Camp Death III in 2D! (2018)

Camp Death III in 2D!
Director: Matt Frame
Writer: Matt Frame
Cast: Dave Peniuk, Angela Galanopoulos, Darren Andrichuk, Emma Docker, Chris Allen,
Starlise Waschuk, Terry mullett, Cynthia Chalmers, Gerald Gerald Geraldson, Hans Potter, Katherine Alpen, Jason Asuncion, Andrea Bang
Seen on: 6.1.2019
[Screener review.]

Plot:
Camp Crystal Meph was the scene of a horrific bloodbath by the killer Johann Van Damme (Terry mullett). But a few years later, Todd (Dave Peniuk) is ready to give it another try. His uncle Mel (Darren Andrichuk) owns the camp ground and Todd has set up a new camp concept. Together with his camp counselors Rachel (Angela Galanopoulos) and Barry (Chris Allen), they are ready to welcome their group. But soon after their arrival, people start dying – again -, murderous squirrels run wild and nobody has any clue what is actually happening

Camp Death III in 2D! is a parody of Friday the 13th Part III in 3D that has some nicely silly ideas, but unfortunately overdoes it a lot of the times. Plus, it is just so ableist that I really wanted to scream.

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Sunset (2018)

Sunset
Director: Jamison M. LoCascio
Writer: Adam Ambrosio, Jamison M. LoCascio
Cast: Liam MitchellBarbara Bleier, Austin Pendleton, Suzette Gunn, Juri Henley-Cohn, David Johnson
Seen on: 2.6.2018
[Screener Review.]

Plot:
Things look normal: Henry (Liam Mitchell) and Patricia (Barbara Bleier) are celebrating Patricia’s birthday with their friends – Patricia’s ex Julian (Austin Pendleton), Chris (David Johnson) and Ayden (Juri Henley-Cohn) who both have found surrogate parents in Henry and Patricia, and Ayden’s partner Breyanna (Suzette Gunn). As their talking turns to politics, it becomes clear, though, that tensions are high and ouright nuclear war seems just around the corner.

Usually nuclear war is used in films to conjure up a post-apocalyptic scenario, or it is used as a threat that the (action) heroes of the story have something to prevent. In Sunset’s case, it’s the backdrop for a thorough and thoughtful character study that stumbles sometimes, but remains engaging throughout.

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29 to Life (2018)

29 to Life
Director: Alex Magaña
Writer: Alex Magaña
Cast: Murphy Patrick Martin, Diana Cristina (aka Diana Solis), Hayley Ambriz, Kaden Cole, Sherry Driggs, Rocky Hart
Seen on: 29.5.2018
[Screener Review.]

Plot:
Barnaby (Murphy Patrick Martin) is 29, but so far he successfully avoided growing up. But it’s time to face life when his girlfriend Elaina (Hayley Ambriz) breaks up with him and his parents (Sherry Driggs, Rocky Hart) kick him out of their house the very same day to try and force him to get a job. Barnaby finds himself living in his car and still trying to avoid any kind of responsibility. When hunger motivates him to go to his high school reunion (in the hope of finding a buffet there), he runs into Madison (Diana Cristina) and the two re-connect. And maybe Madison can give Barnaby the final push he needs.

29 to Life is very obviously a film by a young man made without a budget who hasn’t made a feature before. How forgiving you are about the drawbacks that come with that will vary. Personally, I struggled a little with Barnaby and the male perspective that permeates the script. That being said, it does have its sweet touches.

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Short Films at the Diagonale 2018

I saw four short films at the Diagonale.
Sekundenschlaf [Microsleep] (2017)
Director: Lena Lemerhofer
Writer: Lena Lemerhofer
Cast: Paula Parker, Merten Schroedter, Judith Sehrbrock, Ayla Siegmund, Heike Warmuth
Generalprobe [Dress Rehearsal] (2017)
Director: Jannis Lenz
Writer: Jannis Lenz
Cast: Anna Suk, Ahmet Simsek
Bester Mann [Main Man] (2018)
Director: Florian Forsch
Writer: Florian Forsch
Cast: Adrian Grünewald, Frederik Schmid, Yuri Völsch, Thomas Bartholomäus, Jarl Lando Beger
Arena (2018)
Director: Björn Kämmerer
Seen on: 14.3.2018

Three of the four films I saw were part of a short film program, the fourth was a short opening film to another movie. All four films were strong, but some were stronger than others.

After the jump, read about each of the films seperately.

