Short Cuts (1993)

Short Cuts
Director: Robert Altman
Writer: Robert Altman, Frank Barhydt
Based on: short stories and a poem by Raymond Carver
Cast: Andie MacDowell, Bruce Davison, Jack Lemmon, Zane Cassidy, Julianne Moore, Matthew Modine, Anne Archer, Fred Ward, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Chris Penn, Lili Taylor, Robert Downey Jr., Madeleine Stowe, Tim Robbins, Lily Tomlin, Tom Waits, Frances McDormand, Peter Gallagher, Huey Lewis, Annie Ross, Lori Singer, Lyle Lovett, Buck Henry,
Seen on: 20.10.2018
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Plot:
Nine intersecting stories of people in Los Angeles during the Medfly epidemic: Ann (Andie MacDowell) and Howard’s (Bruce Davidson) child (Zane Cassidy) was in an accident just before his coma. Police man Gene (Tim Robbins) cheats on his wife Sherri (Madeline Stowe). Lois (Jennifer Jason Leigh) works for a sex hotline, much to the dislike of her husband Jerry (Chris Penn). Doreen (Lily Tomlin) and Earl (Tom Waits) have a good marriage, at least as long as Earl is sober. Honey (Lily Taylor) and Bill (Robert Downey Jr.) are housesitting. Stormy (Peter Gallagher) is struggling with his divorce from Betty (Frances McDormand). Zoe tries to connect with her mother Tess (Annie Ross). Claire (Anne Archer) and her husband Stuart (Fred Ward) are invited to dinner by Marian (Julianne Moore) and Ralph (Matthew Modine). Stuart, Gordon (Buck Henry) and Vern (Huey Lewis) are looking forward to a long-planned fishing trip.

Short Cuts was really painful: a film filled with unlikeable men who behave like assholes and somehow we are supposed to think think that’s funny and/or interesting? No, thank you and I mean that in the harshest possible sense.

The film poster showing a fractured red heart in front of a white background.
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Re-Watch: Body of Evidence (1992)

Body of Evidence
Director: Uli Edel
Writer: Brad Mirman
Cast: Madonna, Willem Dafoe, Joe Mantegna, Anne Archer, Michael Forest, Julianne Moore, Frank Langella, Jürgen Prochnow
Seen on: 9.7.2018

Plot:
When millionaire Andrew Marsh (Joe Mantegna) is found dead from a heart attack, handcuffed to his bed with a sex tape of him and his lover Rebecca (Madonna), suspicions immediately fall on her to have purposefully fucked him to death. When it’s discovered that she stands to inherit a lot of money from him, suspicions turn into criminal charges and Rebecca is arrested despite her protestations of innocence. Her lawyer Frank (Willem Dafoe) is very much drawn to her and even while he starts to investigate the case, the two start an affair.

Body of Evidence is sensationalist crap. With a bit of a more feminist and less voyeuristic/fetishistic tendency, it could have gone in the direction of Gone Girl, but instead we got objectification and misogyny. It’s literally hateful.

Film Poster shwoing Madonna laying on a pillow, apparently naked.

[SPOILERS]

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The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag (1992)

The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag
Director: Allan Moyle
Writer: Grace Cary Bickley
Cast: Penelope Ann Miller, Eric Thal, Alfre Woodard, Julianne Moore, Andy Romano, Ray McKinnon, William Forsythe, Xander Berkeley, Meat Loaf, Catherine Keener
Seen on: 2.4.2018

Plot:
Betty Lou (Penelope Ann Miller) is a librarian, and married to Alex (Eric Thal), a police officer. But Alex and pretty much everyone else is ignoring her. And Betty Lou really doesn’t know how to make somebody pay attention. Not even when she finds a murder weapon is she able to make anybody listen to her. But she has had it and when she accidentally fires the gun herself and is arrested, she confesses to the murder herself. And suddenly all eyes are on her.

The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag is a very, very stupid film that makes absolutely no sense and isn’t funny despite how much it tries to be. It’s a film best forgotten (and it probably would have been already if it wasn’t for Julianne Moore’s small supporting role. At least that’s the reason I know about the film in the first place).

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The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992)

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle
Director: Curtis Hanson
Writer: Amanda Silver
Cast: Annabella Sciorra, Rebecca De Mornay, Matt McCoy, Ernie Hudson, Julianne Moore, Madeline Zima, John de Lancie
Seen on: 11.2.2018
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Plot:
Claire Bartel (Annabella Sciorra) is very happy with her husband Michael (Matt McCoy), and of course their 6-year-old daughter Emma (Madeline Zima). She’s also pregnant again. But when she goes to see her gynaecologist, Dr Mott (John De Lancie), he sexually assaults her. Claire calls in the authorities and Mott commits suicide to escape the scandal. Months later, Mott’s widow (Rebecca De Mornay) comes to the Bartels’ house to work as a nanny under a false name. Not knowing who she actually is, Claire hires her, giving her the perfect opportunity to get revenge for her ruined life.

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle is simply awful. Misogynistic and stupid on some many levels, I could barely stand it. It’s a catastrophe.

