Re-Watch: Never Been Kissed (1999)

Never Been Kissed
Director: Raja Gosnell
Writer: Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein
Cast: Drew Barrymore, David Arquette, Michael Vartan, Molly Shannon, John C. Reilly, Garry Marshall, Sean Whalen, Cress Williams, Octavia Spencer, Leelee Sobieski, Jeremy Jordan, Jessica Alba, Marley Shelton, Jordan Ladd, Katie Lansdale, Branden Williams, James Franco
Seen on: 1.4.2021

Plot:
Josie (Drew Barrymore) is a copyeditor at the Sun-Times, but she would like to be a reporter. Her chance comes quite surprisingly when her unpredictable boss (Garry Marshall) tells her to go undercover at a high school to figure out what kids these days are up to. Josie is so excited about the opportunity, she doesn’t remember that she was bullied in high school. But once she is back, all her old memories flood back again. Maybe this time, though, Josie has a chance to do better.

It has been many years that I watched Never Been Kissed, but I remembered it very fondly. I’m happy to report that it is still an utterly charming film with a cute love story.

The film poster showing Josie (Drew Barrymore) sitting on the floor, one of her knees pulled to her chest.
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Les frères Sisters [The Sisters Brothers] (2018)


The Sisters Brothers
Director: Jacques Audiard
Writer: Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain
Based on: Patrick deWitt‘s novel
Cast: John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed, Rebecca Root, Allison Tolman, Rutger Hauer, Carol Kane
Seen on: 25.3.2019
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Plot:
Charlie (Joaquin Phoenix) and Eli Sisters (John C. Reilly) are hitmen and their newest task is to kill prospector Hermann Warm (Riz Ahmed) who stole from their employer The Commodore (Rutger Hauer). Tracking Warm is private investigator John Morris (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is supposed to hand Warm over to the Sisters brothers. But when Morris starts doubting Warm’s guilt, he teams up with him instead. Meanwhile the Sisters brothers are plagued by bad luck, Charlie’s drinking and Eli’s misgivings about their profession.

I’m not much of a Western fan (a few exceptions notwithstanding), but time and again I get roped into them. In this case, it was the cast that drew me. But the film still didn’t work for me – that’s a resounding meh from my part.

The film poster showing Eli (John C. Reilly) and Charlie Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix) in close-up.
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Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)

Ralph Breaks the Internet
Director: Phil Johnston, Rich Moore
Writer: Phil Johnston, Pamela Ribon
Sequel to: Wreck-It Ralph
Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Alfred Molina, Ed O’Neill, Sean Giambrone, Flula Borg, Timothy Simons, li Wong, June Squibb, Dianna Agron, Jason Mantzoukas, Vin Diesel, Nicole Scherzinger, Irene Bedard, Kristen Bell, Jodi Benson, Auli’i Cravalho, Jennifer Hale, Kate Higgins, Linda Larkin, Kelly Macdonald, Idina Menzel, Mandy Moore, Paige O’Hara, Pamela Ribon, Anika Noni Rose, Ming-Na Wen
Seen on: 30.1.2019
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Plot:
The arcade is going rather well and Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) enjoy being best friends. But Vanellope is starting to get increasingly bored with the limitations of her game. When Ralph tries to help, things don’t go as he planned and Vanellope finds herself with a broken game. In an attempt to find the necessary replacement, Ralph and Vanellope go into the internet – which opens a whole new world for them. But one that isn’t without its pitfalls, either.

Wreck-It Ralph was already a whole lot of fun, and Ralph Breaks the Internet did take things up a notch for me – simply because the internet is much more my area of “expertise” than computer games. I really, really enjoyed it.

The film poster showing Ralph standing on a wife sign that floats through a city filled with social media icons. Vanellope is standing on his shoulder.
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Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Kong: Skull Island
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Writer: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly
Remake of: King Kong
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman, Corey Hawkins, John Ortiz, Tian Jing, Toby Kebbell, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Miyavi, Richard Jenkins
Seen on: 13.3.2017

Plot:
Bill Randa (John Goodman) and Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) are convinced that monsters exist – and they may be hiding on a recently discovered island. When they can finally secure funding for an expedition there, they hire ex-military tracker James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), a group of soldiers under command of Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and photographer Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) to make sure they succeed in finding and documenting whatever lives on that island. But once they get to the island, things don’t go according to plan.

Over and over again I try to like kaiju movies and over and over again, I fail. In this case, though, it’s mostly because Kong: Skull Island really sucks.

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The Lobster (2015)

The Lobster
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Writer: Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou
Cast: Colin FarrellRachel Weisz, John C. ReillyBen Whishaw, Léa Seydoux, Michael Smiley, Olivia Colman, Ariane Labed, Angeliki Papoulia, Jessica BardenAshley Jensen
Seen on: 15.2.2015

Plot:
David (Colin Farrell) was recently divorced. As a single person, he has to check into the Hotel and find a new suitable partner in 45 days. If he doesn’t, he will be turned into an animal – like his brother was turned into a dog – and if nobody is there to take him in, he will be set loose in the woods surrounding the Hotel. So David tries to find somebody who is like him, but that’s easier said than done.

