How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2017)

How to Talk to Girls at Parties
Director: John Cameron Mitchell
Writer: Philippa Goslett, John Cameron Mitchell
Based on: Neil Gaiman’s short story
Cast: Alex Sharp, Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, Ruth Wilson, Stephen Campbell Moore, Matt Lucas
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 2.11.2017
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Plot:
Enn (Alex Sharp) loves nothing more than punk music. Having heard about a special concert, he stumbles into a party that seems a little stranger than the usual stuff. But there’s also the cute Zan (Elle Fanning) there and Alex hits it off with her. But as the two spend more time together, Enn realizes that Zan isn’t just a little strange: she’s actually an alien.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties was sweet and funny and colorful and loud and a whole lot of fun. It’s a film designed to make you smile and leave it with a bounce in your step.

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Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)

Alice Through the Looking Glass
Director: James Bobin
Writer: Linda Woolverton
Based on: Lewis Carroll‘s novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
Sequel to: Alice in Wonderland
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham-CarterSacha Baron CohenRhys Ifans, Matt LucasLindsay DuncanLeo Bill, Geraldine James, Andrew Scott, Richard ArmitageEd Speleers, Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman, Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall
Seen on: 2.6.2016

Plot:
Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is working very hard to keep her father’s shipping company together, but things aren’t going well. Things seem doomed after her mother (Lindsay Duncan) signed over their shares to Alice’ former suitor Hamish (Leo Bill). It is just then that bad news reaches Alice from Wonderland and she sets off there to help the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) who hasn’t been himself. In fact, he seems to have crossed the line into absolute madness, believing firmly that his family isn’t actually dead, but can still be brought back. Reluctantly Alice agrees to help by speaking to Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) and trying to get to the chronosphere which would help them clear matters up. But things get more complicated when it becomes obvious that the Red Queen (Helena Bonham-Carter) is also involved.

The first Alice film wasn’t particularly good, though I did enjoy watching that cast in that production design for the most part. That’s why I figured I would give Alice Through the Looking Glass a try as well. Unfortunately, it was even less convincing than the first film.

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Paddington (2014)

Paddington
Director: Paul King
Writer: Paul King
Based on: Michael Bond‘s books
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin, Julie Walters, Nicole Kidman, Peter Capaldi, Imelda Staunton, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Matt Lucas, Steve Oram, Alice Lowe

Plot:
The bear Paddingtion (Ben Whishaw) was happily living with his aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) and uncle Pastuzo (Michael Gambon) in the Peruvian jungle. But when their home gets destroyed, Lucy sends Paddington to London, hoping that he will find a safe home there, as promised by an explorer who visited them a long time ago. Thankfully shortly after his arrival in London, Paddington meets the Browns –  Mary (Sally Hawkins), Henry (Hugh Bonneville) and their children Judy (Madeleine Harris) and Jonathan (Samuel Joslin). Together they start to look for the explorer to find Paddington his safe place. But not everyone is out to help Paddington.

The trailer for Paddington looked awful, full of unfunny slapstick and grossness. I wanted to see it despite the trailer, but was prepared for the worst. And (apart from the general postcolonial qualms I have about the story) I was pleasantly surprised by the film that is much sweeter and funnier than the trailer made me think it was.

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The Look of Love (2013)

The Look of Love
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Writer: Matt Greenhalgh
Cast: Steve Coogan, Imogen Poots, Anna Friel, Tamsin Egerton, Chris Addison, Stephen Fry, Matt Lucas, Shirley Henderson, Simon Bird, David Walliams, Dara O’Briain

Plot:
Paul Raymond (Steve Coogan) makes his money with nightclubs, stripping, erotic dancing – basically women taking their clothes off. And he makes a lot of it, despite the controversy around his job. His wife Jean (Anna Friel) is fully supportive – until Paul leaves her to be with Amber (Tamsin Egerton) and fully enjoy the party lifestyle. While Jean goes to the US with their son, Paul’s daughter Debbie (Imogen Poots) wants to follow in Paul’s footsteps as he continues to build his naked women emporium.