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Suburbicon (2017)

Suburbicon
Director: George Clooney
Writer: Joel CoenEthan Coen, George Clooney, Grant Heslov
Cast: Matt Damon, Julianne MooreOscar IsaacNoah JupeTony EspinosaKarimah Westbrook, Leith M. Burke, Richard Kind, Steve Monroe
Seen on: 20.11.2017
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Plot:
Suburbicon is a picture-perfect 1950s community, filled with happy, white, affluent, nuclear families. But then the Mayers (Kamirah Westbrook, Tony Espinosa, Leith M. Burke) move to Suburbicon. They are black and their arrival brings Suburbicon’s facade to crumble, exposing the community’s racism. Their next-door neighbor Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) has other issues, though: he, his wife Rose (Julianne Moore), her twin sister Margaret (Julianne Moore), and their son Nicky (Noah Jupe) are being robbed in their own home, with dire consequences. But that’s only the beginning of the troubles in Suburbicon.

I found Suburbicon pretty disappointing. I thought that it would be about racism, but it revolves much more around the Lodges and their story. And that story does have a Coen-esque feel, but one that doesn’t quite come together.

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Based on: Mark Millar’s and Dave Gibbons’ comic
Sequel to: Kingsman: The Secret Service
Cast: Taron EgertonMark StrongHanna AlströmJulianne MooreColin FirthMichael GambonChanning TatumHalle BerryElton JohnJeff BridgesPedro PascalBruce Greenwood 
Seen on: 20.9.2017
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Plot:
Eggsy (Taron Egerton) has very much settled into being a Kingsman agent, and into dating Swedish Princess Tilde (Hanna Alström). But just when everything seems to calm down, a devastating attack that strikes at the very heart of the Kingsman HQ leaves Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) the only survivors of the agency. When they follow emergency procedure, they discover that there is another agency in the USA: Statesman. They fly there to look for help in tracking down their attacker.

I very much enjoyed the first Kingsman film and was very much looking forward to this sequel, but unfortunately I was disappointed with it, despite some pretty good ideas.

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Maggie’s Plan (2015)

Maggie’s Plan
Director: Rebecca Miller
Writer: Rebecca Miller, Karen Rinaldi
Cast: Greta GerwigEthan HawkeJulianne Moore, Travis Fimmel, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Wallace Shawn, Fredi Walker-Browne
Seen on: 12.8.2016

Plot:
Maggie (Greta Gerwig) wants a child and she doesn’t want to wait until she meets the right man for her, she wants it now. So she asks old acquaintance Guy (Travis Fimmel) if he would be willing to give her his sperm and he agrees. But right around this time, she meets John (Ethan Hawke) and falls for him – and he for her. John leaves his wife Georgette (Julianne Moore) and the two move in together. A few years later, Maggie has a lovely daughter, but her love for John has cooled substantially. So she hatches the plan that maybe she could get him back together with Georgette.

Maggie’s Plan is an absolutely adorable, wonderful, funny and sweet film. It proves that a light film doesn’t necessarily have to be stupid.

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Freeheld (2015)

Freeheld
Director: Peter Sollett
Writer: Ron Nyswaner
Based on: Laurel Hester‘s life and the documentary about that
Cast: Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Michael Shannon, Steve Carell, Luke Grimes, Josh Charles
Seen on: 14.4.2016

Plot:
Laurel (Julianne Moore) falls in love with Stacie (Ellen Page) and vice versa. The two build their life together, a life that Laurel carefully shields from her job as a cop and even her partner Dane (Michael Shannon). But then she is diagnosed with cancer and things are not looking good. As Laurel realizes that she’ll probably not survive, she knows that she has to fight to have Stacie and her (civil) partnership with her recogniced by the city council to make sure that Stacie will get the spousal pension after Laurel’s death. But the council is not willing to make that happen.

Freeheld is a conservatively made film about a progressive topic: while the filmmaking here is not revolutionary, the fight for queer rights is and as we keep seeing over and over again, it’s unfortunately far from won. So keep the films on coming and if they push every emotional button in the most obvious way, it’s even better: people obviously still need the basic lessons.

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writer: Peter Craig, Danny Strong
Based on: Suzanne Collins’ novel (the second half)
Sequel to: The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald SutherlandPhilip Seymour HoffmanJulianne Moore, Stanley Tucci, Sam Claflin, Jena MaloneWillow ShieldsPaula Malcomson, Mahershala Ali, Jeffrey Wright, Natalie Dormer, Gwendoline Christie
Seen on: 22.11.2015

Plot [with Spoilers for everything up until this part]:
Still reeling from brainwashed Peeta’s (Josh Hutcherson) attack on her, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) has no chance of really gathering herself. Instead she shoots promo videos for the rebellion and their cause. As outright war with the Capitol becomes ever more likely, Katniss decides that she has to put an end to things and the only way it will end is if Katniss kills President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

My expectations were pretty low for this final installation in the series since the second half of the last book was the weakest part of the series by far and that was the only thing that was left to bring to the screen. But Mockingjay Part 2 turned out to be better than I expected.

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Still Alice (2014)

Still Alice
Director: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
Writer: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
Based on: Lisa Genova‘s novel
Cast: Julianne MooreAlec BaldwinKristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, Shane McRae, Hunter Parrish, Seth Gilliam
Seen on: 13.3.2015

Plot:
Alice Howland (Julianne Moore) is a very successful professor for linguistics. She’s happily married to John (Alec Baldwin) and has three children (Kate Bosworth, Hunter Parish, Kristen Stewart) with whom she gets mostly along. But Alice has noticed that she keeps losing words and has trouble remembering things. Shortly thereafter she is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and has to face the fact that she will not only lose her memories, but also herself and her entire life in a very short while.

Still Alice was a touching and smart film with really wonderful performances. I cried a lot which is probably what the film is made for.

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