The Girl King (2015)

The Girl King
Director: Mika Kaurismäki
Writer: Michel Marc Bouchard
Cast: Malin Buska, Sarah Gadon, Michael Nyqvist, Lucas Bryant, Laura Birn, Hippolyte Girardot, Peter Lohmeyer, François Arnaud, Patrick Bauchau, Ville Virtanen, Martina Gedeck
Part of: FrauenFilmTage
Seen on: 26.2.2016

Plot:
Kristina (Malin Buska) becomes the ruler of Sweden at a young age. Her mother (Martina Gedeck) is of little help and Kristina is educated profoundly by Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna (Michael Nyqvist) to rule – as King, not as Queen. When Kristina comes of age, it’s him who raises the question of marriage and hopes that Kristina will choose his son Johan (Lucas Bryant). But Kristina is neither interested in marriage, nor in men. The only person who holds her fascination outside of the intellect is Ebba (Sarah Gadon) who she names her lady-in-waiting and with whom she grows ever closer.

The Girl King tells a fascinating story of a fascinating woman and it does so quite well. It’s not an amazingly great film, but it’s definitely good with the cast being a particular stand-out.

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A Royal Night Out (2015)

A Royal Night Out
Director: Julian Jarrold
Writer: Kevin Hood, Trevor De Silva
Cast: Sarah Gadon, Bel PowleyJack Reynor, Emily Watson, Rupert Everett, Jack Laskey, Jack Gordon
Seen on: 4.10.2015

Plot:
World War II is finally over and all of London is preparing for a huge party. Princess Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and Princess Margaret (Bel Powley) would like to join into the festivities, incognito. The King (Rupert Everett) and Queen (Emily Watson) are not really convinced that it’s a good idea, but then give in anyway. Chaperoned by Lieutenatns Pryce (Jack Laskey) and Burridge (Jack Gordon) they make their way into the city. Soon enough though, they not only escape their chaperones but also lose each other. Elizabeth recruits soldier Jack (Jack Reynor) to help her get Margaret home in one piece and before their curfew.

A Royal Night Out was a sweet, fun film that takes absolutely no (narrative) risks whatsoever, transforming the royal family almost ino superhumans in their attempt to be pleasing.

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Dracula Untold (2014)

Dracula Untold
Director: Gary Shore
Writer: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless
Based on: Bram Stoker‘s novel (in the loosest sense of “based”)
Cast: Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, Art Parkinson, Charles Dance, Diarmaid Murtagh, Thor Kristjansson

Plot:
When Vlad (Luke Evans) was a child he was enslaved by the Turks, despite being a prince, to ensure his father’s allegiance. He was raised to be a soldier and became such a good one that people nicknamed him The Impaler and he is finally allowed to return home. But when the Turks call for slave soldiers again, Vlad cannot consent – which means war. To be able to defend his family and his country better, Vlad makes a deal with a monster (Charles Dance) in a cave: for three days he will have the strength and abilities of a vampire while still alive. If he can resist the temptation to drink human blood in that time, he’ll even return to being human. But will three days be enough to defet the Turks?

I know going in that Dracula Untold was going to be the kind of film where I’d need vodka, so I wisely packed it. Rarely have I been so glad about my foresight because I needed every damn drop of it. In short, the film was really, really bad.

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Maps to the Stars (2014)

Maps to the Stars
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: Bruce Wagner
Cast: Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, John Cusack, Mia Wasikowska, Evan Bird, Sarah Gadon, Olivia Williams, Carrie Fisher

Plot:
Agatha (Mia Wasikowska) just arrived in Hollywood and is chauffeured around by Jerome (Robert Pattinson). But it quickly becomes clear that it isn’t her first time in the city, even if she hasn’t been in a while. She gets a job as an assistant to ageing actress Havana (Julianne Moore) who is obsessed with her mother (Sarah Gadon), also an actress who died at a very young age. For that she is in therapy with Stafford Weiss (John Cusack) whose unconventional methods are also selling pretty well as books. Stafford’s son Benjie (Evan Bird) is a child actor himself and has just been released from rehab, despite being only 13 years old. Now he and his mother Cristina (Olivia Williams) try everything to get his career back on track. But things in Hollywood are treacherous indeed.

Maps to the Stars was an interesting look at Hollywood with a stellar cast. It does make me wonder how much of it is actually realistic (since it is touted as such an honest look at Hollywood) but pushing that aside, it is definitely a smart, engaging film.

maps_to_the_stars

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Belle (2013)

Belle
Director: Amma Asante
Writer: Misan Sagay
Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sam Reid, Tom Wilkinson, Emily WatsonPenelope Wilton, Sarah Gadon, Miranda Richardson, James Norton, Tom Felton, Matthew Goode

Plot:
18th century Britain. John Lindsay (Matthew Goode) had a relationship with a black woman which resulted in a daughter. He decides to accept Belle as his own despite being a nobleman and she being black and brings her to his aunt and uncle, Lady (Emily Watson) and Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) while he himself has to go back to sea. Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) grows up as a noblewoman together with her cousin Elizabeth Murray (Sarah Gadon). But in a country where slavery is still going strong, Belle will never be a fully accepted member of society.

