Emma. (2020)

Emma.
Director: Autumn de Wilde
Writer: Eleanor Catton
Based on: Jane Austen‘s novel
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Bill Nighy, Mia Goth, Myra McFadyen, Josh O’Connor, Callum Turner, Rupert Graves, Gemma Whelan, Amber Anderson, Miranda Hart, Tanya Reynolds, Connor Swindells, Oliver Chris
Seen on: 11.3.2020
[Here are my reviews of other Emma adaptations.]

Content Note: antiziganism

Plot:
Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy) is “handsome, clever, and rich” and also very interested in matching the people around her. She credits herself with matching up her former governess Miss Taylor (now Mrs Weston) (Gemma Whelan) and Mr Weston (Rupert Graves) and encouraged by that success, sets about her next “victim”, naive and unrefined Harriet Smith (Mia Goth). Despite the warnings of her friend Mr Knightley (Johnny Flynn), Emma wants to match Harriet with the local vicar, Mr Elton (Josh O’Connor). For herself, Emma has no plans – other than Mr Weston’s son Frank Churchill (Callum Turner) (who she has never met) excites her curiosity.

Emma. was absolutely delightful. It has one of the best comedy ensemble casts I’ve seen in a long time, wonderfully lush production design and really captures the spirit of the book. I was very taken by it.

The film poster showing Emma (Anya Taylor-Joy), Frank Churchill (Callum Turner) and Mr. Knightley (Johnny Flynn).
Continue reading

Bloodshot (2020)

Bloodshot
Director: Dave Wilson
Writer: Jeff Wadlow, Eric Heisserer
Based on: Kevin VanHook, Don Perlin and Bob Layton‘s comic
Cast: Vin Diesel, Eiza González, Lamorne Morris, Sam Heughan, Talulah Riley, Toby Kebbell, Guy Pearce, Siddharth Dhananjay, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, Alex Hernandez
Seen on: 10.3.2020

Plot:
Ray (Vin Diesel) is a soldier. Returning home from yet another dangerous mission, he is happy to relax with his wife Gina (Talulah Riley). Until they are both kidnapped by Axe (Toby Kebbell) – and killed. But Ray rises from the dead with the help of Dr. Harting (Guy Pearce) and his nanotechnology that gives him superhuman powers. Ray uses those powers to hunt down Axe and avenge his wife’s death. But he soon discovers that things aren’t quite as they seem.

Bloodshot is not a great film, but it is entertaining and could have been actually pretty good if it hadn’t been abandoned entirely by its own soundtrack.

The film poster showing Ray/Bloodshot (Vin Diesel) walking towards the camera, a smoking gun in each hand, his chest glowing and pierced by bullet holes.
Continue reading

All the Bright Places (2020)

All the Bright Places
Director: Brett Haley
Writer: Liz Hannah, Jennifer Niven
Based on: Jennifer Niven‘s novel
Cast: Elle Fanning, Justice Smith, Alexandra Shipp, Kelli O’Hara, Luke Wilson, Keegan-Michael Key
Seen on: 6.3.2020

Content Note: suicide, mental illness, domestic violence

Plot:
Finch (Justice Smith) is going for a run one night when he finds Violet (Elle Fanning) standing on the ledge of a bridge. He talks her down, but from then on, he can’t help wanting to help her. When their geography teacher gives them the assignment to explore Indiana’s sights in pairs, Finch sees the opportunity to partner up with Violet. She reluctantly agrees and they start their tours. But Finch, labelled a freak at school, has some problems of his own.

All the Bright Places looks like a “normal” teen romance film, but it goes pretty dark – darker than you expect from the look of it. Which is probably my biggest criticism of it, because other than that, it treats a difficult topic with a lot of care, albeit not always perfectly.

The film poster showing Violet (Elle Fanning) and Finch (Justice Smith) leaning in for a kiss.

