Romance & Cigarettes (2005)

Romance & Cigarettes
Director: John Turturro
Writer: John Turturro
Cast: James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Steve Buscemi, Bobby Cannavale, Mandy Moore, Mary-Louise Parker, Aida Turturro, Christopher Walken, Barbara Sukowa, Elaine Stritch, Eddie Izzard, Amy Sedaris
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 25.10.2016

Plot:
Nick (James Gandolfini) and Kitty (Susan Sarandon) have been married many years and have managed to build a very middle-class existence. When Kitty finds out that Nick has been having an affair, she’s outraged. Her three daughters Baby (Mandy Moore), Constance (Mary-Louise Parker) and Rosebud (Aida Turturro) are firmly on Kitty’s side, but also have their own issues to deal with. And Nick will have to figure out whether he wants to fight for his marriage or start a new life with the other woman, Tula (Kate Winslet).

Romance & Cigarettes is a very idiosyncratic film. A musical in that setting and with those costumes and an off-beat sense of humor, it’s funny and manages to entertain, but it’s also unfortunately steeped in sexism.

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Triple 9 (2016)

Triple 9
Director: John Hillcoat
Writer: Matt Cook
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Woody Harrelson, Aaron Paul, Kate Winslet, Gal Gadot, Norman Reedus, Teresa Palmer, Michael Kenneth Williams, Clifton Collins Jr.
Seen on: 21.5.2016

Plot:
Michael (Chiwetel Ejiofor) used to be in the special forces, but now he works as a private contractor. And currently he’s been contracted by Irina (Kate Winslet) who runs the Russian mob in Atlanta. Although Michael is not particularly happy with his assignment, she forces his hand to pull off an impossible heist. Together with his crew, a mix of dirty cops and professional criminals, they realize that the only chance they have to pull it off is if they kill a cop as a distraction for their heist. But things don’t go as planned.

Triple 9 was one of the quietest releases ever, especially considering cast and crew involved in the film. After having seen it, though, it seems pretty clear that they simply didn’t want to waste any more money on a movie that fails in almost everything.

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Steve Jobs (2015)

Steve Jobs
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Aaron Sorkin
Based on: Walter Isaacson‘s book Steve Jobs
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston, Perla Haney-Jardine, Ripley Sobo, Makenzie Moss, Sarah Snook, John Ortiz
Seen on: 13.11.2015

Plot:
Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) is preparing for product launches at three moments in his life. Just before the shows he puts on, he is confronted with various friends and colleagues who have things to discuss with him in very different stages of his life. But there’s also his daughter Lisa (Perla Haney-Jardine, Ripley Sobo, Makenzie Moss) who is trying to build a relationship with her father.

Steve Jobs is a well-paced film with beautiful dialogues that manage to cover up the film’s shortcomings enough that it’s very enjoyable to watch.

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A Little Chaos (2014)

A Little Chaos
Director: Alan Rickman
Writer: Alan Rickman, Alison Deegan, Jeremy Brock
Cast: Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Helen McCrory, Alan Rickman, Jennifer Ehle, Stanley Tucci, Rupert Penry-Jones, Steven Waddington, Pauline Moran
Seen on: 05.05.2015

Plot:
Sabine de Barra (Kate Winslet) is a well-established gardener who gets invited to present her plans for a piece of the Versaille gardens to André le Nôtre (Matthias Schoenaerts). Le Nôtre is irritated by Sabine’s lack of order, but decides to work with her anyway, even though his esteem in King Louis XIV‘s (Alan Rickman) eyes and his general reputation depend on the success of the gardens. The tension between Sabine and André soon spills from a professional to a more personal level, much to the disdain of André’s wife (Helen McCrory).

A Little Chaos is a film that would proabbly be classically considered a women’s film (not that there isn’t something for the guys there as well) and it’s a beautiful entry in that (if you will) genre, even though it’s a little heavyhanded sometimes.

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Insurgent (2015)

Insurgent
Director: Robert Schwentke
Writer: Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman, Mark Bomback
Based on: Veronica Roth’s novel
Sequel to: Divergent
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney, Mekhi Phifer, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Octavia Spencer, Zoë Kravitz, Ashley Judd, Ray Stevenson, Naomi Watts, Maggie Q, Daniel Dae Kim, Janet McTeer
Seen on: 25.03.2015

Plot:
The Erudite have attacked Abnegation and Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Marcus (Ray Stevenson), Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and Peter (Miles teller) are heading to Amity for a safe place to stay. But Erudite’s attack is just the beginning of an upheaval in their society in which the Divergent have a huge part to play. But Tris doesn’t know what exactly is going on. She just knows that Jeanine (Kate Winslet) won’t stop hunting her.

After Divergent I actually thought I’d skip Insurgent but then I was weak and went to see it after all. And it was actually worse than Divergent.

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Divergent (2014)

Divergent
Director: Neil Burger
Writer: Evan Daugherty, Vanessa Taylor
Based on: Veronica Roth’s novel
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer, Kate Winslet

Plot:
In Beatrice’ (Shailene Woodley) world, people are divided into five castes according to their strengths – Abnegation are the selfless, Erudite the intelligence, Candor the truthful, Dauntless the brave and Amity the peaceful. Until their 16th birthday, kids just live in the caste of their parents, but then there’s an aptitude test and they have to choose their own place. For Beatrice that means ending up to choose Dauntless, while her brother (Ansel Elgort) chooses Erudite – much to the shock of their parents who practically lose them both since they remain in Abnegation. Adapting to the new caste is a challenge for Beatrice, now Tris, and having a crush on her instructor Four (Theo James) doesn’t help. But there are even bigger things at stake.

