Romance & Cigarettes (2005)

Romance & Cigarettes
Director: John Turturro
Writer: John Turturro
Cast: James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Steve Buscemi, Bobby Cannavale, Mandy Moore, Mary-Louise Parker, Aida Turturro, Christopher Walken, Barbara Sukowa, Elaine Stritch, Eddie Izzard, Amy Sedaris
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 25.10.2016

Plot:
Nick (James Gandolfini) and Kitty (Susan Sarandon) have been married many years and have managed to build a very middle-class existence. When Kitty finds out that Nick has been having an affair, she’s outraged. Her three daughters Baby (Mandy Moore), Constance (Mary-Louise Parker) and Rosebud (Aida Turturro) are firmly on Kitty’s side, but also have their own issues to deal with. And Nick will have to figure out whether he wants to fight for his marriage or start a new life with the other woman, Tula (Kate Winslet).

Romance & Cigarettes is a very idiosyncratic film. A musical in that setting and with those costumes and an off-beat sense of humor, it’s funny and manages to entertain, but it’s also unfortunately steeped in sexism.

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The Jungle Book (2016)

The Jungle Book
Director: Jon Favreau
Writer: Justin Marks
Based on: Rudyard Kipling‘s books
Remake of: The Jungle Book
Cast: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Walken, Garry Shandling
Seen on: 27.4.2016

Plot:
A few years ago, the panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) found a human baby and decided he couldn’t just let it die. So he brought it to the wolves Akela (Giancarlo Esposito) and Raksha (Lupita Nyong’o) who raised him as their own. Now the baby – Mowgli (Neel Sethi) – has grown into a child who feels perfectly at home in the jungle. But the tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) will not suffer a human in the jungle. With the threat of murder in the air, Bagheera decides that the safest option is to bring Mowgli back to the humans.

The Jungle Book is a weird film. On the one hand, it stays extremely close to the animated Disney version, on the other hand it often enters grimdark territory. That makes for a very weird mix that made me scratch my head more than once.

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Eddie the Eagle (2016)

Eddie the Eagle
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Writer: Sean Macaulay, Simon Kelton
Based on: Eddie Edwards‘ life
Cast: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Jo Hartley, Keith Allen, Iris Berben, Jim Broadbent, Christopher Walken, Edvin Endre
Seen on: 6.4.2016

Plot:
Eddie (Taron Egerton) has always had one dream: he will be an athlete. And not just any kind of athelte, an Olympic athlete competing for the UK. No matter the sport and no matter that he is perpetually hurting himself in his attempts. When he realizes that there is no British ski jumping team, he sees his chance and he grabs it. Making his way to Germany to train with absolutely no support apart from his mother’s (Jo Hartley) unflinching belief in him, he meets Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman): Bronson came close to be one of the greats in his sport, but now he makes his money driving the snow groomer. Eddie does everything he can to convince Peary to train with him so that he can take his shot.

Eddie the Eagle is a fun, entertaining film. It’s not a big cinematic revelation, but it’s a very nice watch with a good story and two engaging leads.

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Jersey Boys (2014)

Jersey Boys
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice
Based on: their musical
Cast: John Lloyd Young, Vincent Piazza, Michael LomendaErich Bergen, Joseph RussoLacey HannanMike Doyle, Christopher Walken

Plot:
Frankie (John Lloyd Young) is a hairdresser apprentice in the part of New Jersey that’s firmly in the hands of the mob. His best friend is Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza) he is constantly involved in some kind of scheme. But Tommy also has a band and Frankie has a beautiful, if unconventional voice. Together with Nick Massi (Michael Lomenda) and finally Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen) they form a band – The Four Seasons. Slowly they start their way to the top. But their neighborhood isn’t easily left behind.

Jersey Boys starts strong, but can’t really keep up the momentum. At least the music is consistently good and quite contrary to most Eastwood films, it doesn’t really get boring.

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Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Seven Psychopaths
Director: Martin McDonagh
Writer: Martin McDonagh
Cast: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Linda Bright Clay, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Pitt, Harry Dean Stanton, Kevin Corrigan, Zeljko Ivanek, Gabourey Sidibe

Plot:
Marty (Colin Farrell) is trying to write a screenplay. He has a title – Seven Psychopaths – and a rough idea for a first psychopath. But apart from a drinking problem, he doesn’t have much else. His best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) tries to help, but is mostly caught up with the dognapping business he runs with Hans (Christopher Walken). But when Marty’s girlfriend Kaya (Abbie Cornish) kicks him out and Billy naps the beloved Shi-Tzu of the crazy Charlie (Woody Harrelson), everything unravels pretty quickly.

The marketing for this film is completely off. And when I say completely off, they decided to take away the movie’s selling point to make it look like a pretty standard action comedy. But it’s not – instead it’s an exercise in meta – and I loved it.

seven_psychopaths

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Dark Horse (2011)

Dark Horse
Director: Todd Solondz
Writer: Todd Solondz
Cast: Jordan Gelber, Selma Blair, Mia Farrow, Christopher Walken, Justin Bartha, Zachary Booth, Aasif Mandvi, Donna Murphy
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Abe (Jordan Gelber) works for his father Jackie (Christopher Walken), where he does a pretty bad job, actually, since his interest is mostly invested in his toy collection, and gets his butt saved more often than not by co-worker Marie (Donna Murphy). When Abe meets the depressed Miranda (Selma Blair), he asks her out and since she’s basically too lethargic to decline, that’s actually the start of something.

I saw an interview with Todd Solondz where he said that he wanted to test the audience’ limits of sympathy with the character of Abe. Well, I guess I failed that test because I just couldn’t bring myself to care about him – and with my lack of sympathy for him, the movie didn’t work either.

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Answering Questions Asked Through Google XVII

Today’s question is:

“why is jason bateman playing weird chara[chters]”?

To which I would like to answer: Is he?

He played a teenage werewolf, but so did Michael J. Fox and anything that Michael J. Fox played may be many things, but weird is not one of them.

He played a mutant, but not really.

He played an adult, who behaves like a kid, but in the end, that’s what guys usually do.

He played a detective in a spoof and every actor should play in a spoof, so that’s cool.

He played one of the nicest guys there possible is.

I think that his roles are more boring than most actors. If you would like to see really weird, go and check out Christopher Walken. Or Johnny Depp.

And maybe you would like to tell us about some actors of the weird in the comment section? Or maybe you would like to tell me why Jason Bateman is weird?