La La Land (2016)

La La Land
Director: Damien Chazelle
Writer: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Ryan GoslingEmma StoneRosemarie DeWittJ.K. SimmonsFinn WittrockJosh PenceJohn LegendTom Everett Scott
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 2.11.2016

Plot:
Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz pianist who dreams of owning his own club and devoting his life to saving jazz as he loves it. Mia (Emma Stone) is an actress and playwright who dreams of the big career and works hard to finally get her breakthrough. No better place for either of their dreams than Los Angeles, where they meet and, despite initial antagonism, fall in love.

I was lucky enough to see La La Land pretty early, before it really became the smash hit it has since gone on to become with the accompanying blowing out of proportion of its qualities and the resulting backlash. And I have to say that I was very much charmed by the film and its two protagonists. Did I think it deserved all of the love it was getting? Not really. Did I think it deserved all the hate? Definitely not. It’s sweet, fun and entertaining, nothing more, nothing less.

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Poltergeist (2015)

Poltergeist
Director: Gil Kenan
Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire
Based on/Remake of: Poltergeist
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Saxon Sharbino, Kyle Catlett, Kennedi Clements, Jared Harris, Jane Adams, Susan Heyward, Nicholas Braun
Seen on: 3.6.2015

Plot:
The Bowens move into a new home and quickly realize that there are strange occurrences in their house. At first it’s only the family’s youngest children Maddie (Kennedi Clements) and Griffin (Kyle Catlett) who experience it, although older daughter Kendra’s (Saxon Sharbino) phone keeps acting up as well. When Maddie goes missing inside their house – and can still be heard on the TV, talking to them, father Eric (Sam Rockwell) and mother Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt) start looking for help. Since their circumstances are extraordinary, they have to seek extraordinary help.

Poltergeist was surprisingly inoffensive. I thought that it would very likely make a mockery of the original film. But in fact, it’s not bad – it’s just not as good or charming as the original, making you wonder why they would remake it at all.

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Your Sister’s Sister (2011)

Your Sister’s Sister
Director: Lynn Shelton
Writer: Lynn Shelton
Cast: Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mike Birbiglia
Part of: Framing Reality

Plot:
Ever since his brother Tom’s death, Jack (Mark Duplass) has been off, continuously spiraling out of control. So his best friend and Tom’s ex-girlfriend Iris (Emily Blunt) orders him a time-out. Alone. In the family cabin. But when Jack arrives there, Iris’ sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) is also there, recuperating after a break-up with her girlfriend. To overcome the initial weirdness, the two of them get drunk together and promptly sleep with each other – only to be surprised by Iris the next morning. As all of them have something they’re hiding, they go through all the shades of awkwardness together.

I have seen three Lynn Shelton movies so far and I honestly loved all of them. I would be hard-pressed to say which one was my favorite. As with the other films, Your Sister’s Sister combines issues and emotional content with a light, sweet sense of humor. I could have watched it for hours more.

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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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Margaret (2011)

Margaret
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Writer: Kenneth Lonergan
Cast: Anna Paquin, J. Smith-Cameron, Jeannie Berlin, Mark Ruffalo, Matt Damon, Jean Reno, Allison Janney, Kieran Culkin, Rosemarie DeWitt, Matthew Broderick, Olivia Thirlby, Matt Bush, Michael Ealy
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Lisa (Anna Paquin) is a normal teenager until the day she co-causes a bus accident by distracting the driver (Mark Ruffalo). The bus hits and kills Monica (Allison Janney), leaving Lisa distraught and unsettled. Unable to find another outlet for her feelings of guilt, she gets on a crusade to get recompensation for Monica’s death, while everything around her keeps spiraling out of control.

Margaret is 2 1/2 hours long and you get to feel every minute of it.* It’s 2 1/2 hours of an hysteric teenager and emotionally incompetent adults, a combination that is at the same time boring and nerve-wrecking. What it isn’t, is enjoyable.

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Rachel Getting Married (2008)

Rachel Getting Married is the new movie by Jonathan Demme, written by Jenny Lumet and starring Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt and Bill Irwin.

Plot:
Kym (Anne Hathaway) gets out of rehab for the weekend to attend her sister Rachel’s (Rosemarie DeWitt) wedding. During that weekend, family is being family, with all its ensuing problems, fights and quarrels, but also support, laughter and love.

Though the film has some lengths, it’s a fine piece of cinema with stellar performances by everyone.

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