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: Ian (Samuel Bottomley) has signed up for the Duke of Edinburgh trek that leads through the wilderness of the highlands. He wants to pad his resume with the experience to better his college applications. With him are DJ Beatroot (Viraj Juneja), Dean (Rian Gordon), and Duncan (Lewis Gribben) whose motivation couldn’t be much more different: they were mostly forced to complete the trek to avoid juvie. What all four have in common is that they don’t have a clue about the outdoors. As they make their way across the highlands regardless, they realize that it’s not the camping that is the real danger. They are being hunted and it really is about all of their survival.
Boyz in the Wood is a fantastically fun film with a serious class critique at its heart. I felt absolutely energized when I left the cinema.
As Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) celebrates the 50th year of her reign, two Muslim Indians are chosen to present her with a commemorative coin. One of them is Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal). Abdul is excited at the chance to visit England and see the Queen, and in his excitement he forgets the most important rule and makes eye-contact with her. Instead of catastrophe, this leads to Victoria striking up a friendship with Abdul who teaches her about India and much more.
Victoria & Abdul left me deeply uncomfortable and its blatant ignorance of colonialism and the power structures involved – despite the topic at hand. That overshadowed everything else for me.
Bruce Wayne aka Batman (Will Arnett) leads a rather lonely existence. Between beating up criminals like the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) and eating lobster thermidor prepared by his trusted butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), he spends most of his time alone and in pain at the memory of the family he lost. But things change rapidly when Bruce not only accidentally adopts an orphan (Michael Cera), but the Joker and pretty much the entire league of supervillains surrender themselves to Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) who just proposed a new approach to crime for the police. But there must be something behind that surrender and Bruce has to find out.
The Lego Batman Movie is a celebration and parody of all things Batman and more. It’s as funny as it is nonsensical, and yet it manages to say more about the character Batman than more serious adaptations have managed. But at its heart, there is not much behind the jokes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.