Downsizing (2017)

Downsizing
Director: Alexander Payne
Writer: Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor
Cast: Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Kristen Wiig, Rolf Lassgård, Ingjerd Egeberg, Udo Kier, Søren Pilmark, Jason Sudeikis, Maribeth Monroe, Neil Patrick Harris, Laura Dern, Margo Martindale
Seen on: 1.2.2018
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Plot:
The world has latched onto a new concept: downsizing. People are literally shrunk down to five inches. Given that they need much less resources that way, their dollar stretches much further, buying them a life of luxury. Paul (Matt Damon) is intrigued by the idea and when his friend Dave (Jason Sudeikis) tells him all about his newly shrunken life and how great it is, Paul and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to take the leap themselves.

Payne isn’t my kind of director, and Downsizing is unfortunately no exception, despite the fun premise. The execution is racist, sexist and gets lost inside its own metaphor. I was hoping for more.

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Mother! (2017)

Mother!
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writer: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Jennifer LawrenceJavier BardemEd HarrisMichelle PfeifferBrian GleesonDomhnall GleesonStephen McHattieKristen Wiig
Seen on: 13.9.2017
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Plot:
A couple (Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem) has just moved into a new house. He dreams of finding the inspiration to write there, while she painstakingly renovates the house. One night their routine is interrupted by a man (Ed Harris) who knocks on their door, thinking they are running a bed and breakfast. The writer is overjoyed at the change in routine and invites the man to stay the night, while she is more cautious. Things take a turn for the worse, when the man’s wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) arrives the next day.

I expected bad things of Mother! and was pretty happy when things weren’t as bad as I expected them to be. But that’s not the same as saying that I was happy with the film: despite his strengths, I wasn’t too taken with it.

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Whip It (2009)

Whip It
Director: Drew Barrymore
Writer: Shauna Cross
Based on: her own novel Derby Girl
Cast: Ellen PageKristen WiigZoë BellEveDrew Barrymore, Andrew Wilson, Juliette Lewis, Marcia Gay Harden, Alia ShawkatCarlo AlbanLandon Pigg, Jimmy Fallon
Seen on: 17.9.2016

Plot:
Bliss’ (Ellen Page) mother Brooke (Marcia Gay Harden) has been raising Bliss to participate in beauty pageants. But Bliss has no interest whatsoever in being pretty or in pageantry. That becomes even clearer to her when she discovers roller derby. On a whim she goes to a match, and falls in love immediately. After talking to team captain Maggie Mayhem (Kirsten Wiig), she decides to try out for the team herself. Despite the fact that her parents can’t know about it or that she isn’t the required 21 years old yet. So she dons skates and starts practicing, findig her place in the team and the world.

Whip It is a sweet film, with a lot of fun moments and it wouldn’t surprise me if it made at least half of its audience fall in love with roller derby. There’s one big draw back though – and that’s the fact that they didn’t dare to make this a queer story. But other than that I enjoyed it a lot.

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Ghostbusters (2016)

Ghostbusters
Director: Paul Feig
Writer: Katie Dippold, Paul Feig
Remake of: Ghostbusters
Cast: Kristen WiigMelissa McCarthyKate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris HemsworthNeil Casey, Ed Begley Jr., Charles DanceAndy Garcia, Ozzy Osbourne, Michael Kenneth Williams, Bill MurrayDan Aykroyd, Ernie HudsonSigourney Weaver
Seen on: 11.8.2016

Plot:
Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is trying to establish herself as a physicist when an old book of hers resurfaces. She wrote it many years ago together with Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) on the subject of the existence of ghosts and other paranormal phenomena. Erin is afraid that the book will threaten her career despite the fact that she left those ideas behind. When she goes to speak with Abby to ask her to keep the book under wraps, she finds her working with Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) to prove the existence of ghosts. When they are actually called in to examine a haunting, everything changes: Erin tags along and can see the ghost with her own eyes. So the three of them team up with Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) and found the Ghostbusters.

Ghostbusters was a hugely enjoyable film that had me laughing pretty much all the way through – despite the fact that Feig’s humor is usually very much hit and miss for me. But with a cast that great, not much can go wrong.

