The Proposal (2009)

The Proposal
Director: Anne Fletcher
Writer: Peter Chiarelli
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Betty White, Denis O’Hare, Malin Akerman, Oscar Nuñez, Aasif Mandvi
Seen on: 27.12.2017
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Plot:
Margaret (Sandra Bullock) is a good editor and she loves her job. She is not so much a good boss as her assistant Andrew (Ryan Reynolds) knows from his own experience. When the Canadian Margaret is confronted with the fact that she might be deported because her visa expired, she pressures Andrew into marrying her. But the immigration officer Mr Gilbertson (Denis O’Hare) isn’t convinced, so they can’t just leave it at the formalities. That’s how Margaret ends up at Andrew’s grandmother’s 90th birthday party. With his welcoming family and the two of them in a decidedly unworklike environment, their relationship starts to change.

The Proposal is cute, if you manage to ignore a lot of things about it (heteros are exhausting). I enjoyed it while it lasted, but it won’t become a favorite or a film I’ll revisit at all.

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The Normal Heart (2014)

The Normal Heart
Director: Ryan Murphy
Writer: Larry Kramer
Based on: Larry Kramer‘s play
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Taylor KitschJim ParsonsMatt Bomer, Julia Roberts, BD Wong, Joe Mantello, Stephen Spinella, Alfred Molina, Denis O’Hare, Corey Stoll
Part of: identities Festival
Seen on: 13.6.2015

Plot:
It’s the early 1980s and Ned (Mark Ruffalo) has had it with the sex-obsession of the gay community who celebrate their fight and their right to (physically) love whomever they want to love. By chance Ned finds out that a new illness is making the rounds among gay men, maybe a kind of cancer. Maybe even something that is sexually transmitted. Ned takes up the fight to raise awareness for it, though his calls for caution in the sex department fall on deaf ears. As the illness keeps spreading, confounding the few doctors who bother to look into an illness that mostly concerns gay men, Ned’s activism becomes more frantic, estranging him even from his co-fighters.

The Normal Heart was pretty much like I expected it to be: grand emotions and forceful pulling on heartstrings, excellent performances and a whole lot of message.

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The Judge (2014)

The Judge
Director: David Dobkin
Writer: Nick Schenk, Bill Dubuque
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D’Onofrio,Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard, Leighton Meester, David Krumholtz, Denis O’Hare

Plot:
Hank (Robert Downey Jr.) fled from his hometown and his harsh, strict father (Robert Duvall), a well-respected judge, as soon as he was able to and never returned. Now a successful lawyer, Hank finally has to make the trip back home after his mother dies. But practically as soon as he arrives, his father becomes a murder suspect, forcing Hank to stay longer and not only confront his feelings about his father, but also his two brothers Dale (Jeremy Strong) and Glen (Vincent D’Onofrio), and even his old girlfriend Samantha (Vera Farmiga).

I wouldn’t have thought it possible that a film with that cast could ever bore me – because if all else fails, there’d still be this brilliant cast to watch – but thanks to a really bad script and uninspired direction, the film managed just that.

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Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Dallas Buyers Club
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Writer: Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack
Based on: Ron Woodroof’s life
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Denis O’Hare, Steve Zahn, Griffin Dunne, Kevin Rankin

Plot:
Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) loves the rodeo, to fuck women and to drink and take drugs. When he’s checked at the hospital after a work accident, Ron is told that he has HIV and about 30 days to live. First, Ron tries to ignore that, then he tries to get his hands on AZT, the new super-aggressive drug in trial for use against HIV. When nothing works, he heads to Mexico to see a doctor there who helps him. And so Ron decides to take back the medication to the US and sell it there. But that’s only the beginning of what is to become a successful Buyers Club.

Dallas Buyers Club picks an interesting and not that well-known part of HIV history and tells a good story with an excellent Matthew McConaughey and a very nice supporting cast.

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Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (2009)

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
Director: John Krasinski
Writer: John Krasinski
Based on: David Foster Wallace’s short stories
Cast: Julianne Nicholson, John Krasinski, Timothy Hutton, Chris Messina, Max Minghella, Dominic Cooper, Will Arnett, Christopher Meloni, Denis O’Hare, Josh Charles, Bobby Cannavale, Rashida Jones

Plot:
Sara (Julianne Nicholson) recently broke up with her boyfriend Ryan (John Krasinski). To cope with the ensuing funk she starts an interview project she wants to use for her dissertation where she interviews various men or records conversations she overhears. The subjects of these interviews are varied but mostly they revolve around sex.

I thought that the film’s set-up was a little weird, focusing away from the interviewee’s and on to the interviewer as it does. That just didn’t work that well for me. But the cast was good and most of the respective interviews very nicely done.

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