Gemini (2017)

Director: Aaron Katz
Writer: Aaron Katz
Cast: Lola Kirke, Zoë Kravitz, John Cho, Greta Lee, Ricki Lake, Michelle Forbes, Nelson Franklin, Reeve Carney, Jessica Parker Kennedy, James Ransone
Seen on: 14.9.2018

Jill (Lola Kirke) is the personal assistant to starlet Heather (Zoë Kravitz). She is efficient in her job as she follows Heather around and smooths over the edges of her life. And there are many edges – from disgruntled exes to Heather trying to get out of a film she already committed to. At the end of the day, though, Heather is still frayed and asks Jill to leave her gun with her, a request that becomes more fateful than Jill could have anticipated.

As much as I enjoy watching Kravitz and Kirke, Gemini didn’t manage to convince me, neither of the story nor the characters. But at least it wasn’t boring.

The film poster showing Zoe Kravitz and Lola Kirke superimposed over the upside down image of a street lined with palm trees.
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In a Valley of Violence (2016)

In a Valley of Violence
Director: Ti West
Writer: Ti West
Cast: Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, Taissa Farmiga, James Ransone, Karen Gillan, Toby Huss, Tommy Nohilly, Larry Fessenden, Burn Gorman
Part of: the surprise movie at the /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 29.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Paul (Ethan Hawke) and his dog are travelling on their own when their paths cross with a drunk priest (Burn Gorman) who tries to rob them. Although Paul gets the better of him, after the encounter he decides to pass through the small town of Denton. But trouble follows him there and he finds himself provoked by deputy Gilly (James Ransone). After a quick fight and a polite visit by the Sheriff (John Travolta), things seem to be resolved. But maybe Paul can’t shake Denton quite as quickly as he thought.

In a Valley of Violence is basically John Wick in the Wild West, but since I’m not much of a Western fan, that transfer didn’t completely work for me, although there is much to enjoy about the film.

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Tangerine (2015)

Director: Sean Baker
Writer: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch
Cast: Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian, Mickey O’Hagan, James Ransone
Seen on: 22.1.2016

Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) just got out of prison and meets up with her best friend Alexandra (Mya Taylor). As they catch up, Alexandra wanting to make sure that Sin-Dee turns up that evening for her singing show, Alexandra lets slip that Sin-Dee’s fiancé has strayed while she was in prison. And not only that, he is fucking a white, cis woman. Sin-Dee is outraged and decides to seek out the other woman to stake her claim.

Most of what you hear about Tangerine is that it was shot with an iPhone (and here I go, too). But that is honestly the least awesome and least important part (although it is awesome and important) about this film. Tangerine is funny and full of energy and damn wonderful.

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Broken City (2013)

Broken City
Director: Allen Hughes
Writer: Brian Tucker
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper, Alona Tal, Natalie Martinez, Michael Beach, Kyle Chandler, James Ransone, Griffin Dunne

Billy (Mark Wahlberg) is a policeman who shot a rapist who went free. During his trial where he claims self-defence, new evidence comes up but is quickly surpressed by Mayor Hostetler (Russell Crowe) and Comissioner Fairbanks (Jeffrey Wright). Despite being found not guilty, Billy is let go and earns his money by doing investigation work from then on. Years later in the middle of election time, Hostetler contacts him again to have him investigate his wife Cathleen (Catherine Zeta-Jones). But there’s apparently more to the story than just mere infidelity.

Broken City was a decent thriller but nothing that really blew me away, apart from Russell Crowe who obviously had fun with this one. The characters are a little too clichéd to work, the story is unfocused and all of that leaves you a little dissatisfied.


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Sinister (2012)

Director: Scott Derrickson
Writer: Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, Fred Dalton Thompson, James Ransone, Michael Hall D’Addario, Clare Foley, [and surprise Vincent D’Onofrio]
Part of: /slash Filmfestival Premieres

Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) is a writer of true crime fiction who has the tendency to get a little too involved with his subjects. When he takes on a new murder case – the case of an entire family being murdered apart from their youngest daughter who went missing – and promptly moves his family into that family’s house (without telling his wife), things start to go wrong. And it all starts with a box of 8mm home movies that shows several murdered families like the one Ellison is researching.

Sinister is one hell of a scary movie. It immediately creeped itself on my scariest movies ever list. And that even though it follows the usual form to the letter and is completely predictable. Respect, Scott Derrickson, respect.

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Starlet (2012)

Director: Sean Baker
Writer: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch
Cast: Dree Hemingway, Besedka Johnson, Stella Maeve, James Ransone, Asa Akira, Manuel Ferrara
Part of: Viennale

Jane (Dree Hemingway) and her dog Starlet live in the spare room of her best friend Melissa’s (Stella Maeve) and Melissa’s boyfriend Mikey’s (James Ransone) house. Since Mikey needs Jane’s room for shoots from time to time, she can’t really decorate it. So instead Jane heads to a couple of yard sales to pick up some smaller things. At Sadie’s (Besedka Johnson) she finds an old thermos that the old woman grumpily sells to her. As she gets home, though, Jane discovers a whole lot of money inside. As Sadie doesn’t accept returns, Jane tries to make up for it by running errands for her. And despite Sadie’s objections, she stays insistant and starts to get through to her.

Starlet was a wonderful film. Cast, characters, story, setting and cinematography all come perfectly together into a very touching and sweet film.

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