Mother’s Day (2016)

Mother’s Day
Director: Garry Marshall
Writer: Anya Kochoff, Matthew Walker, Tom Hines
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Timothy Olyphant, Shay MitchellJason Sudeikis, Julia RobertsHector Elizondo, Kate Hudson, Margo Martindale, Aasif Mandvi, Robert Pine, Sarah Chalke, Cameron Esposito, Jennifer Garner, Britt Robertson, Jack Whitehall, Jon Lovitz, Penny Marshall
Seen on: 16.8.2016

Mothers come in many shapes and forms. Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) is really good at being divorced from Henry (Timothy Olyphant): they get along better now than they ever did before. That is, until Henry tells her that he has a new girlfriend (Shay Mitchell) who is much younger. Meanwhile, sisters Jesse (Kate Hudson) and Gabi (Sarah Chalke) are both happy in their respective partnerships and with the distance that lies between them and their parents (Margo Martindale, Robert Pine) – who don’t know that Jesse’s partner (Aasif Mandvi) is of Indian descent and that Gabi’s partner (Cameron Esposito) is a woman. Miranda (Julia Roberts) on the other hand opted out of being a mother and rather focused on her career, while Kristin (Britt Robertson) and Zack (Jack Whitehall) just had a baby, despite being rather young and poor. And Bradley (Jason Sudeikis) has to face the first Mother’s Day with his daughters since his wife passed away.

Mother’s Day was shown in the sneak preview I attended, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have bothered watching it. But I have to admit that it was a rather enjoyable film – even if far from flawless.

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Today’s Special (2009)

Today’s Special
Director: David Kaplan
Writer: Aasif MandviJonathan Bines
Based on: Aasif Mandvi’s play Sakina’s Restaurant
Cast: Aasif Mandvi, Naseeruddin Shah, Jess WeixlerDean WintersKevin CorriganMadhur JaffreyHarish Patel
Seen on: 1.8.2016

Samir (Aasif Mandvi) loves cooking but his career as a chef seems to have hit a dead-end. So he has decided to go to Paris for a while and get some fresh wind into his cooking. Unfortunately that’s when his father (Harish Patel) has a heart-attack and Samir has to take over the family restaurant, a dingy Indian place. So far, Samir has always avoided engaging with Indian food, but facing the very real possibility of the restaurant having to close, he digs in with the help of cab driver and former chef Akbar (Naseeruddin Shah) who seems to have done everything at least once in his life. And maybe going back to his roots is just what Samir needs for his own cooking.

Today’s Special is a sweet film with lively characters. Plotwise there’s not much that can’t be seen from a mile away, but that’s not a bad thing if you simply want some nice entertainment. Which is exactly what you will get from this film.

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The Internship (2013)

The Internship
Director: Shawn Levy
Writer: Vince Vaughn, Jared Stern
Cast: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Josh BrenerDylan O’BrienTiya Sircar, Tobit Raphael, Max Minghella, Rose Byrne, Aasif Mandvi, Josh Gad, Jessica Szohr, Rob Riggle, Eric André, Will Ferrell, John Goodman

Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) have been salesmen and friends for their entire working life. But with the rise of the digital age, nobody really needs their services anymore. So they decide to start fresh – with an internship at Google. But not knowing anything about computers/the internet and competing with a whole lot of kids for the jobs might make everything a bit more difficult than they thought.

The Internship is fine. I basically saw it for Dylan O’Brien (though John Goodman and Max Minghella were a nice bonus) and if he hadn’t been in it and if I therefore hadn’t seen it, I probably wouldn’t have missed much. But it was entertaining enough.


