Plot: Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren/Tatiana Maslany) had to flee Austria during the Second World War because she’s Jewish, and has never returned there since she was exiled to the USA and lost most of her family to the Nazis. But after the death of her sister, Maria realizes that she has the responsibility to guard her family’s memories. And part of those memories is the painting of her aunt Adele (Antje Traue), painted by Gustav Klimt (Moritz Bleibtreu), that the Nazsi took from her home and that is now hanging in a federal Austrian museum. As the Austrian government just started hearing restitution claims, Maria asks lawyer Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds) for help with recovering that painting. They even travel to Austria together, where they meet journalist Hubertus Czernin (Daniel Brühl) who warns them that the Austrian government won’t be cooperative. That proves to be right and Maria and Randy have to dig in for a long fight.
After I read the first reviews, I didn’t expect Woman in Gold to be any good. But I was pleasantly surprised: it’s an engaging and well-made film that is only marred by the German used in the film.
Nazaret (Tahar Rahim) is an Armenian in the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century. That is not the best place to be an Armenian and as the political situation results in the Armenian Genocide, Nazaret is separated from his family and forced into slavery in the desert, building roads. Against all odds, he survives the ordeal, though he does lose the ability to speak due to getting stabbed in the throat. When the situation allows it, he sets off to find his family again, a search that leads him across the world.
The Armenian Genocide is certainly something that we know very little about in Europe and so films like The Cut are important to give an introduction to the subject. But unfortunately, other than that it didn’t work for me at all.
Erik (Jürgen Vogel) leads a rather quiet life as a mechanic together with his girlfriend Julia (Petra Schmidt-Schaller) and her daughter. But then one day caravans arrive and with the caravans a bit of Erik’s past catches up with him in the form of Henry (Moritz Bleibtreu). Henry might not be entirely real but that doesn’t make him any less threatening to everything Erik has built up.
Stereo is an entertaining film with good pacing. I did have some issues with it – mainly its treatment of the Roma in the film and the misogynistic language sometimes used – but it was enjoyable enough that I didn’t even mind that I foresaw the biggest plot twist.
When Daniel (Daniel Brühl) meets Julian (Benedict Cumberbatch) he is more than excited: Daniel has been keeping track of Julian’s hacking work and the WikiLeaks site he instated: a perfectly anonymous option for whistleblowers. Daniel wants to work with Julian and Julian lets him in, reluctantly at first. But soon their project gets bigger than they ever expected.
The Fifth Estate was an entertaining movie with a few lenghts and a disturbing subtitle-phobia. The cast was absolutely awesome, though.
Gerry (Brad Pitt) used to work as an investigator for the UN, but retired to be with his kids (Sterling Jerins, Abigail Hargrove) and wife Karin (Mireille Enos). It all goes well until the zombie apocalypse happens. As the world is overrun, Gerry’s former boss Thierry (Fana Mokoena) calls him back to duty and asks him to try and find out how the infection spread and how they could possibly stop it.
I loved the book, but from everything I read about the movie before seeing it, I knew not to expect it to be as good. Nevertheless I was still surprised by how bad this film was.
Starting with a whore Mirka (Lucia Siposová) and her pimp Rocco (Johannes Krisch) in Vienna, 360 moves through various stories that are all somehow connected. From Paris to London and Denver it takes a look at the various kinds of relationships, infidelities and betrayals.
360 is a bit uneven. It has a good cast and some of the stories work perfectly, while others are bland or don’t fit. In short, it just doesn’t really come together.
Victor Kaufmann (Moritz Bleibtreu) has it all: he’s working in his parents’ well-regarded art gallery, he has a nice fiancée, Lena (Ursula Strauss) and his best friend with whom he basically grew up, Rudi (Georg Friedrich) has finally returned from a longer stay in Germany. Unfortunately, it’s also 1938 in Vienna and Victor is Jewish. When the nazis take over – and Rudi joins the SS – the Kaufmanns quickly lose everything. Among their possessions is a real Michelangelo which is coveted by the Nazis. But through some twists and turns, the real Michelangelo can be hidden and Victor makes Rudi swap places with him.
Mein bester Feind has a brilliant main cast and is well-paced, but that’s about it. The story itself focusses on the wrong things and is mostly… meh and there are so many wooden performances in the supporting cast, it could keep a middle-sized carpentry well-supplied for a year.
1940. Ferdinand Marian (Tobias Moretti) is a mildly successful actor in Berlin. When Joseph Goebbels (Moritz Bleibtreu) sees him as Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello, he decides that Marian would make the perfect leading man in his upcoming propaganda movie Jud Süß. Even more than that: directed by Veit Harlan, the movie is supposed to be art, propaganda without being propaganda. Marian is hesitant to accept the role since his wife (Martina Gedeck) is half-Jewish and he’s hiding a Jewish friend in their garden shed. But Goebbels won’t take no for an answer.
Jud Süß wants to be scandalous and all it got so far were pretty bad reviews. It’s not a great movie, but it’s not as bad as most of these reviews want you to believe. It does have some interesting passages and if you put the surrounding scandal out of your head, you will enjoy the film.
Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos) owns a restaurant in Hamburg which iserves only crap to a very limited local audience. His girlfriend Nadine (Pheline Roggan) is moving to China. His brother Illias (Moritz Bleibtreu) needs his confirmation that he works in the restaurant so he gets days off from being in prison to get to work without actually having to work. And finally, Zinos gets a slipped disk trying to lift a dish washer, but unfortunately he doesn’t have insurance. So, things aren’t going too well.
But then Zinos hires a new cook, Shayn (Birol Ünel). And with that, slowly his whole life is changing.
Soul Kitchen is Akin’s first comedy and I have to say that I’m less than impressed. With a rather formulaic story and a less than convincing actor in the main role, the movie fails to deliver laughs or anything else. Add to that a consentwise dubious at best sex scene and it’s a movie I can’t recommend.
So, I watched Chiko. It’s a German movie, set in Hamburg, but focussing on 2nd generation Turkish immigrants. It’s produced by Fatih Akin and directed by Özgür Yildirim.
The story is about Isa, called Chiko (Denis Moschitto), who wants to become a drug dealer. So together with his best friend Tibet (Volkan Özcan), they start to work their way up by beating up drug dealers until they reach Brownie (Moritz Bleibtreu), a big supplier. Brownie is impressed by Chiko’s audacity and gives him a job. But Tibet tries to rip off Brownie, and is found out. Chiko now has to decide between Tibet and Brownie.
Brownie and Tibet
The movie is very touching, albeit its (graphic) violence and dark story. It’s mostly about friendship and loyalty.
It’s very well written, the dialogues are funny and to the point. And it’s excepitonally well acted, by all of the actors, down to the smallest role.
What left me wondering, was, “Are things really as bad as that? Do I live in such a bubble?”
I would like to say that I liked it, but it’s not a movie to like. It’s a movie to watch, and definitely watch again, it’s a movie where I admire the quality of everything.
It’s not very likeable, but it’s definitely recommended.