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The Martian (2015)

The Martian
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Drew Goddard
Based on: Andy Weir’s novel
Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica ChastainMichael PeñaKate MaraSebastian StanAksel HennieChiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Benedict Wong, Mackenzie Davis, Donald Glover
Seen on: 12.10.2015

Plot:
Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is one of five astronauts who come to Mars on a rather routine mission. But then things start going wrong and they have to leave – only that Mark gets injured and to his colleagues he looks like he’s dead. With a heavy heart, they decide to leave without him. But Mark survives miraculously. Now he’s alone. On Mars. With very limited supplies. And a broken communication system. And he only has himself to make his supplies last long enough so that he may be rescued.

Since I really loved the novel the film is based on and the previews I saw for the movie looked great, my expectations for the Martian were pretty high. So when I say that the movie totally fulfilled my expectations, you know that this is high praise indeed.

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Nasty Baby (2015)

Nasty Baby
Director: Sebastián Silva
Writer: Sebastián Silva
Cast: Sebastián Silva, Kristen Wiig, Tunde Adebimpe, Alia Shawkat, Mark Margolis, Reg E. Cathey
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 21.9.2015
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard.]

Plot:
Polly (Kristen Wiig) really wants to have a baby. Her best friend Freddy (Sebastián Silva), too, and since he’s gay, they decided to try and have one together. But Freddy’s sperm count is low, so they try to convince his partner Mo (Tunde Adebimpe) to step up, despite Mo being less into the idea of having a child. As they wait for the go ahead and the positive pregnancy test, Freddy not only works on an art project where he behaves like a baby, he also starts a little war with a mentally ill man, the Bishop (Reg E. Cathey), in the neighborhood.

Nasty Baby wasn’t a bad film, but it wasn’t completely well-rounded either. It changed its pace quite a few times, and not all of those changes would have been necessary or were actually advisable.

Nasty-Baby

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How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

How to Train Your Dragon 2
Director: Dean DeBlois
Writer: Dean DeBlois
Based on: Cressida Cowell‘s books
Sequel to: How to Train Your Dragon
Cast: Jay BaruchelCate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington

Plot:
After the events of How to Train Your Dragon, a lot has changed in Hiccup’s (Jay Baruchel) village. His father Stoick (Gerard Butler) is even talking about grooming Hiccup for leadership. Bue he would rather map the world flying around with Toothless and looking for other Night Furies. But instead of that, what Hiccup finds are other dragon riders and dragon hunters who kidnap the dragons for an entirely sinister purpose.

There is a lot to love about How to Train Your Dragon 2, but there are also a couple of things that I didn’t love at all. But the enjoyment did outweigh the issues.

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Her (2013)

Her
Director: Spike Jonze
Writer: Spike Jonze
Cast: Joaquin PhoenixScarlett JohanssonAmy Adams, Rooney Mara, Chris Pratt, Kristen Wiig, Bill HaderOlivia Wilde, Soko, Brian Cox

Plot:
Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) has been leading a rather solitary life since he separated from his girlfriend Catherine (Rooney Mara), mostly occupied with work – writing personal letters for other people. Then he gets a new AI OS for his phone. And that OS – Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) quickly becomes a huge part of his life to the point where Theodore falls in love with her.

Her is a beautiful movie with great performances though I wasn’t quite as blown away by it as I expected to be. Nevertheless it is rather wonderful.

her

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Director: Ben Stiller
Writer: Steve Conrad
Based on: James Thurber‘s short story (which you can read here)
Cast: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Kathryn Hahn, Adam Scott, Shirley MacLaine, Adrian Martinez, Sean Penn, Patton Oswalt

Plot:
Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) works for Life magazine, handling their photo negatives. It’s not the most exciting job and Walter has a tendency to drift off in daydreams. Recently his dreams have been dominated by Cheryl (Kristen Wiig). And then Life gets taken over. For their last issue they are supposed to have star photographer Sean O’Connell’s (Sean Penn) self-proclaimed best photo on the cover – but Walter can’t find it. So he makes his way through the world to track Sean down.

The Scret Life of Walter Mitty was an incredibly sweet, funny and nice film that won me over with its sense of humor and its beautiful images.

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