Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Director: Martin McDonagh
Writer: Martin McDonagh
Cast: Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Zeljko Ivanek, Caleb Landry Jones, Kerry Condon, Amanda Warren, Peter Dinklage, John Hawkes, Samara Weaving
Seen on: 5.2.2018
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Plot:
Mildred (Frances McDormand) has had enough. Her daughter was murdered and the police don’t even seem to try to solve it. So she posts three huge billboards that call attention to the fact. The billboards don’t fan the investigation so much as the emotions of the locals. They do make the life of police chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) more difficult, especially since his hotheaded deputy Dixon (Sam Rockwell) takes it personally.

Three Billboards tells its story very well. Unfortunately it just tells the completely wrong story, managing to perpetuate the racism it tries to stand against by centering the white perspective.

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The Florida Project (2017)

The Florida Project
Director: Sean Baker
Writer: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch
Cast: Brooklynn Prince, Christopher Rivera, Aiden Malik, Josie Olivo, Valeria Cotto, Edward Pagan, Bria Vinaite, Patti Wiley, Jasineia Ramos, Willem Dafoe, Caleb Landry Jones
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 31.10.2017
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Plot:
Six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) lives with her mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) in a motel at the edge of Disney World. As Halley struggles to just get by, Moonee has a lot of room to roam the premises, always half-watched by the motel manager Bobby (Willem Dafoe). Together with her best friend Scooty (Christoph Rivera) and newcomer Jancey (Valeria Cotto) and some other kids, they spend the summer out in the world, discovering everything.

The Florida Project is a film that perfectly captures the children’s perspective and through their eyes, tries to figure out how much space children need and how much is too much. It’s pretty damn wonderful.

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Get Out (2017)

Get Out
Director: Jordan Peele
Writer: Jordan Peele
Cast: Daniel KaluuyaAllison WilliamsCatherine KeenerBradley WhitfordCaleb Landry JonesMarcus HendersonBetty GabrielLakeith StanfieldStephen RootLilRel Howery
Seen on: 9.5.2017

Plot:
Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Allison Williams) have been dating for a while and now it’s time for Chris to meet Rose’s parents. The upcoming encounter fills Chris with dread, not only because it’s always a little terrifying to meet your in-laws, but also because Chris is black, Rose and her family are white and Rose never had a black boyfriend before. Chris steels himself for casual racism, but when he and Rose get there, something more than that seems off.

I had been looking forward to Get Out for quite a while and my expectations were really very high. When a film comes with that many accolades, it’s rare that it actually manages to live up to them. But I’m very happy to say that Get Out definitely does.

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Byzantium (2012)

Byzantium
Director: Neil Jordan
Writer: Moira Buffini
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Gemma ArtertonSam RileyJonny Lee Miller, Caleb Landry Jones, Daniel Mays, Uri Gavriel, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Tom Hollander
Seen on: 1.1.2017

Plot:
Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) and her mother Clara (Gemma Arterton) had to leave their old town in a hurry and have ended up in a small coastal town where they try for a new start. Being centuries old vampires, this is not the first time they had to do this. Eleanor is struggling with what she is, while Clara is pragmatic enough to always fall on her feet. She quickly finds Noel (Daniel Mays), who owns a run-down hotel, and with him shelter and work. Meanwhile Clare meets Frank (Caleb Landry Jones), a student with leukemia, and feels immediately drawn to him. But they aren’t save yet.

Byzantium has a great set-up and a great cast and it could have been utterly brilliant, but it did neither justice. To call it disappointing almost isn’t strong enough.

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Heaven Knows What (2014)

Heaven Knows What
Director: Ben SafdieJoshua Safdie
Writer: Ronald Bronstein, Joshua Safdie
Based on: Arielle Holmes’ autobiography (unpublished)
Cast: Arielle HolmesCaleb Landry JonesRon BraunsteinEleonore HendricksYuri Pleskun
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Harley (Arielle Holmes) and Ilya (Caleb Landry Jones) are in love. But it is a destructive, obsessive kind of love under the worst circumstances as they’re both homeless and addicted to drugs. As they move through New York, they move from drama to drama.

Heaven Knows What is an exhausting film and for me it wasn’t really worth the effort you had to put into it, though I’m not completely sure about it. In any case it was not a film I particularly enjoyed.

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Antiviral (2012)

Antiviral
Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Writer: Brandon Cronenberg
Cast: Caleb Landry Jones, Sarah Gadon, Douglas Smith, Joe Pingue, Nicholas Campbell, Sheila McCarthy, Malcolm McDowell, Lara Jean Chorostecki
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
Syd (Caleb Landry Jones) works for a clinic that specializes in infecting people with the diseases popular stars have, straight from their bodies. Syd himself is rather partial to model/actress Hannah Geist (Sarah Gadon) and makes a bit of an extra profit by smuggling the diseases out of the clinic by infecting himself and selling them on the black market. When Hannah gets sick from a mysterious disease, it’s Syd who is sent to pick up the virus. Of course, he also injects himself, only to find that Hannah died from the disease – and nobody knows how to cure it.

Antiviral was a fascinating, stylish movie that explores its core concepts right down to the very last detail. I really don’t know what to be more excited about with this film – the content or the amazing performance by Caleb Landry Jones.

antiviral

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Contraband (2012)

Contraband
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Writer: Aaron Guzikowski
Remake of: Reykjavík Rotterdam
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi, Lukas Haas, Caleb Landry Jones, David O’Hara, Diego Luna, J. K. Simmons

Plot:
Chris (Mark Wahlberg) used to be a smuggler (and a damn good one). But when he got a wife (Kate Beckinsale) and kids, he quit. Unfortunately, his brother-in-law Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) isn’t as smart or as good a smuggler and so he gets into trouble with Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi) who hired him to smuggle drugs Andy promptly had to dump. Briggs threatens Chris and his family and pressures him into a job. And so Chris and his best friend Sebastian (Ben Foster) get their old group together to get counterfeit money into the country.

Contraband is so formulaic, it practically becomes its own archetype. Unfortunately that’s the only thing that stands out about the film.

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