The Beguiled (2017)

The Beguiled
Director: Sofia Coppola
Writer: Sofia Coppola
Based on: Thomas P. Cullinan‘s novel
Remake of: the 1971 film
Cast: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke, Emma Howard
Seen on: 3.7.2017
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Plot:
John McBurney (Colin Farrell) is an injured Union soldier on the run in the South during the US Civil War. He stumbles upon a girl’s school, led by Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman) and finds pity in the women who don’t turn him in to the Confederate soldiers – at least not until he’s healed and stands a chance to survive. But they keep him under lock and key while they tend to him. The teacher Edwina (Kirsten Dunst) and the girls – above all Carol (Elle Fanning) – are intrigued and excited by the soldier and soon vie for his affections. Not even Miss Martha finds herself unmoved as McBurney tries to turn the situation to his advantage.

The Beguiled is visually stunning, but other than that didn’t blow me away all that much. It’s not bad, but I still prefer the original film (although I didn’t love that one that much either).

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Hidden Figures (2016)

Hidden Figures
Director: Theodore Melfi
Writer: Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi
Based on: Margot Lee Shetterly‘s book Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race
Cast: Taraji P. HensonOctavia SpencerJanelle MonáeKevin CostnerKirsten Dunst, Jim ParsonsMahershala AliAldis HodgeGlen Powell
Seen on: 6.2.2017

Plot:
NASA is working hard to send their first man into space – and especially to bring him back again. But they haven’t yet cracked the orbit needed for that. Working as computers, the black women Katherine Goble (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) are far removed from the action, both figuratively and literally. But when the Soviets make quick advances and pressure rises, Katherine’s mathematic skills bring her right into the heart of the team. But racism isn’t all that easily overcome by maths.

Hidden Figures was entertaining, charming and incredibly enjoyable. It was almost too smooth – I was missing a bit of anger. But that’s only a teeny tiny complaint about a film I very much loved.

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Upside Down (2012)

Upside Down
Director: Juan Solanas
Writer: Juan Solanas, Santiago Amigorena, Pierre Magny
Cast: Jim Sturgess, Kirsten Dunst, Timothy Spall, Blu Mankuma, Nicholas Rose, James Kidnie, Vlasta Vrana, Kate Trotter, Holly Uloth
Seen on: 1.1.2017

Plot:
The two planets Up Top and Down Below are so close to each other, in some places they are within touching distance. There is even a big building, the TransWorld HQ, that connects both. This is made possible by dual gravity: both planets come with their own gravitational system that pull the things, living and otherwise, that belong to each in opposite directions. Adam (Jim Sturgess) grew up in the mountains of Down Below where he met Eden (Kirsten Dunst) from Up Top. They fell in love, but their forbidden contact was discovered and Adam had to leave Eden behind, believing her dead. 10 years later, he discovers that she is actually alive and works at TransWorld. Adam knows he has to find her again.

Upside Down was a poorly constructed film full of tropes. It just didn’t work for me at all, instead it remained nonsense. It doesn’t even begin to hold a candle to Patema Inverted that works with the same idea.

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Midnight Special (2016)

Midnight Special
Director: Jeff Nichols
Writer: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Jaeden LieberherMichael ShannonJoel EdgertonKirsten DunstAdam DriverBill CampScott HazeSam Shepard
Seen on: 19.4.2016

Plot:
Roy (Michael Shannon) and Lucas (Joel Edgerton) are on the run with a boy, Alton (Jaeden Lieberherr). They are running from a cult and from the government, obviously intent to not be stopped, but to what ends isn’t obvious. What is obvious though is that this isn’t simply a kidnapping and Alton isn’t simply a kid. He has powers that defy understanding, even his own.

Midnight Special is a weird animal. Over long stretches I enjoyed it, although it does have lengths, but then it becomes so increasingly Christian in its imagery that I was a bit taken aback by it more and more.