The Look of Love has a good cast but it has serious issues with focussing on the story they want to tell. It’s still rather entertaining, but it really didn’t blow me away.

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Re-Watch: Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Shaun of the Dead
Director: Edgar Wright
Writer: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg
Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick FrostKate AshfieldLucy Davis, Dylan MoranPenelope Wilton, Peter Serafinowicz, Rafe Spall, Bill Nighy, Jessica Hynes, Martin Freeman, Tamsin Greig, Matt Lucas, Chris Martin, Rob Brydon, Joe Cornish, Mark Gatiss, Michael Smiley, David Walliams, Julia Deakin, Reece Shearsmith
Part of: The Cornetto Trilogy

Plot:
Shaun (Simon Pegg) spends his life between his dead-end job, his best friend Ed (Nick Frost) and his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield). Liz is frustrated with his complacency. But things get severely shaken up when there’s a zombie outbreak. As soon as Shaun realizes, he tries everything to save the ones he loves.

Shaun of the Dead is not only one of the best zombie movies I’ve ever seen, it’s just one of the best movies ever, period. And this re-watch proved it to me again.

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The Infidel (2010)

The Infidel
Director: Josh Appignanesi
Writer: David Baddiel
Cast: Omid Djalili, Richard Schiff, Archie Panjabi, James Floyd, Yigal Naor, Amit Shah, Matt Lucas

Plot:
Shortly after Mahmud’s (Omid Djalili) mother dies, he – a not particularly devout but believing muslim, well-integrated into the local muslim community – finds out that he was adopted. Not only that, Mahmud was born Jewish. That discovery throws him into a bit of an identity crisis, especially when the local rabbi (Matt Lucas) refuses that he can see his natural father before he has learned at least the basics of Judaism. So Mahmud swallows his antisemitic tendencies and enlists the help of cabby Lenny (Richard Schiff) to teach him. And as if that wasn’t enough, at the same time Mahmud’s son Rashid (Amit Shah) and the entire family have to appear particularly devout so that Rashid’s fiancée’s stepdad Arshad (Yigal Naor), an extremely conservative religious leader, gives his consent to their marriage.

I really enjoyed The Infidel. The film manages to treat religion respectfully but not be so awestruck that you can’t point out religious shortcomings – a rather difficult tightrope walk. But above all, it is funny, very well written and has an excellent cast.

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Bridesmaids (2011)

Bridesmaids is the newest film by Paul Feig, written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo and starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Matt Lucas, Rebel Wilson, Chris O’Dowd, Jon Hamm.

Plot:
When Annie’s (Kristen Wiig) best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) gets married, Annie is happy for her. But then Annie meets Lillian’s boss’s wife Helen (Rose Byrne) who has taken on a more and more important role in Lillian’s life. What starts off as a slightly ridiculous rivalry between Annie and Helen, soon ends in Annie having a full-fledged crisis and her starting to ruin Lillian’s wedding preparations.

I was hesitant to see Bridesmaids since it’s basically touted als The Hangover in pink (hence for women) and I hated The Hangover with an inordinate passion. Surprisingly, I didn’t hate it. Bridesmaids does have some good parts to it, though it also has its fair share of fecal humor which I’ll never get. Will it become my new go-to comedy? No. But I also didn’t regret seeing it.

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Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Alice in Wonderland is the newest movie by Tim Burton, based on the book by Lewis Carroll, starring Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Helena Bonham-Carter, Matt Lucas, Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman, Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall.

Plot:
Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is at a party with her family – actually, it’s her engagement party, only she doesn’t know – when a white rabbit (Michael Sheen) appears to her. Since the rabbit is wearing a waistcoat and a pocket watch, Alice is intrigued. She follows it to Wonderland where she discovers that an old prophecy is waiting just for her.

Even with the Tim Burton bonus and the wonderful cast, I cannot say that this was actually a good movie. I mean, it looked great but that script and that plot and the character CGI…

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