Tully (2018)

Tully
Director: Jason Reitman
Writer: Diablo Cody
Cast: Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Ron Livingston, Asher Miles Fallica, Lia Frankland, Mark Duplass, Elaine Tan, Gameela Wright, Tattiawna Jones
Seen on: 19.6.2018

Plot:
Marlo (Charlize Theron) just had her third baby, her husband Drew (Ron Livingston) works a lot and is only of moderate help. Marlo is struggling with lack of sleep and the general demands of having three children. Her brother Craig (Mark Duplass) offers to hire a night nanny for her, but Marly initially declines. But after becoming more and more exhausted, Marlo gives in and Tully (Mackenzie Davis) comes around, helping her with the baby during the night. Quickly, Marlo and Tully become closer.

Tully is not a great film, but it isn’t bad. Therer were a couple of things that made me grimace at it, but mostly I enjoyed myself.

Film poster showing a close-up of Charlize Theron's face covered in stickers, looking exhausted.
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Lucky (2017)

Lucky
Director: John Carroll Lynch
Writer: Logan Sparks, Drago Sumonja
Cast: Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Ron Livingston, Ed Begley Jr., Tom Skerritt, Barry Shabaka Henley, James Darren, Beth Grant, Yvonne Huff
Seen on: 12.4.2018

Plot:
Lucky (Harry Dean Stanton) is old but healthy and he has his set routine in the small town in the middle of the desert where he lives. He does his exercises in the morning, he heads to the diner in town for lunch and goes drinking at the bar in the evening, every day. It seems like life could go on forever this way – and it may already have lasted forever. But when Lucky falls, his own mortality intrudes his routine and he might have to think about how he wants to continue.

Lucky is a soft film and one that is worth watching, even if I didn’t find it as touching as I probably should or could have. It’s still very good.

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The 5th Wave (2016)

The 5th Wave
Director: J Blakeson
Writer: Susannah Grant, Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner
Based on: Rick Yancey‘s novel
Cast: Chloë Grace MoretzAlex Roe, Nick RobinsonZackary ArthurMaika Monroe, Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff, Liev Schreiber, Maria Bello
Seen on: 20.1.2016

Plot:
Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz) used to be a normal teenager, but it also used to be a normal world – until aliens attacked Earth. In increasingly destructive waves from EMPs to natural catastrophes and sickness, these aliens have started to decimate the human race. The fourth wave has come and gone, leaving only a fraction of humanity behind, most of them huddling together in refugee camps, awaiting the fifth wave – whatever that will be. Cassie has lost her mother (Maggie Siff), when the army, led by Colonel Vosch (Liev Schreiber), arrives at their refugee camp. Cassie is supposed to go with her brother Sam (Zackary Arthur) and the other children, while her father (Ron Livingston) remains behind. But things go wrong and Cassie finds herself on her own and searching for Sam.

I like young adult dystopia books and films. Usually. But The Fifth Wave is one of the stupidest films I have ever seen. Nothing makes sense and it isn’t even entertaining. I could feel my braincells dying as I watched this shit.

thefifthwave[SPOILERS]

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The End of the Tour (2015)

The End of the Tour
Director: James Ponsoldt
Writer: Donald Margulies
Based on: David Lipsky‘s memor Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Segel, Anna Chlumsky, Mamie Gummer, Joan Cusack, Ron Livingston
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 1.11.2015
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) is a writer. He just published his first novel, more or less at the same time that David Foster Wallace‘s (Jason Segel) Infinite Jest came out, against the backdrop of which Lipsky’s own novel disappears. Jealous he reads it and finds that the critics were right with their praise of Wallace’s novel. So Lipsky arranges for an interview with Wallace for Rolling Stone magazine. Wallace, notoriously publicity shy, agrees to have Lipsky trail him for a few days during the end of his book tour.

The End of the Tour may have occasional lengths, but for a film that is basically just an extended conversation between two people, it is incredibly engaging and well-made.

