Plot: In a world where dinosaurs have started to roam the earth freely, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) live in a rather isolated location, and with good reason – they are hiding Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon). She is a clone and who knows what would be done to her if she was found. When Maisie is taken along with raptor Blue’s baby, Owen and Claire are desperate to get her back. Meanwhile, Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) enlists the help of Alan Grant (Sam Neill) to investigate strangely mutated locusts. Both Maisie’s disappearance and the locusts point back to the company BioSyn.
The last two Jurassic World films were already rather disappointing affairs, but I’m a sucker for dinosaurs, and when you throw Laura Dern on top, of course I couldn’t resist (despite Chris Pratt’s reactionary self). Was it worth it? I’m honestly not sure, but leaning towards no – Jurassic World Dominion is definitely not good.
Plot: Meg (Emma Watson), Jo (Saoirse Ronan), Beth (Eliza Scanlen) and Amy (Florence Pugh) are sisters, living with their mother Marmee (Laura Dern) as their father is off fighting in the war. Their lives are spent working or studying and trying to help the even poorer people in the neighborhood. In their sparetime, they like to play creatively. When their neighbor Mr. Lawrence’s (Chris Cooper) grandson Laurie (Timothée Chalamet) moves in with his grandfather, he quickly finds himself included with the girls. Together, they navigate life’s ups and downs.
There are many, many things I really love about this version of Little Women. I enjoyed myself thoroughly as I watched it. And at the same time, there are so many narrative choices here that I hate that it really speaks to the film’s quality that I still liked it a lot.
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.
The Resistance are still doing their best to fight against the First Order, but they are taking serious hits. Poe (Oscar Isaac) is frustrated with the slow progress of the Resistance. Meanwhile Rey (Daisy Ridley) has gone to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to get Jedi training. And Finn (John Boyega) wakes from his coma on the Resistance ship and teams up with Rose (Kelly Mary Tran) to make sure the Resistance stays safe.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi was good entertainment but it didn’t capture me emotionally as much as it should have and thus didn’t manage to convert me from being mildly interested in the Star Wars films to want to dig deeper. But then I didn’t expect it to.
A small town in Montana. Here, Laura (Laura Dern) works as a lawyer, currently busy with her client Fuller (Jared Harris) who has trouble accepting an offer for worker’s compensation. Not far from Laura, Gina (Michelle Williams) and Ryan (James Le Gros) are working on their dream home. Gina has her heart set on some stones that go to waste in a neighbor’s garden, but they’ll have to convince the neighbor to part with them. Meanwhile, a young rancher (Lily Gladstone) who stumbles into night school classes out of curiosity finds herself in front of a new teacher, Elizabeth (Kristen Stewart) and feels immediately drawn to her.
By now I’ve seen quite a few Reichardt movies, but Certain Women is the first one where I can say that I actually really liked it. Especially the last segment in this episodic film stole my heart.
Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) finds a severed human ear in his neighborhood. He brings it to the police but then finds himself too intrigued by the mystery to leave the investigation up to them. Hoping to find out more, he visits Detective Williams (George Dickerson) at home, but – unsurprisingly – Williams is unwilling to share. His daughter Sandy (Laura Dern), though, points Jeffrey to a mysterious night club singer, Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini) who is mixed up with the wrong kind of people, led by Frank (Dennis Hopper). And soon Jeffrey finds himself in over his head as well.
I haven’t seen much of Lynch’s work (yet), but Blue Velvet was my favorite so far, the first one I really fell in love with. It’s a thing of weirdness, beauty and intricacy with mesmerizing performances. How could I not?
Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield) is trying his best to keep the family home together where he lives with his mother Lynn (Laura Dern) and his son Connor (Noah Lomax). But work has been sparse and now they are threatened with foreclosure. After a last attempt at court, Dennis finds the police and bank representative Rick Carver (Michael Shannon) in front of his house, putting him and his family on the street. Dennis is at a complete loss, but by chance he actually finds a job with Rick who doesn’t exactly work above the line in all places and rakes in quite a profit.
99 Homes is a well made film that is quite clear in its criticism of capitalism – which is much appreciated. But it’s also a film that is a little too hopeless for my taste.
Cheryl (Reese Witherspoon) needs to get away from her life that keeps crumbling around her. So she’s decided to walk the Pacific Crest Trail, despite not really knowing anything about hiking. Things are hardgoing at first, but bit by bit, she finds not only her pace and the right amount to pack and bring along, but peace with herself.
Wild is a well-made film with an excellent structure and a wonderful lead actress that taps into something that many (middle-class, white) women are looking for. I enjoyed it.
Hazel (Shailene Woodley) is sixteen, and is slowly dying from cancer. Her parents (Laura Dern, Sam Trammell) force her to attend a support group which only turns really interesting for Hazel when her friend Isaac (eye cancer) (Nat Wolff) brings his best friend Augustus (Ansel Elgort) to the group. Augustus lost one of his legs to osteosarcoma. Hazel and Augustus quickly bond over a novel – An Imperial Affliction – and their obsession with that book leads them on wholly unexpected adventures.
The Fault in Our Stars is exactly the sobfest you’d expect it to be and works just as well as the book. It is one of the most faithful adaptations of a book I’ve ever seen on screen.
Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) has returned from serving in the navy in WW2, but the war has left him in pieces. Now he drifts from job to job, fueled by home-brewed alcohol. By chance he stumbles upon Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a self-made and rather successful cult leader of The Cause. Dodd, or Master as he is also called, and his wife Peggy (Amy Adams) take Freddie in, hoping to cure him and Freddie falls head first into The Cause.
The Master is an intriguing piece of cinema. It’s unusual in the way it tells its story and perfectly acted, even if it does run a tad too long. But to be honest, I’m not entirely sure what to do with it.