[SPOILERS]

Read more

Fantasy Island (2020)

Fantasy Island
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Writer: Jillian Jacobs, Christopher Roach, Jeff Wadlow
Remake of: the Fantasy Island TV show
Cast: Michael Peña, Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell, Jimmy O. Yang, Portia Doubleday, Ryan Hansen, Michael Rooker, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Mike Vogel, Kim Coates, Robbie Jones, Jeriya Benn
Seen on: 5.3.2020

Plot:
Patrick (Austin Stowell), Melanie (Lucy Hale), Gwen (Maggie Q), J.D. (Ryan Hansen) and Brax (Jimmy O. Yang) won a stay on fantasy island where Mr Roarke (Michael Peña) supposedly makes all dreams come true. They have each submitted their descriptions of their fantasies and like magic, everything is prepared for them to make them into a reality. But soon things start to feel off and the fantasies turn dark and twisted.

I didn’t expect much from Fantasy Island. In fact, I was pretty much braced for something really bad (but the cast still drew me in). Turns out, the film isn’t very good, but it’s not as bad as I feared it would be.

The film poster showing the island, creating the shape of a skull from afar.
Continue reading

The Invisible Man (2020)

The Invisible Man
Director: Leigh Whannell
Writer: Leigh Whannell
Based on: H. G. Wellsnovel
Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Harriet Dyer, Michael Dorman
Seen on: 5.3.2020

Content Note: domestic violence, psychological abuse, stalking

Plot:
Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) finally manages to leave her abusive partner Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) in the middle of the night with the help of her sister Emily (Harriet Dyer). Now she’s staying with her friend James (Aldis Hodge) and his daughter Sydney (Storm Reid), but she’s still terrified that Adrian will find her. That’s when the news reaches her that Adrian killed himself and left her some money. Relieved at first, Cecilia soon notices strange things going on around her and is certain that Adrian is back in her life even if she can’t see him.

The Invisible Man is a really strong film that effectively uses its central and by now much-explored idea to make something completely new of it. I was very impressed and creeped out.

The film poster showing Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) looking at something behind her where there is only darkness.
Continue reading

Die Dohnal [Johanna Dohnal – Visionary of Feminism] (2020)

Die Dohnal
Director: Sabine Derflinger
Writer: Sabine Derflinger
Seen on: 27.2.2020

“Plot”:
Johanna Dohnal was Austria’s first minister for women and the first (outspoken) feminist to be part of the government in Austria (maybe even Europe). She fought for women’s rights and achieved a lot. The documentary looks at her achievements, her career and the influence she still has.

I have to say that until this documentary came out, Dohnal was not a name I really knew. She was a minister when I was a child and I was not a child overly involved in politics. And as is so often the case, women and their achievements are more quickly forgotten than you’d ever think possible. I don’t think I ever heard about Dohnal in school. So it is fantastic to get this documentary that memorializes her and makes sure we don’t forget what she made possible.

The film poster showing Johanna Dohnal smoking.
Continue reading

Modo Avião [Airplane Mode] (2020)

Modo Avião
Director: César Rodrigues
Writer: Alice Name Bomtempo, Renato Fagundes
Based on: Alberto Bremer and Jonathan Davis‘s script
Cast: Larissa Manoela, Erasmo Carlos, André Luiz Frambach, Nayobe Nzainab, Katiuscia Canoro, Michel Bercovitch, Sílvia Lourenço, Mariana Amâncio, Dani Ornellas, Phellyx Moura, Eike Duarte, Amanda Orestes
Seen on: 22.2.2020

Plot:
Ana (Larissa Manoela) is a huge influencer working for Carola (Katiuscia Canoro) and her fashion company. When her influencer boyfriend Gil (Eike Duarte) breaks up with her during a livestream and Ana has yet another car accident because she was on her phone, her parents (Michel Bercovitch, Sílvia Lourenço) have had it. They pretend that Ana has been ordered by court to hand over her cell phone and go on a digital detox at her grandfather’s (Erasmo Carlos) place in the middle of nowhere and without cell reception. Ana is appalled. The only bright spot there is João (André Luiz Frambach), the cute grocer’s son. But even as Ana settles into her new life, she still looks for any opportunity to get her hands on a smartphone.

The biggest draw for me to watch this film was the fact that its Brazilian and it’s been a while that I practiced my Portuguese. If that is not a good reason for you, you might want to skip this film because it really doesn’t have that much to offer, though it’s not un-entertaining.