I’m already not a huge fan of the book series but the film was even worse. Flat, boring and pretty much wasting the (supporting) cast.

divergent

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Movie 43 (2013)

Movie 43 (it’s a comedy anthology with the following segments)
Writer (for the most parts): Rocky Russo, Jeremy Sosenko, Steve Baker
The Thread (in the European version, that’s the framing device; in the US, I gather, it’s a different story)
Director: Bob Odenkirk
Cast: Devin Eash, Adam Cagley, Mark L. Young
The Catch
Director: Peter Farrelly
Cast: Kate Winslet, Hugh Jackman
Homeschooled
Director: Will Graham
Cast: Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts, Jeremy Allen White
The Proposition
Director: Steve Carr
Cast: Chris Pratt, Anna Faris
Veronica
Director: Griffin Dunne
Cast: Kieran Culkin, Emma Stone
iBabe
Director: Steven Brill
Cast: Richard Gere, Kate Bosworth, Aasif Mandvi, Jack McBrayer
Superhero Speed Dating
Director: James Duffy
Cast: Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Kristen Bell, Bobby Cannavale, Leslie Bibb, John Hodgman
Machine Kids
Director: Jonathan van Tulleken
Writer: Jonathan van Tulleken
Middleschool Date
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Cast: Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Patrick Warburton, Matt Walsh
Tampax
Director: Patrik Forsberg
Writer: Patrik Forsberg
Happy Birthday
Director: Brett Ratner
Cast: Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott, Gerard Butler
Truth or Dare
Director: Peter Farrelly, Patrik Forsberg
Cast: Stephen Merchant, Halle Berry
Victory’s Glory
Director: Rusty Cundieff
Cast: Terrence Howard
Beezel
Director: James Gunn
Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Josh Duhamel

Plot:
Calvin (Mark L. Young) and his best friend JJ (Adam Cagley) wanted to trick his little brother Baxter (Devin Eash) by making him look for a supposedly banned film that doesn’t actually exist – Movie 43. But Baxter actually finds something, and as they move from clip to clip they come ever closer to the truth.

People, heed my warning. I thought that a movie with that cast couldn’t possible be as bad as the trailer. “There must be something there,” I thought. “Something redeeming. It can’t possibly be all dick jokes, scatological humor and misanthropy?” Now I laugh in the face of my naivité. Because that really is all there is to this film: people behaving like disgusting assholes and we’re supposed to laugh about it. And all that remains after seeing the film is a question: Why? Why would anybody want to make such a film? Why are any of the actors involved in this? Why would anybody think that shit is funny? WHYYYYY????

movie-43

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Re-Watch: Titanic (1997)

Titanic
Director: James Cameron
Writer: James Cameron
Cast: Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Gloria Stuart, Bill Paxton, Bernard Hill, David Warner, Victor Garber, Jonathan Hyde

Plot:
Over 80 years after the Titanic has sunk, Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton) is sifting through the wreck, looking for a diamond that was lost with the ship. But the closest he ever got to it was when he found a drawing of a girl with that diamond around her neck. And then that same girl, Rose – by now an old woman (Gloria Stuart) – gives him a call and comes to their ship to tell him about what happened on the Titanic: how the young, rich Rose (Kate Winslet) fell in love with poor artist Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and how it came to the sinking of the Titanic.

Of course I saw Titanic when it came out. I was even one of the people who saw it in the cinema twice (not because I was so in love with Leo – in fact, I thought Bill Paxton was way more attractive – but because I had promised two different friends that I’d go with them and couldn’t manage to get them to go on the same day. The scheduling conflicts of the 13-year-olds). And I even saw it a couple of times since (though not in the last ten years or so). But until I saw it in the cinema again this time round, I never realized that Titanic is actually a beautiful, if kitschy and excellent movie.

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Carnage (2011)

Carnage
Director: Roman Polanski
Writer: Yasmina Reza, Roman Polanski
Based on: Yasmina Reza‘s play
Cast: Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz, Kate Winslet

Plot:
Penelope (Jodie Foster) and Michael (John C. Reilly) invited Nancy (Kate Winslet) and Alan (Christoph Waltz) to their apartment after their respective sons got into a fight with each other. While they discuss how to take it from there, the tensions keep on rising. So they soon forget what originally brought them together, and the four of them start to tear into each other.

I very much enjoyed Carnage. It’s bitter, but in a very funny way. It was excellently written and even better acted. I would love not to like Polanski’s movies (what with him raping a child and fleeing prosecution) but unfortunately, this film is pretty damn good.

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Contagion (2011)

Contagion
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, John Hawkes, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Ehle, Elliott Gould, Bryan Cranston, Josie Ho

Plot:
Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) travels home from a business trip in Hong Kong. But almost as soon as she reaches her husband (Matt Damon) and son, the cold she brought from Hong Kong turns out to be much worse and is, in fact, the beginning of a worldwide epidemic. While people around them start dying the CDC sends an agent (Kate Winslet) to Boston, while the WHO sends one of their people (Marion Cotillard) to Hong Kong in a desperate attempt to find a cure – and quickly.

In Contagion, Soderbergh dodges most of the classic movie conventions on how to tell his story. Instead he makes a film that feels so utterly realistic that you can almost believe it to be a documentary. That is not only impressive per se, it also makes for an excellent film.

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