Gifted (2017)

Gifted
Director: Marc Webb
Writer: Tom Flynn
Cast: Chris EvansMckenna GraceLindsay DuncanOctavia SpencerJenny SlateElizabeth MarvelGlenn Plummer
Seen on: 18.7.2017
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Plot:
Frank (Chris Evans) raises his niece Mary (Mckenna Grace). Mary is very smart. So far, Frank was able to keep her talents under wrap, but now it’s time for her to start school. And immediately Mary’s math abilities are noticed by her teacher Bonnie (Jenny Slate). But Frank doesn’t want to place Mary in special classes. His refusal causes both Bonnie and the school to dig deeper, bringing Frank’s mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) who has very different ideas about how to raise Mary. As neither Frank nor Evelyn want to budge from their position, they take the question to court in a custody battle.

Gifted is very surprisingly a smart film about being smart. I did have a couple of issues with it, but they are not related to that. And mostly the film was engaging and emotional and went right for the feels in just the right way.

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A Most Violent Year (2014)

A Most Violent Year
Director: J.C. Chandor
Writer: J.C. Chandor
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo, Albert BrooksElyes Gabel, Elizabeth Marvel, Alessandro Nivola
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 28.10.2015
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) is working hard to make the company he has taken over from his wife Anna’s (Jessica Chastain) family a thriving success. But as they can finally make an offer on a plot of land that would give them a significant advantage in the business, they hit a snag: the trucks carrying the oil they are selling keep getting robbed. When Abel tries semi-official channels to try and figure out who’s targeting him, he comes under scrutiny of D.A. Lawrence (David Oyelowo) himself. Now he has only a week to fulfill the stipulations of the deal on the land, keep his business afloat and himself out of jail.

A Most Violent Year is a strong film that is always engaging and has great cast. But it does have a few weaknesses as well.

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Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)

Hyde Park on Hudson
Director: Roger Michell
Writer: Richard Nelson
Cast: Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Samuel West, Olivia Colman, Olivia Williams, Elizabeth Marvel

Plot:
Daisy (Laura Linney) lives a quiet life, taking care of her mother. But all that changes when she gets an invitation to visit her cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt (Bill Murray), President of the United States of America. They hit it off and quickly become friends, and more. But while FDR is hosting the King (Samuel West) and Queen (Olivia Colman) of England, Daisy has to realize that she is not the only woman in FDR’s life.

This film could have been very great, if the writer and/or the director had been a woman. Or at least able to take a female perspective. Unfortunately, the film completely fails in that regard, which destroyed it in its entirety.

Hyde-Park-on-Hudson

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Desdemona

[Festwochen.]

Desdemona was written by Toni Morrison, directed by Peter Sellars, with music by Rokia Traoré and starring Elizabeth Marvel.

Plot:
Desdemona is a feminist reworking of Shakespeare‘s Othello: Desdemona (Elizabeth Marvel) remembers her life from her grave. She tells her story to her African nurse Barbary (Rokia Traoré), who answers her with songs about liberation, freedom and love.

Desdemona starts off well but then kind of peters out (probably at the same rate the oxygen left the room, so it might not be entirely the play’s fault). It’s a professional, very well-made production. It just didn’t speak to me at all. Though I did like the music.

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