.2017
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Plot:
Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas) was just appointed shadow minister of health, and she wants to celebrate. So she and her supportive husband Bill (Timothy Spall) have invited their closest friends. But despite the joyous occasion, things are tense. It’s not only the bickering of no-nonsense April (Patricia Clarkson) and her spiritual husband Gottfried (Bruno Ganz), or of butch Martha (Cherry Jones) and her pregnant partner Jinny (Emily Mortimer), or the appearance of the slimy and obviously distraught Tom (Cillian Murphy): Bill has been keeping a secret, and he can’t keep it any longer.

The Party is filled with dark and biting humor, delivered by a fantastic cast. It should be great, but somehow it doesn’t quite work out that way.

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Director: Luc Besson
Writer: Luc Besson
Based on:  Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières‘s comic Valérian and Laureline
Cast: Dane DeHaanCara DelevingneClive OwenRihannaEthan HawkeHerbie HancockKris WuSam SpruellAlain ChabatRutger HauerPeter HudsonXavier GiannoliLouis LeterrierEric RochantBenoît JacquotOlivier MegatonElizabeth DebickiMathieu KassovitzJohn Goodman
Seen on: 31.7.2017
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Plot:
Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Care Delevingne) are operatives, charged with maintaining peace across the universe. A new mission brings them into possession of a converter, the last creature of its kind. But they can’t expect to be the only ones who want that converter. Their mission brings them to Alpha, a city made for all kinds of species that harbors a secret in its heart.

The fact that this film thought that it would be the right move to take the comic Valerian and Laureline and transform it into Valerian alone, is already pretty indicative of the decision making in the entire film: it might look cool at first glance, but it’s short-sighted, stupid and offensive.

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Dunkirk (2017)

Dunkirk
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Fionn WhiteheadMark RylanceTom HardyKenneth BranaghJames D’ArcyCillian MurphyHarry StylesDamien BonnardAneurin BarnardBarry KeoghanTom Glynn-CarneyJack Lowden
Seen on: 28.7.2017
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Plot:
It’s the middle of World War II and the Allied forces are struggling. But the situation is nowhere as precarious as in Dunkirk where 400.000 soldiers are huddled on a beach, with no way out but the sea – only that they are easy targets there for the German air force. The situation is desperate, and desperate times call for desperate measures. In this case, civilans take their boats and start the journey from Great Britain to France to pick up the soldiers.

To say that I liked or enjoyed Dunkirk would be very much the wrong vocabulary to use. But I did think it’s a good film that is very effectively made, managing to create tension and pressure, especially via the soundtrack, that is hard to stand.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man: Homecoming
Director: Jon Watts
Writer: Jonathan GoldsteinJohn Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher FordChris McKennaErik Sommers
Based on: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko‘s comic
Cast: Tom HollandMichael KeatonRobert Downey Jr.Marisa TomeiJon FavreauGwyneth PaltrowZendayaDonald GloverJacob BatalonLaura HarrierTony RevoloriHannibal BuressAngourie RiceMartin StarrMichael ChernusLogan Marshall-GreenJennifer ConnellyChris Evans
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 18.7.2017
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Plot:
Peter (Tom Holland) is excited about the new superpowers he has gained and wants to become a proper superhero, like Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) who recruited him not too long ago. But now Tony is keeping him at arm’s length and Peter is supposed to keep a low profile and go to high school, when he just wants to be properly heroic Spider-Man. When a new villain makes an appearance, Peter can’t keep still, though. Something needs to be done. And if nobody else does it, he will.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is entertaining and fun and has its fair share of problems. I enjoyed it, but not without reservations.

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Gifted (2017)

Gifted
Director: Marc Webb
Writer: Tom Flynn
Cast: Chris EvansMckenna GraceLindsay DuncanOctavia SpencerJenny SlateElizabeth MarvelGlenn Plummer
Seen on: 18.7.2017
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Plot:
Frank (Chris Evans) raises his niece Mary (Mckenna Grace). Mary is very smart. So far, Frank was able to keep her talents under wrap, but now it’s time for her to start school. And immediately Mary’s math abilities are noticed by her teacher Bonnie (Jenny Slate). But Frank doesn’t want to place Mary in special classes. His refusal causes both Bonnie and the school to dig deeper, bringing Frank’s mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) who has very different ideas about how to raise Mary. As neither Frank nor Evelyn want to budge from their position, they take the question to court in a custody battle.

Gifted is very surprisingly a smart film about being smart. I did have a couple of issues with it, but they are not related to that. And mostly the film was engaging and emotional and went right for the feels in just the right way.

