First Man (2018)

First Man
Director: Damien Chazelle
Writer: Josh Singer, James R. Hansen
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll, Patrick Fugit, Christopher Abbott, Ciarán Hinds, Olivia Hamilton, Pablo Schreiber, Shea Whigham, Lukas Haas, Ethan Embry, Brian d’Arcy James, Cory Michael Smith, Kris Rey
Seen on: 26.11.2018
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Plot:
Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and his wife Janet (Claire Foy) just lost their little daughter to cancer, prompting Neil, who also had some professional disappointments, to apply for a new program at NASA. They all move to Houston and Neil starts working on the Gemini project – the most important project in the space race between the USA and the Soviet Union. But it will take a while before Neil and Buzz Aldrin (Corey Stoll) undertake their historic flight to the moon.

First Man is made of excellent parts that nevertheless feels underwhelming as those excellent parts don’t really make for an excellent whole – even if I can’t put my finger on why that’s the case.

The film poster, showing an astronaut (Ryan Gosling) in profile.
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Vox Lux (2018)

Vox Lux
Director: Brady Corbet
Writer: Brady Corbet, Mona Fastvold
Cast: Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Stacy Martin, Jennifer Ehle, Raffey Cassidy, Christopher Abbott, Willem Dafoe
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 3.11.2018
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Plot:
When teenager Celeste (Raffey Cassidy) sings at a memorial, her career as a pop star takes off. She finds a manager (Jude Law) and a publicist (Jennifer Ehle) and rises to fame, always accompanied by her sister Eleanor (Stacy Martin) who writes her songs. 18 years later, Celeste (Natalie Portman) is still a star, but she also struggles. Especially her relationship with her sister and her daughter Albertine (Raffey Cassidy) is strained, but there are other issues as well. As she prepares for the tour of her new album, tensions rise everywhere.

Vox Lux is a well-made film with an excellent cast that appears to be saying more than it actually does. I failed to really connect with it.

The film poster showing Celeste (Natalie Portman) in full stage make-up singing.
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Piercing (2018)

Piercing
Director: Nicolas Pesce
Writer: Nicolas Pesce
Based on: Ryû Murakami‘s novel
Cast: Christopher Abbott, Mia Wasikowska, Laia Costa
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 23.9.2018
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Plot:
Reed (Christopher Abbott) has a wife (Laia Costa), a baby and a pretty good life. Unable to shake the urge to kill, though, one night, he has to leave them: he wants to hire an escort and plans to kill her. He finds Jackie (Mia Wasikowska) who is taken in by his good looks and charm, so his plan is off to a good start. But things do take a different turn than he anticipated.

Piercing is a strange film. It’s fucked up, but it’s also very romantic in a way. Whatever it is, I was completely engrossed in it.

The film poster showing Mia Wasikowska and Christopher Abbott.

[Slight SPOILERS]

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It Comes at Night (2017)

It Comes at Night
Director: Trey Edward Shults
Writer: Trey Edward Shults
Cast: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Riley Keough, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Griffin Robert Faulkner, David Pendleton
Part of: /slash 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 3.5.2018

Plot:
Paul (Joel Edgerton), Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) and their son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) are holed up in a remote cabin. They’ve effectively isolated themselves after a mysterious disease broke out. But one night somebody tries to invade their home. They capture the intruder and keep him quarantined. When it turns out that he – Will (Christopher Abbott) – isn’t infected, but has family nearby, they grant them access to their home. But tensions keep rising.

It Comes at Night is a solid film with good characters and a firm grip on the tension it needs. It didn’t quite blow me away, but it’s a good watch.

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