Duck Butter (2018)

Duck Butter
Director: Miguel Arteta
Writer: Miguel Arteta, Alia Shawkat
Cast: Alia Shawkat, Laia Costa, Mae Whitman, Hong Chau, Kate Berlant, Kumail Nanjiani, Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, Lindsay Burdge
Seen on: 20.4.2020

Plot:
Naima (Alia Shawkat) and Sergio (Laia Costa) meet by chance at a night club and have a great evening/night together. As they talk, they come up with the idea to fast-forward through their relationship to see if it is meant to be by spending 24hours together without sleep – but with sex every hour. Naima hesitates at first and says she can’t because she has to work as an actress, but when she gets fired, she returns to Sergio and the two actually do give it a try.

Duck Butter is very much an American independent movie – how much that is or isn’t up you alley is probably a matter of taste. I did enjoy it for the most part, but the ending rubbed me the wrong way.

The film poster showing a drawing of almost just the eyes of Naima (Alia Shawkat) and Sergio (Laia Costa).

[SPOILERS]

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Bombshell (2019)

Bombshell
Director: Jay Roach
Writer: Charles Randolph
Cast: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow, Allison Janney, Malcolm McDowell, Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Liv Hewson, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Rob Delaney, Mark Duplass, Richard Kind
Seen on: 26.2.2020

Content Note: Sexual Harassment

Plot:
Fox News is ruled by Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) who has, over the decades, found many women he made news anchors – like Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) and Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman). And hopeful new anchors like Kayla (Margot Robbie) know that they need Ailes to get to the top. In the middle of the 2016 presidential election campaign, Gretchen Carlson is preparing for battle: she has been quietly demoted for a while now – and she has been collecting evidence of Ailes’ sexual harassment against her, in the knowledge that she surely isn’t the only one he has harassed.

Bombshell suprised me a little – in a positive way – because it doesn’t withdraw into the safety of an apparently neutral “both sides” position, but takes a stand. I did still struggle with some things, but overall, it’s really good.

The film poster showing Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie), Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) and Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron).
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Tully (2018)

Tully
Director: Jason Reitman
Writer: Diablo Cody
Cast: Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Ron Livingston, Asher Miles Fallica, Lia Frankland, Mark Duplass, Elaine Tan, Gameela Wright, Tattiawna Jones
Seen on: 19.6.2018

Plot:
Marlo (Charlize Theron) just had her third baby, her husband Drew (Ron Livingston) works a lot and is only of moderate help. Marlo is struggling with lack of sleep and the general demands of having three children. Her brother Craig (Mark Duplass) offers to hire a night nanny for her, but Marly initially declines. But after becoming more and more exhausted, Marlo gives in and Tully (Mackenzie Davis) comes around, helping her with the baby during the night. Quickly, Marlo and Tully become closer.

Tully is not a great film, but it isn’t bad. Therer were a couple of things that made me grimace at it, but mostly I enjoyed myself.

Film poster showing a close-up of Charlize Theron's face covered in stickers, looking exhausted.
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Your Sister’s Sister (2011)

Your Sister’s Sister
Director: Lynn Shelton
Writer: Lynn Shelton
Cast: Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mike Birbiglia
Part of: Framing Reality

Plot:
Ever since his brother Tom’s death, Jack (Mark Duplass) has been off, continuously spiraling out of control. So his best friend and Tom’s ex-girlfriend Iris (Emily Blunt) orders him a time-out. Alone. In the family cabin. But when Jack arrives there, Iris’ sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) is also there, recuperating after a break-up with her girlfriend. To overcome the initial weirdness, the two of them get drunk together and promptly sleep with each other – only to be surprised by Iris the next morning. As all of them have something they’re hiding, they go through all the shades of awkwardness together.

I have seen three Lynn Shelton movies so far and I honestly loved all of them. I would be hard-pressed to say which one was my favorite. As with the other films, Your Sister’s Sister combines issues and emotional content with a light, sweet sense of humor. I could have watched it for hours more.

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Humpday (2009)

[Humpday will be shown today at the Framing Reality film festival in Vienna: 20.30, Filmcasino. They have a focus on Lynn Shelton and Barbara Kopple.]

Humpday
Director: Lynn Shelton
Writer: Lynn Shelton
Cast: Mark Duplass, Joshua Leonard, Alycia Delmore
Part of: Framing Reality

Plot:
Ben (Mark Duplass) is happily married with Anna (Alycia Delmore) but their harmonious existence is shaken up by the surprising arrival of Ben’s old friend Andrew (Joshua Leonard). Andrew is an artist and what you’d call a free spirit. And then in drunken night, Ben and Andrew hatch the plan to do an art project together for Humpfest – a porn film festival. But doing porn isn’t easy.

Humpday has got to be one of the most charming films I’ve ever seen. It left me with a huge grin on my face and a spring in my step for the entire day.

humpday

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Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Zero Dark Thirty
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: Mark Boal
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Ehle, Harold Perrineau, Scott Adkins, Mark Strong, Édgar Ramírez, Mark Duplass, James Gandolfini, Stephen Dillane, John Barrowman, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, Taylor Kinney

Plot:
Maya (Jessica Chastain) works for the CIA and has just been sent to Pakistan. Her mission is to find out where Osama bin Laden is hiding. A mission that takes her from torturing prisoners under the the tutelage of colleauge Dan (Jason Clarke) to plain old research. When she stumbles across the name of a guy she believes is a close collaborator of bin Laden, she becomes obsessed with finding him as the most direct way to bin Laden himself.

I really did my best to be interested in this film. Admittedly, the topic is not so much my cup of tea, but it is important. Unfortunately the movie is so very boring that, with the best of motivation, it was impossible to keep up the interest. I mean, I know they searched for this guy a very long time – but was it really necessary that the audience feels every minute of that 10-year-search? At some point I just gave up and fell asleep for a little while – just to get away from the boredom of it all for a bit.

zero-dark-thirty

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Cyrus (2010)

[Viennale.]

Cyrus is the newest movie by Mark and Jay Duplass, starring John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill and Catherine Keener.

Plot:
John (John C. Reilly) is in a depressed hole and has been there for quite a while. Maybe even since he split up with Jamie (Catherine Keener), who remains his friend. One night at a party, he meets Molly (Marisa Tomei). They hit it off right away and John falls in love. But Molly has a grown son, Cyrus (Jonah Hill) and neither Molly nor Cyrus seem to be able to let go of each other.

There were quite a few things I appreciated about this film – foremost the acting, but also the way the characters talked to each other – but in the end, it remains yet another story about two guys fighting for the girl where the girl gets no say in the matter. That the two guys are not two lovers but the lover and the son makes hardly any difference. And there are way too many films about this already.

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