Incredibles 2 (2018)

Incredibles 2
Director: Brad Bird
Writer: Brad Bird
Sequel to: The Incredibles
Cast: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Catherine Keener, Eli Fucile, Bob Odenkirk, Samuel L. Jackson, Sophia Bush, Isabella Rossellini, Barry Bostwick
Seen on: 3.8.2018

Plot:
Superheroes are illegal but that’s not keeping the Parr family from still doing their best ot help everybody. But the Deavor siblings (Catherine Keener, Bob Odenkirk) have hatched a plan on how to rehabilitate superheroism. To that purpose, they ask Helen Parr aka Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) to become the public face of the campaign. That leaves Bob Parr aka Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) in charge of the kids at home. While Helen takes on her new role with gusto, Bob struggles as a stay-at-home dad.

Incredibles 2 is alright. It’s not a great film and at times it becomes a little too long, but it’s entertaining enough and has some very funny moments.

Film poster showing the "Incredible" family and Mr. Freeze in action mode.
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The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag (1992)

The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag
Director: Allan Moyle
Writer: Grace Cary Bickley
Cast: Penelope Ann Miller, Eric Thal, Alfre Woodard, Julianne Moore, Andy Romano, Ray McKinnon, William Forsythe, Xander Berkeley, Meat Loaf, Catherine Keener
Seen on: 2.4.2018

Plot:
Betty Lou (Penelope Ann Miller) is a librarian, and married to Alex (Eric Thal), a police officer. But Alex and pretty much everyone else is ignoring her. And Betty Lou really doesn’t know how to make somebody pay attention. Not even when she finds a murder weapon is she able to make anybody listen to her. But she has had it and when she accidentally fires the gun herself and is arrested, she confesses to the murder herself. And suddenly all eyes are on her.

The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag is a very, very stupid film that makes absolutely no sense and isn’t funny despite how much it tries to be. It’s a film best forgotten (and it probably would have been already if it wasn’t for Julianne Moore’s small supporting role. At least that’s the reason I know about the film in the first place).

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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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Begin Again (2013)

Begin Again
Director: John Carney
Writer: John Carney
Cast: Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Adam LevineHailee Steinfeld, James Corden, Mos Def, Catherine Keener, Rob Morrow, CeeLo Green

Plot:
Dan (Mark Ruffalo) is a producer. Or rather, he used to be – these days he’s mostly drinking and despairing at the state of the music industry, while his estranged wife Miriam (Catherine Keener) and equally estranged daughter Violet (Hailee Steinfeld) grow ever more frustrated about it. After he loses his job, despite having funded the company he worked for together with his friend Saul (Mos Def), he hits a new low. That’s when he hears Gretta (Keira Knightley) sing and falls in love with her music. But Gretta sees herself as a songwriter only and is not interested in a career as a singer, especially since she just had a bad break-up with her newly made superstar of a boyfriend (Adam Levine). But Dan convinces her that they should record an album together.

Begin Again [German title absurdly enough “Can a Song Save Your Life?”] might not be quite as magical as Once was, but it is a sweet film with a very nice soundtrack that I enjoyed a lot.

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Captain Phillips (2013)

Captain Phillips
Director: Paul Greengrass
Writer: Billy Ray
Based on: Richard Phillips and Stephan Talty’s book
Cast: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Mahat M. Ali, Michael Chernus, Catherine Keener, Max Martini

Plot:
Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) has been a container ship captain for a while. But during his recent trip, things start to go wrong when their ship is being followed by a group of Somali pirates, led by Muse (Barkhad Abdi). Phillips can thwart their first attack, but then he finds his ship taken over. And that’s just the beginning.

Captain Phillips starts off very well but then it all got a bit much for me. But Greengrass never lets it get boring and Tom Hanks hasn’t impressed me as much since about forever.

captain_phillips

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Re-Watch: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Director: Chris Columbus
Writer: Craig Titley
Based on: Rick Riordan’s novel
Cast: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Coogan, Rosario Dawson, Catherine Keener, Kevin McKidd, Uma Thurman
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Percy Jackson’s (Logan Lerman) life is far from perfect. He’s dyslexic, suffers from ADHD and his mom (Catherine Keener) is married to an asshole. And then Percy finds out that his father is the god Poseidon, his best friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) is a satyr and his teacher (Pierce Brosnan) is a centaur. But that’s only the start of his adventures since Zeus’ (Sean Bean) lightning bolt was stolen – and everyone thinks it was Percy who did it.