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Okja (2017)

Okja
Director: Joon-ho Bong
Writer: Joon-ho Bong, Jon Ronson
Cast: Seo-Hyun AhnHee-Bong ByunTilda SwintonGiancarlo EspositoJake GyllenhaalShirley HendersonSteven YeunPaul DanoLily CollinsJeong-eun Lee
Seen on: 12.7.2017
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Plot:
Mija (Seo-Hyun Ahn) lives with her grandfather Hee Bong (Hee-Bong Byun) and with Okja. Okja is a genetically modified breed of superpigs. To see how the animals fare, twelve of them have been placed in various situations worldwide to see what environment suits them best. It turns out that Okja is the winner. That means that they find themselves confronted with nature filmer Johnny Wilcox (Jake Gyllenhaal) who has been sent by the corporation Okja actually belongs to to publicize the result of the contest. But even though Wilcox is not the most charming individual, he quickly becomes the least of Mija’s problems as she has to fight for Okja and their life together.

Okja is sweet and it has a great cast. It has a political message that it puts front and center, but unfortunately that message is muddled at the best of times and incomprehensible at other times. When you make a film that so obviously has something to say, when that something remains that unclear, the entire experience is frustrating and nothing else.

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Die Migrantigen [The Migrumpies] (2017)

Die Migrantigen
Director: Arman T. Riahi
Writer: Aleksandar Petrovic, Faris Rahoma, Arman T. Riahi
Cast: Aleksandar Petrovic, Faris Rahoma, Doris Schretzmayer, Zijah Sokolovic, Daniela Zacherl, Josef Hader, Mehmet Ali Salman, Julia Jelinek, Maddalena Hirschal, Margarete Tiesel, Dirk Stermann, Mahir Jahmal, Rainer Wöss, Brigitte Kren
Seen on: 5.7.2017
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Plot:
Benny (Faris Rahoma) and Marko (Aleksandar Petrovic) have been best friends for about forever and both find themselves struggling: Benny would like to make it as an actor, but has had no luck so far, mostly because he’s usually reduced to small roles due to his darker skin. And Marko’s ad agency just went bust – and his girlfriend Sophie (Daniela Zacherl) is expecting their first child. As they try to figure out what to do, an opportunity falls into their lap in the shape of Marlene (Doris Schretzmayer), a TV reporter looking to do a hot take on immigrants in Vienna. Just for the heck of it Benny and Marko – who actually do have migration roots – turn into Omar Sharif and Tito to give Marlene all the clichés about immigrants roled into a neat little package. But when Marlene returns with the offer to do an entire reality TV show about them, the two find themselves trapped in their performance and enticed by the money and acting break it would mean for them.

Die Migrantigen is an entertaining film that nails quite a few very problematic things about the discourse on migrants in Austria in a very revealing, yet light-hearted way. Sometimes it’s a little too easy and sometimes its ideas are better than the execution, but mostly, it’s very enjoyable.

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Everything, Everything (2017)

Everything, Everything
Director: Stella Meghie
Writer: J. Mills Goodloe
Based on: Nicola Yoon‘s novel
Cast: Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson, Anika Noni Rose, Ana de la Reguera, Taylor Hickson, Danube Hermosillo, Dan Payne, Fiona Loewi
Seen on: 4.7.2017
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Plot:
Maddy (Amandla Stenberg) has severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), meaning that her immune system is so weak that just being outside could literally kill her. So she grows up at home, cared for by her mother Pauline (Anika Noni Rose) and her nurse Carla (Ana de la Reguera), her social contacts pretty much limited to them, Carla’s daughter Rosa (Danube Hermosillo) and the internet. That is, until a new family moves in next door. Their teenage son Olly (Nick Robinson) catches a glimpse of Maddy, and they start a written correspondence that soon develops into something more.

There are many things that Everything, Everything gets right, but I’m not sure that they’re outweighed by the ableist fuckery the story devolves into.

[SPOILERS]

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The Beguiled (2017)

The Beguiled
Director: Sofia Coppola
Writer: Sofia Coppola
Based on: Thomas P. Cullinan‘s novel
Remake of: the 1971 film
Cast: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke, Emma Howard
Seen on: 3.7.2017
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Plot:
John McBurney (Colin Farrell) is an injured Union soldier on the run in the South during the US Civil War. He stumbles upon a girl’s school, led by Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman) and finds pity in the women who don’t turn him in to the Confederate soldiers – at least not until he’s healed and stands a chance to survive. But they keep him under lock and key while they tend to him. The teacher Edwina (Kirsten Dunst) and the girls – above all Carol (Elle Fanning) – are intrigued and excited by the soldier and soon vie for his affections. Not even Miss Martha finds herself unmoved as McBurney tries to turn the situation to his advantage.

The Beguiled is visually stunning, but other than that didn’t blow me away all that much. It’s not bad, but I still prefer the original film (although I didn’t love that one that much either).

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