Kajillionaire (2020)

Kajillionaire
Director: Miranda July
Writer: Miranda July
Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Richard Jenkins, Debra Winger, Gina Rodriguez, Mark Ivanir
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 1.11.2020

Content Note: abusive parents

Plot:
Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood) lives with her parents Robert (Richard Jenkins) and Theresa (Debra Winger). They live rather unconvetionally, getting their money through full-time grifting. But their small crookery is never really enough and they dream of making it big some day. When Robert and Theresa meet Melanie (Gina Rodriguez) by chance, they ask her to join them for a big heist they’re planning. This throws Old Dolio completely for a loop and none of their lives will remain unchanged by that decision.

Kajillionaire looks like a comedy, and it often is funny, but there is an underlying sadness to it that really makes the film. I really liked the mix and the film.

The film poster showing Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood) surrounded by a lot of stuff, all in front of a pink background.
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Someone Great (2019)

Someone Great
Director: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Writer: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Cast: Gina Rodriguez, Brittany Snow, DeWanda Wise, LaKeith Stanfield, Michelle Buteau, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Alex Moffat, Joe LoCicero, Rosario Dawson, RuPaul, Questlove, Jessie Reyez
Seen on: 24.4.2019
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Plot:
Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) just got her dream job as a music journalist. Unfortunately that means that she has to move from New York to San Francisco. Her boyfriend of many years Nate (LaKeith Stanfield) decides against a long distance relationshop and breaks up with her instead, leaving Jenny reeling. Fortunately she has her best friends Erin (DeWanda Wise) and Blair (Brittany Snow) to pick her up. They decide to go for a last night of partying together before Jenny has to move.

Considering that there really aren’t enough movies about women being friends (if you ask me), I was really looking forward to Someone Great. Unfortunately it was a little too much a party film and that just isn’t my cup of tea. I ended up wanting to like the film much more than I actually did.

The film poster showing Jenny (Gina Rodriguez), Erin (DeWanda Wise) and Blair (Brittany Snow) lying down with their heads close together.
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Annihilation (2018)

Annihiliation
Director: Alex Garland
Writer: Alex Garland
Based on: Jeff VanderMeer’s novel
Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny, Tessa Thompson, Benedict Wong, Oscar Isaac
Seen on: 7.4.2018

Plot:
Biologist Lena (Natalie Portman) joins a mission into Area X, an area where nature shows strange behavior that nobody is able to explain, after her husband (Oscar Isaac) went missing there. The expedition, led by Dr Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), is supposed to find out more. Anything they can, really. The five women – Lena, Dr Ventress, Josie (Tessa Thompson), Anya (Gina Rodriguez) and Cass (Tuva Novotny) – set off and are soon faced with phenomena that are even stranger than anticipated.

I was very excited about Annihilation, having recently read the books and loved them and having mostly enjoyed Garland’s previous films. But I have to admit that Annihilation was a bit of a let-down for me. It might have been different if I hadn’t read the books, but I’m not sure.

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Ferdinand (2017)

Ferdinand
Director: Carlos Saldanha
Writer: Robert L. Baird, Tim Federle, Brad Copeland
Based on: Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson‘s children’s book The Story of Ferdinand
Cast: John CenaKate McKinnon, Jeremy Sisto, Bobby Cannavale, Raúl Esparza, David Tennant, Gina Rodriguez, Daveed Diggs, Gabriel Iglesias, Flula Borg, Sally Phillips [I saw the German language version, so I can’t speak to their performances.]
Seen on: 27.12.2017
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Plot:
Ferdinand (Colin H. Murphy) is the son of a famous fighting bull and is expected to follow in his father’s footsteps. Or rather hoofsteps. But nothing could be further from Ferdinand’s mind: he is more interested in smelling the flowers, bringing him the scorn from the other young bulls. Ferdinand grows up (John Cena) into a formidable bull and as luck would have it, he gets stung by a bee, causing him to go on a rampage that brings him directly to the matador academy to train as a fighting bull.

Ferdinand is a sweet film that works hard to dismantle toxic masculinity in a way that makes sense for kids – and it does so quite admirably.

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