Sorry We Missed You (2019)

Sorry We Missed You
Director: Ken Loach
Writer: Paul Laverty
Cast: Kris Hitchen, Debbie Honeywood, Rhys Stone, Katie Proctor, Ross Brewster, Charlie Richmond
Seen on: 12.3.2020

Plot:
Ricky (Kris Hitchen) has been struggling job-wise for a while, so he is very excited when he gets the opportunity to start as a subcontractor for a delivery company. It does mean selling his wife Abby’s (Debbie Honeywood) car to buy a truck, complicating her own work day as a carer, going from home visit to home visit. Both are out all day for six days a week to barely get enough money to get by – which is also difficult for their two children, Seb (Rhys Stone) who is in full puberty mode and Liza Jae (Katie Proctor) who is anxious all the time. What looked to be a great possibility for the whole family soon turns out more curse than blessing.

You can always rely on Ken Loach to put the finger where it hurts, to point out exactly the ways in which (neoliberal, capitalist) society is fundamentally broken. Sorry We Missed You is another effective and affective political/sociological analysis in movie form.

The film poster showing the central family standing in front of a brown wall.
Continue reading

Just Mercy (2019)

Just Mercy
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Writer: Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham,
Based on: Bryan Stevenson‘s memoir Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson, Rob Morgan, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Rafe Spall, Tim Blake Nelson, Michael Harding, Hayes Mercure
Seen on: 12.3.2020

Content Note: (criticism of) racism

Plot:
In 1987, Walter McMillian, called Johnny D. (Jamie Foxx), is arrested for the murder of a young, white woman. Despite his protestations of innocence, he is sentenced to death. In 1989, young Harvard graduate Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) opens the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama, determined to help prisoners on death row who are often black and have often had only insufficient legal representation. He meets Johnny D. and, convinced of his innocence, takes up the fight to prove it.

Just Mercy is definitely an emotional film and one with an important political point to make, but it does feel a little like it’s trying too hard to stay too clean.

The film poster showing Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) in front of an orange background with various film stills.
Continue reading

The Gentlemen (2019)

The Gentlemen
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writer: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Hugh Grant, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Lyne Renee, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding, Tom Wu, Chidi Ajufo, Eddie Marsan
Seen on: 3.3.2020

Content Note: racism, homomisia, antisemitism, (attempted) rape

Plot:
Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) has been running a great weed business for many years now, supported by his wife Ros (Michelle Dockery) and his right-hand man Ray (Charlie Hunnam). But it is time to retire and sell the business. He already found a prospective buyer in Matthew (Jeremy Strong), but Dry Eye (Henry Golding) also shows an interest. That’s when PI Fletcher (Hugh Grant) shows up at Ray’s doorstep and threatens to ruin everything if he doesn’t get paid.

So, I saw the ads for The Gentlemen and I knew that there would be racist jokes in it. I was considering not seeing it entirely, but then there was the perfect opportunity to see it and I was lured in by all those names, so I gave in anyway. I shouldn’t have. It turns out that there isn’t “just” a few racist jokes, the film is racist, antisemitic and homomisic to its core. And it’s way too long.

the film poster showing a collage of the main characters on a white background.

[SPOILERS]

Continue reading

Bombshell (2019)

Bombshell
Director: Jay Roach
Writer: Charles Randolph
Cast: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow, Allison Janney, Malcolm McDowell, Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Liv Hewson, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Rob Delaney, Mark Duplass, Richard Kind
Seen on: 26.2.2020

Content Note: Sexual Harassment

Plot:
Fox News is ruled by Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) who has, over the decades, found many women he made news anchors – like Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) and Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman). And hopeful new anchors like Kayla (Margot Robbie) know that they need Ailes to get to the top. In the middle of the 2016 presidential election campaign, Gretchen Carlson is preparing for battle: she has been quietly demoted for a while now – and she has been collecting evidence of Ailes’ sexual harassment against her, in the knowledge that she surely isn’t the only one he has harassed.

Bombshell suprised me a little – in a positive way – because it doesn’t withdraw into the safety of an apparently neutral “both sides” position, but takes a stand. I did still struggle with some things, but overall, it’s really good.

The film poster showing Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie), Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) and Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron).
Continue reading

Fractured (2019)

Fractured
Director: Brad Anderson
Writer: Alan B. McElroy
Cast: Sam Worthington, Lily Rabe, Lucy Capri, Adjoa Andoh, Stephen Tobolowsky, Lauren Cochrane, Shane Dean
Seen on: 21.2.2020

Plot:
Ray (Sam Worthington), his wife Joanne (Lily Rabe) and their daughter Peri (Lucy Capri) are on their way home from a Thanksgiving dinner with Joanne’s parents. When they make a quick stop at a gas station, Peri takes a fall and breaks her arm. They hurry to the hospital to make sure that Peri is okay, but something strange is going on there. After Joanne and Peri are taken for a scan, they disappear – and Ray suspects that they have been taken.

Fractured is not very good, nor is it very bad. It’s a run of the mill thriller that thinks it’s a little more clever than it actually is. It was okay to watch, but not much more.

