Tikli and Laxmi Bomb (2017)

Tikli and Laxmi Bomb
Director: Aditya Kripalani
Writer: Aditya Kripalani
Cast: Vibhawari DeshpandeChitrangada ChakrabortySuchitra PillaiSaharsh Kumar ShuklaMia MaelzerDivya UnnyKritika PandeUday AtroliaUpendra LimayeMayur MoreVikas Shukla
Seen on: 3.3.2018
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[Screener review.]

Plot:
Laxmi (Vibhawari Deshpande) has been a sex worker for quite a while, always under the protection of Mhatre (Upendra Limaye). When he brings her a new girl, Putul (Chitrangada Chakraborty), she knows she has to show her the ropes, even though she doesn’t much care for it – or for the bubbly and mouthy Putul. When Putul’s defiance leads her to talk about revolution – working for themselves rather than Mhatre – Laxmi is reluctant at first, but knows that Putul – nicknamed Tikli – makes good points.

Tikli and Laxmi Bomb is a smart and engaging film. It tells an emotional story with great characters while thoroughly examining an unfair and oppressive system.

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Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Blade Runner 2049
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writer: Hampton FancherMichael Green
Based on: Philip K. Dick‘s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Sequel to: Blade Runner
Cast: Ryan GoslingHarrison FordRobin WrightAna de Armas, Dave BautistaEdward James OlmosJared LetoHiam AbbassMackenzie Davis, Lennie JamesBarkhad Abdi
Seen on: 15.10.2017
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Plot:
K (Ryan Gosling) is a replicant who works as a blade runner – a section of the police tasked with hunting down rogue replicants and killing them. During one of those hunts, K finds evidence that there was a replicant who managed to reproduce sexually: she became pregnant and had a child which was believed to be impossible. K’s superior officer Joshi (Robin Wright) fears the repercussions if that fact became wide knowledge and tells K to find the child and kill it. This leads K to question his own past as well.

Blade Runner 2049 was so incredibly boring that I could barely stand it. Since it’s also racist and sexist, it probably would have been better if it hadn’t been made at all.

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Victoria & Abdul (2017)

Victoria & Abdul
Director: Stephen Frears
Writer: Lee Hall
Based on: Shrabani Basu’s book
Cast: Judi DenchAli FazalTim Pigott-SmithEddie IzzardAdeel AkhtarMichael GambonPaul HigginsOlivia WilliamsFenella WoolgarJulian WadhamRobin SoansRuth McCabeSimon Callow
Seen on: 14.10.2017
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Plot:
As Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) celebrates the 50th year of her reign, two Muslim Indians are chosen to present her with a commemorative coin. One of them is Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal). Abdul is excited at the chance to visit England and see the Queen, and in his excitement he forgets the most important rule and makes eye-contact with her. Instead of catastrophe, this leads to Victoria striking up a friendship with Abdul who teaches her about India and much more.

Victoria & Abdul left me deeply uncomfortable and its blatant ignorance of colonialism and the power structures involved – despite the topic at hand. That overshadowed everything else for me.

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Axolotl Overkill (2017)

Axolotl Overkill
Director: Helene Hegemann
Writer: Helene Hegemann
Based on: Helene Hegemann‘s novel Axolotl Roadkill
Cast: Jasna Fritzi BauerArly JoverLaura TonkeJulius FeldmeierMavie HörbigerSabine VituaBernhard Schütz
Seen on: 13.10.2017
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Plot:
Mifti (Jasna Fritzi Bauer) lives with her brother (Julius Feldmeier) and sister (Laura Tonke), their rich father (Bernhard Schütz) having other ideas of how to spend his time than with his children. Mifti drifts through Berlin, barely going to school. But when she does, she meets Ophelia (Mavie Hörbiger), an actress who has been sentenced to community hours in the school kitchen. The two start drifting through Berlin’s club scene together. It’s around that time that Mifti also meets the intriguing, much older Alice (Arly Jover) in the supermarket who sparks her fantasies.

Axolotl Overkill is a fascinating, well-made film that is a little marred by its author/director. But that shouldn’t keep you from seeing it.

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Happy End (2017)

Happy End
Director: Michael Haneke
Writer: Michael Haneke
Cast: Isabelle HuppertJean-Louis TrintignantMathieu KassovitzFantine HarduinFranz RogowskiLaura VerlindenAurélia PetitToby Jones
Seen on: 12.10.2017
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Plot:
After her mother is admitted to the hospital, Eve (Fantine Harduin) moves in with her father Thomas (Mathieu Kassovitz) and his new wife Anais (Laura Verlinden). They all live in Eve’s grandfather Georges’s (Jean-Louis Trintignant) house. Georges is starting to show symptoms of dementia and is desperately trying to keep control of his life. His business has already been taken over by his daughter Anne (Isabelle Huppert) who struggles with problems at work. In this difficult constellation, it comes as no surprise that secrets start coming to light everywhere.

