Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

Velvet Buzzsaw
Director: Dan Gilroy
Writer: Dan Gilroy
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Zawe Ashton, Tom Sturridge, Toni Collette, Natalia Dyer, Daveed Diggs, John Malkovich, Billy Magnussen, Pat Healy
Seen on: 11.4.2021

Plot:
Morf (Jake Gyllenhaal) is an art critic, always looking for something new and good. But currently, he is rather more occupied with Josephina (Zawe Ashton). She works in the gallery run by Rhodora (Rene Russo), hoping to become a successful agent herself, and Morf is deeply in love with her, despite having a boyfriend. When Josephina finds out that a recently deceased tenant in her building was an artist who wanted to have all his art destroyed upon his death, she is convinced that his art is something special. She is not wrong, though she couldn’t have foreseen what kind of special it really is.

Velvet Buzzsaw is visually engaging, and has a great cast who obviously had a lot of fun chewing the scenery in this one. But the metaphor at its heart feels a little flimsy and could have done with a little more work.

The film poster showing a white frame on a white wall with the words Velvet Buzzsaw spraypainted across it, the red paint dripping down and over the frame.
Continue reading

Mary Shelley (2017)

Mary Shelley
Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour
Writer: Emma Jensen, Haifaa Al-Mansour
Cast: Elle Fanning, Douglas Booth, Bel Powley, Tom Sturridge, Joanne Froggatt, Stephen Dillane, Maisie Williams, Derek Riddell, Hugh O’Conor, Ben Hardy
Seen on: 9.1.2019
1-gif-review

Plot:
Mary (Elle Fanning) is the daughter of two authors, William Godwin (Stephen Dillane) and Mary Wollstonecraft. Her mother, unfortunately passed early and her father’s new wife (Joanne Froggatt) is not easy on her, leaving Mary at even more of a loss than your average 16-year-old. That’s when she meets Percy (Douglas Booth), a charming poet who intrigues her. They fall in love and together with Mary’s stepsister Claire Clairmont (Bel Powley) they run away to Geneva to meet Lord Byron (Tom Sturridge) and Polidori (Ben Hardy). The five of them spend an intense time together – a time that includes a literary contest that pushes Mary to write her first novel, Frankenstein.

Mary Shelley, unfortunately, didn’t really come together, although I am uncertain what went wrong here – they had all the right ingredients to make a feast and ended with a slightly bland meal that didn’t sate. (I promise I won’t be stretching this metaphor any further.)

The film poster showing half of Mary's (Elle Fanning) face.
Continue reading

Remainder (2015)

Remainder
Director: Omer Fast
Writer: Omer Fast
Based on: Tom McCarthy‘s novel
Cast: Tom SturridgeCush JumboEd SpeleersArsher AliShaun PrendergastLaurence Spellman
Part of: Scope100
Seen on: 8.12.2016

Plot:
Tom (Tom Sturridge) loses his memory after an accident. He is plagued by vague flashes of things half-remembered. Desperately trying to piece everything together, he starts to use the recompensation he got for the accident, he hires Naz (Arsher Ali) to help him build the pieces of his memory up again – literally.

Remainder works off an interesting idea, but the idea is not enough to carry the film – and it needed carrying. Despite a couple of good things, I ultimately didn’t care for it.

Continue reading

Far from the Madding Crowd (2015)

Far from the Madding Crowd
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Writer: David Nicholls
Based on: Thomas Hardy‘s novel
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Tom Sturridge, Juno Temple, Jessica Barden, Michael Sheen
Seen on: 21.7.2015

Plot:
Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) is rather poor, but her neighbor Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts) whose hard work has seen him well-established as a farmer courts her anyway. But Bathsheba doesn’t want to get married and give up her freedom, and before she can change her mind, Gabriel loses everything and Bathsheba surprisingly inherits a large estate. With their fortunes reversed, Gabriel starts working for Bathsheba who not only tries to run her new farm on her own, but also finds herself entangled with her rich, well-settled neighbor William Boldwood (Michael Sheen) and dashing young officer Francis Troy (Tom Sturridge).

Far from the Madding Crowd is a beautiful piece of cinema: great cast, stunning camera work, perfect score and an engaging, interesting story. I loved it.

farfromthemaddingcrowd Continue reading

On the Road (2012)

On the Road
Director: Walter Salles
Writer: Jose Rivera
Based on: Jack Kerouac’s novel
Cast: Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Elisabeth Moss, Terrence Howard, Alice Braga, Tom Sturridge, Steve Buscemi

Plot:
After his father’s death, Sal (Sam Riley) decides to go on a road trip to visit his new friend Dean (Garrett Hedlund) and his girlfriend Marylou (Kristen Stewart). Together they hook up with some old friends in around the USA. Sal is fascinated with Dean’s energy and joie de vivre. For a while, Sal travels alone, then he travels together with Dean and other people, always looking for the next party and the next kick.

After the book, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about watching the film but I thought that with the lengths the book had, the shortenings necessary for a movie script might improve the whole thing. But if anything the movie was even more boring.

Continue reading

Wastwater

[It’s Festwochen time again.]

Wastwater is a play by Simon Stephens, directed by Katie Mitchell, starring Linda Bassett, Amanda Hale, Jo McInnes, Paul Ready, Tom Sturridge and Angus Wright.

Plot:
The play consists of three loosely connected scenes. Harry (Tom Sturridge) takes his leave from his foster mom Frieda (Linda Bassett), probably forever. Lisa (Jo McInnes) and Mark (Paul Ready) meet in an airport hotel to betray their respective partners. Sian (Amanda Hale) sells Jonathan (Angus Wright) a child from Southeast Asia, despite his hesitation.

I just had a first look at the reviews Wastwater has been getting – and they’re toroughly mixed, which I don’t really understand. I think Wastwater is what theater should be like: it’s excellently written, has a great cast, a beautiful stage design and was very well directed. You could wish for nothing more.

Continue reading

The Boat That Rocked (2009)

The Boat That Rocked is the new movie by Richard Curtis, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost, Norrington Jack Davenport and Tom Sturridge.

Plot:
Carl (Tom Sturridge) is sent to his godfather’s Quentin (Bill Nighy) boat because he messed up in school and his mother thought that it would be a good idea to have him live with some men. Unfortunately, Quentin’s ship is a pirate radio station, inhabited by the eccentric radio DJs. At the same time, Minister Dormandy (Kenneth Brannagh) tries to shut down the radio piracy, with the help of his assistant Twatt (Jack Davenport).

While the movie has a wonderful soundtrack and a good cast, the rest was unfortunately highly offensive to me as a woman and as a thinking human being. Most of the jokes were, as we say in German, “unter jeder Sau” (which might be translated to “beneath every sow” and means abysmal). At one point, I was about to walk out of the theatre and I have never done that before. If you wanna know why, read on. If you don’t want to read me rant again, you better skip the rest of the post.

the-boat-that-rocked1

[SPOILERY SPOILERS]

Continue reading