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.

Continue reading

Boychoir (2014)

Boychoir
Director: François Girard
Writer: Ben Ripley
Cast: Garrett Wareing, Dustin HoffmanKathy BatesEddie Izzard, Josh Lucas, Debra Winger, Kevin McHale, Joe West
Seen on: 9.9.2015

Plot:
Stet (Garrett Wareing) comes from a difficult family background that turns even more difficult when his mother suddenly dies. His biological father Gerard (Josh Lucas) has no interest whatsoever in him. Pressured by Stet’s school principal Ms Steele (Debra Winger) who sees a singing talent in Stet, Gerard does take him to a school famous for its boy choir and makes Stet’s admittance happen with the help of a generous donation. There Stet starts to train with Master Carvelle (Dustin Hoffman) who demands much of his students but also gets results.

Boychoir wasn’t exactly a bad film, but from a pedagogical stand-point it is highly questionable. So questionable, in fact, that I couldn’t really enjoy the film anymore. But at least the music is pretty.

Boychoir

[SPOILERS] Continue reading

Eddie Izzard: Force Majeure

Eddie Izzard came to Vienna with his newest program, Force Majeure. As a surprise guest, German comedian Michael Mittermeier showed up as well and did a small bit of his new program.

I was really excited to hear that Eddie Izzard was coming to Vienna. How great is it that an English comedian is on Europe tour? More of them should do that. And it certainly paid off to see him. Would do so again in a heartbeat.

Eddie-Izzard

Continue reading

Across the Universe (2007)

Across the Universe
Director: Julie Taymor
Writer: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais
Based on: Songs by The Beatles
Cast: Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood, Joe Anderson, Dana Fuchs, Martin Luther, T.V. Carpio, Harry Lennix, Logan Marshall-Green, Eddie Izzard, Bono, Joe Cocker, Salma Hayek

Plot:
Jude (Jim Sturgess) is a working guy from Liverpool who takes a chance to go to the USA to find his father. And he does find him, but more importantly he also finds Max (Joe Anderson) and his sister Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood). While Max is drafted into the Vietnam war, Lucy and Jude try to build a life for themselves in New York. But things aren’t always easy.

I thought that I would like Across the Universe much better than I did. I mean, a musical based on Beatles songs, directed by Julie Taymor? Hells yes. But unfortunately the whole thing is hit and miss; missing especially a strong male lead.

AcrosstheUniverse

Continue reading

Valkyrie (2008)

Valkyrie is the story of the – in the end unsuccessful – coup Stauffenberg staged in WW II to get rid of Hitler. It stars Tom Cruise and a legion of talented supporting actors and it’s directed by Bryan Singer.

Plot:
Stauffenberg doubts the war Hitler is waging on the world. After he is wounded during a bombing in Africa, he is contacted by the German resistance. Together they develop a plan to overthrow Hitler. And if the plan doesn’t succeed, at least, to show the world that not everybody in Germany simply followed along.

This film had to take a lot of crap, even before it had even started or was done shooting. Casting Tom Cruise was an unpopular choice, the wild mix of accents was criticised etc etc.
Plus the marketing in Austria and Germany still claimed Stauffenberg as the unknown hero of WW II, which might be true in the US, but definitely isn’t here.
Therefore, I went into this film with mixed feelings and rather low expectations. Fortunately, I should have trusted Bryan Singer. Because he is damn good.

valkyrie-poster Continue reading