Revenge (2017)

Revenge
Director: Coralie Fargeat
Writer: Coralie Fargeat
Cast: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe, Guillaume Bouchède, Jean-Louis Tribes
Part of: /slash 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 4.5.2018

Content Note: Rape

Plot:
Jen (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz) has been dating the rich, older, married Richard (Kevin Janssens) for a while. Now they managed to get a weekend away in the desert where Richard has a house he usually uses to hunt with his friends Stan (Vincent Colombe) and Dimitri (Guillaume Bouchède). The two friends are supposed to come the next day, after Jen has left, but they arrive earlier than anticipated. Being alone with the three men soon turns into an absolute nightmare for Jen – and then for the men.

Revenge was the film I looked forward to the most at the /slash 1/2. Unfortunately, it was also the film that disappointed me the most. It has many strengths, but in the end, I was so annoyed by it that it really overshadowed everything.

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As Boas Maneiras [Good Manners] (2017)

As Boas Maneiras
Director: Marco Dutra, Juliana Rojas
Writer: Juliana Rojas, Marco Dutra
Cast: Isabél Zuaa, Marjorie Estiano, Miguel Lobo, Cida Moreira
Part of: /slash 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 4.5.2018

Plot:
Clara (Isabél Zuaa) is a nurse looking for a job. Ana (Marjorie Estiano) is rich, but alone and pregnant – and she needs someone who will take care of her. Clara takes the job. Both of them need a little time to warm up to each other, but once they do, they bond strongly and fiercely. But when the baby is born, things change very quickly.

As Boas Maneiras is a wonderfully cute film that turns into a weird and slightly boring entirely different film at around the halfway mark. I loved the first part, but the second part not so much.

SPOILERS after the jump.

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Pengabdi Setan [Satan’s Slaves] (2017)

Pengabdi Setan
Director: Joko Anwar
Writer: Joko Anwar
Based on: the 1982 film of the same title
Cast: Tara Basro, Bront Palarae, Dimas Aditya, Endy Arfian, Nasar Annuz, M. Adhiyat, Arswendi Nasution
Part of: /slash 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 4.5.2018

Plot:
Rini’s (Tara Basro) mother (Ayu Laksmi) used to be a successful singer, but in these past few years, she has been slowly dying from a mysterious illness that nobody really understands. When she finally succumbs to it, Rini’s father (Bront Palarae) has to leave the children to settle the necessary affairs. But as soon as he is gone, strange things start to happen in the house

Satan’s Slaves has a fantastic first and a muddled second half. Despite that drop in quality, the film is definitely worth it: the first part is definitely strong enough to make up for the second part.

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It Comes at Night (2017)

It Comes at Night
Director: Trey Edward Shults
Writer: Trey Edward Shults
Cast: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Riley Keough, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Griffin Robert Faulkner, David Pendleton
Part of: /slash 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 3.5.2018

Plot:
Paul (Joel Edgerton), Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) and their son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) are holed up in a remote cabin. They’ve effectively isolated themselves after a mysterious disease broke out. But one night somebody tries to invade their home. They capture the intruder and keep him quarantined. When it turns out that he – Will (Christopher Abbott) – isn’t infected, but has family nearby, they grant them access to their home. But tensions keep rising.

It Comes at Night is a solid film with good characters and a firm grip on the tension it needs. It didn’t quite blow me away, but it’s a good watch.

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Les garçons sauvages [The Wild Boys] (2017)

Les garçons sauvages
Director: Bertrand Mandico
Writer: Bertrand Mandico
Cast: Pauline Lorillard, Vimala Pons, Diane Rouxel, Anaël Snoek, Mathilde Warnier, Sam Louwyck, Elina Löwensohn, Nathalie Richard
Part of: /slash 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 3.5.2018

Content Note: Rape, transmisia

Plot:
Romuald (Pauline Lorillard), Jean-Louis (Vimala Pons), Hubert (Diane Rouxel), Tanguy (Anaël Snoek) and Sloane (Mathilde Warnier) are friends, all interested in arts and aestheticism in general. But after raping and killing their literature teacher (Nathalie Richard), they are put in the care of the Captain (Sam Louwyck) in the hope that his rough methods will set them on the right path again. They embark on a journey on the Captain’s ship to an island where transformation is supposedto happen.

The Wild Boys was interesting, but didn’t work in all respects for me. Still, it’s a film that looks at gender and has an interesting visual style, so I would say that it’s worth checking out regardless.

