Manchester by the Sea (2016)

Manchester by the Sea
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Writer: Kenneth Lonergan
Cast: Casey AffleckLucas Hedges, Ben O’Brien, Kyle Chandler, Michelle Williams, Tate Donovan, Matthew Broderick
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 20.10.2016

Plot:
Lee (Casey Affleck) hasn’t been in his hometown Manchester-by-the-Sea for a while and he doesn’t actually want to return. But when his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) dies, leaving behind his teenage son Patrick (Lucas Hedges), Lee is called upon to return and take care of Patrick. Added to the grief over Joe’s passing is Lee’s confrontation with the past and the horrible events that are linked to Manchester-by-the-Sea and Lee’s ex-wife Randi (Michelle Williams).

I saw Manchester by the Sea before the news about Affleck’s history of abuse hit the media (or at least reached me) (this review is based on my notes from October). If I had known, I probably would have reconsidered watching this film. But having seen it , I have to admit that it’s a strong film, offering an unusual perspective on an old story.

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Triple 9 (2016)

Triple 9
Director: John Hillcoat
Writer: Matt Cook
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Woody Harrelson, Aaron Paul, Kate Winslet, Gal Gadot, Norman Reedus, Teresa Palmer, Michael Kenneth Williams, Clifton Collins Jr.
Seen on: 21.5.2016

Plot:
Michael (Chiwetel Ejiofor) used to be in the special forces, but now he works as a private contractor. And currently he’s been contracted by Irina (Kate Winslet) who runs the Russian mob in Atlanta. Although Michael is not particularly happy with his assignment, she forces his hand to pull off an impossible heist. Together with his crew, a mix of dirty cops and professional criminals, they realize that the only chance they have to pull it off is if they kill a cop as a distraction for their heist. But things don’t go as planned.

Triple 9 was one of the quietest releases ever, especially considering cast and crew involved in the film. After having seen it, though, it seems pretty clear that they simply didn’t want to waste any more money on a movie that fails in almost everything.

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Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Cast: Matthew McConaugheyAnne HathawayJessica Chastain, Wes BentleyDavid Gyasi, Michael Caine, Casey AffleckTopher GraceMatt Damon, John LithgowDavid Oyelowo, Bill Irwin, Mackenzie FoyTimothée Chalamet, Ellen Burstyn

Plot:
The earth is dying. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) used to be an engineer, but now he lives on a farm, trying to grow his own food, with his father (John Lithgow), his daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy) and his son Tom (Timothée Chalamet). Murphy is convinced that their house is haunted and actually figures out a message – coordinates. Intrigued Cooper drives there and stumbles on the world’s largest space project, trying to find other viable planets. It’s headed by his former professor Brand (Michael Caine) who promptly asks Cooper to join their last chance to find a planet in time. Even though it means leaving his family behind, especially Murphy, Cooper agrees and together with Brand’s daughter (Anne Hathaway), they take off.

Interstellar is a mixed bag of beans. Visually stunning, scientifically apparently accurate, at least for a while (not that I’d really know), and with all around great performances, it nevertheless fails when it comes to the storytelling.

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ParaNorman (2012)

ParaNorman
Director: Chris Butler, Sam Fell
Writer: Chris Butler
Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, Elaine Stritch, Bernard Hill, John Goodman

Plot:
Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) would be a normal boy if it wasn’t for the fact that he is able to speak with ghosts. Which the people around him either try to ignore (his family) or use as an excuse to bully him (his schoolmate Alvin). Only his dead grandma gives him support and his schoolmate Neil (Tucker Albrizzi) tries insistently to befriend him. But everything changes when his (seemingly?) crazy uncle Mr Prenderghast (John Goodman) warns him of the witch’s curse – and that Norman is the only one who can keep the dead from rising.

ParaNorman is sweet and absolutely funny, made with a lot of loving references to the B-to-D-horror-movies that usually feature zombies. I loved it.

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I’m Still Here (2010)

[Viennale.]

I’m Still Here is the mockumentary by Casey Affleck about Joaquin Phoenix‘ decision to become a rapper.

Plot:
in 2008, Joaquin Phoenix announces that he’s going to retire from acting to pursue his music career. His brother-in-law decides to document that transition. The film covers Phoenix’ tries to get P. Diddy to produce his albums, his continuous downfall and his desperate attempts to be taken seriously.

In the knowledge of the film being a hoax, I expected it to be pretty funny. But it was a painful movie (and not in a good way) that lasted too long. Phoenix performance is nothing short of amazing but the rest of the film is not worth it.

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