Plot: Maggie (Dakota Johnson) works as the personal assistant for superstar singer Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross). She is a huge fan of Grace and likes her job, but Maggie’s dream is to become a music producer, so she’s been mixing Grace’s live album in her downtime. When she meets singer David (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), she hopes that she can sign him as her first artist and become his producer. But her dreams and her obligations quickly clash and Maggie has to make decisions.
The High Note is an entertaining film that is comfortable in the familiar story it tells. Apart from the fact that it focuses on music production – and not singing or playing instruments – there really isn’t much new to the story. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed.
Plot: Zak (Zack Gottsagen) needs to escape from the retirement home he has been parked at for years, despite the fact that he is very young. He has Down Syndrome and nobody knew where else to put him. Still, he needs to get out, then he can go to Salt Water Redneck’s (Thomas Haden Church) wrestling school. Finally one of his attempts actually works and Zak is off. By chance, he ends up on Tyler’s (Shia LaBeouf) boat. Tyler, too, needs to get out after pretty much destroying all of his chances to ever work as a fisherman in his hometown again. Together, the two strike out to fulfill Zak’s dream.
The Peanut Butter Falcon is a wonderful film. It’s touching, funny and has an eye for the absurd. But most importantly, it unquestioningly centers Zak and his story, never allowing him to become a prop in his own film.
Plot: Susie (Dakota Johnson) comes to Berlin to study at the Markos Tanz Akademie, a ballet school, where she is accepted since a dancer, Pat (Chloë Grace Moretz), just left. As Susie soon finds out, Pat didn’t simply leave. Something more is going on in the mysterious academy and with the help of her fellow student Sara (Mia Goth), Susie starts to investigate.
Suspiria is a visually strong, affective film that proves that watching a film is a very physical experience. It’s captivating in an hypnotic way.
Plot: The El Royale is a run-down motel literally straddling the state line between Nevada and California. Most of the time, it’s empty now, with a single night clerk, Miles (Lewis Pullman) enough to handle all the guests. But on this particular night, there are more guests than usual – and they are all here for their own unstated purposes: Father Daniel (Jeff Bridges) is looking for something. Darlene (Cynthia Erivo) wants to make her career as a singer. Laramie (Jon Hamm) is a vaccuum salesman on the road. Emily (Dakota Johnson) is running from something. As the guests bring their own story to the motel, things get more and more complicated.
Bad Times at the El Royale obviously tries to be a film in the vein of Tarantino’s best, but while a lot of the right ingredients are there for that, the film doesn’t really come together and starts to fall apart more and more the longer it lasts.
Rockstar Marianne Lane (Tilda Swinton) is on holidays, recovering from throat surgery that affected her vocal chords. She is spending her time in Italy together with her boyfriend, photographer Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts) in companionable calm and silence. Until her ex-husband and ex-producer Harry (Ralph Fiennes) shows up with his daughter Penelope (Dakota Johnson), a daughter he only just recently met himself. Harry and Penelope both bring their own special kind of trouble to the formerly so idyllic stay.
A Bigger Splash starts off strong. While the cast manages to keep up the strength throughout, the plot does not. But with that much chemistry between everybody involved, I can certainly live without much of a plot.
Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp) runs one of the more powerful crime syndicates in Boston. But he does have his rivals. That’s when ambitious FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) approaches him. Connolly knows Bulger of old and he’s eager to make a name for himself, so he suggests that Bulger could become a FBI informant. That would give him more freedom in his affairs and it would help Connolly’s career by taking out plenty of bad guys – all of Bulger’s enemies.
Black Mass covers many years. Unfortunately it also feels like it lasts many, many years. It was such a boring film, I ultimately lost the battle against sleep and drifted of for a few minutes in-between.
Tobey (Aaron Paul) loves cars, racing and everything to do with that. When he gets the chance to build a car with and for Dino (Dominic Cooper), he jumps at it, despite his intense dislike of Dino. Everything seems to go fine and they sell the car for a shitload of money. But then Dino frames him for manslaughter and Tobey has two years in prison to think about how to take his revenge. He decides to settle the entire thing with a race.
Need for Speed was partly fun and partly not so much. Basically it’s what you expect from a video game adaptation when you don’t expect to much, missing “actually good” and “so bad it’s good” both by a rather wide margin.