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.

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[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.

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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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