She Dies Tomorrow (2020)

She Dies Tomorrow
Director: Amy Seimetz
Writer: Amy Seimetz
Cast: Kate Lyn Sheil, Jane Adams, Kentucker Audley, Katie Aselton, Chris Messina, Tunde Adebimpe, Jennifer Kim, Josh Lucas, Adam Wingard, Michelle Rodriguez, Olivia Taylor Dudley
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 20.9.2020
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Plot:
Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) is convinced that she is going to die tomorrow. This knowledge leaves her a mess. When she tries to tell her friend Jane (Jane Adams) about it, Jane seems to get infected by Amy’s knowledge and grows convinced herself that she will die, too. And no matter who they tell about it, the knowledge just spreads, opening emotional abysses.

She Dies Tomorrow takes the age-old question of “what would you do if you knew that you’ll die tomorrow?” and gives a sobering, slightly depressing, but not unrealistic answer. I thought that it was an interesting one, but the film is a little uneven.

The film poster showing several faces superimposed over each other in blue, red and pink coloring, creating a distorted effect.
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Widows (2018)

Widows
Director: Steve McQueen
Writer: Gillian Flynn, Steve McQueen
Based on: Lynda La Plante‘s TV series
Cast: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Carrie Coon, Liam Neeson, Jon Bernthal, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Coburn Goss, Robert Duvall, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Jacki Weaver
Seen on: 18.12.2018
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Plot:
Harry Rawlings (Liam Neeson) has made a career out of being a thief. Together with his crew Carlos (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), Florek (Jon Bernthal), and Jimmy (Coburn Goss) he sets out to do another job – but this time things go wrong and they all die. Harry’s wife, now widow, Veronica (Viola Davis) who never knew much about his career, finds herself being pressured by Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry) to whom Harry owed money. Not knowing what else to do, Veronica gets in touch with the other widows – Linda (Michelle Rodriguez), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki) and Amanda (Carrie Coon) and tries to convince them to pull off a heist themselves.

Widows was a pretty good and more than usual complex heist film, but I’m afraid that my expectations were a little too high – it just wasn’t as good as what I’ve come to rely on in a Steve McQueen film.

The film poster showing portrait images of the main characters.
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The Fate of the Furious (2017)

The Fate of the Furious
Director: F. Gary Gray
Writer: Gary Scott ThompsonChris Morgan
Sequel to: The Fast and the Furious2 Fast 2 FuriousThe Fast and the Furious: Tokyo DriftFast & FuriousFast FiveFast & Furious 6, Furious 7
Cast: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason StathamMichelle RodriguezTyrese GibsonLudacrisCharlize TheronLuke Evans, Nathalie EmmanuelElsa PatakyKurt RussellKristofer HivjuScott Eastwood
Seen on: 19.4.2017

Plot:
Things should be calm around the Family. Dom (Vin Diesel) and Lettie (Michelle Rodriguez) are on their honeymoon, everybody else has been cleared of all criminal charges and normality is just around the corner. That’s when Dom is contacted by Cipher (Charlize Theron). And she knows everything about him and his past and she’s not afraid to use it to force Dom back into a life of crime. The rest of the Family can’t understand is betrayal and the rift that runs through the group forces them to forge new and unexpected alliances.

The Fate of the Furious is not the strongest film of the series, but it’s by far not the weakest. I had fun watching it, despite a couple of lengths that managed to steal into the film here and there.

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Furious 7 (2015)

Furious 7
Director: James Wan
Writer: Chris Morgan
Sequel to: The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul WalkerDwayne JohnsonJason Statham, Jordana BrewsterMichelle Rodriguez, Tyrese GibsonLudacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, Lucas Black, Kurt Russell, Djimon Hounsou, Ronda Rousey, Tony Jaa, (Luke Evans, Gal Gadot, Sung Kang)
Seen on: 11.4.2015

Plot:
After Dom (Vin Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker) and the rest of their team/family brought the criminal Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) down, and brought him down so hard that he’s still in a coma, Shaw’s brother Deckard (Jason Statham) has sworn revenge. He starts in Tokyo, but he’s soon right in Dom’s and Brian’s lives – including their families. So Dom and Brian – who thought that they could finally settle down with Letty (Gina Rodriguez) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) respectively – find themselves less retired than expected. But Shaw is not the only trouble, there’s also Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) who orders them to help with a new surveillance software that could do much harm in the wrong hands – which is just where it risks ending up.

I watched all seven Fast & Furious movies in less than 24 hours (which was kinda awesome, but also kinda insane and not to be done sober*), so Furious 7 really had to be fantastic to still make me pay attention. But no worries, it did and with apparent ease.

