Chained for Life (2018)

Chained for Life
Director: Aaron Schimberg
Writer: Aaron Schimberg
Cast: Jess Weixler, Adam Pearson, Stephen Plunkett, Charlie Korsmo, Sari Lennick
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 26.9.2019

Content Note: (critical treatment of) lookism, ableism

Mabel (Jess Weixler) is an actress, working on the film “God’s Mistakes” by a German director (Charlie Korsmo) in his English-language debut. The plot of the film revolves around a doctor who operates on disabled people – people like Rosenthal (Adam Pearson) who is Mabel’s co-star. Mabel – whose character is blind even though she is not – struggles to connect with Rosenthal, feeling awkward around his disfiguration. And Rosenthal isn’t the only disabled actor on set, and the abled people who organized everything are little prepared fo them.

Chained for Life takes a sharp look at lookism and ableism in Hollywood and generally in film-making, using the film-in-film structure perfectly to make striking points. I loved it.

The film psoter showing Rosenthal (Adam Pearson) and Mabel (Jess Weixler) sitting next to each other.
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Today’s Special (2009)

Today’s Special
Director: David Kaplan
Writer: Aasif MandviJonathan Bines
Based on: Aasif Mandvi’s play Sakina’s Restaurant
Cast: Aasif Mandvi, Naseeruddin Shah, Jess WeixlerDean WintersKevin CorriganMadhur JaffreyHarish Patel
Seen on: 1.8.2016

Samir (Aasif Mandvi) loves cooking but his career as a chef seems to have hit a dead-end. So he has decided to go to Paris for a while and get some fresh wind into his cooking. Unfortunately that’s when his father (Harish Patel) has a heart-attack and Samir has to take over the family restaurant, a dingy Indian place. So far, Samir has always avoided engaging with Indian food, but facing the very real possibility of the restaurant having to close, he digs in with the help of cab driver and former chef Akbar (Naseeruddin Shah) who seems to have done everything at least once in his life. And maybe going back to his roots is just what Samir needs for his own cooking.

Today’s Special is a sweet film with lively characters. Plotwise there’s not much that can’t be seen from a mile away, but that’s not a bad thing if you simply want some nice entertainment. Which is exactly what you will get from this film.

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The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them (2014)

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them
Director: Ned Benson
Writer: Ned Benson
Cast: James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Nina Arianda, Viola Davis, Bill Hader, Ciarán Hinds, Isabelle Huppert, William Hurt, Jess Weixler

Conor (James McAvoy) and Eleanor (Jessica Chastain) used to be the perfect couple. But something happened and now they’re not. Eleanor is distant and doesn’t want any contact with Conor and Conor has trouble respecting that boundary. But Eleanor isn’t as done with Conor as it might seem at first and the question remains whether they can find back to each other or not.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby was good but not as great as it could have been. I expected a little more from the concept – TDoER: Them is a cut based on two films, TDoER: Him, which tells events from his perspective, and TDoER: Her, which tells them from hers. But the splice generally feels a little uneven.

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Somebody Up There Likes Me (2012)

Somebody Up There Likes Me
Director: Bob Byington
Writer: Bob Byington
Cast: Keith Poulson, Jess Weixler, Nick Offerman, Stephanie Hunt, Marshall Bell, Kate Lyn Sheil, Jonathan Togo, Megan Mullally
Part of: Viennale

Max’s (Keith Poulson) life is slowly passing him by. He is still attached to his ex-wife (Kate Lyn Sheil) who is not really interested in him anymore. Just to get by, he works as a waiter in a restaurant with Sal (Nick Offerman), where he meets Lyla (Jess Weixler). Lyla and Max hit it off, at least at first. But as the years pass, things develop differently than planned.

Somebody Up There Likes Me has all the hallmarks of a mumblecore movie, which are usually really not my cup of tea (though they do tend to draw me in) – with one crucial distinction: it wasn’t necessary for me to like Max to like this film. And that makes it very enjoyable.

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Feminism Or Not?

I’m a fan of horror movies. I watch a lot of them. And I watch them for the scares, for the humour, for the concepts and very rarely I watch them for the gore. Unfortunately, that’s what you usually get, because horror’s mistaken for blood. [I don’t mind the gore, but it’s not my sole motivation to watch a movie.] Sometimes, I’m surprised, usually not.

Anyway, this is not supposed to be a post about horror movies in general, but about one specific one: Teeth. You probably haven’t heard about it, it’s a rather small film, although it was shown at the Sundance Film Festival.


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