Book Club (2018)

Book Club
Director: Bill Holderman
Writer: Bill Holderman, Erin Simms
Cast: Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Andy Garcia, Craig T. Nelson, Don Johnson, Ed Begley Jr., Richard Dreyfuss, Wallace Shawn, Alicia Silverstone, Katie Aselton, Mircea Monroe, Ravi Kapoor
Seen on: 14.9.2018

Plot:
Diane (Diane Keaton), Vivian (Jane Fonda), Sharon (Candice Bergen) and Carol (Mary Steenburgen) have had a book club for decades. They each take turns picking the books they read and this month it’s Vivian’s turn. Her choice is 50 Shades of Grey, much to the dismay of the other women. But as they start reading, they all start wondering about their own sexual and romantic lives: widowed Diane meets Mitchell (Andy Garcia); perpetual single Vivian reconnects with Arthur (Don Johnson); Carol rekindles the sexual side of her relationship with her husband Bruce (Craig T. Nelson); and divorced Sharon braves online dating.

Book Club is rather inconsequential but it’s fun and it captures something of why the 50 Shades series was such a big success, despite the problematic bits. But ultimately it doesn’t have any big insights.

The film poster showing  DIane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Jane Fonda and Mary Steenburgen around a table.
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Sois belle et tais-toi [Be Pretty and Shut Up] (1981)

Sois belle et tais-toi
Director: Delphine Seyrig
“Cast”: Jenny Agutter, Juliet Berto, Ellen Burstyn, Candy Clark, Patti D’Arbanville, Marie Dubois, Louise Fletcher, Jane Fonda, Luce Guilbeault, Shirley MacLaine, Millie Perkins, Maria Schneider, Barbara Steele, Susan Tyrrell, Viva, Anne Wiazemsky, Cindy Williams
Seen on: 12.4.2018

“Plot”:
Delphine Seyrig interviews actresses about their work and the movie industry, touching on casual bias as well as outright sexism all of them encounter pretty much every day, shedding light on the struggles women face when they just want to act.

Be Pretty and Shut Up is a fascinating documentary with very interesting women and interviews, but it’s also incredibly frustrating to see that we still have the same discussions even 40 years later.

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Barefoot in the Park (1967)

Barefoot in the Park
Director: Gene Saks
Writer: Neil Simon
Based on: his own play
Cast: Robert RedfordJane FondaCharles BoyerMildred NatwickHerb EdelmanMabel Albertson
Seen on: 2.9.2017
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Plot:
Paul (Robert Redford) and Corie (Jane Fonda) just got married and are about to move into their new apartment. Corie is excited about it, even if there are some drawbacks with the place they got, while Paul just sees the flaws – like the walk up five flights of stairs – and nothing else. And with a strange neighbor in Victor Velasco (Charles Boyer) who sometimes uses their apartment to get to his, and with Corie’s mather Ethel (Mildred Natwick) joining them for a few days, their marriage is under a lot of pressure very soon.

Barefoot in the Park is not a great film and it didn’t age well in all respects, but it is a rather entertaining screwball comedy.

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Fathers & Daughters (2015)

Fathers & Daughters
Director: Gabriele Muccino
Writer: Brad Desch
Cast: Russell CroweAmanda SeyfriedAaron PaulDiane KrugerQuvenzhané WallisBruce GreenwoodJanet McTeerKylie RogersJane FondaOctavia Spencer
Seen on: 17.6.2016

Plot:
Jake Davis (Russell Crowe) is an award-winning writer with a lovely daughter, Katie (Kylie Rogers). But after his wife dies, he falls apart. While he tries to get better in a psychiatric facility, Katie goes to live with her aunt Elizabeth (Diane Kruger) and uncle William (Bruce Greenwood). Even after Jake returns, things are far from easy.
Many years later, Katie (Amanda Seyfried) works as a counselor for kids like Lucy (Quvenzhané Wallis), even though she obviously has many issues of her own. When she meets Cameron (Aaron Paul), those issues might destroy everything.