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Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

Fast & Furious 6
Director: Justin Lin
Writer: Chris Morgan
Sequel to: The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul WalkerDwayne Johnson, Jordana BrewsterMichelle RodriguezGina Carano, Tyrese GibsonLudacris, Matt Schulze, Gal Gadot, Sung Kang, Joaquim de AlmeidaElsa Pataky, Luke Evans, Shea Whigham, John Ortiz, [SPOILER] Jason Statham [/SPOILER]

Plot:
After the events of Fast Five, Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian’s (Paul Walker) group have scattered around the globe. Dom and Elena (Elsa Pataky), Brian and Mia (Jordana Brewster) have settled down in paradise but it doesn’t feel like home to them. So when Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) tracks them down and offers them pardons in exchange for hunting down Shaw (Luke Evans), plus shows them pictures of a clearly still alive Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) working with Shaw, they jump at the chance and reassemble their team.

Fast & Furious 6 is fun. I do think it might have the dumbest script of them all, but maybe just because of that it’s extremely entertaining.

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Fast & Furious (2009)

Fast & Furious
Director: Justin Lin
Writer: Chris Morgan
Sequel to: The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, John Ortiz, Laz Alonso, Gal Gadot, Shea Whigham, Sung Kang

Plot:
Dom (Vin Diesel) has been on the run outside of the US for a while when he gets the message from his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) that his girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) has been shot and killed. So he returns to the US to track down the killer. Which brings him directly into the investigation of by now FBI-agent Brian (Paul Walker) as they both try to infiltrate the organisation of drug dealer Braga.

After the utter drag that was Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious was fun again. It wasn’t great and it wasn’t perfect, but it was fun.

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The Fast and the Furious (2001)

The Fast and the Furious
Director: Rob Cohen
Writer: Gary Scott Thompson, Erik Bergquist, David Ayer
Based on: Ken Li’s article Racer X
Cast: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Rick Yune, Chad Lindberg, Johnny Strong, Matt Schulze, Ted Levine, Ja Rule

Plot:
Brian (Paul Walker) is an undercover cop who is investigating a series of truck robberies and their ties to the underground racing community. In particular, her tries to infiltrate Dom’s (Vin Diesel) gang in which he finally succeeds after saving Dom’s ass after a race raid. But soon Brian finds himself sympathizing more with Dom than he thought.

[I think I’ve seen The Fast and the Furious once before, a while ago. Anyway, I’m not treating this as a re-watch because even if I did, I don’t remember anything about it.]
I’m not somebody who enjoys cars or (car) chase scenes a whole lot. With those prerequisites I probably enjoyed The Fast and the Furious as much as I could enjoy it, apart from a few cringe-worthy moments. It’s not particularly awesome, but it is fun.

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Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

Battle: Los Angeles is Jonathan Liebesman‘s newest film, starring Aaron Eckhart, Ramon Rodriguez, Hoyt Jim Parrack, Michael Peña and Michelle Rodriguez.

Plot:
Just when Sgt Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) officially retires, the world is invaded by aliens. Which is quite shitty, but what can you do. So Nantz gets called back to help 2nd Lt William Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez) and his platoon on their mission to save Los Angeles.

I know that that plot description is really short, but honestly – that’s all there is to it. The rest of the film are shootings, explosions and military slang and it’s all very boring. So boring, in fact, that I honestly fell asleep during the film, even though it’s really, really loud.

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Machete (2010)

[Viennale.]

Machete is the newest film by Robert Rodriguez, also directed by Ethan Maniquis and starring Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Don Johnson, Robert De Niro, Cheech Marin, Jeff Fahey and Lindsay Lohan.

Plot:
Machete (Danny Trejo) is basically the last police man in Mexico, who’s not corrupt. The evil drug dealer Torrez (Steven Seagal) doesn’t take too kindly to this and Machete finds himself trapped while he has to watch how Torrez kills his family.
Years later, Machete is stranded in the US and tries to get by with day labor, rather unsuccessfully. But then he gets hired by Booth (Jeff Fahey) to shoot the right-right-right-wing senator MacLaughlin (Robert De Niro), who wants to build a great electrical fence between the US and Mexico. Machete takes the job – it’s not as if he has much choice about it anyway – and finds himself in yet another trap. But this time, he fights back.

Machete is pretty much all it’s cracked up to be: gory, entertaining, funny… in short, the perfect B-Movie with a pretty strong political message. At times, it’s a bit lengthy, but if you like this kind of cinema, it’s totally going to make your year.

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Avatar (2009)

If you live on earth, you probably know that Avatar is the newest James Cameron movie, starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez and Giovanni Ribisi. And if you live on earth and like going to the movies, you’ve probably already seen this film.

Plot:
Some time in the future, there’s a space station on the planet Pandora where the humans are mining for a valuable mineral. To ameliorate the relations with the humanoid inhabitants, the Na’vi, the military has developped a program where a few people get avatars – Na’vi bodies humans can steer.
One of the people with avatars is Jake Sully (Sam Worthington). He quickly develops a friendship with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), one of the Na’vi. But when the tension between the humans and the aliens becomes stronger, Jake will have to decide.

Avatar looks beautiful. And that’s where the good things stop. The story is crap. Ridiculous crap. The acting is so-so. The music is pompous. Actually, the whole film is pompous. Not to mention racist and ableist and just plain bad.

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