Possessor (2020)

Possessor
Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Writer: Brandon Cronenberg
Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rossif Sutherland, Gabrielle Graham, Tuppence Middleton, Raoul Bhaneja, Sean Bean
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Festival
Seen on: 20.6.2021
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Content Note: suicide

Plot:
Tasya (Andrea Riseborough) has a very special job: she takes over people’s bodies, using them to fulfill her company’s missions – usually assassinations. It’s a job that doesn’t allow for errors, and it definitely doesn’t allow its operatives to lose sight of who they are. But Tasya has had some troubles recently, and her new job – taking over Colin (Christopher Abbott) – might be more than she can handle.

Possessor has a really good concept and came with some accolades, but ultimately I’m afraid that I expected a little more than it delivered. Which doesn’t mean that it isn’t an engaging and thoughtful film worth your time.

The film poster showing somebody wearing a mask that looks like a melted face and holding a knife.
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The Grudge (2020)

The Grudge
Director: Nicolas Pesce
Writer: Nicolas Pesce
Sequel to/Reboot of: The Grudge (2004)
Remake of: Ju-on (2002)
Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Demián Bichir, John Cho, Lin Shaye, Jacki Weaver, Frankie Faison, William Sadler, Tara Westwood, David Lawrence Brown, Zoe Fish, Betty Gilpin, John J. Hansen
Seen on: 16.1.2020

Plot:
Detective Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough) just moved to the area with her son Burke (John J. Hansen). They are slowly getting settled, when Muldoon and her partner Goodman (Demián Bichir) are called to the site of a car accident that has remained undiscovered for a while. Their investigation leads them to a particular house that Goodman has come across in previous investigations and refuses to enter. Muldoon’s interest is piqued when she learns of the house’s history and Goodman’s refusal. She actually goes there and brings the curse that lies on it back out – like many families before her.

The Grudge is a mess of a film – and a boring one at that. Compared to Pesce’s last film Piercing and the Grudge films that came before (as I remember them at least), this one is, unfortunately, a disappointment.

The film poster showing a hand coming out of the back of Peter's (John Cho) head as he takes a shower.
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Mandy (2018)

Mandy
Director: Panos Cosmatos
Writer: Panos Cosmatos, Aaron Stewart-Ahn
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, Ned Dennehy, Olwen Fouéré, Richard Brake, Bill Duke
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 20.9.2018
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Plot:
Red (Nicolas Cage) and Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) couldn’t be happier with each other. They live remotely and they live mostly for each other. But their intense togetherness is not only disrupted, it is destroyed when Mandy catches the eye of Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache), the leader of a local cult. Jeremiah shows up at Red and Mandy’s home ready to do everything to get Mandy to himself.

Mandy starts off well enough, but after the first hour or so, I lost interest in it. It’s intriguing, and as an opening to this year’s /slash Filmfestival it was well-chosen, but it just didn’t work all the way through.

The film poster all in red hues, showing various of the film's characters.
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Battle of the Sexes (2017)

Battle of the Sexes
Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Writer: Simon Beaufoy
Cast: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Natalie Morales, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, Eric Christian Olsen, Fred Armisen, Jessica McNamee, Austin Stowell, Lewis Pullman
Seen on: 26.8.2018

Plot:
Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) is a successful tennis player, fed up with the sexism in the industry that keeps female players down. Fellow player Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) is adamant that female players are paid less because they are less entertaining and also less good at tennis. Finally the beack and forth leads to a tennis match between the two that becomes emblematic for the entire fight for women’s rights.

Battle of the Sexes was nice, but it remains flatter than it should have been and doesn’t dare to rock the boat too much, which is disappointing.

The film poster showing Emma Stone and Steve Carell.
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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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Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Nocturnal Animals
Director: Tom Ford
Writer: Tom Ford
Based on: Austin Wright‘s novel Tony and Susan
Cast: Amy AdamsJake GyllenhaalMichael ShannonAaron Taylor-JohnsonIsla FisherEllie BamberArmie HammerKarl GlusmanRobert AramayoLaura LinneyAndrea RiseboroughMichael Sheen
Seen on: 29.12.2016

Plot:
Art gallery owner Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) receives a package in the mail. It contains the draft of her ex-husband Edward Sheffield’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) new novel and the information that he is in town and would like to meet her. Susan hasn’t spoken to him in almost 20 years and she is surprised by the novel and the meeting, but she starts to read the novel that was apparently inspired by her. It tells the story of Tony Hastings (Jake Gyllenhaal) who goes on a roadtrip with his wife Laura (Isla Fisher) and daughter India (Ellie Bamber) – a roadtrip that turns violent when they get into trouble with another car and its passengers.