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Vacation (2015)

Vacation
Director:John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein
Writer: John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein
Sequel to: VacationEuropean VacationChristmas Vacation, Vegas Vacation, Hotel Hell Vacation
Cast: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Skyler Gisondo, Steele Stebbins, Chris Hemsworth, Leslie Mann, Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Charlie Day, Catherine Missal, Ron Livingston, Norman Reedus, Keegan-Michael Key, Regina Hall, Nick Kroll, Tim Heidecker, Kaitlin Olson, Michael Peña, Colin Hanks
Seen on: 24.8.2015

Plot:
Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) is trying his best to lead a good and successful life, but success won’t come and his family is slowly drifting apart. He decides that the perfect antidote to that would be to take them all on a trip. To Wally World, where he spent a vacation when he was a child. His wife Debbie (Christina Applegate) and his two sons James and Kevin (Skyler Gisondo, Steele Stebbins) are less convinced that a road trip would be such a great idea, but they decide to go along with it anyway. As soon as they set off, though, Murphy’s Law comes into effect and everything that can wrong, does.

I had actually no intention of seeing this film as I thought that it wouldn’t be my cup of tea at all. (I think I saw the original when I was a kid, but I don’t know whether I ever saw any of the sequels.) But then my sister and nephew went and asked if I wanted to come along and I agreed. The film may still not be my cup of tea, but I didn’t find it as horrible as I thought I’d find it. And my nephew and sister had a blast.

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Touchy Feely (2013)

[Touchy Feely will be shown today at the Framing Reality film festival in Vienna: 20.30, Filmcasino. They have a focus on Lynn Shelton and Barbara Kopple.]

Touchy Feely
Director: Lynn Shelton
Writer: Lynn Shelton
Cast: Rosemarie DeWitt, Ellen Page, Josh Pais, Scoot McNairy, Allison Janney, Tomo Nakayama, Shannon Kipp, Ron Livingston
Part of: Framing Reality

Plot:
Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt) is a massage therapist who suddenly can’t touch people anymore at all. This severely hampers her relationship wih her boyfriend Jesse (Scoot McNairy) with whom she was about to move in. In the meantime her brother Paul (Josh Pais), a dentist in a floundering clinic, seems to discover that he has a healing touch which he wants to explore with Abby’s friend and reiki practitioner Bronwyn (Allsion Janney). Paul’s daughter Jenny (Ellen Page) who works as his assistant, is slowly suffocating because of both the routine in her life and her love for and need to touch Jesse.

Touchy Feely is a sweet, calm film with a great cast and a good script. It’s enjoyable and smart, even if I’m not all over it.

touchyfeely

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The Conjuring (2013)

The Conjuring
Director: James Wan
Writer: Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes
Based on: on a case from Ed and Lorraine Warren
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston, Shannon Kook, John Brotherton, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaver

Plot:
The Perrons, mother Carolyn (Lili Taylor), father Roger (Ron Livingston) and their five daughters, have just moved to a slightly decrepit house. But as soon as they move in, weird things start happening. They uncover a hidden cellar. One of their daughters starts sleepwalking again, another has a new invisible friend. Clocks stop at precisely the same time every night. Pictures fall from walls. As things keep getting worse, Carolyn calls on the help of demonologist Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) and clairvoyant Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga).

After Insidious, I expected big things of The Conjuring. Extremely big things. And I’m happy to say that it absolutely delivered and scared the crap out of me (again).

246460id1c_Conjuring_INTL_27x40_1Sheet.indd

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The Cooler (2003)

The Cooler
Director: Wayne Kramer
Writer: Frank Hannah, Wayne Kramer
Cast: William H. Macy, Maria Bello, Alec Baldwin, Shawn Hatosy, Estella Warren, Ron Livingston

Plot:
Bernie (William H. Macy) works as a cooler [meaning as a person whose bad luck transfers to the other people] in the Shangri-La casino which is run by Shelly (Alec Baldwin), Bernie’s oldest friend. But Bernie is about to quit. Then he meets the waitress Natalie (Maria Bello) and they fall in love – and suddenly Bernie’s luck turns. But that’s not making everybody happy.

The Cooler has a very nice cast and good characters in a setting that is a bit tired. But the whole thing gets a fresh feel through the matter-of-factness with which its slight magical realism is included.

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