Plot: Ralph (Mason McNulty) gets a VHS recorder for Christmas. He grabs the next tape he finds – unfortunately, apparently, his parents’ (Jake Head, Christian Drerup) wedding tape – and starts recording whatever he finds of interest, from his adventures with his best friend Josh (Rahm Braslaw) to the usually forbidden to him late night TV – where he learns about a haunted house in town.
VHYes is a beautiful love letter to TV of the 80s, and VHS, managing a unique blend of funny and unsettling that I absolutely loved. I think it was one of my favorites of this year’s festival.
Plot: Meg (Trini Alvarado), Jo (Winona Ryder), Beth (Claire Danes) and Amy (Kirsten Dunst) are sisters, living with their mother Marmee (Susan Sarandon) as their father is off fighting in the war. Their lives are spent working or studying and trying to help the even poorer people in the neighborhood. In their sparetime, they like to play creatively. When their neighbor Mr. Lawrence’s (John Neville) grandson Laurie (Christian Bale) moves in with his grandfather, he quickly finds himself included with the girls. Together, they navigate life’s ups and downs.
There was a time when I was a teenager that I was very much obsessed with this film and I watched it quite a few times. But it took me until now to finally read the novel and it’s been many years that I saw the film, so I looked at it now with fresh eyes. I still love it, but I do see a couple of things more critically now.
Plot: Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon) just got engaged and decide to visit their former teacher in whose class they met. But on the way there, they get lost and a flat tire and so they end up at a weird manor where strange things are going on. Not only is there a strange celebration, but the host, Dr Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry) has announced that what they’re celebrating is that he built a man.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is probably one of the films I have seen the most times in my life, and that’s not even counting the live versions I saw of it. When they announced a sing-along screening at the cinema, of course I had to be there again. And what a fun evening it was!
Dash (Jason Schwartzman) is annoyed that his best friend Assaf (Reggie Watts) has started to date Verti (Maya Rudolph). This would be the biggest catastrophe of his life if it wasn’t for the earthquake that made the cliff his high school is built on crumble and float out into the sea where it’s slowly sinking. Now Dash, Assaf and Verti are joined by popular girl Mary (Lena Dunham) and Lunch Lady Lorraine (Susan Sarandon) as they try to reach the roof.
I liked the animation style of My Entire High School Is Sinking Into the Sea, but storywise I think it would have been better as a short film.
Ray (Elle Fanning) is fighting to get the hormones he needs to transition. His mother Maggie (Naomi Watts) supports him as best she can, even when she does struggle herself sometimes with his being trans. They live together with Ray’s lesbian grandmother Dolly (Susan Sarandon) who tries to help, too, but doesn’t really understand what Ray is going through. They do not live with Ray’s father Craig (Tate Donovan) who has a new family and not much interest in Ray. But Craig needs to agree to Ray’s treatment, so Maggie and Ray have to convince him.
I knew going in that About Ray – retitled 3 Generations – wouldn’t be an unproblematic film about being trans, but I wanted to give it a try anyway. What I got was okay, but definitely not great.
Nick (James Gandolfini) and Kitty (Susan Sarandon) have been married many years and have managed to build a very middle-class existence. When Kitty finds out that Nick has been having an affair, she’s outraged. Her three daughters Baby (Mandy Moore), Constance (Mary-Louise Parker) and Rosebud (Aida Turturro) are firmly on Kitty’s side, but also have their own issues to deal with. And Nick will have to figure out whether he wants to fight for his marriage or start a new life with the other woman, Tula (Kate Winslet).
Romance & Cigarettes is a very idiosyncratic film. A musical in that setting and with those costumes and an off-beat sense of humor, it’s funny and manages to entertain, but it’s also unfortunately steeped in sexism.
Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon) just got engaged and decide to visit their former teacher in whose class they met. But on the way there, they get lost and a flat tire and so they end up at a weird manor where strange things are going on. Not only is there a strange celebration, but the host, Dr Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry) has announced that what they’re celebrating is that he built a man.
Looking objectively at it, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is not a particularly good movie. The acting isn’t very good, the dialogues are cheesy, the special effects aren’t great. But none of that matters the slightest because it is one of the best movies ever. It knows what it is and what it wants and it takes it with a sense of humor and an excellent soundtrack. Also, Tim Curry’s legs just deserve their own film.
30 years ago, The Weather Underground robbed a bank and shot a guard. Nobody was arrested. Now the FBI managed to arrest Sharon Solarz (Susan Sarandon). Her arrest has journalist Ben Shepard (Shia LaBeouf) digging into the story. He talks to lawyer Jim Grant (Robert Redford) who turns out to have been one of the Weathermen, Nick Sloan. Grant/Sloan goes on the run, but there seems to be more to the story than that.
The Weather Underground are certainly a topic that deserves discussion and cinematic treatment. Unfortunately this movie skirts the interesting bits and ends up being boring, unrealistic and self-congratulatory.
When Jason (Rafi Gavron) is arrested on drug charges that are not really called for, his father John (Dwayne Johnson) tries to bargain with the prosecution to get his sentence reduced. But the prosecution is quite unwilling to help. It’s only when John offers to basically go undercover for them and get some bigger fish arrested, that they agree to help. So John asks his employee and ex-con Daniel (Jon Bernthal) for an introduction into the drug world and soon finds himself a little in over his head.
Snitch isn’t a great movie. But it is quite ok and surprisingly full of social criticism.
Robert Miller (Richard Gere) is a generally successful business owner, though he has encountered some troubles in the past and is now trying to sell his company as quickly as possible. He and his daughter Brooke (Brit Marling) are also already negotiating a deal and all seems to be going well. Robert’s wife Ellen (Susan Sarandon) doesn’t know about the problems, and she also doesn’t know about Robert’s affair with the young artist Julie (Laetitia Casta). But then Robert gets into a car accident while driving with Julie and Julie is killed. Since he wants to avoid the scandal, Robert calls Jimmy (Nate Parker), a poor, young guy who owes Robert a debt through his (Jimmy’s) father to pick him up. But when Det. Bryer (Tim Roth) gets involved, things seem to slip Robert’s control.
Arbitrage is a frustrating film, on two levels: one, it is so close to being great, but it just doesn’t manage the last bit to actually get there. Two, the ending wants to be frustrating (because the world is frustrating when it comes to powerful people) and Jarecki absolutely succeeds with that.