The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019)

The Personal History of David Copperfield
Director: Armando Iannucci
Writer: Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci
Based on: Charles Dickensnovel
Cast: Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi, Rosalind Eleazar, Morfydd Clark, Ben Whishaw, Benedict Wong, Daisy May Cooper, Gwendoline Christie, Darren Boyd, Aneurin Barnard, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Fisayo Akinade, Matthew Cottle, Jairaj Varsani
Seen on: 9.10.2020

Plot:
After his father’s death, David’s mother Clara (Morfydd Clark) got married to Mr Murdstone (Darren Boyd) who doesn’t really want anything to do with David (Jairaj Varsani). So at the first chance Murdstone and his sister Jane Murdstone (Gwendoline Christie) send David off to London where he is forced to work in a bottle factory and lives with the always-hounded-by-creditors Mr Micawber (Peter Capaldi). David grows up there in harsh circumstances, but when he hears that his mother died and he wasn’t even notified to attend the funeral, he has had enough. Grown by now, David (Dev Patel) makes his way to his aunt Betsy Trotwood (Tilda Swinton), hoping to find more luck there. But it’s only the beginning of his journey.

The Personal History of David Copperfield has an almost anarchic sense of humor and a wonderful energy that made it absolutely entertaining and just a blast.

The film poster showing a colorful collage of the characters of the film, with David Copperfield (Dev Patel) taking center stage, between red curtains.
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The Souvenir (2019)

The Souvenir
Director: Joanna Hogg
Writer: Joanna Hogg
Cast: Honor Swinton Byrne, Tom Burke, Tilda Swinton, Richard Ayoade
Seen on: 3.7.2020

Plot:
Film student Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) meets Anthony (Tom Burke), a government employee. They go on a date and she is quickly charmed by him. After her roommate moves out, Anthony asks if he can stay with her for a while and their budding romance soon turns into an intense relationship. But the more Julie hears about Anthony, the more doubts start creeping in if Anthony really is the man she thinks he is.

The Souvenir is a beautifully acted and shot film that stays engaging throughout. I enjoyed it, but I did not completely love it.

The film poster showing Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) and Anthony (Tom Burke) dressed up and reflected in a dark surface
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Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Avengers: Endgame
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: the comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Sequel to: The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Brie Larson, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly, Tessa Thompson, Rene Russo, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian StanTom Hiddleston, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Letitia Wright, John Slattery, Tilda Swinton, Vin Diesel, Jon Favreau, Hayley Atwell, Natalie Portman, Marisa Tomei, Taika Waititi, Angela Bassett, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, William Hurt, Cobie Smulders, Sean Gunn, Winston Duke, Linda Cardellini, Frank Grillo, Hiroyuki Sanada, James D’Arcy, Jacob Batalon, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert Redford, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Samuel L. Jackson, Yvette Nicole Brown, Ken Jeong, Ty Simpkins, Stan Lee
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 1.5.2019
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Content Note: fat hate

Plot:
It’s been a while since Thanos (Josh Brolin) changed the entire universe. People are coping, but how well varies from person to person. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), for one, didn’t realize at all what was happening, having spent years trapped in the quantum realm. But now he has finally been able to return to find the world very much changed. He seeks out the remaining Avengers, believing that the quantum realm may just be the very thing to help them undo what Thanos caused.

Avengers: Endgame basically had no choice but be epic (the sheer number of people and characters alone!) and it certainly delivered that. It does feel like a worthy end to the series, even if not everything about it works or is as good as it should be.

The film poster showing the main characters in a montage.
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Suspiria (2018)

Suspiria
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Writer: David Kajganich
Remake of: Suspiria (1977)
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Tilda Swinton, Doris Hick, Malgorzata Bela, Angela Winkler, Vanda Capriolo, Alek Wek, Jessica Batut, Elena Fokina, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper
Seen on: 20.11.2018
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Plot:
Susie (Dakota Johnson) comes to Berlin to study at the Markos Tanz Akademie, a ballet school, where she is accepted since a dancer, Pat (Chloë Grace Moretz), just left. As Susie soon finds out, Pat didn’t simply leave. Something more is going on in the mysterious academy and with the help of her fellow student Sara (Mia Goth), Susie starts to investigate.

Suspiria is a visually strong, affective film that proves that watching a film is a very physical experience. It’s captivating in an hypnotic way.

The film poster showing eyes in a splatter of blood.
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Okja (2017)

Okja
Director: Joon-ho Bong
Writer: Joon-ho Bong, Jon Ronson
Cast: Seo-Hyun AhnHee-Bong ByunTilda SwintonGiancarlo EspositoJake GyllenhaalShirley HendersonSteven YeunPaul DanoLily CollinsJeong-eun Lee
Seen on: 12.7.2017
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Plot:
Mija (Seo-Hyun Ahn) lives with her grandfather Hee Bong (Hee-Bong Byun) and with Okja. Okja is a genetically modified breed of superpigs. To see how the animals fare, twelve of them have been placed in various situations worldwide to see what environment suits them best. It turns out that Okja is the winner. That means that they find themselves confronted with nature filmer Johnny Wilcox (Jake Gyllenhaal) who has been sent by the corporation Okja actually belongs to to publicize the result of the contest. But even though Wilcox is not the most charming individual, he quickly becomes the least of Mija’s problems as she has to fight for Okja and their life together.

