Jackie (2016)

Jackie
Director: Pablo Larraín
Writer: Noah Oppenheim
Cast: Natalie PortmanPeter SarsgaardGreta GerwigBilly CrudupJohn HurtRichard E. GrantCaspar PhillipsonJohn Carroll LynchBeth GrantDeborah FindlayCorey Johnson
Seen on: 31.1.2017

Plot:
A year after the assassination of John F. Kennedy (Caspar Phillipson), his widow Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman) gives an interview to a journalist (Billy Crudup) about the difficult path she had to navigate in the time since. Weighed down by her own shock and grief, she still has to make sure she upholds the Kennedy’s reputation and her own husband’s legacy.

Despite a great cast and a great look, Jackie did not work for me. It continuously bored me and I just could not get into the story, the film or the characters.

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A Tale of Love and Darkness (2015)

A Tale of Love and Darkness
Director: Natalie Portman
Writer: Natalie Portman
Based on: Amos Ozautobiographical novel
Cast: Natalie Portman, Gilad KahanaAmir TesslerMoni MoshonovOhad KnollerMakram KhouryAlexander Peleg
Seen on: 13.11.2016

Plot:
Amos (Amir Tessler) lives with his parents Fania (Natalie Portman) and Arieh (Gilad Kahana) in Jerusalem. They are a happy family, although Fania misses her family in Tel Aviv, with whom communication is difficult due to the political circumstances. Amos grows up close to his mother who loves to tell him stories. At least until she becomes more and more depressed.

A Tale of Love and Darkness is not a bad film for a first feature from Portman as director. It does have a few weaknesses, but it certainly shows a lot of promise for her as both writer and director.

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Planetarium (2016)

Planetarium
Director: Rebecca Zlotowski
Writer: Rebecca Zlotowski, Robin Campillo
Cast: Natalie Portman, Lily-Rose Depp, Emmanuel Salinger, Amira Casar, Pierre Salvadori, Louis Garrel, David Bennent, Damien Chapelle
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 29.10.2016

Plot:
Kate (Lily-Rose Depp) and Laura (Natalie Portman) are sisters who make their living with performances of psychic readings, with Kate’s youthful innocence convincing people of her talents as a seer, while Laura controls the show. The two don’t just perform for big audiences, they also do private séances. One of these brings them to film producer André Korben (Emmanuel Salinger) who lost his wife. Korben takes to the two women, wanting to use them for his filming business. But his interest becomes more and more obsessive.

Planetarium has promise but unfortunately it’s too messy and unfocused to really deliver on that promise. Ultimately it starts to drag and simply left me unsatisfied.

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Knight of Cups (2015)

Knight of Cups
Director: Terrence Malick
Writer: Terrence Malick
Cast: Christian Bale, Wes Bentley, Cate Blanchett, Imogen Poots, Natalie Portman, Jason Clarke, Teresa Palmer, Joe Manganiello, Isabel Lucas, Nick Offerman, Joel Kinnaman, Nicky WhelanAntonio BanderasFreida PintoKatia WinterMichael WincottThomas LennonClifton Collins Jr.Shea WhighamNick KrollRyan O’NealKevin CorriganBrian DennehyJoe Lo Truglio, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Ben Kingsley
Seen on: 15.9.2015

Plot:
Rick (Christian Bale) is a screenwriter living in LA. He moves from party to party, woman to woman. He seems to be looking for something, but who knows for what?
[Actually the first note I wrote down for this film is: “I don’t think I could write a plot description for this film”, so you’ll have to live with that little bit.]

I don’t like Terrence Malick movies. I decided to watch this one anyway because Cate Blanchett! Christian Bale! Natalie Portman! And so many other actors I love. But it turns out that Knight of Cups is everything I hate about Malick movies turned up to 11, while nothing I used to still like about them works for me anymore.

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Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Thor: The Dark World
Director: Alan Taylor
Writer: Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: Stan Lee‘s, Larry Lieber‘s and Jack Kirby‘s comic character
Sequel to: Thor
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba, Rene Russo, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Zachary Levi , Jaimie Alexander, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jonathan Howard, Chris O’Dowd, [SPOILERS] Benicio Del Toro, Chris Evans
Part of: Marvel movies

Plot:
Ever since the events in Avengers, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has done his best to ensure the peace across the realms, while Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is locked up on Asgard. Which means that Thor doesn’t have time for Jane (Natalie Portman) who is still waiting for him. But when Jane stumbles on the Aether, an ancient weapon, Thor comes to her aid, just as Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) comes for the Aether, planning to destroy the universe with it.