The film poster showing Ray (Sam Worthington) in a twisted hospital corridor, clutching a child's scarf.
Continue reading

Les misérables (2019)

Les misérables
Director: Ladj Ly
Writer: Ladj Ly, Giordano Gederlini, Alexis Manenti
Cast: Damien Bonnard, Alexis Manenti, Djebril Zonga, Issa Perica, Al-Hassan Ly, Steve Tientcheu, Almamy Kanouté, Nizar Ben Fatma, Raymond Lopez, Luciano Lopez, Jaihson Lopez
Seen on: 20.2.2020

Content Note: police violence

Plot:
Stéphane (Damien Bonnard) is new at the police station in Montfermeil, one of Paris’ more troublesome neighborhoods. Stéphane is full of good intentions, so seeing how his colleagues Chris (Alexis Manenti) and Gwada (Djebril Zonga) interact with the people around them shocks him. As he tries to get his bearings and figure out the power distribution in the neighborhood, their first case together already starts spiraling out of control.

Les misérables is a tough film in the best way. It takes a very critical look at the pretty much desperate situation in the poorest parts of Paris, but it does leave some air to breathe at the end. Maybe.

The film poster showing a group of men staring at the camera.
Continue reading

Countdown (2019)

Countdown
Director: Justin Dec
Writer: Justin Dec
Cast: Elizabeth Lail, Jordan Calloway, Talitha Eliana Bateman, Peter Facinelli, Dillon Lane, Tichina Arnold, Tom Segura, P.J. Byrne
Seen on: 8.2.2020

Plot:
An app keeps making the rounds that supposedly knows the exact moment you will die. It also reaches nurse Quinn (Elizabeth Lail) at her hospital in the shape of a patient who just lost his girlfriend and is convinced he will die himself now. Quinn is doubtful, but when all her colleagues download the app, she does, too. It tells her, she has only a few days left. Quinn shakes it off – until her patient dies under suspicous circumstances. Then a race against time starts for Quinn to figure out how she can stop her own death.

I did not expect much from Countdown – and it really wasn’t any good. Too many things didn’t make sense or were ouright ridiculous. At least there was entertainment to be had in taking it apart afterwards.

The film poster showing a dead hand holding a cellphone that shows a counter at zero.

[SPOILERS]

Continue reading

Little Women (2019)

Little Women
Director: Greta Gerwig
Writer: Greta Gerwig
Based on: Louisa May Alcott’s novel
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, James Norton, Louis Garrel, Jayne Houdyshell, Chris Cooper, Meryl Streep
Seen on: 31.1.2020
[Here are my reviews of the 1994 and the 2018 versions.]

Plot:
Meg (Emma Watson), Jo (Saoirse Ronan), Beth (Eliza Scanlen) and Amy (Florence Pugh) are sisters, living with their mother Marmee (Laura Dern) as their father is off fighting in the war. Their lives are spent working or studying and trying to help the even poorer people in the neighborhood. In their sparetime, they like to play creatively. When their neighbor Mr. Lawrence’s (Chris Cooper) grandson Laurie (Timothée Chalamet) moves in with his grandfather, he quickly finds himself included with the girls. Together, they navigate life’s ups and downs.

There are many, many things I really love about this version of Little Women. I enjoyed myself thoroughly as I watched it. And at the same time, there are so many narrative choices here that I hate that it really speaks to the film’s quality that I still liked it a lot.

The film poster showing the four Marsh girls (Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen) looking out a window.
Continue reading

Jojo Rabbit (2019)

Jojo Rabbit
Director: Taika Waititi
Writer: Taika Waititi
Based on: Christine Leunens‘s book Caging Skies
Cast: Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson, Taika Waititi, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen, Stephen Merchant, Archie Yates
Seen on: 26.1.2020

Plot:
Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) has two best friends in the world: Yorki (Archie Yates) and Adolf (Taika Waititi) – as in Hitler. Of course, Jojo knows that Adolf is imaginary, but that doesn’t make him any less real to him and Adolf’s encouragement as Jojo joins the Hitler Youth is invaluable to him. But Jojo’s life takes a sharp turn after an accident that leaves him unable to be part of the Hitler Youth and he discovers that his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl, Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) in their home.

I went into Jojo Rabbit with very high expectations. So far, I very much enjoyed Waititi’s films, reviews of the films have been very positive and the trailer looked great. And maybe my expectations were too high, but I left the film with a sinking feeling of disappointment.

The film poster showing the film's main characters.
Continue reading

1917 (2019)

1917
Director: Sam Mendes
Writer: Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Cast: Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Daniel Mays, Colin Firth, Andrew Scott, Mark Strong, Richard McCabe, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden
Seen on: 26.1.2020

Plot:
Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay) are called on by their superior officer General Erinmore (Colin Firth) to go on a special mission: they learned about a trap set for another battalion and if they aren’t warned, it will mean the death of 1,600 men. As Blake’s brother would be one of them, it falls to Blake and with him Schofield to deliver the message about the trap. The only problem is that they have to do it on foot and moving through enemy territory and if they don’t get there by morning, it will be too late.

I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to see 1917 at all, as my interest in war movies is limited. But I went to see it anyway (because Mendes, Deakins, that cast) and it’s definitely a film that hits home, despite some of my reservations about the general set-up.

The film poster showing two soldiers running into the sunset.
Continue reading