You Can Count on Me (2000)

You Can Count on Me
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Writer: Kenneth Lonergan
Cast: Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick, Rory Culkin, Jon Tenney, J. Smith-Cameron, Gaby Hoffmann, Amy Ryan, Kenneth Lonnergan
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 21.10.2016

Plot:
Sammy (Laura Linney) and Terry (Mark Ruffalo) have always been close as siblings, but ever since Terry left their small hometown, they only rarely see each other. Now Terry is back and Sammy is overjoyed, as is her son Rudy (Rory Culkin). But the reason Terry is back is quite prosaic – he needs money and would prefer to get it an leave pretty immediately. But as he connects with Rudy and re-connects with Sammy, he ends up staying longer than intended.

Watching You Can Count on Me so shortly after Manchester by the Sea was an intersting experience, as it both reveals how much time Lonnergan has spent circling around pretty similar themes and how much he has grown as a filmmaker. You Can Count on Me is by no means a bad movie, but compared to Manchester, it’s nowhere near as polished.

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Manchester by the Sea (2016)

Manchester by the Sea
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Writer: Kenneth Lonergan
Cast: Casey AffleckLucas Hedges, Ben O’Brien, Kyle Chandler, Michelle Williams, Tate Donovan, Matthew Broderick
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 20.10.2016

Plot:
Lee (Casey Affleck) hasn’t been in his hometown Manchester-by-the-Sea for a while and he doesn’t actually want to return. But when his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) dies, leaving behind his teenage son Patrick (Lucas Hedges), Lee is called upon to return and take care of Patrick. Added to the grief over Joe’s passing is Lee’s confrontation with the past and the horrible events that are linked to Manchester-by-the-Sea and Lee’s ex-wife Randi (Michelle Williams).

I saw Manchester by the Sea before the news about Affleck’s history of abuse hit the media (or at least reached me) (this review is based on my notes from October). If I had known, I probably would have reconsidered watching this film. But having seen it , I have to admit that it’s a strong film, offering an unusual perspective on an old story.

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Trainwreck (2015)

Trainwreck
Director: Judd Apatow
Writer: Amy Schumer
Cast: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie LarsonLeBron James, John CenaVanessa Bayer, Randall ParkMike Birbiglia, Ezra Miller, Tilda Swinton, Daniel RadcliffeMarisa Tomei, Method Man, Matthew Broderick, Marv Albert, Chris Evert
Seen on: 18.8.2015

Plot:
Amy (Amy Schumer) doesn’t believe in relationships. She’d rather have sex with random guys while dating Steven (John Cena) who is nice to look at but not exactly a rocket in bed. But then Amy has to do a story on sports doctor Aaron (Bill Hader) for the magazine she works at. Amy has as little interest in sports as she has in monogamy, but Aaron is actually a nice guy. And he likes Amy. He even asks her out, forcing Amy to take a long hard look at her life and to decide whether it’s really the life she wants to lead.

I’m not a huge fan of Apatow (though I did love Freaks and Geeks), so I usually give his movies a wide pass. But I had heard good things about Amy Schumer, and since Trainwreck is also written by her, I decided to give it a try. And I have to admit that the movie worked pretty well for me.

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Margaret (2011)

Margaret
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Writer: Kenneth Lonergan
Cast: Anna Paquin, J. Smith-Cameron, Jeannie Berlin, Mark Ruffalo, Matt Damon, Jean Reno, Allison Janney, Kieran Culkin, Rosemarie DeWitt, Matthew Broderick, Olivia Thirlby, Matt Bush, Michael Ealy
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Lisa (Anna Paquin) is a normal teenager until the day she co-causes a bus accident by distracting the driver (Mark Ruffalo). The bus hits and kills Monica (Allison Janney), leaving Lisa distraught and unsettled. Unable to find another outlet for her feelings of guilt, she gets on a crusade to get recompensation for Monica’s death, while everything around her keeps spiraling out of control.

Margaret is 2 1/2 hours long and you get to feel every minute of it.* It’s 2 1/2 hours of an hysteric teenager and emotionally incompetent adults, a combination that is at the same time boring and nerve-wrecking. What it isn’t, is enjoyable.

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Re-Watch: WarGames (1983)

WarGames
Director: John Badham
Writer: Lawrence Lasker, Walter F. Parkes, Walon Green
Cast: Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, Dabney Coleman, John Wood, Barry Corbin, [And if you can spot them: Michael Madsen and William H. Macy]
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
David (Matthew Broderick) is in high school, but his vocation lies more in hacking. And it so happens that, while searching information aboout a new game, he hacks into the recently fully automated nuclear defence system WOPR at NORAD, a nuclear missile station. Still thinking that he was playing a novel game, David starts engaging the system, leaving the people at NORAD in a panic, thinking that Russia is actually threatening to bomb the USA.

I hadn’t seen WarGames since my childhood. I quite liked it then – and it still holds up the test of time very well.

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The Tale of Desperaux (2008)

The Tale of Desperaux is the new animated movie based on the book by Kate DiCamillo, directed by Sam Fell and Robert Stevenhagen and with a very long, very prolific cast list: Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Watson, Tracey Ullman, Kevin Kline, William H. Macy, Stanley Tucci, Ciarán Hinds, Robbie Coltrane, Tony Hale, Frances Conroy, Frank Langella, Richard Jenkins, Christopher Lloyd, Charles Shaughnessy and Sigourney Weaver. [Phew!]

Unfortunately, in Austria we got only the German version, so I got exactly nothing from that cast – and not even famous German actors to do the parts. [Which is not to say that the speakers didn’t do a good job…]

Plot:
The kingdom of Dor has one thing they’re absolutely famous for: Soup. Every year, they have the Day of the Soup where everybody gets to eat the royal soup and party. One year, an accident happens – Roscuro [Dustin Hoffman], a rat, drawn in by the smell of the soup, stumbles and falls into the plate of the queen. When he tries to apologise, the queen has a heart-attack and dies. Filled with grief, the king banishes all soup and all rats from the kingdom and Roscuro goes into exile.
This is the world Desperaux [Matthew Broderick] is born into – a mouse, who unlike all the others, is not afraid, doesn’t cower, duck or shoo. When he crosses paths with Roscuro, they set out to save themselves and the kingdom.

The movie is really very sweet, quite funny and the story is interesting, though it did feel a little unconnected in the beginning – probably a problem of the adaptation. [And I did have some issues.] But it’s definitely a movie that kids will enjoy.

despereaux-poster

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