I had little to no expectations regarding Fathers & Daughters, but I was still taken aback by it. It is perfectly obvious why this move tanked as much as it did. It probably should have tanked more.

fathersanddaughters

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Youth (2015)

Youth
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Writer: Paolo Sorrentino
Cast: Michael Caine, Harvey KeitelPaul DanoRachel Weisz, Alex MacqueenRobert Seethaler, Ed Stoppard, Paloma Faith, Jane Fonda
Seen on: 23.12.2015

Plot:
Fred (Michael Caine) is on holiday in a Swiss resort with his best friend Mick (Harvey Keitel). Mick is trying to write his latest screenplay, supposed to be his big oeuvre, together with a group of young writers. Fred is just trying to get some peace and quiet, when an emissary (Alex Macqueen) from the Queen of England approaches him to ask him to conduct his most famous symphony for Prince Philipp’s birthday, much to the surprise of the emissary and Fred’s daughter Lena (Rachel Weisz). Lena comes to visit but stays longer than planned when her husband and Mick’s son Julian (Ed Stoppard) announces that he’s leaving her.

I was very reluctant to see Youth. I was afraid that the film would be all about a couple of old guys olging young women (the poster suggests nothing different). Fortunately the lusting was kept to a minimum and there was a lot about the film that I enjoyed. It won’t become my favorite film ever, but it was far from as bad as I expected.

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This Is Where I Leave You (2014)

This Is Where I Leave You
Director: Shawn Levy
Writer: Jonathan Tropper
Based on: Jonathan Tropper‘s novel
Cast: Jason Bateman, Adam Driver, Corey Stoll, Tina Fey, Rose Byrne, Kathryn Hahn, Jane Fonda, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard, Debra Monk, Abigail SpencerBen Schwartz

Plot:
Judd (Jason Bateman) is not in a good place in a moment. He just found out that his wife Quinn (Abigail Spencer) cheated on him with his boss Wade (Dax Shepard) and then he gets the message that his father died. So Judd returns home for the funeral where he sees his siblings Phillip, Paul and Wendy (Adam Driver, Corey Stoll, Tina Fey), and his mother Hillary (Jane Fonda) as well, of course. They don’t spend much time together and that’s for a reason. So when Hillary reveals that it was his father’s dying wish that they sit shiva together, more than just a little tension boils to the surface.

This Is Where I Leave You was mostly enjoyable but a little uneven all around. Some things were great about it, other things annoyed me a whole lot.

thisiswherileaveyou

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The Butler (2013)

The Butler
Director: Lee Daniels
Writer: Danny Strong
Based on: Wil Haygood’s article
Cast: Forest WhitakerOprah WinfreyDavid Oyelowo, Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz, Mariah Carey, Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Redgrave, Robin Williams, John Cusack, James Marsden, Liev Schreiber, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Nelsan Ellis

Plot:
Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) grew up on a cotton farm where he officially wasn’t a slave anymore but he practically was. When he was old enough, he left there and after a period of hardship was lucky enough to find employment. Bit by bit he works his way up to becoming a butler and finally gets recruited into the White House. But racism is still a major issue.

The Butler has a great cast and the time passes rather quickly when you watch it, but it’s a manipulative film (which I was prepared for and which isn’t generally bad) that is so sweet that it leaves you in desperate need of insulin to manage it. And that was just too much.

The_Butler

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Et si on vivait tous ensemble? [And If We All Lived Together?] (2011)

Et si on vivait tous ensemble?
Director: Stéphane Robelin
Writer: Stéphane Robelin
Cast: Guy Bedos, Daniel Brühl, Geraldine Chaplin, Jane Fonda, Claude Rich, Pierre Richard
Part of: Festival du film francophone

Plot:
Jean (Guy Bedos) and Annie (Geraldine Chaplin), Jeanne (Jane Fonda) and Albert (Pierre Richard), and Claude (Claude Rich): the five of them have been friends for ages. Then Claude has a heart attack, Albert’s starting dementia is becoming more and more apparent and Jeanne gets a rather devastating diagnosis, and they decide that it would be perfect if they all lived together. Joining them is the young anthropologist Dirk (Daniel Brühl) who wants to write his doctor thesis about their project. But living together doesn’t only have advantages and things do get a little tricky.

Et si on vivait tous ensemble? is a funny, sweet and touching movie about getting old that brings a fresh aspect to a topic that is rarely mentioned. I loved it.

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