As much as I love the first Thor movie – and I do – I have to admit that it doesn’t quite reach the heights that Thor: The Dark World reaches. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard in a movie, especially an action movie. It does almost everything completely right and it’s just plain great.

thor-the-dark-world

[SPOILERS]

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Re-Watch: Thor (2011)

Thor
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writer: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Don Payne
Based on: Stan Lee‘s, Larry Lieber‘s and Jack Kirby‘s comic character
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba, Rene Russo, Anthony Hopkins, Clark Gregg, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Josh Dallas, Jaimie Alexander, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner
Part of: Marvel movies
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
After yet another attack by the Frost Giants on Asgard, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) loses his cool and together with his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) pays them a rather violent visit. Their father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is less than happy about this and decides to ban Thor to Earth until he’s learned his lesson and is less rash. On Earth, scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) stumbles upon Thor and doesn’t really know what to do with him. And if it wasn’t challenging enough for Thor to try and return to Asgard, a shitload of trouble is brewing with Loki.

Even on re-watching, Thor is an absolutely entertaining and fun-filled film with a great cast and really good pacing. I enjoyed the hell out of it again.

thor

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Your Highness (2011)

Your Highness
Director: David Gordon Green
Writer: Danny McBride, Ben Best
Cast: Danny McBride, James Franco, Rasmus Hardiker, Natalie Portman, Toby Jones, Justin Theroux, Zooey Deschanel

Plot:
The princes Fabious (James Franco) and Thadeous (Danny McBride) couldn’t be more diffirent. While Fabious goes on quest after quest (and always returns successful), Thadeous tries to live life as responsibility-free as he can. From his latest quest, Fabious brought back Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) who has spent her life in captivity, held by the evil Leezar (Justin Theroux) who plans to use her for a ritual. Fabious and Belladonna want to get married but before they can, Leezar steals her back. So Fabious goes on yet another quest – only this time he drags Thadeous along.

This movie was so extremely bad, I don’t even have words for it. The first time I thought about turning off the film was about 30 minutes in. But then Natalie Portman hadn’t shown up yet and I kinda kept assuming that this movie had to become funny at one point or another. It never did. Instead it continued to be absolutely dreadful.

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Hesher (2010)

Hesher
Director: Spencer Susser
Writer: Spencer Susser, David Michôd
Cast: Devin Brochu, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, Rainn Wilson, Piper Laurie
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
T. J.’s (Devin Brochu) mother recently died and ever since he’s been lost. His father Paul (Rainn Wilson) has deeply withdrawn into his depression, his grandmother (Piper Laurie) is trying her best to take care of them, but isn’t really capable of that anymore. On one of T. J.’s forays into the city (which often lead him to the car wreck his mother died in), he runs into Hesher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a smoking, cursing, aggressive mess, who follows T. J. home and moves in with him and his family. And maybe Hesher is just what they all need.

The movie wasn’t mindblowingly good, but it was nice and I enjoyed it. Admittedly, mostly for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but also for its sense of humor.

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Le Surréalisme, c’est moi!

Le Surréalisme, c’est moi! Salvador Dalí & Louise Bourgeois, Glenn Brown, Markus Schinwald, Francesco Vezzoli” is an exhibition currently in the Kunsthalle Wien.

The exhibition shows Salvador Dalí in relation to other artists. In fact, there is mostly art from the other artists and very little from Dalí himself. Though the walls in the entrance area are covered with quotes by Dalí and since he’s got some great quotes, that’s pretty awesome. And there was the illustrations for the Maldoror Songs which were interesting, though definitely not my favorite Dalí drawings..

The artists shown are very different and I absolutely fell in love with Francesco Vezzoli‘s work and Glenn Brown‘s work, though Louise Bourgeois and Markus Schinwald were not so much my thing.

It’s a very short exhibition and if I hadn’t seen it in combination with the Space one, I probably would have been slightly disappointed and annoyed by that. As it was, it was a very good second course.

Also, coolest bit of trivia I learned: Dalí started signing empty sheets of paper and those still keep turning up as forgeries. (According to wikipedia, he was forced to do so. The exhibition didn’t mention that part.)

[Portrait by Philippe Halsman]

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Thor (2011)

Thor is Kenneth Branagh‘s newest film, starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba, Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins.

Plot:
After yet another attack by the Frost Giants on Asgard, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) loses his cool and together with his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) pays them a rather violent visit. Their father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is less than happy about this and decides to ban Thor to Earth until he’s learned his lesson and is less rash. On Earth, scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) stumbles upon Thor and doesn’t really know what to do with him. And if it wasn’t challenging enough for Thor to try and return to Asgard, a shitload of trouble is brewing with Loki.

Thor is brilliant. THE END.

Alright, alright. I’ll write more, though the general message will stay the same: The movie is funny, it looks wonderful, the casting is excellent and did I mention Kenneth Branagh’s impeccable comedic timing? In short, this movie is serious fun.

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