Nocturnal Animals is a highly polished film that tells a story that goes under the skin. It’s definitely not a film that lets go of you easily, even if not everything about it works without a hitch.

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Re-Watch: Birdman (2014)

Birdman [aka Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)]
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Writer: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris,Armando Bo
Cast: Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts, Andrea RiseboroughEdward Norton, Merritt Wever, Amy Ryan, Lindsay Duncan
Seen on: 26.02.2015
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Riggan (Michael Keaton) came to fame for playing superhero Birdman when he was younger. Now he’s a little washed-up and desperately trying to reclaim his former glory by mounting a play based on Raymond Carver‘s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”. This is made slightly more difficult by the fact that Riggan lost his second lead actor only days before opening night, that the replacement hired – Mike (Edward Norton) – is horrible to work with and that New York’s most important critic Tabitha Dickinson (Lindsay Duncan) hates Riggan. Not to forget, there’s also Riggan’s family, especially his daughter Sam (Emma Stone) who is trying to get back on her feet after rehab. But probably worst of all: in his head, Riggan can hear Birdman constantly berating him.

Re-watching the film, I might have focused on its weaknesses a little more than the first time round, but it’s still a very strong film that entertained me a lot.

birdman

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Birdman (2014)

Birdman [aka Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)]
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Writer: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo
Cast: Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts, Andrea RiseboroughEdward Norton, Merritt Wever, Amy Ryan, Lindsay Duncan
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Riggan (Michael Keaton) came to fame for playing superhero Birdman when he was younger. Now he’s a little washed-up and desperately trying to reclaim his former glory by mounting a play based on Raymond Carver‘s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”. This is made slightly more difficult by the fact that Riggan lost his second lead actor only days before opening night, that the replacement hired – Mike (Edward Norton) – is horrible to work with and that New York’s most important critic Tabitha Dickinson (Lindsay Duncan) hates Riggan. Not to forget, there’s also Riggan’s family, especially his daughter Sam (Emma Stone) who is trying to get back on her feet after rehab. But probably worst of all: in his head, Riggan can hear Birdman constantly berating him.

Birdman was funny, sad and cringeworthy all at the same time. Even though it wasn’t completely issue-free, I really enjoyed it a lot.

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Disconnect (2012)

Disconnect
Director: Henry Alex Rubin
Writer: Andrew Stern
Cast: Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Frank Grillo, Michael Nyqvist, Paula Patton, Andrea Riseborough, Alexander Skarsgård, Max Thieriot, Colin Ford, Jonah Bobo, Haley Ramm

Plot:
Ben Boyd (Jonah Bobo) is a bit of an outcast in school, especially Jason Dixon (Colin Ford) picks on him and even goes so far as to create a fake facebook profile of a girl in love with Ben. Meanwhile, Jason’s dad Mike (Frank Grillo) investigates the identity theft that happened to the Hulls after Cindy Hull (Paula Patton) chatted with somebody about the loss of her child. Nina Dunham (Andrea Riseborough) is also involved in chatting – with young sex worker Kyle (Max Thieriot) who she’s trying to win for a story for her news station.

Disconnect thinks that it’s a film about the disconnect caused by technology. But as technophobia gets the better of it, it loses coherence and works against its own point.

disconnect

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Oblivion (2013)

Oblivion
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writer: Joseph Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek, Michael Arndt
Based on: Joseph Kosinski’s and Arvid Nelson‘s unpublished comic
Cast: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Morgan Freeman, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Melissa Leo, Zoe Bell

Plot:
Jack (Tom Cruise) and Vicka (Andrea Riseborough) are the only people left on earth. Everybody else has left after aliens attacked the earth and the only way to get rid of them were nuclear bombs. Now Jack and Vicka are tasked with drone repair, while the last of the water is sucked up to be transported to the human colony. But there are still some aliens on earth that keep attacking. Bit by bit though, Jack starts questioning what’s going on.

Oblivion stole most of its parts from famous SciFi movies and jumbles them together in absolutely meaningless and idiotic ways. It could have succeeded in being an homage, if it had been able to become more than just a string of scenes and plot points we already saw somewhere else. But unfortunately it just isn’t clever enough for that.

Oblivion

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