Belle was a wonderful film: sweet, romantic, political, feminist, outspoken and beautiful. It became my favorite Jane Austen movie without actual Jane Austen involvment straight away.

belle

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Director: Marc Webb
Writer: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner
Based on: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko‘s comic
Sequel to: The Amazing Spider-Man
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Sally Field, Jamie FoxxDane DeHaan, Colm Feore, Felicity Jones, Paul Giamatti, Marton Csokas, B.J. Novak, Sarah Gadon

Plot:
Peter (Andrew Garfield) enjoys his life, just having graduated from high school and dating the girl of his dreams, Gwen (Emma Stone). Oh, and of course fighting crime as Spider-Man. But the question of why his parents abandoned him still haunts Peter and his investigation only makes things more confusing. Plus, there is something going on at Oscorp that seems directly related.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is an extremely entertaining, funny film – but one that does have some major flaws. That makes the film a weird mixture of enjoyable and disappointing, though I’m leaning more towards enjoyable.

The-Amazing-Spider-Man-2[SPOILERS]

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Antiviral (2012)

Antiviral
Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Writer: Brandon Cronenberg
Cast: Caleb Landry Jones, Sarah Gadon, Douglas Smith, Joe Pingue, Nicholas Campbell, Sheila McCarthy, Malcolm McDowell, Lara Jean Chorostecki
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
Syd (Caleb Landry Jones) works for a clinic that specializes in infecting people with the diseases popular stars have, straight from their bodies. Syd himself is rather partial to model/actress Hannah Geist (Sarah Gadon) and makes a bit of an extra profit by smuggling the diseases out of the clinic by infecting himself and selling them on the black market. When Hannah gets sick from a mysterious disease, it’s Syd who is sent to pick up the virus. Of course, he also injects himself, only to find that Hannah died from the disease – and nobody knows how to cure it.

Antiviral was a fascinating, stylish movie that explores its core concepts right down to the very last detail. I really don’t know what to be more excited about with this film – the content or the amazing performance by Caleb Landry Jones.

antiviral

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Cosmopolis (2012)

Cosmopolis
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: David Cronenberg
Based on: Don DeLillo‘s novel
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Sarah Gadon, Mathieu Amalric, Jay Baruchel, Kevin Durand, K’Naan, Emily Hampshire, Samantha Morton, Paul Giamatti, Philip Nozuka

Plot:
Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) is young and rich and drives through New York in his limousine trying to get a haircut. But since the president is visiting the city, traffic is pretty clogged up and this takes a lot longer than anticipated. Eric starts taking several meetings in his car but bit by bit his life is crumbling apart, as Eric purposefully loses money and sabotages himself.

Holy fucking shit, this movie is extremely bad. I thought that Cronenberg would outweigh Pattinson’s total lack of charisma, but unfortunately the script is a single excercise in what-the-fuckery that depends on said non-existant charisma and so the entire film is set up to fail.

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A Dangerous Method (2011)

A Dangerous Method
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: Christopher Hampton
Based on: Christopher Hampton’s play, which is based on John Kerr’s book
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, Vincent Cassel, Sarah Gadon

Plot:
Carl Gustav Jung (Michael Fassbender) is a young psychologist much in awe of Sigmund Freud‘s (Viggo Mortensen) work. When Jung gets a new patient, the young Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), he starts a psychoanalysis with her and he also begins to correspond with Freud about the case. But Jung soon discovers his attraction to Spielrein (and vice versa) and when Otto Gross (Vincent Cassel) encourages him to give in, he can’t really resist.

A Dangerous Method is an almost perfect movie, interesting, not afraid of depth, but never gets too overbearing. Additionally, it has a good cast and it’s entertaining. Chapeau once again, Mr. Cronenberg.

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Leslie, My Name Is Evil (2009)

[Viennale.]

Leslie, My Name Is Evil is the newest film by Reginald Harkema. It stars Kristen Hager, Gregory Smith*, Ryan Robbins, Kristin Adams, Kaniehtiio Horn, Anjelica Scannura, Sarah Gadon and Travis Milne.

Plot:
Leslie (Kristen Hager) is a good girl. She comes from an “L.A. suburb, my parents are divorced and now I’m searching for a new sense of purpose” [actual quote] and seems to find this with Charles Manson (Ryan Robbins) and his girls (Kaniehtiio Horn, Anjelica Scannura, Sarah Gadon). Which, as we all know, doesn’t end too well.
Perry (Gregory Smith) is a good boy. He has good grades in school, a promising career in chemistry and a nice Christian girlfriend (Kristin Adams). Everything seems to work perfectly, even though he dreads being drafted for the Vietnam war, until he gets called into the jury of the Manson trial and he falls in love with Leslie.

Leslie, My Name Is Evil effectfully combines B-Movie style, gore, sarcasm, whimsy and humor to create an actually pretty thoughtful movie about violence. It’s one of the films you should go to movie festivals for because you probably wouldn’t see them otherwise. And you’d miss out on a lot.

[SPOILERS]

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