20th Century Women (2016)

20th Century Women
Director: Mike Mills
Writer: Mike Mills
Cast: Lucas Jade Zumann, Annette BeningElle FanningGreta GerwigBilly Crudup
Seen on: 26.4.2017

Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) lives with his mother Dorothea (Annette Bening) who raised him all her own. They share their home with photographer Abbie (Greta Gerwig) and handyman William (Billy Crudup) and as often as Jamie’s best friend, the slightly older Julie (Elle Fanning), stays over, you could say she lives there as well. As Jamie tries to navigate puberty, his mother tries to make sure he becomes a good man, while Jamie is more interested in convincing Julie to have sex with him.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Beginners and unfortunately, 20th Century Women didn’t really blow me away either. The cast was good but as so often, the film focuses on the wrong guy. With emphasis on the guy part.

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Jackie (2016)

Director: Pablo Larraín
Writer: Noah Oppenheim
Cast: Natalie PortmanPeter SarsgaardGreta GerwigBilly CrudupJohn HurtRichard E. GrantCaspar PhillipsonJohn Carroll LynchBeth GrantDeborah FindlayCorey Johnson
Seen on: 31.1.2017

A year after the assassination of John F. Kennedy (Caspar Phillipson), his widow Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman) gives an interview to a journalist (Billy Crudup) about the difficult path she had to navigate in the time since. Weighed down by her own shock and grief, she still has to make sure she upholds the Kennedy’s reputation and her own husband’s legacy.

Despite a great cast and a great look, Jackie did not work for me. It continuously bored me and I just could not get into the story, the film or the characters.

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Wiener-Dog (2016)

Director: Todd Solondz
Writer: Todd Solondz
Cast: Keaton Nigel Cooke, Tracy Letts, Julie Delpy, Greta Gerwig, Kieran Culkin, Danny DeVito, Ellen Burstyn, Zosia Mamet, Ari Graynor
Seen on: 2.9.2016

Remi (Keaton Nigel Cooke) can’t believe his luck when his dad Danny (Tracy Letty) brings home a dog. Remi’s mother Dina (Julie Delpy) is less taken by Danny’s gift, fearing that she will be the one having to care for it. Pretty soon it becomes clear that it’s not going to work out for the dog in this family. And so begins a oddyssee for the little guy, from one weird owner to the next.

Wiener-Dog wasn’t great, but it was a decent film that was often very funny and sometimes a little too cruel. There are many things to like about it, but also a few things I didn’t like.

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Maggie’s Plan (2015)

Maggie’s Plan
Director: Rebecca Miller
Writer: Rebecca Miller, Karen Rinaldi
Cast: Greta GerwigEthan HawkeJulianne Moore, Travis Fimmel, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Wallace Shawn, Fredi Walker-Browne
Seen on: 12.8.2016

Maggie (Greta Gerwig) wants a child and she doesn’t want to wait until she meets the right man for her, she wants it now. So she asks old acquaintance Guy (Travis Fimmel) if he would be willing to give her his sperm and he agrees. But right around this time, she meets John (Ethan Hawke) and falls for him – and he for her. John leaves his wife Georgette (Julianne Moore) and the two move in together. A few years later, Maggie has a lovely daughter, but her love for John has cooled substantially. So she hatches the plan that maybe she could get him back together with Georgette.

Maggie’s Plan is an absolutely adorable, wonderful, funny and sweet film. It proves that a light film doesn’t necessarily have to be stupid.

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Mistress America (2015)

Mistress America
Director: Noah Baumbach
Writer: Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig
Cast: Lola Kirke, Greta Gerwig, Matthew ShearHeather Lind, Michael Chernus, Cindy Cheung
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 1.11.2015
[Review by cornholio.]

Tracy (Lola Kirke) ist about to start college in New York. She doesn’t know anybody there though and has trouble connecting, especially when she doesn’t make it into the prestigious writer’s club on campus. Her mother suggests that Tracy should call the daughter of the mother’s fiancé, her soon-to-be-stepsister Brooke (Greta Gerwig). Brooke enthusiastically lets Tracy into her life that is quite wild and unusual. Tracy is enraptured by Brooke, Brooke’s life and her myriad plans that never seem to come to any fruition.

If I hadn’t already been in love with Greta Gerwig before Mistress America, I would be now. The film is very good, but she is awesome personified.