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Movie 43 (2013)

Movie 43 (it’s a comedy anthology with the following segments)
Writer (for the most parts): Rocky Russo, Jeremy Sosenko, Steve Baker
The Thread (in the European version, that’s the framing device; in the US, I gather, it’s a different story)
Director: Bob Odenkirk
Cast: Devin Eash, Adam Cagley, Mark L. Young
The Catch
Director: Peter Farrelly
Cast: Kate Winslet, Hugh Jackman
Director: Will Graham
Cast: Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts, Jeremy Allen White
The Proposition
Director: Steve Carr
Cast: Chris Pratt, Anna Faris
Director: Griffin Dunne
Cast: Kieran Culkin, Emma Stone
Director: Steven Brill
Cast: Richard Gere, Kate Bosworth, Aasif Mandvi, Jack McBrayer
Superhero Speed Dating
Director: James Duffy
Cast: Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Kristen Bell, Bobby Cannavale, Leslie Bibb, John Hodgman
Machine Kids
Director: Jonathan van Tulleken
Writer: Jonathan van Tulleken
Middleschool Date
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Cast: Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Patrick Warburton, Matt Walsh
Director: Patrik Forsberg
Writer: Patrik Forsberg
Happy Birthday
Director: Brett Ratner
Cast: Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott, Gerard Butler
Truth or Dare
Director: Peter Farrelly, Patrik Forsberg
Cast: Stephen Merchant, Halle Berry
Victory’s Glory
Director: Rusty Cundieff
Cast: Terrence Howard
Director: James Gunn
Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Josh Duhamel

Calvin (Mark L. Young) and his best friend JJ (Adam Cagley) wanted to trick his little brother Baxter (Devin Eash) by making him look for a supposedly banned film that doesn’t actually exist – Movie 43. But Baxter actually finds something, and as they move from clip to clip they come ever closer to the truth.

People, heed my warning. I thought that a movie with that cast couldn’t possible be as bad as the trailer. “There must be something there,” I thought. “Something redeeming. It can’t possibly be all dick jokes, scatological humor and misanthropy?” Now I laugh in the face of my naivité. Because that really is all there is to this film: people behaving like disgusting assholes and we’re supposed to laugh about it. And all that remains after seeing the film is a question: Why? Why would anybody want to make such a film? Why are any of the actors involved in this? Why would anybody think that shit is funny? WHYYYYY????


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Ruby Sparks (2012)

Ruby Sparks
Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Writer: Zoe Kazan
Cast: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Chris Messina, Toni Trucks, Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas, Aasif Mandvi, Steve Coogan, Deborah Ann Woll, Elliott Gould

Calvin (Paul Dano) wrote a critically acclaimed bestseller when he was very young – and has been stuck ever since. He can’t really write anything, he’s afraid that he won’t live up to his own reputation. But then he starts writing about Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan) – the perfect girl for him – and literally falls in love with his own creation. That is, until she actually shows up in his kitchen. At first, Calvin believes that he’s finally cracked, but other people can see her, too. And so Calvin doesn’t question it, instead starts enjoying their relationship. But how long can anybody remain perferct?

Ruby Sparks is the perfect take-down of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope. And not only that, it is also a wonderfully charming, touching and funny movie with an extremely excellent cast.


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Dark Horse (2011)

Dark Horse
Director: Todd Solondz
Writer: Todd Solondz
Cast: Jordan Gelber, Selma Blair, Mia Farrow, Christopher Walken, Justin Bartha, Zachary Booth, Aasif Mandvi, Donna Murphy
Part of: Viennale

Abe (Jordan Gelber) works for his father Jackie (Christopher Walken), where he does a pretty bad job, actually, since his interest is mostly invested in his toy collection, and gets his butt saved more often than not by co-worker Marie (Donna Murphy). When Abe meets the depressed Miranda (Selma Blair), he asks her out and since she’s basically too lethargic to decline, that’s actually the start of something.

I saw an interview with Todd Solondz where he said that he wanted to test the audience’ limits of sympathy with the character of Abe. Well, I guess I failed that test because I just couldn’t bring myself to care about him – and with my lack of sympathy for him, the movie didn’t work either.

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