[SPOILERS]

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The Two Faces of January (2014)

The Two Faces of January
Director: Hossein Amini
Writer: Hossein Amini
Based on: Patricia Highsmith‘s novel
Cast: Oscar IsaacViggo MortensenKirsten Dunst, Daisy Bevan

Plot:
Rydal (Oscar Isaac) is an American working as a tour guide in Greece. He meets the fascinating couple Colette (Kirsten Dunst) and Chester Macfarland (Viggo Mortensen) and is immediately drawn to them. But there is something to the Macfarlands that isn’t quite right and Rydal soon finds himself in deeper than he thought.

The Two Faces of January has an excellent cast and a charming old-timey setting but nothing in this film actually works as it should.

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Bachelorette (2012)

Bachelorette
Director: Leslye Headland
Writer: Leslye Headland
Based on: Leslye Headland’s play
Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson, Adam Scott, James Marsden, Hayes MacArthur, Kyle Bornheimer

Plot:
Regan (Kirsten Dunst), Gina (Lizzy Caplan), Katie (Isla Fisher) and Becky (Rebel Wilson) have been friends since high school, though only Becky and Regan see each other regularly. Now Becky is about to get married to Dale (Hayes MacArthur), so she asks the three other women to be her bridesmaids. Regan organizes everything, even though she is more jealous of than happy for Becky. Gina and Katie, too, look more forward to seeing each other and Regan than to see Becky married. The night before the wedding, things come to a head.

I was unsure whether I would like Bachelorette. I was afraid that it would be like Bridesmaids which wasn’t my cup of tea. To my surprise, I pretty much ended up loving Bachelorette.

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On the Road (2012)

On the Road
Director: Walter Salles
Writer: Jose Rivera
Based on: Jack Kerouac’s novel
Cast: Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Elisabeth Moss, Terrence Howard, Alice Braga, Tom Sturridge, Steve Buscemi

Plot:
After his father’s death, Sal (Sam Riley) decides to go on a road trip to visit his new friend Dean (Garrett Hedlund) and his girlfriend Marylou (Kristen Stewart). Together they hook up with some old friends in around the USA. Sal is fascinated with Dean’s energy and joie de vivre. For a while, Sal travels alone, then he travels together with Dean and other people, always looking for the next party and the next kick.

After the book, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about watching the film but I thought that with the lengths the book had, the shortenings necessary for a movie script might improve the whole thing. But if anything the movie was even more boring.

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Melancholia (2011)

Melancholia
Director: Lars von Trier
Writer: Lars von Trier
Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Alexander Skarsgard, Stellan Skarsgard, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Brady Corbet, Jesper Christensen, Udo Kier

Plot:
It’s Justine’s (Kirsten Dunst) wedding day. But even though she should be the happiest person alive, apart from her husband Michael (Alexander Skarsgard), she is haunted by dreams and visions of the end of the earth, when the planet Melancholia collides with ours. Her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) tries to hold it all together, but is ultimately helpless against the overwhelming presence of Melancholia – both the planet and the mood.

After Antichrist, I was very reluctant if I actually wanted to see Melancholia. But the cast and the trailer’s aesthetics drew me in. In the end my fears that it would be the misogynist disaster Antichrist was, proved to be unnecessary. But I still only liked the first half.

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How To Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008)

How To Lose Friends & Alienate People is the adaptation of Toby Young‘s memoir of the same title, directed by Robert B. Weide and starring Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Megan Fox, Jeff Bridges and Gillian Anderson.

Plot:
Sidney Young (Simon Pegg), a moderately unsuccessful British celebrity journalist, gets a call from Sharps Magazine (thinly disguised Vanity Fair) one day to come to New York. Thinking he has arrived careerwise at last, he jumps on the plane, leaving everything behind only to discover that he has to work his way up from the bottom, while drooling over upcoming actress Sophie Maes (Megan Fox) and befriending co-worker Alison Olsen (Kirsten Dunst).

In this case I will go with Roger Ebert’s opinion on the movie:

How to Lose Friends & Alienate People” is possibly the best movie that could be made about Toby Young that isn’t rated NC-17.

Though I have to add that I don’t think the rating would have changed much.

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[SPOILERS]

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