On re-watching the film it is at the same time less infuriating but also less fun than the first time round. It’s nice, but it also feels completely inconsequential. It’s the kind of film you watch and you don’t mind seeing it but you never think of it again as soon as it’s done.

percyjackson

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The Croods (2013)

The Croods
Director: Kirk De Micco, Chris Sanders
Writer: Kirk De Micco, Chris Sanders
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman

Plot:
Eep (Emma Stone) lives in a cave with her family, fiercely protected by her father Grug (Nicolas Cage). Grug lives by the credo the everything new is bad and will get you killed. But Eep is not satisfied with that – she’s way too curious. And then she stumbles upon Guy (Ryan Reynolds), a young man who is prophesizing the end of the world. When their cave gets destroyed, Eep and her family join Guy on his way to a safe place.

The trailer for the Croods promised a coming-of-age story as Eep gains her independence from her father – which is a movie I would have loved to see. Unfortunately what we got was a movie that quickly sidelines Eep to focus on the guys, especially Grug.

The-Croods

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Into the Wild (2007)

Into the Wild is a movie by Sean Penn, based on Jon Krakauer‘s book, starring Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone, Catherine Keener, Vince Vaughn, Kristen Stewart, Hal Holbrook and Zach Galifianakis.

Plot:
Chris McCandless (Emile Hirsch) has just finished university and decides to drop out. He is fed up with the dishonesty of the lives around him, his parents’ (Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt) loveless marriage, the unfairness of capitalism. So he packs his things and takes off on a cross-country tour of the USA. Without any money and avoiding any contact with his parents and sister (Jena Malone), he sets off with the big goal to go to Alaska, encountering various people along the way.

Chris McCandless story is interesting and touching and Sean Penn found himself an amazing cast to tell it. Unfortunately he is not the world’s greatest director and the cinematography could have been better, too (he’s very lucky that Emile Hirsch is as pretty as he is, because that camera spends an inordinate amount of time shoved in his face). But despite that, it is still a very good film to watch.

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Cyrus (2010)

[Viennale.]

Cyrus is the newest movie by Mark and Jay Duplass, starring John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill and Catherine Keener.

Plot:
John (John C. Reilly) is in a depressed hole and has been there for quite a while. Maybe even since he split up with Jamie (Catherine Keener), who remains his friend. One night at a party, he meets Molly (Marisa Tomei). They hit it off right away and John falls in love. But Molly has a grown son, Cyrus (Jonah Hill) and neither Molly nor Cyrus seem to be able to let go of each other.

There were quite a few things I appreciated about this film – foremost the acting, but also the way the characters talked to each other – but in the end, it remains yet another story about two guys fighting for the girl where the girl gets no say in the matter. That the two guys are not two lovers but the lover and the son makes hardly any difference. And there are way too many films about this already.

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Synecdoche, New York (2008)

Synecdoche, New York is Charlie Kaufmann‘s directorial debut (he wrote it, too, of course), starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Samantha Morton, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Hope Davis, Emily Watson and Dianne Wiest.

Plot:
Caden (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is a theatre director. He’s married to Adele (Catherine Keener), an artist who paints miniature pictures (and when I say miniature, I mean that you need magnifying glasses to see them). They have a daughter together and even though Caden is constantly worrying about his health, things seem to be going good. Until Adele leaves for Germany to do an art show there and takes her best friend (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and their daughter with her. Then Caden’s life kind of falls apart until he receives a grant that let’s him realise a rather ambitious theatre project: He wants to show life as it is – so he starts rebuilding Synecdoche, a part of New York inside a warehouse.

Well, this is not only a Charlie Kaufmann movie, this is Charlie Kaufmann squared. The outcome is even more surreal than anything else he’s ever done. I can’t say that I know what’s going on in this movie, but I know that I don’t care: I liked it anyway.

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