The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (2008)

The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond
Director: Jodie Markell
Writer: Tennessee Williams
Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Evans, Will Patton, Ann-Margret, Mamie Gummer, Jessica Collins, Ellen Burstyn, Zach Grenier
Seen on: 6.11.2016

Plot:
Fisher Willow (Bryce Dallas Howard) has spent some time overseas. Now she’s back home and supposed to come out to society. But while she was gone, her father caused some trouble in their town and is now hated. Fisher herself is rather wild and outspoken. The two things in combination leave her rather ostracized. She can’t even find a date to accompany her. So she pays Jimmy (Chris Evans) to accompany her. Jimmy’s family used to have a big name, but they have since fallen in standing. And Jimmy has his fair share of troubles to contend with, but he desperately needs the money.

I do wonder why nobody ever talks about The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond. Not only is it by Tennessee Williams (a “lost screenplay” that resurfaced 50 years after it was written), it’s a really good film.

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The End of the Tour (2015)

The End of the Tour
Director: James Ponsoldt
Writer: Donald Margulies
Based on: David Lipsky‘s memor Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Segel, Anna Chlumsky, Mamie Gummer, Joan Cusack, Ron Livingston
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 1.11.2015
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) is a writer. He just published his first novel, more or less at the same time that David Foster Wallace‘s (Jason Segel) Infinite Jest came out, against the backdrop of which Lipsky’s own novel disappears. Jealous he reads it and finds that the critics were right with their praise of Wallace’s novel. So Lipsky arranges for an interview with Wallace for Rolling Stone magazine. Wallace, notoriously publicity shy, agrees to have Lipsky trail him for a few days during the end of his book tour.

The End of the Tour may have occasional lengths, but for a film that is basically just an extended conversation between two people, it is incredibly engaging and well-made.

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Ricki and the Flash (2015)

Ricki and the Flash
Director: Jonathan Demme
Writer: Diablo Cody
Cast: Meryl StreepKevin Kline, Mamie Gummer, Rick SpringfieldAudra McDonald, Sebastian StanNick Westrate, Hailey Gates, Ben PlattBill Irwin
Seen on: 9.9.2015

Plot:
Ricki (Meryl Streep) is a singer with her own band, but also a dayjob at a supermarket. Many years ago, she decided to pursue her music rather than stay with her family and is estranged from both her ex-husband Pete (Kevin Kline) and her children Julie (Mamie Gummer), Josh (Sebastian Stan) and Adam (Nick Westrate) who were brought up by Pete’s new wife Maureen (Audra McDonald). But after Julie separates from her husband and falls into a deep depression, Pete calls Ricki for help, forcing all of them to take stock of their relationships with each other.

Ricki and the Flash is an entertaining film with a great cast. I probably won’t remember it forever, but I had fun while it lasted.

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Cake (2014)

Cake
Director: Daniel Barnz
Writer: Patrick Tobin
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Adriana Barraza, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington, Mamie Gummer, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, Chris Messina, Lucy Punch, Britt Robertson
Seen on: 15.04.2015

Plot:
After an accident Claire (Jennifer Aniston) is in chronic pain, bitter and lonely. Her only points of social contact are her housekeeper Silvana (Adriana Barraza) and her chronic pain self-help group. But after one of its members, Nina (Anna Kendrick), committed suicide and Claire had a bit of a meltdown, the group has asked her to leave. Instead Claire pays a visit to Nina’s widower Roy (Sam Worthington). They both start leaning on each other for their recovery, even if that’s a very slow-going process.

Cake was an excellent film. Great performances, smart script, interesting topic handled seriously but also with a sense of humor, all tied together in a neat little package.

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Side Effects (2013)

Side Effects
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Cast: Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Catherine Zeta-JonesVinessa Shaw, David Costabile, Mamie Gummer

Plot:
Emily’s (Rooney Mara) husband Martin (Channing Tatum) was in prison for the last four years, for fraud. Now he’s finally out and Emily should be super-happy as her life is slowly falling into place again. But unfortunately she’s not. Instead she’s depressed and really not doing well. After she drives her car into a wall, she starts treatment with Dr. Banks (Jude Law) who prescribes her various medications. But every medication has its side effects.

I really enjoyed the first half of this film. Unfortunately it then gets lost in a clusterfuck of tropes and plot twists and starts to suck really badly.

side_effects

[SPOILERS]

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The Ward (2010)

The Ward
Director: John Carpenter
Writer: Michael Rasmussen, Shawn Rasmussen
Cast: Amber Heard, Mamie Gummer, Danielle Panabaker, Laura-Leigh, Lyndsy Fonseca, Jared Harris
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
Kristen (Amber Heard) is caught burning down a farmhouse and promptly admitted to a mental institution. There she is stationed in a ward with four other young women – and a ghost. The ghost starts picking off the girls one by one, but nobody believes Kristen that anything is happening at all. So she tries to stop it on her own.

The Ward had some good scares, but other than that it was an extremely unimaginative affair with one cliché after the other.

[REALLY BIG SPOILERS]

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