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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Behind Jim Jarmusch (2010) + Travelling at Night with Jim Jarmusch (2014)

Behind Jim Jarmusch + Travelling at Night with Jim Jarmusch
Director: Léa Rinaldi
Writer: Léa Rinaldi
“Cast”: Jim JarmuschIsaach De BankoléJohn Hurt, Bill MurrayTilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 31.10.2015

“Plot”:
Both Behind Jim Jarmusch and Travelling at Night with Jim Jarmusch are documentaries about the creative process of director Jim Jarmusch. Rinaldi followed Jarmusch during the shot of The Limits of Control and then again a couple of years later during the work on Only Lovers Left Alive, trying to grasp how Jarmusch gets to work.

Behind Jim Jarmusch was Rinaldi’s first documentary and you can see how much she learned, so that Travelling at Night with Jim Jarmusch becomes the much better film. But both are interesting to see, especially if you like Jim Jarmusch’s films as they give you a look into the creation of something special.

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Crimson Peak (2015)

Crimson Peak
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Matthew Robbins
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, Jim Beaver, Burn Gorman, Leslie Hope, Doug Jones
Seen on: 18.10.2015

Plot:
Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) dreams of publishing a book but until that happens, she’s quite happy at home with her father Carter (Jim Beaver). But then Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) come from England to her father with a business proposal and Edith finds herself falling for Thomas. Her father makes inquiries about the Sharpes and is not convinced that Thomas would be a suitable match. But then Carter dies surprisingly and Edith follows the Sharpes to England. But there are ghosts that follow all of them. Literally.

Crimson Peak is the quintessential gothic horror story. It is so much the distillation fo the genre that nothing in it will surprise you, but if you like the genre, you’ll love the beautiful love letter to it that del Toro has crafted with this film.

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Maps to the Stars (2014)

Maps to the Stars
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: Bruce Wagner
Cast: Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, John Cusack, Mia Wasikowska, Evan Bird, Sarah Gadon, Olivia Williams, Carrie Fisher

Plot:
Agatha (Mia Wasikowska) just arrived in Hollywood and is chauffeured around by Jerome (Robert Pattinson). But it quickly becomes clear that it isn’t her first time in the city, even if she hasn’t been in a while. She gets a job as an assistant to ageing actress Havana (Julianne Moore) who is obsessed with her mother (Sarah Gadon), also an actress who died at a very young age. For that she is in therapy with Stafford Weiss (John Cusack) whose unconventional methods are also selling pretty well as books. Stafford’s son Benjie (Evan Bird) is a child actor himself and has just been released from rehab, despite being only 13 years old. Now he and his mother Cristina (Olivia Williams) try everything to get his career back on track. But things in Hollywood are treacherous indeed.

Maps to the Stars was an interesting look at Hollywood with a stellar cast. It does make me wonder how much of it is actually realistic (since it is touted as such an honest look at Hollywood) but pushing that aside, it is definitely a smart, engaging film.

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Tracks (2013)

Tracks
Director: John Curran
Writer: Marion Nelson
Based on: Robyn Davidson‘s autobiographic book
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver, Rainer Bock

Plot:
Robyn (Mia Wasikowska) dreams of getting away. And not just any kind of getting away but crossing the Australian desert with nothing but a couple of camels and her dog. But it is not easy to do that or to get any support from anyone from it, especially not as a young woman. But Robyn is persistent, manages to find her camels and funding (even if that funding means that she has to be confronted with photographer Rick (Adam Driver)) and is off across the desert.

Tracks tells an interesting story about an interesting woman. It has some pacing issues but it is good to watch.

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Re-Watch: Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

Only Lovers Left Alive
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Writer: Jim Jarmusch
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin, Jeffrey Wright, Slimane Dazi
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton) have been a couple since about forever. And since they’re vampires that really is a long time. But recently they lived seperately – Adam in Detroit and Eve in Tangier. Adam is struggling with depression, so Eve comes to join him in Detroit. Their happy bubble is burst, though, when Eve’s volatile sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) comes to visit as well.

I don’t know when the last time was that I saw a movie in the cinema twice. But Only Lovers Left Alive had to be watched again, now it got its regular release here and so I did. And it was still brilliant.

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Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

Only Lovers Left Alive
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Writer: Jim Jarmusch
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin, Jeffrey Wright, Slimane Dazi
Part of: surprise movie of this year’s Viennale

Plot:
Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton) have been a couple since about forever. And since they’re vampires that really is a long time. But recently they lived seperately – Adam in Detroit and Eve in Tangier. Adam is struggling with depression, so Eve comes to join him in Detroit. Their happy bubble is burst, though, when Eve’s volatile sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) comes to visit as well.

I’ve been looking forward to this movie ever since the words “Tilda Swinton Tom Hiddleston Jim Jarmusch Vampires” were mentioned together, so I was absolutely ecstatic when the opening credits at the surprise screening started rolling and I identified the film. And I’m happy to say that it fulfilled all my expectations and more.

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Albert Nobbs (2011)

Albert Nobbs
Director: Rodrigo García
Writer: Glenn Close, John Banville, Gabriella Prekop
Based on: George Moore‘s short story
Cast: Glenn Close, Mia WasikowskaAaron Taylor-Johnson, Janet McTeer, Pauline Collins, Brendan Gleeson, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Mark Williams, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Part of: The film will be shown on June 6th in Vienna as opening film of the identities Festival.

Plot:
Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close) has been working as a butler since about forever and in all this time nobody ever suspected the truth: that he is actually a woman. But then zie gets an impromptu roommate in Mr Paige (Janet McTeer) who turns out to be a woman as well. And not only that, she is even married! So Albert gets it in hir head that zie could get married, too. Especially since zie’s been in love with Helen (Mia Wasikowska) since about forever. So zie starts courting her, despite the fact that Helen is going out with Joe (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

I liked Albert Nobbs a lot – right until the ending, which sucked. But it had amazing performances and interesting characters. So that’s at least something.

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Stoker (2013)

Stoker
Director: Chan-wook Park
Writer: Wentworth Miller, Erin Cressida Wilson
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole KidmanJacki WeaverDermot Mulroney, Alden Ehrenreich, Harmony Korine

Plot:
India (Mia Wasikowska) just lost her father Richard (Dermot Mulroney) in a car accident. But on the day of his funeral, her uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) appears. India didn’t know he existed and her mother Evie (Nicole Kidman) barely knew it herself. Charlie stays and slowly gets closer to India, who is initially abrasive. But he does seem to have his own agenda.

I expected grand things of Stoker. And despite my high expectations, I was completely blown away by how good the film actually is. It’s tense, it’s beautiful and it has an amazing cast. Hats off to everybody.

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Lawless (2012)

Lawless
Director: John Hillcoat
Writer: Nick Cave
Based on: Matt Bondurant‘s novel The Wettest Country in the World
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke, Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce, Mia Wasikowska, Dane DeHaan, Gary Oldman
Part of: /slash Filmfestival (it was the surprise movie)

Plot:
In the depression era, the Bondurant brothers, Jack (Shia LaBeouf), Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke), are successful bootleggers who have an understanding with the local police and a very good reputation. But then a new deputy – Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) – enters the scene. When Rakes doesn’t get what he wants, the pressure rises for the Bondurants. At the same time Jack, the youngest and softest, desperately wants to prove his worth and starts business with the mobster Floyd Banner (Gary Oldman).

Lawless was really great. Basically my only point of contention is that Gary Oldman was in it for a few minutes only (you can never have enough Gary Oldman).

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