Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

Velvet Buzzsaw
Director: Dan Gilroy
Writer: Dan Gilroy
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Zawe Ashton, Tom Sturridge, Toni Collette, Natalia Dyer, Daveed Diggs, John Malkovich, Billy Magnussen, Pat Healy
Seen on: 11.4.2021

Plot:
Morf (Jake Gyllenhaal) is an art critic, always looking for something new and good. But currently, he is rather more occupied with Josephina (Zawe Ashton). She works in the gallery run by Rhodora (Rene Russo), hoping to become a successful agent herself, and Morf is deeply in love with her, despite having a boyfriend. When Josephina finds out that a recently deceased tenant in her building was an artist who wanted to have all his art destroyed upon his death, she is convinced that his art is something special. She is not wrong, though she couldn’t have foreseen what kind of special it really is.

Velvet Buzzsaw is visually engaging, and has a great cast who obviously had a lot of fun chewing the scenery in this one. But the metaphor at its heart feels a little flimsy and could have done with a little more work.

The film poster showing a white frame on a white wall with the words Velvet Buzzsaw spraypainted across it, the red paint dripping down and over the frame.
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Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Director: Joe Berlinger
Writer: Michael Werwie
Based on: Elizabeth Kendall’s autobiography The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy
Cast: Lily Collins, Zac Efron, Angela Sarafyan, Kaya Scodelario, Haley Joel Osment, Terry Kinney, Jim Parsons, John Malkovich
Part of: /slash Filmfestival 1/2
Seen on: 4.5.2019
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Plot:
When Liz (Lily Collins) takes a break from being a single mom and goes out with her friend Joanna (Angela Sarafyan), she meets law student Ted Bundy (Zac Efron). He is charming and the two hit it off. It doesn’t take long for him to be a fixture in her life, as well as the of her daughter. But six years later, Ted is arrested and charged with being a serial killer. Liz doesn’t believe that there is any truth to the allegations. But as the trial goes on, she has to face the fact that maybe she doesn’t know as Ted as well as she thought she did.

If Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile had been programmed at the edge of the festival day, I probably would have skipped it because I feared that it would feed into the mythology of Ted Bundy too much. But it was programmed between two films I wanted to see anyway, meaning I was already there, so I gave it a chance – only to see that my fears were absolutely warranted, even if the film isn’t bad.

The film poster showing Ted Bundy (Zac Efron) looking at Liz Kendall (Lily Collins) through the security class in a prison visitors' center.
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Bird Box (2018)

Bird Box
Director: Susanne Bier
Writer: Eric Heisserer
Based on: Josh Malerman‘s novel
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, Jacki Weaver, Rosa Salazar, Danielle Macdonald, Lil Rel Howery, Tom Hollander, Machine Gun Kelly, BD Wong, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Vivien Lyra Blair, Julian Edwards, Parminder Nagra
Seen on: 6.1.2019
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Content Note: suicide, ableism/saneism

Plot:
Five years ago, something happened. Something came and whoever saw it, committed suicide. Malorie (Sandra Bullock) and her children Boy (Julian Edwards) and Girl (Vivien Lyra Blair) managed to stay alive so far and found a community with several other survivors. But things have changed now and what used to be safe, isn’t anymore. Malorie has to find another haven for her children and herself.

Bird Box felt a little like a genre movie made by people who don’t actually have much to do with genre at all. It looks great and the acting is awesome, but oh the tropes and clichés…

The film poster showing Malorie (Sandra Bullock) with blindfolded eyes, cradling both her children who are also blindfolded.
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Re-Watch: Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

Dangerous Liaisons
Director: Stephen Frears
Writer: Christopher Hampton
Based on: his play which is in turn based on Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ epistolary novel
Cast: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman, Keanu Reeves, Swoosie Kurtz, Mildred Natwick, Peter Capaldi
Seen on: 29.1.2016

Plot:
The Victome de Valmont (John Malkovich) and the Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close) are thick as thieves, united in their love to manipulate and destroy the people around them, a skill they have so artfully mastered that their ploys don’t fall back on them. Both have a new project: Valmont is trying to seduce Madame de Tourvel (MIchelle Pfeiffer) who is staying at his aunt’s (Mildred Natwick) summer home and who is widely known for her morals and her loyalty to her husband. The Marquise, on the other hand, is looking for revenge on an ex-lover who just got engaged to the naive Cécile (Uma Thurman) who has spent practically her entire life in a convent. So she enlists Valmont’s help to completely corrupt Cécile.

After having so recently seen the play that was the starting point for the film, I must say that I was very much disappointed by the movie. I thought John Malkovich was miscast and the film never really finds its step. Michelle Pfeiffer is a sparkling star in it, though.