SPOILERS after the jump.

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Lady Bird (2017)

Lady Bird
Director: Greta Gerwig
Writer: Greta Gerwig
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein,
Seen on: 25.4.2018

Plot:
Christine calls herself Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan). She is a teenager, not particularly well-off, and doesn’t really fit in at her expensive Catholic high school, where her only and best friend is Julie (Beanie Feldstein) who is an outsider as well. She dreams of adventure and culture which both seem pretty unattainable where she is right now. But Lady Bird is in her senior year and that might be her chance to escape. Before that, though, she has stuff to figure out: which college she can go to, whether her mother (Laurie Metcalf) actually likes her, and also that entire thing with boys: what’s the deal?

Lady Bird is a really cute film with a great Saoirse Ronan. It might be a little too married to the conventions of a coming of age film, but I really did enjoy it.

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Ghost Stories (2017)

Ghost Stories
Director: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
Writer: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
Based on: their own play
Cast: Andy Nyman, Martin Freeman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther, Paul Warren, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Nicholas Burns, Daniel Hill, Derren Brown
Part of: /slash Filmfestival special screening
Seen on: 13.4.2018

Plot:
Phillip Goodman doesn’t believe in ghosts and he has made it his life’s mission to disprove cases of hauntings. But he gets handed three cases by his great idol Charles Cameron (Leonard Byrne). Cases that Cameron was unable to explain, turning him from a sceptic into a believer. Goodman delves deeper into the stories to figure out what’s going on.

Ghost Stories is an entertaining film, although the episodes differ in strength and the solution was a little overdone. But overall I enjoyed the film.

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Lucky (2017)

Lucky
Director: John Carroll Lynch
Writer: Logan Sparks, Drago Sumonja
Cast: Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Ron Livingston, Ed Begley Jr., Tom Skerritt, Barry Shabaka Henley, James Darren, Beth Grant, Yvonne Huff
Seen on: 12.4.2018

Plot:
Lucky (Harry Dean Stanton) is old but healthy and he has his set routine in the small town in the middle of the desert where he lives. He does his exercises in the morning, he heads to the diner in town for lunch and goes drinking at the bar in the evening, every day. It seems like life could go on forever this way – and it may already have lasted forever. But when Lucky falls, his own mortality intrudes his routine and he might have to think about how he wants to continue.

Lucky is a soft film and one that is worth watching, even if I didn’t find it as touching as I probably should or could have. It’s still very good.

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The Death of Stalin (2017)

The Death of Stalin
Director: Armando Iannucci
Writer: Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, Peter Fellows
Based on: Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin’s graphic novel La Mort de Staline
Cast: Adrian McLoughlin, Simon Russell Beale, Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Michael Palin, Jason Isaacs, Olga Kurylenko, Tom Brooke, Paddy Considine, Rupert Friend, Andrea Riseborough
Seen on: 11.4.2018

Plot:
1953 in Moscow. Josef Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin) has been in power for decades. But now he suddenly dies, leaving a power vacuum that demands to be filled. His right hand men, the Council of Ministers, try to strike the balance between appearing to grieve, not panicking and grabbing for power. Lavrentia Beria (Simon Russell Beale) and Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi) quickly become the heads of the biggest two camps in that fight.

I wanted to like The Death of Stalin more than I actually did. It’s well made, of that there’s no doubt, but I was partly very uncomfortable about the jokes they cracked that I felt made light of things nobdy should make light of.

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I, Tonya (2017)

I, Tonya
Director: Craig Gillespie
Writer: Steven Rogers
Cast: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Julianne Nicholson, Paul Walter Hauser, Bobby Cannavale, Bojana Novakovic, Caitlin Carver, Mckenna Grace
Seen on: 3.4.2018

Plot:
Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) has trained all her life to become a figure skater, her mother Lavona (Allison Janney) always pushing her. But Tonya is seen as not refined enough by many people in the community. Nevertheless, Tonya manages to fight her way to some success. Her husband Jeff (Sebastian Stan) wants to see Tonya succeed at least as much as she does. When Tonya’s competitor Nancy Kerrigan (Catilin Carver) is attacked, suspicions fall on Tonya and Jeff.

I, Tonya is a strong film that tells a jawdropping story and showcases, once again, Robbie’s talent. It is a little uneven, but most of the time, it works extremely well.

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