Complete Unknown (2016)

Complete Unknown
Director: Joshua Marston
Writer: Joshua Marston, Julian Sheppard
Cast: Rachel WeiszMichael ShannonAzita GhanizadaKathy BatesDanny GloverMichael ChernusChris Lowell
Seen on: 26.4.2017

Tom (Michael Shannon) and his wife Ramina (Azita Ghanizada) expect guests for dinner. Ramina is a jewelry designer who has recently been accepted into a design program across the country. Tom is ambivalent about moving and leaving his work behind. But before they can fight about this (again), their guests arrive and interrupt. Among them is Tom’s co-worker Clyde (Michael Chernus) who brought a date – the lovely Alice (Rachel Weisz). Michael is sure he knows Alice, but refers to her as Jenny. Her sudden re-appearance in Tom’s life throws him for a loop.

From the description I expected Complete Unknown to be an entirely different film, a thriller, something dramatic, dark and tension-filled. Instead I got a dialogue-driven rumination on identity. It wasn’t bad by a long-shot, but I did feel a little disappointed by that as the turn to darkness never came. Fortunately not for long, though.

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Boychoir (2014)

Director: François Girard
Writer: Ben Ripley
Cast: Garrett Wareing, Dustin HoffmanKathy BatesEddie Izzard, Josh Lucas, Debra Winger, Kevin McHale, Joe West
Seen on: 9.9.2015

Stet (Garrett Wareing) comes from a difficult family background that turns even more difficult when his mother suddenly dies. His biological father Gerard (Josh Lucas) has no interest whatsoever in him. Pressured by Stet’s school principal Ms Steele (Debra Winger) who sees a singing talent in Stet, Gerard does take him to a school famous for its boy choir and makes Stet’s admittance happen with the help of a generous donation. There Stet starts to train with Master Carvelle (Dustin Hoffman) who demands much of his students but also gets results.

Boychoir wasn’t exactly a bad film, but from a pedagogical stand-point it is highly questionable. So questionable, in fact, that I couldn’t really enjoy the film anymore. But at least the music is pretty.


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Misery (1990)

Director: Rob Reiner
Writer: William Goldman
Based on: Stephen King‘s novel
Cast: James Caan, Kathy Bates, Richard Farnsworth, Frances Sternhagen, Lauren Bacall

Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is a successful author. He became famous writing a series of novels about Misery, but he’s had enough of her. In his latest, soon to be published book, he killed her off and just finished his first none-Misery book, when he gets into a car crash. He is pulled out of the wreck by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), his self-professed number one fan. But it’s only when Annie discovers that Misery dies that the actual degree of Annie’s obsession becomes apparent.

It is obvious why Misery really put Kathy Bates on the acting map. She owned that film and stole every scene she was in. Altogether it’s a really strong film with a tense atmosphere that will keep you at the edge of your seat.

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Re-Watch: Titanic (1997)

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

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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Midnight in Paris (2011)

Midnight in Paris is the newest movie directed and written by Woody Allen, starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Tom Hiddleston, Alison Pill, Corey Stoll, Kathy Bates, Marion Cotillard and Adrien Brody.

Gil (Owen Wilson) is a screenwriter who is trying to write a novel. When he travels to Paris with his fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams), he feels inspired by his surroundings. Inez on the other hand seems to only want to spend time with the pretentious Paul (Michael Sheen). One night Gil goes for a walk on his own, gets picked up by a car and ends up in Paris in the 1920s , his favorite period where he meets F. Scott (Tom Hiddleston) and Zelda Fitzgerald (Alison Pill), Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll), Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates), Salvador Dalí (Adrien Brody) and many others. But then he meets Adriana (Marion Cotillard) and they really hit it off.

After the last few Woody Allen movies I saw and really didn’t enjoy, I was unsure whether to watch Midnight in Paris at all. But the cast drew me in and thankfully I did enjoy it more than I feared I would.

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The Blind Side (2009)

The Blind Side is the newest movie by John Lee Hancock, starring Sandra Bullock, Quinton Aaron, Tim McGraw, Jae Head, Lily Collins and Kathy Bates.

Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) is a traumatised, homeless young boy who, because of his sheer size, manages to convince the football coach of a christian private school to plead for his admission in said school. By coincidence, he then is found by Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock), whose kids are in that same school. Leigh Anne takes Michael in to live with her and her family and tries to facilitate his football career.

The troubling racial aspects of the story aside, the film isn’t even half as bad as I thought it would be. That doesn’t mean that it actually deserves all of the accolades it’s gotten, but it means that it’s watchable without going into a diabetic coma.

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Chéri (2009)

Chéri is the movie adaptation of the book (and it’s sequel) by Colette. It was directed by Stephen Frears and stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Friend and Kathy Bates.

Belle Epoque in France. The ageing courtesan Léa (Michelle Pfeiffer) just ended her latest relationship and is considering her lifestyle: Is it really still necessary to do her job? What else would she do? It’s at that point that her best friend Madame Peloux (Kathy Bates) facilitates a meeting between Léa and Peloux’s son, Chéri (Rupert Friend). Chéri kind of ambles through life and doesn’t really know what to do with himself. His mother thinks that a relationship between him and Léa should be part of his education. And even though Lea is that much older than Chéri, things seem to work out perfectly.

Chéri surprised me. I didn’t expect much (I seem to have read only the bad reviews) but I got a delightful film with wonderful Wilde-esque dialogue, perfect performances, beautiful costumes and a great score (by Alexandre Desplat). It may not be the movie of the year, but it’s really good.

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Revolutionary Road (2008)

Revolutionary Road is the film adaptation of Richard Yatesnovel of the same title. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet and is directed by Sam Mendes. I haven’t read the novel [yet], but if you’re looking for a comparison between the two, I thought this article very enlightening [includes spoilers].

April (Kate Winslet) and Frank Wheeler (Leonardo DiCaprio) are living the Suburban Dream(tm). But both are really unhappy, having imagined a different life for themselves, with great accomplishments. Slowly, they make their lives a living hell for each other until April’s suggestion to move to Paris seems to liberate both.

It’s a wonderful movie from start to finish. Very sad, very interesting and deep [I mean that in the good sense], perfectly acted and set in scene.



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The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

I’ll keep this review very short: The Day the Earth Stood Still is not only crap, it’s also boring.


Apart from a tired and old storyline (I can’t bring myself to say it’s a plot twist), the acting is mostly wooden. And I so didn’t care about any of it. Blow up the eart already. At least, then I don’t have to watch this crap.

3 redeeming features, which make it a 1 (of 10) and not a 0:

Summarising: Don’t watch, unless you have trouble falling asleep. And even then, I could recommend better movies.