Short Cuts (1993)

Short Cuts
Director: Robert Altman
Writer: Robert Altman, Frank Barhydt
Based on: short stories and a poem by Raymond Carver
Cast: Andie MacDowell, Bruce Davison, Jack Lemmon, Zane Cassidy, Julianne Moore, Matthew Modine, Anne Archer, Fred Ward, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Chris Penn, Lili Taylor, Robert Downey Jr., Madeleine Stowe, Tim Robbins, Lily Tomlin, Tom Waits, Frances McDormand, Peter Gallagher, Huey Lewis, Annie Ross, Lori Singer, Lyle Lovett, Buck Henry,
Seen on: 20.10.2018
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Plot:
Nine intersecting stories of people in Los Angeles during the Medfly epidemic: Ann (Andie MacDowell) and Howard’s (Bruce Davidson) child (Zane Cassidy) was in an accident just before his coma. Police man Gene (Tim Robbins) cheats on his wife Sherri (Madeline Stowe). Lois (Jennifer Jason Leigh) works for a sex hotline, much to the dislike of her husband Jerry (Chris Penn). Doreen (Lily Tomlin) and Earl (Tom Waits) have a good marriage, at least as long as Earl is sober. Honey (Lily Taylor) and Bill (Robert Downey Jr.) are housesitting. Stormy (Peter Gallagher) is struggling with his divorce from Betty (Frances McDormand). Zoe tries to connect with her mother Tess (Annie Ross). Claire (Anne Archer) and her husband Stuart (Fred Ward) are invited to dinner by Marian (Julianne Moore) and Ralph (Matthew Modine). Stuart, Gordon (Buck Henry) and Vern (Huey Lewis) are looking forward to a long-planned fishing trip.

Short Cuts was really painful: a film filled with unlikeable men who behave like assholes and somehow we are supposed to think think that’s funny and/or interesting? No, thank you and I mean that in the harshest possible sense.

The film poster showing a fractured red heart in front of a white background.
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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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Words and Pictures (2013)

Words and Pictures
Director: Fred Schepisi
Writer: Gerald Di Pego
Cast: Clive Owen, Juliette Binoche, Bruce Davison, Valerie Tian, Amy Brenneman

Plot:
Jack (Clive Owen) is an English teacher who used to be a good poet, but is now an alcoholic who can’t put words to paper anymore. Dina (Juliette Binoche) is a sought-after painter who suffers from rheumatiod arthritis which makes her inable to paint as she used to. So she starts working as an art teacher at Jack’s school and the two become rivals immediately. As they argue over words vs. pictures, their class takes up the fight as well and channel it into a creative outlet.

Words and Pictures was mostly enjoyable even though it is a film that tries way too hard with pretty much everything.

wordsandpictures[SPOILERS]

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The Lords of Salem (2012)

The Lords of Salem
Director: Rob Zombie
Writer: Rob Zombie
Cast: Sheri Moon Zombie, Bruce Davison, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Judy Geeson, Meg Foster, Patricia Quinn, Ken Foree, Dee Wallace
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie) is a radio DJ in Salem – as in the witch trials. One day she receives a mysterious package with an even more mysterious record in it, a song by The Lords, subsequently known as The Lords of Salem. But there’s more to that record than just good marketing and the song starts triggering massive events.

There were quite a few things that I liked about this movie, but I have to say that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have because the soundediting drove me infuckingsane. I spent large portions of the film with my ears covered.

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Re-Watch: X2 (2003)

X2
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: David Hayter, Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris
Based on: The Marvel Comics series
Sequel to: X-Men
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn, Brian Cox, Alan Cumming, Bruce Davison, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford, Kelly Hu

Plot:
The Mutant Registration Act is still a very distinct possibility and threatens the mutants’ existence. And then a new mutant – Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) – attempts to kill the president and almost succeeds, adding further fuel to the debate. The retired Colonel Stryker (Brian Cox) is leading among the people against mutants and uses the assassination attempt as an excuse to attack Professor X’s (Patrick Stewart) school with knowledge he gained from drugging Magneto (Ian McKellen).

X2 is the rare case where the sequel is actually better than the first film (even though the first film wasn’t bad). It’s enjoyable as hell.

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Re-Watch: X-Men (2000)

X-Men
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: David Hayter
Based on: The Marvel Comics series
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn, Ray Park, Tyler Mane, Bruce Davison, Shawn Ashmore

Plot:
The world is changing and so are humans. Ever so slowly “mutants” are emerging – humans one step further in the evolution of things who have special powers. Marie (Anna Paquin) is one of them. When her power kicks in, she runs away from home and quite accidentally meets Logan (Hugh Jackman), another mutant. Together they end up at Professor Xavier’s (Patrick Stewart) school for mutants and get caught in the war that is brewing between Xavier, his old friend Eric (Ian McKellen) and the humans.

It’s been ages that I saw the film and I have to say that it holds its own quite well, even after all this time. Yeah, it has the occasional headdesk-worthy dialogue, but it’s fun, has a good cast and treats its premise with respect. Very enjoyable.

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