The film poster showing Ana (Larissa Manoela) with a cell phone in her hand.
Continue reading

Dolittle (2020)

Dolittle
Director: Stephen Gaghan
Writer: Stephen Gaghan, Dan Gregor, Doug Mand, Chris McKay
Based on: Hugh Lofting‘s books
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Harry Collett, Carmel Laniado, Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Jessie Buckley, Kasia Smutniak, Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Marion Cotillard, Frances de la Tour, Jason Mantzoukas
Seen on: 13.2.2020
1-gif-review

Plot:
Doctor Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) has a gift: he’s a veterinarian who can talk to the animals directly. But every since his wife (Kasia Smutniak) was lost at sea, he hasn’t worked anymore. This changes quickly, when he gets two visitors in a day: the first one is Tommy (Harry Collett) who brings in a hurt squirrel, and the second is Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) who brings the news that the Queen (Jessie Buckley) may well be dying if Dolittle doesn’t help – and that would mean that he’d lose his entire estate. Forced from his isolation, Dolittle takes on the case – and Tommy makes sure to be part of it.

Dolittle has potential – Downey Jr. surrounded by animals voiced by a whole lot of excellent people? What can go wrong? A lot, apparently. Maybe this film should serve as a case study for that.

The film poster showing Doctor Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) surrounded by various animals.
Continue reading

Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020)

Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Director: Cathy Yan
Writer: Christina Hodson
Sequel to (kinda): Suicide Squad
Based on: Birds of Prey by Jordan B. Gorfinkel, Chuck Dixon and Harley Quinn by Paul Dini, Bruce Timm
Cast: Margot Robbie, Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Ella Jay Basco, Ewan McGregor, Chris Messina, Ali Wong
Part of: DC movies
Seen on: 7.2.2020
1-gif-review

Plot:
Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) was just broken up with and she’s not dealing all too well with the Joker’s rejection. As she parties her way through the heartache, she keeps the break-up under wraps, at least for a while. When she finally is able to admit to the break-up herself, she decides that a public statement is in order. What she didn’t consider, though, is that it would mean that half of Gotham city believes her to be an easy target now. Very quickly, Harley finds herself in the crosshairs of pretty much everybody, above all Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor). To save her own skin, Harley gets involved with the search for a diamond for Sionis and things get even more complicated from there.

Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is an absolutely fantastic film. It’s funny, has great characters, awesome action and looks gorgeous. It immediately became one of my favorite superhero movies.

The film poster showing Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) in party mode.
Continue reading

What Love Looks Like (2020)

What Love Looks Like
Director: Alex Magaña
Writer: Alex Magaña
Cast: Margo Graff, Josh Gilmer, Tevy Poe, Connor Wilkins, Kate Durocher, Nathan Kohnen, Taylor Alexa Frank, Trevor Sean, Ashley Rose McKenna, Jamie Shelnitz, Jack Menzies, Kyle Meck, Ana Ming Bostwick-Singer, Gabriella Wisdom, Kylee Wofford, Ian Nemser
Seen on: 1.2.2020
[Screener review.]

Plot:
Dating is hard and there are many different ways in which it can be hard. Summer (Jamie Shelnitz) and Calvin (Connor Wilkins) are trying their hands at online dating. Sam (Nathan Kohnen) has difficulties getting over Willow (Gabriella Wisdom) who left a big hole in his life. Nicole (Kate Durocher) would just like her boyfriend Owen’s (Josh Gilmer) attention for once. Theodore (Jack Menzies) thinks that Bailey (Ana Ming Bostwick-Singer) is the most beautiful girl ever, but that doesn’t mean he can just go and talk to her. And when Finn (Kyle Meck) finally gets up his courage to talk to Penelope (Taylor Alexa Frank), it’s only to discover that she is returning to London soon. Will all of them figure out ways to deal?

What Love Looks Like is a sweet film. Given its episodic nature, at least one of the stories is bound to resonate with you, most likely scratching any romantic itch you might have. I enjoyed it, though I didn’t completely love it.

The film poster showing five romantic constellations.
Continue reading