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Eden (2014)

Director: Mia Hansen-Løve
Writer: Mia Hansen-Løve, Sven Hansen-Løve
Cast: Félix de Givry, Pauline Etienne, Vincent Macaigne, Hugo Conzelmann, Zita Hanrot, Roman Kolinka, Hugo Bienvenu, Vincent Lacoste, Arnaud Azoulay, Greta Gerwig, Brady Corbet
Seen on: 21.5.2015

It’s the 90s in Paris and electronic music, in particular House, is on the rise. Paul (Félix de Givry) loves the music and the scene. He dreams of becoming a DJ himself and is slowly making that dream become a reality. Together with his friend Stan (Hugo Conzelmann) they become the DJ duo Cheers and they enjoy some success, even though they’re far from as successful as their friends Quentin (Hugo Bienvenu) and Thomas (Vincent Lacoste), aka Daft Punk and far from successful enough to really make a living from it. But Paul doggedly stays with his choice of career, despite estrangement from (girl)friends, mounting debts and a drug problem.

Eden dragged quite a bit, unfortunately, and I think that it’s a film I’ll forget quickly. I just never really connected with Paul and since the film focuses exclusively on him, not connecting is as good as a death sentence.

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Frances Ha (2012)

Frances Ha
Director: Noah Baumbach
Writer: Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig
Cast: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Michael Esper, Adam Driver, Michael Zegen, Charlotte d’Amboise, Grace Gummer

Frances (Great Gerwig) spends most of her time with her best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner) and training to be a dancer. But then Sophie wants to move out of the apartment they share and Frances doesn’t get anywhere with her dancing. But even as her dreams start to crumble around her, Frances refuses to come much closer to reality.

I pretty much hated the last Baumbach film I saw, Greenberg. But since I did like Greta Gerwig in it and this film did look nice, I decided to go for it anyway, despite my trepidations. And I did like Frances Ha, even if I didn’t completely love it.


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Arthur (2011)

Arthur is Jason Winer‘s remake of Steve Gordon‘s 1981 film. The new version stars Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Garner, Geraldine James, Luis Guzmán and Nick Nolte. (And in small cameos: John Hodgman and Scott Adsit.)

Arthur (Russell Brand) is the epitome of the rich kid: never had to work or worry about anything, always had his driver (Luis Guzmán) and nanny (Helen Mirren) to take care of him and spends money on frivolous things just for the hell of it. Now that he’s more or less an adult, his life consists of parties, sex and alcohol. When his mother (Geraldine James) tells him to marry Susan (Jennifer Garner) who she thinks the perfect person to take over her business later, Arthur is less than overjoyed since Susan is a bit of a psycho. But the threat of losing all the money is enough to make him comply. It’s only when he meets Naomi (Greta Gerwig) that he thinks about maybe taking charge of his own life.

I was pleasantly surprised by Arthur – the trailer made me laugh but after all the bad press the film was getting, I was afraid that they had all the good jokes in there already. But not only does the movie keep up a stable level of humor, it’s generally a very nice and sweet film – that gets the love story completely right.

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No Strings Attached (2011)

No Strings Attached is Ivan Reitman‘s newest film, starring Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Kline, Cary Elwes, Greta Gerwig, Lake Bell, Olivia Thirlby, Ophelia Lovibond and Ludacris.

Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) keep bumping into each other. And after Adam finds out that his father (Kevin Kline) is sleeping with his ex-girlfriend Vanessa (Ophelia Lovibond), he gets drunk, lands on Emma’s couch and then in Emma’s bed. But since Emma isn’t that much into commitment, they agree that it shouldn’t become more. But can that really work?

No Strings Attached is exactly what it promised to be: a funny RomCom – and definitely one of the better sort. Is it a cinematic revelation? No. But it’s very entertaining.

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Greenberg (2010)

Greenberg is the newest movie by Noah Baumbach, written by himself and Jennifer Jason Leigh, starring Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, Rhys Ifans, Chris Messina, Merrit Wever and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller) just finished his therapy at a psychiatric facility and returns from New York to Los Angeles. Until things look differently, he stays at his brother’s (Chris Messina) house. His brother, in the meantime, is on holiday. With only the family dog for company, Roger tries to reconnect with his old friend (Rhys Ifans) but in the end only finds some form of human connection in Florence (Greta Gerwig), his brother’s personal assistant/house keeper.

I know I’m probably losing all of my indie cred and any reputation I have built up as a film critic on this here blog but, dammit all: That movie was fucking boring. Yes, the cast was excellent but there’s only so much you can do without an actual plot.

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