Queen of the Desert (2015)

Queen of the Desert
Director: Werner Herzog
Writer: Werner Herzog
Cast: Nicole Kidman, James Franco, Robert Pattinson, Damian LewisJay Abdo, Jenny Agutter, Holly Earl, Mark Lewis Jones, David Calder
Seen on: 14.9.2015

Plot:
Gertrude Bell (Nicole Kidman) really doesn’t care about getting married, which puts her rather at odds with British society. She was one of the few women who were allowed to study at university, which gives her family an excuse to send her traveling. So Gertrude travels to the Ottoman Empire. With every passing year Gertrude becomes more independent until finally she defies all social norms and starts traveling the desert, really getting to know the area and its people, acquiring insights no other British person was able to get.

Queen of the Desert can be summarized with “Orientalism the Movie”. It’s flabbergasting that such an unquestioned imperialistic view on the Middle East could still make it on the screen today. We should all know better by now.

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Kaze tachinu [The Wind Rises] (2013)

Kaze tachinu
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Writer: Hayao Miyazaki
Based on: his own manga which in turn is based on Tatsuo Hori‘s short story The Wind Has Risen about plane designer Jiro Horikoshi
Cast: [Japanese:] Hideaki Anno, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Miori Takimoto, Mansai Nomura; [English:] Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Martin Short, Stanley Tucci, Mandy Patinkin, Mae Whitman, Werner Herzog, Jennifer Grey, William H. Macy, Darren Criss, Elijah Wood

Plot:
Jiro (Hideaki Anno) loves airplanes. He would like to fly one, but unfortunately his eyesight is too bad to become a pilot. Instead he decides to become a plane designer, after designer Giovanni Battista Caproni (Mansai Nomura) speaks to him in a dream. Years later his dream is coming true, but World War 2 is also on the horizon, which poses the question whether it is ethical to design war planes.

I was really excited for a new Miyazaki film, despite the fact that Ponyo wasn’t all that good. I was hoping that the chiefly positive reviews were right. I’m sorry to say that I was really disappointed though. Maybe he really should have quit already.

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Jack Reacher (2012)

Jack Reacher
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writer: Christopher McQuarrie
Based on: Lee Child‘s novel One Shot
Cast: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, David OyelowoJai Courtney, Werner Herzog, Robert Duvall

Plot:
After a sniper shoots 5 people, the police quickly identify and arrest a possible suspect: ex-soldier Barr (Joseph Sikora). Barr doesn’t say a word, but to request Jack Reacher, a former military investigator who disappeared a while back. The police and the DA Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike) are stunned by that request, and even more suprised when Reacher (Tom Cruise) turns up himself. He saw a news report on Barr and having investigated him before, he wanted to make sure that he is put behind bars this time. But Barr’s request makes him doubt his guilt, so Reacher starts to dig deep.

Jack Reacher really moves through all shades of horribleness. There is “just horrible”, there is “so horrible, it’s hilarious” and then there’s “so horrible I just wanna cry.” Unfortunately, it spends the least time in the second category.

Jack_Reacher

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Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)

Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Directed and narrated by Werner Herzog
Part of: Viennale (Surprise Movie)

Plot:
Herzog got permission to enter the Chauvet Cave in France together with a film team to document the oldest discovered cave drawings in the world. He decided to do so in 3D.

I kinda thought that this film would be a lot cooler than it was. The 3D didn’t work very well. Most likely because Herzog’s sanctimonious narration made me roll my eyes so hard.

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