My history with Lanthimos’ movies has been mixed so far but The Lobster might be his best film yet. It’s certainly his most accessible film, although it is still very, very weird and not easy to get into, and my personal favorite.

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Il racconto dei racconti [Tale of Tales] (2015)

Il racconto dei racconti
Director: Matteo Garrone
Writer: Edoardo Albinati, Ugo Chiti, Matteo Garrone, Massimo Gaudioso
Based on: Giambattista Basile‘s fairy tale collection
Cast: Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones, John C. Reilly, Shirley Henderson, Hayley Carmichael, Bebe Cave, Stacy Martin, Christian Lees, Jonah Lees
Seen on: 2.9.2015

Plot:
The Queen of Longtrellis (Salma Hayek) is desperate to have a child with her husband (John C. Reilly). But so far, all their attempts were unsuccessful. Yet another magical attempt finally brings the wished-for results, but at a price. In the meantime the King of Strongcliff (Vincent Cassel) has pretty much fucked everyone around him. But when he hears the sweet singing of a maid, he immediately falls in love. Only that the girl doesn’t want to show herself. In a third kingdom, the King of Highhills (Toby Jones) has a rather unusual pet that takes away his attention from his daughter Violet (Bebe Cave) who is waiting to be married.

Il racconto dei racconti is an adaptation of 17th century fairy tales and as one can imagine, things are not necessarily for the faint of heart, nor are they very friendly to women. But Garrone crafted an entertaining, visually stunning film from them in any case.

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Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy
Director: James Gunn
Writer: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman
Based on: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning‘s comic
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro, Peter Serafinowicz, Sean Gunn, Stan Lee, [and – see if you can find them: Emmett Scanlan, Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof, Josh Brolin, Seth Green, Lloyd Kaufman]

Plot:
When Peter (Chris Pratt) was a little child, he was abducted by aliens. Now he is a smuggler, always looking for the next thing he can steal and sell. But his latest acquisition is also sought after by Ronan (Lee Pace) aka The Destroyer – which does not bode well for Peter. Ronan sends assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) after Peter and at the same time bounty hunters Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) try to collect the price on Peter’s head. In the ensuing confusion they are all arrested, which in turn forces them to work together – first for the money, then to keep Ronan from realizing his destructive plans.

I was really looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy. The trailer looked good. The first reviews were very promising. The cast was great. I was counting down the days to its ridiculously late Austrian release. And then finally it was time to see the film and… it was a mess. A sexist, boring mess.

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The Thin Red Line (1998)

The Thin Red Line
Director: Terrence Malick
Writer: Terrence Malick
Based on: James Jonesnovel
Cast: Nick Nolte, Jim Caviezel, Sean Penn, Elias Koteas, Ben Chaplin, Dash Mihok, John Cusack, Adrien Brody, John C. Reilly, Woody Harrelson, Miranda Otto, Jared Leto, John Travolta, George Clooney, Kirk Acevedo, Mark Boone Junior, Nick Stahl

Plot:
The Guadalcanal is an important strategic point in World War II. Therefore a group of soldiers is brought in to battle for an airfield held by the Japanese which quickly turns into a slaughter with pressures from within and without rising for everyone.

I never liked Malick movies. I wanted to watch this one anyway because it’s a classic and so I decided to jump at the chance when it was shown at the Filmmuseum in Vienna. Now that I have seen it, I can say: I really don’t like Malick movies.

Thin_Red_Line

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Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

Wreck-It Ralph
Director: Rich Moore
Writer: Jennifer Lee, Phil Johnston
Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Mindy Kaling, Ed O’Neill

Plot:
Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) is the bad guy in the arcade game Fix-It Felix Jr. And while everybody loves Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer), nobody likes Ralph. And he’s had it with that. Just once, he wants to be the hero and win a medal. When he isn’t even invited to the game’s anniversary party, that is just the straw to break the camel’s back – and Ralph takes off, straight to Hero’s Duty, where he thinks he can easily get a medal. But things quickly go very wrong and suddenly, the entire Fix-It Felix Jr. game is threatened with unplugging.

I’m not much of a gamer, therefore I’m afraid that I lacked a lot of frames of reference for this movie. Nevertheless, I did enjoy it a whole lot. It’s sweet and really funny.

wreck-it-ralph

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We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

We Need to Talk About Kevin
Director: Lynne Ramsay
Writer: Lynne Ramsay, Rory Kinnear
Based on: Lionel Shriver’s novel
Cast: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller, Jasper Newell, Rock Duer, Ashley Gerasimovich

Plot:
Two years after her son Kevin (Ezra Miller) shot 9 people in his school, Eva (Tilda Swinton) is slowly coming to terms with what happened then and the part she might have played in this shooting. Slowly she unrolls her entire life with Kevin and the mounting tension with her husband Franklin (John C. Reilly) as Eva grows more and more suspicious of Kevin, even as a toddler.

Since I loved the book as much as I did, the movie had its work cut out for itself. Fortunately, Lynne Ramsay is really up to the task and has made not only a great adaptation, but also a wonderful film.

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