Irreplaceable You (2018)

Irreplaceable You
Director: Stephanie Laing
Writer: Bess Wohl
Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michiel Huisman, Christopher Walken, Brian Tyree Henry, Steve Coogan, Kate McKinnon, Jacki Weaver, Timothy Simons, Merritt Wever
Seen on: 24.3.2020

Content Note: cancer (death)

Plot:
Sam (Michiel Huisman) and Abbie (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) have been a couple since they were children and now that Abbie is pregnant, its time to get married. But when Abbie’s pregnancy turns out to be cancer and not a baby, their life is turned upside down. As Abbie has to confront the very real possibility that she will die, all she wants is to make sure that Sam will be okay after her death.

Irreplaceable You is just the right thing if you want to look at beautiful people while having a good cry. It certainly made me bawl, in a nice, cathartic way.

The film poster showing Sam (Michiel Huisman) piggybacking Abbie (Gugu Mbatha-Raw)
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The Grudge (2020)

The Grudge
Director: Nicolas Pesce
Writer: Nicolas Pesce
Sequel to/Reboot of: The Grudge (2004)
Remake of: Ju-on (2002)
Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Demián Bichir, John Cho, Lin Shaye, Jacki Weaver, Frankie Faison, William Sadler, Tara Westwood, David Lawrence Brown, Zoe Fish, Betty Gilpin, John J. Hansen
Seen on: 16.1.2020

Plot:
Detective Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough) just moved to the area with her son Burke (John J. Hansen). They are slowly getting settled, when Muldoon and her partner Goodman (Demián Bichir) are called to the site of a car accident that has remained undiscovered for a while. Their investigation leads them to a particular house that Goodman has come across in previous investigations and refuses to enter. Muldoon’s interest is piqued when she learns of the house’s history and Goodman’s refusal. She actually goes there and brings the curse that lies on it back out – like many families before her.

The Grudge is a mess of a film – and a boring one at that. Compared to Pesce’s last film Piercing and the Grudge films that came before (as I remember them at least), this one is, unfortunately, a disappointment.

The film poster showing a hand coming out of the back of Peter's (John Cho) head as he takes a shower.
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Widows (2018)

Widows
Director: Steve McQueen
Writer: Gillian Flynn, Steve McQueen
Based on: Lynda La Plante‘s TV series
Cast: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Carrie Coon, Liam Neeson, Jon Bernthal, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Coburn Goss, Robert Duvall, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Jacki Weaver
Seen on: 18.12.2018
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Plot:
Harry Rawlings (Liam Neeson) has made a career out of being a thief. Together with his crew Carlos (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), Florek (Jon Bernthal), and Jimmy (Coburn Goss) he sets out to do another job – but this time things go wrong and they all die. Harry’s wife, now widow, Veronica (Viola Davis) who never knew much about his career, finds herself being pressured by Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry) to whom Harry owed money. Not knowing what else to do, Veronica gets in touch with the other widows – Linda (Michelle Rodriguez), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki) and Amanda (Carrie Coon) and tries to convince them to pull off a heist themselves.

Widows was a pretty good and more than usual complex heist film, but I’m afraid that my expectations were a little too high – it just wasn’t as good as what I’ve come to rely on in a Steve McQueen film.

The film poster showing portrait images of the main characters.
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The Disaster Artist (2017)

The Disaster Artist
Director: James Franco
Writer: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Based on: Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell‘s book of the same name
Cast: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Ari Graynor, Alison Brie, Jacki Weaver, Paul Scheer, Zac Efron, Josh Hutcherson, June Diane Raphael, Megan Mullally, Jason Mantzoukas, Sharon Stone, Melanie Griffith, Hannibal Buress, Bob Odenkirk, Randall Park, Dree Hemingway, Zoey Deutch, Ike Barinholtz, Kevin Smith, Keegan-Michael Key, Adam Scott, Danny McBride, Kristen Bell, J.J. Abrams, Lizzy Caplan, Judd Apatow, Zach Braff, Bryan Cranston, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Greg Sestero, Tommy Wiseau
Seen on: 26.1.2017
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Plot:
Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) dreams of being an actor and making it big. In one of his acting classes, he meets Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). Tommy is a strange guy, but Greg is struck by his mysterious charisma and generall weirdness. They become unlikely friends. And since Tommy seems to have a lot of money, he can offer Greg a chance that he wouldn’t otherwise get: they should go to Hollywood together, stardom is sure to follow. But when it doesn’t, Tommy makes a new plan: he will make a film himself for them and then their film is going to make them famous.

