Love & Friendship (2016)

Love & Friendship
Director: Whit Stillman
Writer: Whit Stillman
Based on: Lady Susan by Jane Austen
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Morfydd Clark, Tom Bennett, Jenn Murray, Lochlann O’Mearáin, Sophie Radermacher, Chloë Sevigny, Stephen Fry, Xavier Samuel, Emma Greenwell, Justin Edwards
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 26.10.2016

Plot:
Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) is a widow with a 16-year-old daughter, Frederica (Morfydd Clark). Susan very much enjoys her widowhood and has garnered quite a reputation as a seductress. Her most recent conquest, Mr. Manwaring (Lochlann O’Mearáin), has left her in a bit of a delicate situation, so she retreats to her brother’s (Justin Edwards) estate. Her sister-in-law Catherine Vernon (Emma Greenwell) is not pleased as she suspects Susan’s scheming ways. Catherine’s brother Reginald (Xavier Samuel), on the other hand, is rather intrigued by her, despite the warnings. Susan knows she will have to find good husbands for Frederica and herself to secure their futures, so that’s what she sets her mind to.

Love & Friendship was an utterly delightful film. Funny, romantic and filled with great characters, the film is the novel Jane Austen could have written if she had wanted to spend more time on Lady Susan. I absolutely adored it.

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Little Accidents (2014)

Little Accidents
Director: Sara Colangelo
Writer: Sara Colangelo
Cast: Boyd HolbrookElizabeth BanksJacob LoflandJosh LucasChloë Sevigny
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Amos (Boyd Holbrook) is the only survivor of a coal mining accident that wreaked havoc in a small town. Among the victims that didn’t survive was Owen’s (Jacob Lofland) father. Owen and Amos both are desperately trying to make sense of things and go back to normal, Amos despite his injuries and the fact that the decision about re-compensation hinges on his testimony. Also on the line is mine manager’s Bill Doyle’s (Josh Lucas) career, another strain on his marriage to Diane (Elizabeth Banks). When their son JT (Travis Tope) goes missing, it is unclear whether there is a connection to the disaster.

Little Accidents was a beautiful and touching film with a few weaknesses, but only very few.

little-accidents

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Mr. Nice (2010)

Mr. Nice
Director: Bernard Rose
Writer: Bernard Rose
Based on: Howard Marks‘ autobiography
Cast: Rhys Ifans, Chloë Sevigny, David Thewlis, Crispin Glover, Jack Huston

Plot:
Howard Marks (Rhys Ifans) is a Welsh small-town nerd who manages to get into Oxford university. But as soon as he hits the big city, he quickly gets tangled up in drugs. And since he doesn’t really do things half-assed, he is not content in smoking pot, but he starts his own successful drug business as Mr. Nice, together with IRA member Jim McCann (David Thewlis). But there’s only so many drugs a person can sell until the police will get involved.

I have to admit that I didn’t really research this film before going in. I just saw the cast and thought that I wanted to see it. If I had known more about it, I might have been better prepared. But I don’t think that I would have enjoyed the 60s-drug-dealer-romanticism any more had I known that it was coming.

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The Killing Room (2009)

The Killing Room is a film by Jonathan Liebesman, starring Chloë Sevigny, Peter Stormare, Timothy Hutton, Nick Cannon, Shea Whigham and Clea DuVall (it seems I’m on a Clea DuVall roll. In the past month I’ve seen more films with her than in the past three years put together).

Plot:
Emily Reilly (Chloë Sevigny) is a military psychologist who gets called in for a job interview by Dr. Phillips (Peter Stormare) who works for a secret division of the CIA. He wants her to take a look at an experiment he’s been conducting: In this experiment, Phillips locks four strangers into a room. Under the pretense of normal psychological testing. But the experiment gets quickly out of hand when Phillips shoots one of the four.

I like locked room films and The Killing Room is a nice example of one. It probably won’t blow you away or leave you astonished, but it does its job nicely (if you disregard the logical flaws and the bad script) and with good performances.

[SPOILERS]

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Demonlover (2002)

[Part of the Science Fiction special in the Vienna Filmmuseum.]

Demonlover is a movie by Olivier Assayas, starring Connie Nielsen, Charles Berling, Chloë Sevigny and Gina Gershon.

Plot:
The Wolf Corporation are planning their big entry into the anime porn market. Diane (Connie Nielsen), who works for Wolf, “insinuates” herself with quite hard measures into the negotiations. Together with her colleague Hervé (Charles Berling) she flies to Tokyo to close the deal. But we soon discover that Diane not only works for Wolf, she’s also on the payroll of a competitor. But in the world of corporate espionage, it’s never quite clear who works for whom.

The film starts out fine, but after the first half it slowly spins out of control and into meaninglessness. The film tries to be profound but ultimately confuses the audience too much to achieve much of anything. At least the cinematography and the production design were very nice.

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