Cellular (2004)

Cellular
Director: David R. Ellis
Writer: Larry CohenChris Morgan
Cast: Chris EvansJason Statham, Kim BasingerJessica BielNoah EmmerichWilliam H. MacyMircea MonroeLin Shaye 
Seen on: 27.12.2016

Plot:
Teacher Jessica Martin (Kim Basinger) finds herself being held captive by Ethan (Jason Statham), who is actually looking for her husband. As Jessica is locked away in the attic, she applies her science knowledge to use the smashed up phone their. The catch is that she can’t really control the dial. Quite by chance she ends up calling carefree surfer dude Ryan (Chris Evans). Ryan doubts Jessica’s story, but she manages to convince him – and it’s up to him to help her out of this very bad situation.

I didn’t expect much from Cellular – some mindless action. Which is what I got, but in a surprisingly charming and humorous package.

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Room (2015)

Room
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Writer: Emma Donoghue
Based on: her novel
Cast: Jacob Tremblay, Brie Larson, Sean Bridgers, Joan Allen, William H. Macy, Matt Gordon, Wendy Crewson
Seen on: 23.3.2016

Plot:
Jack (Jacob Tremblay) and Ma (Brie Larson) have spent the entirety of Jack’s life in Room. Jack has a good life with Ma. They play and read and exercise. It’s only when Old Nick (Sean Bridgers) comes to Room that Jack has to hide in Wardrobe. After Jack’s fifth birthday, Ma tells him that there is an entire world outside of Room and that they should escape Room to see it. But to escape Room and Old Nick, Ma needs Jack’s help.

Room does everything right it could possibly do right, creating a film that is very much deserving of the touching story and its strong characters.

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Cake (2014)

Cake
Director: Daniel Barnz
Writer: Patrick Tobin
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Adriana Barraza, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington, Mamie Gummer, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, Chris Messina, Lucy Punch, Britt Robertson
Seen on: 15.04.2015

Plot:
After an accident Claire (Jennifer Aniston) is in chronic pain, bitter and lonely. Her only points of social contact are her housekeeper Silvana (Adriana Barraza) and her chronic pain self-help group. But after one of its members, Nina (Anna Kendrick), committed suicide and Claire had a bit of a meltdown, the group has asked her to leave. Instead Claire pays a visit to Nina’s widower Roy (Sam Worthington). They both start leaning on each other for their recovery, even if that’s a very slow-going process.

Cake was an excellent film. Great performances, smart script, interesting topic handled seriously but also with a sense of humor, all tied together in a neat little package.

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Re-Watch: Fargo (1996)

Fargo
Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Peter StormareFrances McDormandJohn Carroll Lynch, Kristin Rudrüd, Harve Presnell, Tony Denman, Steve Reevis, Larry Brandenburg
Seen on: 15.3.2015

Plot:
Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) has a business plan and a foolproof way of getting the money for it: he hires Carl (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear (Peter Stormare) to kidnap his wife (Kristin Rudrüd) and extort money from his father-in-law Wade (Harve Presnell). But even before they can act out the plan, things start going wrong and pregnant police woman Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) takes up the investigation.

I haven’t seen Fargo in so long that I still watched it in German the last time I saw it (I’ve avoided dubbed films for about 15 years now). I still remembered the film quite well and I still love it. It’s just a wonderful black comedy.

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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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The Sessions (2012)

The Sessions
Director: Ben Lewin
Writer: Ben Lewin
Based on: Mark O’Brien‘s life
Cast: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Moon Bloodgood, Annika Marks, Adam Arkin

Plot:
Mark (John Hawkes) got polio when he was a child and has been paralyzed ever since. Now he’s in his thirties and spends most of his time in an iron lung and helped by personal assistants. Recently a wish has been  growing in Mark: he wants to lose his virginity. After talking it over with his priest, Father Brendan (William H. Macy), Mark enlists the help of a sex surrogate, a kind of sex therapist – Cheryl (Helen Hunt).

The Sessions is a sweet and fun film with a really good cast. The story is interesting and gives you a glimpse at an extraordinary life. It’s really touching.

the-sessions

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Re-Watch: WarGames (1983)

WarGames
Director: John Badham
Writer: Lawrence Lasker, Walter F. Parkes, Walon Green
Cast: Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, Dabney Coleman, John Wood, Barry Corbin, [And if you can spot them: Michael Madsen and William H. Macy]
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
David (Matthew Broderick) is in high school, but his vocation lies more in hacking. And it so happens that, while searching information aboout a new game, he hacks into the recently fully automated nuclear defence system WOPR at NORAD, a nuclear missile station. Still thinking that he was playing a novel game, David starts engaging the system, leaving the people at NORAD in a panic, thinking that Russia is actually threatening to bomb the USA.

I hadn’t seen WarGames since my childhood. I quite liked it then – and it still holds up the test of time very well.

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The Cooler (2003)

The Cooler
Director: Wayne Kramer
Writer: Frank Hannah, Wayne Kramer
Cast: William H. Macy, Maria Bello, Alec Baldwin, Shawn Hatosy, Estella Warren, Ron Livingston

Plot:
Bernie (William H. Macy) works as a cooler [meaning as a person whose bad luck transfers to the other people] in the Shangri-La casino which is run by Shelly (Alec Baldwin), Bernie’s oldest friend. But Bernie is about to quit. Then he meets the waitress Natalie (Maria Bello) and they fall in love – and suddenly Bernie’s luck turns. But that’s not making everybody happy.

The Cooler has a very nice cast and good characters in a setting that is a bit tired. But the whole thing gets a fresh feel through the matter-of-factness with which its slight magical realism is included.

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The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

The Lincoln Lawyer is Brad Furman‘s adaptation of Michael Connelly‘s novel, written by John Romano, starring Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo, Michael Peña and Bryan Cranston.

Plot:
Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is pretty much the definition of a sleazy lawyer. But then he takes on the defense of Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a rich kid accused of murder. Together with his best friend, private detective Frank Levin (William H. Macy) he digs into the particulars of the case. Pretty soon he discovers that the story Louis is telling can’t be quite true – and there might be a connection to one of Mick’s old cases.

The Lincoln Lawyer is basically the cinematical equivalent of fast food. There’s some nurtitional value to it, it will satisfy your hunger – but only for a little while. Is it a culinary delight? Well, no. But it does its job without leaving much behind, good or bad.

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Marmaduke (2010)

Marmaduke is the newest movie by Tom Dey, an adaptation from the comic, starring Owen Wilson, Lee Pace, William H. Macy, Kiefer Sutherland, Emma Stone, George Lopez, Steve Coogan, Stacy Ferguson and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

[Don’t judge me for having seen this movie. I just love Lee Pace and Steve Coogan too much to miss it.]

Plot:
Marmaduke (Owen Wilson) is a pubescent Great Dane, belonging to the Winslow family. When Phil Winslow (Lee Pace) gets a job offer in California, they move from Kansas there. Unfortunately, Marmaduke has problems adjusting and gets into trouble with the local crowd, spearheaded by the evil Bosco (Kiefer Sutherland). And also Phil has his problems getting the new job done.

Marmaduke is a movie made for kids. In a time, where the supposed kids movies (like Shrek, Toy Story, Wall-E) are made at least as much for the adults, this is quite extraordinary. It’s not a brilliant film, but I’m sure that kids enjoy it. Adults, on the other hand, will be mostly bored.

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