The Disaster Artist is fun to watch, at least if you can take a huge James Franco ego project, because that’s what it is, too. Mostly it’s a good story that kept me glued to the screen.

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The Voices (2014)

The Voices
Director: Marjane Satrapi
Writer: Michael R. Perry
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver, Ella Smith

Plot:
Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) is a little off, but he does his best. He has found steady employment at an appliance factory, he regularly sees his therapist (Jacki Weaver) and he is in love with his co-worker Fiona (Gemma Arterton). So, how much can it really matter that his dog Bosco (Ryan Reynolds) and his cat Mr. Whiskers (Ryan Reynolds) talk to him? When things start to go very wrong for Jerry and everybody in his life, it turns out, it matters quite a bit.

I was afraid that I would miss the film because it only got a very limited release and in Vienna, they didn’t seem to show it in English at all – when I stumbled over a cinema announcing it in a subbed version weeks after the start, right before the last showing (they have since started to show it again, after a two week break). This coincidence, added to my general excitement for the film, really made my expectations higher than ever – and I’m happy to say that those expectations were completely fulfilled. The Voices was really great. It’s funny (in a very macabre way), but it’s also sad and quite touching.

thevoices

[Very slight spoilers]

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Stoker (2013)

Stoker
Director: Chan-wook Park
Writer: Wentworth Miller, Erin Cressida Wilson
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole KidmanJacki WeaverDermot Mulroney, Alden Ehrenreich, Harmony Korine

Plot:
India (Mia Wasikowska) just lost her father Richard (Dermot Mulroney) in a car accident. But on the day of his funeral, her uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) appears. India didn’t know he existed and her mother Evie (Nicole Kidman) barely knew it herself. Charlie stays and slowly gets closer to India, who is initially abrasive. But he does seem to have his own agenda.

I expected grand things of Stoker. And despite my high expectations, I was completely blown away by how good the film actually is. It’s tense, it’s beautiful and it has an amazing cast. Hats off to everybody.

stoker

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Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Silver Linings Playbook
Director: David O. Russell
Writer: David O. Russell
Based on: Matthew Quick‘s novel
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher, John Ortiz, Julia Stiles, Shea Whigham

Plot:
Pat (Bradley Cooper) was just released from a psychiatric hospital where he got committed after a violent episode and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. His mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver) takes him home, where his fahter Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro) carefully tries to reconnect with him. Pat is obsessed with winning his ex-wife Nikki back. So when he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), the sister of his best friend’s (John Ortiz) wife (Julia Stiles) who is still in touch with Nikki, all Pat sees in Tiffany is another chance to contact Nikki. But Tiffany who is just getting over her husband’s death brings her own set of problems. Among them a dance competition she doesn’t have a partner for. So she and Pat come up with a deal: Pat dances with her and Tiffany will deliver a message to Nikki.

On the surface, Silver Linings Playbook is pretty much your standard RomCom. But underneath that, it’s one of the most realistic and smartest films about mental illness Hollywood ever produced. I loved it.

silver-linings-playbook

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The Five-Year Engagement (2012)

The Five-Year Engagement
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Writer: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller
Cast: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Rhys Ifans, Lauren Weedman, Mimi Kennedy, David Paymer, Jacki Weaver, Jim Piddock, Brian Posehn

Plot:
Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) are a very happy couple. Especially when Tom proposes, everything seems perfect. But before they can actually get married, life pretty much gets in the way of things. So they postpone the wedding and move to Detroit, where Violet got a job. And then they keep on postponing the wedding. But will there ever be the perfect time to get married?

I didn’t expect very much from this film – just a nice, shallow RomCom. But the movie was so incredibly funny, it not only had me laughing out loud, it actually had me in stitches on several occasions. Respect.

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Animal Kingdom (2010)

Animal Kingdom is David Michôd‘s newest film, starring James Frecheville, Jacki Weaver, Joel Edgerton, Sullivan Stapleton, Ben Mendelsohn and Guy Pearce.

Plot:
After the death of his mother, J (James Frecheville) moves in with his – until then – estranged grandmother Janine, also called Smurf (Jacki Weaver). Smurf lives with her sons Darren (Luke Ford), Pope (Ben Mendelsohn) and Craig (Sullivan Stapleton). The three of them, and Pope’s best friend Baz (Joel Edgerton), are not really good guys: Pope is an armed robber, Craig a drug dealer. J gets slowly drawn into the whole story, despite the investigating police officer Leckie’s (Guy Pearce) to help him (and have him help arrest his uncles).

Animal Kingdom is a very tight movie.The story is realistic, well-paced and interesting but the really great part about it are the performances: they are absolutely amazing.

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