DangerousLiaisons

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Red 2 (2013)

Red 2
Director: Dean Parisot
Writer: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
Based on: Warren Ellis‘ and Cully Hamner‘s comic
Sequel to: Red
Cast: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Helen MirrenAnthony HopkinsByung-hun Lee, Brian Cox, Catherine Zeta-Jones, David Thewlis, Neal McDonough, Titus Welliver

Plot:
Frank (Bruce Willis) and Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) are starting to settle down. But Frank’s past, Sarah’s sense for adventure and Marvin (John Malkovich) make it pretty impossible for them to really live in peace. And so they soon find themselves hunting down what remains of Project Nightshade, a super-secret Cold War weapons project.

Red 2 was fun. Maybe not as much as the first one, but it gets pretty damn close. Great characters, nice dialogues and awesome performances.

Red2

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Re-Watch: Red (2010)

Red
Director: Robert Schwentke
Writer: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
Based on: Warren Ellis‘ and Cully Hamner‘s comic
Cast: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, Karl Urban, Julian McMahon, Richard Dreyfuss, James Remar
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) enjoys his retirement. Most notably, he enjoys his monthly calls to his represntative at his insurance company, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). Shortly before he gets the courage to actually see her, though, his CIA-operative past catches up with him: a kill squad comes to his house and levels it pretty much completely. Frank survives, the assassins don’t but now Frank has to get Sarah to safety and then call on the help of his old squad – Joe (Morgan Freeman), Marvin (John Malkovich), Victoria (Helen Mirren) and Ivan (Brian Cox). All the while he’s being hunted by CIA-agent William Cooper (Karl Urban).

Red still is one hell of an entertaining movie. I think I enjoyed it just as much as the first time round.

red

[SPOILERS]

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Warm Bodies (2013)

Warm Bodies
Director: Jonathan Levine
Writer: Jonathan Levine
Based on: Isaac Marion‘s novel
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Analeigh Tipton, Rob Corddry, Dave Franco, John Malkovich

Plot:
The zombie apocalypse has happened. R (Nicholas Hoult) is a zombie who can’t remember much – not even his entire name – and spends most of his time shuffling around an empty airport. But all of that changes when he meets Julie (Teresa Palmer) during a hunt. Julie is one of the few survivors. And while R munches on Julie’s boyfriend Perry (Dave Franco), he falls in love with her. He brings her home and Julie slowly realizes that maybe not all zombies are the monsters she thought they were. And their connection sparks a new development that is much bigger than the two of them.

Warm Bodies is great. It’s sweet, very well made and extremely funny. I expected much from it beforehand and I got it all.

warmbodies

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Klimt (2006)

Klimt is Raoul Ruiz‘ kinda-biopic of Gustav Klimt, starring John Malkovich, Veronica Ferres, Stephen Dillane, Saffron Burrows and Nikolai Kinski.

Plot:
Gustav Klimt (John Malkovich) is dying. He gets a visit from Egon Schiele (Nikolai Kinski) and together they delve into Klimt’s feverish subconscious to explore his life, his work and his relationships.

Holy bloody shit, this movie is a mess. The concept might – might – have worked, if the movie wasn’t so damn conscious [and kinda smugly self-congratulatory] about every little thing it did. Also, it was a bit ridiculous.

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The Giacomo Variations

The Giacomo Variations is a play/opera devised by Michael Sturminger [German], featuring the music from operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte. It stars John Malkovich, Ingeborga Dapkunaite, Martene Grimson* and Andrei Bondarenko*.

Plot:
Giacomo Casanova (John Malkovich) reminisces about his life. He gets a visit from Elisa von der Recke (Ingeborga Dapkunaite), who becomes his woman of the moment, while she tries to get a look at his memoirs. So we start hearing about Casanova’s life little by little, helped by the music from Cosi Fan Tutte, Don Giovanni and Le Nozze Di Figaro.

The Giacomo Variations builds from a good idea and has a good cast. Unfortunately, its director is not that good and the cast, albeit good actors, were wrong for the play. Or the play was wrong for them – whichever way you want to see it.

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Red (2010)

Red is Robert Schwentke‘s adaptation of Warren Elliscomic, starring Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, Karl Urban, Julian McMahon and Richard Dreyfuss.

Plot:
Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) enjoys his retirement. Most notably, he enjoys his monthly calls to his represntative at his insurance company, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). Shortly before he gets the courage to actually see her, though, his CIA-operative past catches up with him: a kill squad comes to his house and levels it pretty much completely. Frank survives, the assassins don’t but now Frank has to get Sarah to safety and then call on the help of his old squad – Joe (Morgan Freeman), Marvin (John Malkovich), Victoria (Helen Mirren) and Ivan (Brian Cox). All the while he’s being hunted by CIA-agent William Cooper (Karl Urban).

Red is everything it promises to be: fun, full of action and oneliners and it’s very entertaining to see this group of people kick ass big time.

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