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Murer: Anatomie eines Prozesses [Murer: Anatomy of a Trial] (2018)

Murer: Anatomie eines Prozesses
Director: Christian Frosch
Writer: Christian Frosch
Cast: Karl Fischer, Alexander E. Fennon, Melita Jurisic, Ursula Ofner, Karl Markovics, Gerhard Liebmann, Roland Jaeger, Doval’e Glickman, Rainer Wöss, Erni Mangold, Susi Stach
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 13.3.2018
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Plot:
In 1963, Franz Murer (Karl Fischer) is a pillar of his Austrian community, a politician and one of the richest men in the area. But during the Second World War, he was an important men for the Nazis and ran the ghetto in Vilnius where he was known for his cruelty. Simon Wiesenthal (Karl Markovics) has been fighting to get him in front of a judge, and finally he succeeds: Murer is tried for his war crimes. But will he be found guilty?

Murer: Anatomie eines Prozesses is an excellent film in all areas and a condemnation of Austria, especially with regards to the lack of accountability for our participation in World War Two – a lack that still haunts us to this day and causes nothing but problems. It’s hard to watch but absolutely necessary.

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Game Night (2018)

Game Night
Director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Writer: Mark Perez
Cast: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Sharon Horgan, Billy Magnussen, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemons, Michael C. Hall, Danny Huston, Chelsea Peretti
Seen on: 12.3.2018
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Plot:
Max (Jason Bateman), Annie (Rachel McAdams), Sarah (Sharon Horgan), Ryan (Billy Magnussen), Kevin (Larmone Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) have a regular game night together. Tonight, Max’ brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) is hosting the party, when men come into his house and take him away. Believing it to be a roleplay, the six players set out to get Brooks back. But things may be more serious than they appear at first.

I didn’t expect much from Game Night and basically just watched it because I had a gap in my schedule where it fit perfectly. But I was pleasantly surprised: Game Night is an entertaining film that made me laugh out loud.

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Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther
Director: Ryan Coogler
Writer: Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole
Based on: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby‘s comic character
Part of: Marvel movies
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Florence Kasumba, John Kani, Isaach De Bankolé, Stan Lee
Seen on: 16.2.2018
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Plot:
After the death of his father, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has to return to Wakanda to claim the throne. Returning means reuniting with his friends and family. But the transition of power is a delicate time. And there is more than one threat to Wakanda and T’Challa’s rule.

I didn’t hear a single bad word about Black Panther before I saw it, so my expectations were pretty high. And I’m happy to say that they were absolutely more than fulfilled. Black Panther is a visually, narratively and politically strong film that’s also simply entertaining.

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Den of Thieves (2018)

Den of Thieves
Director: Christian Gudegast
Writer: Christian Gudegast, Paul Scheuring
Cast: Gerard Butler, Pablo Schreiber, O’Shea Jackson Jr., 50 Cent, Meadow Williams, Maurice Compte, Brian Van Holt, Evan Jones, Mo McRae, Kaiwi Lyman, Dawn Olivieri, Eric Braeden
Seen on: 7.2.2018
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Plot:
Nick (Gerard Butler) has been after Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber) and his crew of bank robbers for a while. After they hit yet another bank, Nick manages to corner Donnie (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) who runs with Merrimen and learns that they plan to rob the Federal Reserve. But as Nick’s personal life spirals ever more out of control, it remains questionable whether he can gain the upper hand on Merrimen and his boys.

I hoped that Den of Thieves would fall into the category of f”ilms so bad that they’re good”. Unfortunately that hope didn’t come true at all. It was so serious and so boring, it practically sucked my higher brain functions straight out of my head.

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Insidious: The Last Key (2018)

Insidious: The Last Key
Director: Adam Robitel
Writer: Leigh Whannell
Sequel to: Insidious, Insidious: Chapter 2, Insidious: Chapter 3
Cast: Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Kirk Acevedo, Caitlin Gerard, Spencer Locke, Josh Stewart, Tessa Ferrer, Bruce Davison, Ty Simpkins, Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, Barbara Hershey, Joseph Bishara
Seen on: 11.1.2018
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Plot:
Elise (Lin Shaye) is a successful parapsychologist with a lot of experience under her belt. But when she is called to a case in her own childhood home, she declines to help. She can’t stomach the idea to go back to where she first encountered the supernatural. But her conscience doesn’t let her leave the cry for help unanswered. Her assistants Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson) accompany her on her way to New Mexico.

Insidious: The Last Key is, unfortunately, a disappointment after the strong films in the series before it (especially the first two). The character work is still solid, but it just isn’t scary.

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Short Films from the Filmakademie Wien

Every year at the end of the year, the Filmakademie Wien presents some of the best student short films that have been produced there, giving a glimpse of the filmmaking talent that’s on the rise in Austria. A short note on each of the three films that were shown.
Seen on: 29.11.2017

Zalesie

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