Happy End, unfortunately, is a weak film, at least for a Haneke film. There was a lot of potential and some very good stuff, but it just doesn’t really come together.

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The Endless (2017)

The Endless
Director: Justin BensonAaron Moorhead
Writer: Justin Benson
Cast: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Callie HernandezJames JordanEmily MontagueTate EllingtonLew TempleRic SarabiaKira Powell
Part of: Secret Society Screening at the /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 1.10.2017
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Plot:
Justin (Justin Benson) and Aaron (Aaron Moorhead) are brothers who managed to get out of a cult and have slowly been adjusting to life outside of it. But when they get a video from another member of the cult, it re-opens that chapter of their lives and the two decide to head back there to figure things out and find closure. However, once they arrive, the cult starts to make more sense than they ever thought before.

If The Endless hadn’t been a surprise screening, I probably would have avoided it – that’s how much I hated Benson and Moorhead’s first film, Spring. But I have to admit that Endless wasn’t bad, even though I didn’t fall head over heels for it.

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Return to Return to Nuke ‘Em High Aka Vol. 2 (2017)

Return to Return to Nuke ‘Em High Aka Vol. 2
Director: Lloyd Kaufman
Writer: Travis CampbellDerek Dressler, Lloyd Kaufman, Gabriel FriedmanDoug Sakmann
Sequel to: Return to Nuke ‘Em High
Cast: Asta ParedesCatherine CorcoranZac AmicoVito Trigo, Lloyd Kaufman, Babette BombshellTara E. MillerMike BaezMark QuinnetteJim SheppardReiki TsunoJosh PotterDebbie RochonClay von Carlowitz
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 1.10.2017
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Plot:
Chrissy (Asta Paredes) and Lauren (Catherine Corcoran) have just come out of a crisis at Nuke ‘Em High, and are already slithering into the next. On a personal level, their principal threatens to out them. On a larger scale, rich company owner Herzkauf (Lloyd Kaufman) isn’t done trying to make profits at Nuke ‘Em High any way he can.

After the short film that ran before it, I fell asleep for the first half or so of the film. But that just meant that I was awake enough to really take in the secod half even though I really didn’t want to. Troma will probably never win me over.

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My Friend Dahmer (2017)

My Friend Dahmer
Director: Marc Meyers
Writer: Marc Meyers
Based on: Derf Backderf‘s autobiographical graphic novel
Cast: Ross LynchAlex WolffAnne HecheVincent KartheiserDallas RobertsLiam KoethTommy NelsonHarrison Holzer
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.9.2017
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Plot:
Jeffrey Dahmer (Ross Lynch) is a strange boy, an outcast at his school. He spends most of his time dissecting animal carcasses he found and experimenting with them. In his senior year, Jeff discovers that he will get attention if he pretends to be disabled or to have an epilleptic attack. This behavior draws the attention of Derf (Alex Wolff) and his friends (Tommy Nelson, Harrison Holzer) who decide to become the Dahmer fanclub. Jeff is honored, but can’t shake his weirdness that becomes more and more pathological.

My Friend Dahmer feels longer than it is, but in this case, that didn’t bother me at all. I thought it was a strong, thoughtful and smart film.

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Spit’n’Split (2017)

Spit’n’Split
Director: Jérôme Vandewattyne
Writer: Jérôme Vandewattyne
Cast: The Experimental Tropical Blues Band
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.9.2017
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Plot:
Jérôme Vandewattyne follows The Experimental Tropical Blues Band on tour. But that tour takes them all places that nobody expects. As things between the band members turn tenser and tenser, everything starts to spiral out of control.
Spit’n’Split is a mockumentary in an interesting format: The band really exists and they played themselves, the tour was an actual tour, but the other events are fictional. 

Spit’n’Split was an almost unbearable film. It starts boring and devolves into an experience of nerve-grating that made me want to run.

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Gam man da song si [Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight] (2017)

Gam man da song si
Director: Alan Lo
Writer: Nick CheukNero NgChi Hoi Pang
Cast: Michael NingKai-Chung CheungAlex ManCarrie NgCherry NganAngie ShumVenus Wong
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.9.2017
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Plot:
Lung (Michael Ning) and Chi-Yeung (Kai-Chung Cheung) are best friends and their lives consist mostly of talking big. But Lung has a few things he has to face: his depressed step-mother Shan (Carrie Ng) has to give up the theater where they have been living. His father (Alex Man) was released from prison and his attempts to reconnect are mostly annoying for Lung. It’s no surprise that Lung prefers to spend his time dreaming about star Yee-Sue (Venus Wong) than face reality, while Chi-Yeung rather chases after the a little more reachable Chan-Yat (Cherry Ngan). But all of their lives is turned upside down when a birdlike monster makes an appearance that turns the people around them into zombies. Lung and Chi-Yeung might have to start facing up to their big talk.

Who takes a look at the zombie genre and thinks, “what this needs is an Angry Bird crossover”? The makers of Zombiology, apparently. It even works surprisingly well for a long time, but not the all the way through.

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