Okja is sweet and it has a great cast. It has a political message that it puts front and center, but unfortunately that message is muddled at the best of times and incomprehensible at other times. When you make a film that so obviously has something to say, when that something remains that unclear, the entire experience is frustrating and nothing else.

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Doctor Strange (2016)

Doctor Strange
Director: Scott Derrickson
Writer: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill
Based on: the comic character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
Cast: Benedict CumberbatchChiwetel EjioforRachel McAdamsBenedict WongMads MikkelsenTilda SwintonMichael StuhlbargBenjamin BrattScott Adkins, Stan Lee
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 8.11.2016

Plot:
Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a great neurosurgeon, and he knows it. But after a car accident that leaves him severely injured, Strange loses control of his hands – a skill absolutely necessary for his delicate job. He tries everything he can to get back to his former abilities. He is so desperate that when he hears of Jonathan Pangborn’s (Benjamin Bratt) apparently miraculous recovery, he asks him for the secret to it. Pangborn tells him of an temple in Nepal where they know about magic. Strange makes his way there, hoping to regain what he lost – and more.

If you manage to disregard the blatant racism in the film and its casting (and I can understand if you can’t manage this), Doctor Strange is an entertaining film that offers a lot of fun.

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A Bigger Splash (2015)

A Bigger Splash
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Writer: Alain Page, David Kajganich
Based on: La Piscine
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson
Seem on: 16.5.2016

Plot:
Rockstar Marianne Lane (Tilda Swinton) is on holidays, recovering from throat surgery that affected her vocal chords. She is spending her time in Italy together with her boyfriend, photographer Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts) in companionable calm and silence. Until her ex-husband and ex-producer Harry (Ralph Fiennes) shows up with his daughter Penelope (Dakota Johnson), a daughter he only just recently met himself. Harry and Penelope both bring their own special kind of trouble to the formerly so idyllic stay.

A Bigger Splash starts off strong. While the cast manages to keep up the strength throughout, the plot does not. But with that much chemistry between everybody involved, I can certainly live without much of a plot.

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Dreams Rewired (2015)

Dreams Rewired [aka Die Mobilisierung der Träume]
Director: Manu Luksch, Martin Reinhart, Thomas Tode
Writer: Manu Luksch, Mukul Patel, Martin Reinhart, Thomas Tode
Cast: Tilda Swinton
Seen on: 24.3.2016

Plot:
Edited together from clips from over 200 films, most of which are around a hundred years old or older [here’s the full list], and narrated by Tilda Swinton, Dreams Rewired examines our relationship with technology and technological change.

Dreams Rewired doesn’t cover new ground. Sometimes it feels like half of the essays out there, cinematic and otherwise, is about our relationship with media and technology. More often than not there’s a distinctly anxious undertone of modern estrangement, losing touch with the world and not being able to connect with the humanity around us anymore (bleargh). Now, Dreams Rewired isn’t absolutely technophobic, but that anxiety is certainly there and they never do anything with or about it which quickly becomes pretty annoying.

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Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Hail, Caesar!
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Veronica Osorio, Heather Goldenhersh, Alison Pill, Max Baker, Clancy Brown, David Krumholtz, Robert Picardo, Christopher Lambert, Fred Melamed, Jack Huston, Michael Gambon
Seen on: 21.2.2016

Plot:
Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) fixes problems for a big movie studio. And boy, are there ever problems: Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), the biggest star they currently have, is missing, possibly abducted. Star DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) is pregnant und unmarried. Director Laurnce Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) needs a new star for his film and the only guy available is Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich), talented stunt cowboy but acting is a whole other story. And the twin journalists Thora and Thessaly Thacker (Tilda Swinton and Tilda Swinton) are snooping around for a story, each in her own way and for her own column. And if all of that wasn’t enough, Eddie has an attractive job offer on the table he needs to decide on soon.

After the recent rather serious outings of the Coen brothers, Hail, Caesar! is a return to comedy, and a very successful one at that. The film is a romp through the studio cinema of the 50s, with the only drawback that they’re reproducing the white-maleness of those films as well. Other than that, though, it is simply fun.

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Behind Jim Jarmusch (2010) + Travelling at Night with Jim Jarmusch (2014)

Behind Jim Jarmusch + Travelling at Night with Jim Jarmusch
Director: Léa Rinaldi
Writer: Léa Rinaldi
“Cast”: Jim JarmuschIsaach De BankoléJohn Hurt, Bill MurrayTilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 31.10.2015

“Plot”:
Both Behind Jim Jarmusch and Travelling at Night with Jim Jarmusch are documentaries about the creative process of director Jim Jarmusch. Rinaldi followed Jarmusch during the shot of The Limits of Control and then again a couple of years later during the work on Only Lovers Left Alive, trying to grasp how Jarmusch gets to work.

Behind Jim Jarmusch was Rinaldi’s first documentary and you can see how much she learned, so that Travelling at Night with Jim Jarmusch becomes the much better film. But both are interesting to see, especially if you like Jim Jarmusch’s films as they give you a look into the creation of something special.

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