The Lucky One (2012)

The Lucky One
Director: Scott Hicks
Writer: Will Fetters
Based on: Nicholas Sparksnovel
Cast: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Riley Thomas Stewart, Jay R. Ferguson, Adam LeFevre, Robert Hayes
Seen on: 22.2.2020

Plot:
Logan (Zac Efron) was a Marine in Iraq. One day he found a picture of a woman in the sand there, keeping him away from a blast site and saving his life. And he was lucky enough to return home, proof enough for him that that photo is a talisman that kept him safe. Once he returns to the USA, he becomes restless and starts walking – always looking for the woman on the photo. As luck would have it, he actually finds her, Beth (Taylor Schilling). Before he can tell her the real reason he came to her, Logan finds himself working in Beth’s family business – a dog grooming/training/lodging place.

I was in the mood for a sappy romantic film and I thought I could barely go wrong with a Sparks adaptation to scratch that itch. But The Lucky One is rather lukewarm, I have to admit – it feels a little too much like a color by number thing.

The film poster showing Logan (Zac Efron) and Beth (Taylor Schilling) almost kissing.
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Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Director: Joe Berlinger
Writer: Michael Werwie
Based on: Elizabeth Kendall’s autobiography The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy
Cast: Lily Collins, Zac Efron, Angela Sarafyan, Kaya Scodelario, Haley Joel Osment, Terry Kinney, Jim Parsons, John Malkovich
Part of: /slash Filmfestival 1/2
Seen on: 4.5.2019
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Plot:
When Liz (Lily Collins) takes a break from being a single mom and goes out with her friend Joanna (Angela Sarafyan), she meets law student Ted Bundy (Zac Efron). He is charming and the two hit it off. It doesn’t take long for him to be a fixture in her life, as well as the of her daughter. But six years later, Ted is arrested and charged with being a serial killer. Liz doesn’t believe that there is any truth to the allegations. But as the trial goes on, she has to face the fact that maybe she doesn’t know as Ted as well as she thought she did.

If Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile had been programmed at the edge of the festival day, I probably would have skipped it because I feared that it would feed into the mythology of Ted Bundy too much. But it was programmed between two films I wanted to see anyway, meaning I was already there, so I gave it a chance – only to see that my fears were absolutely warranted, even if the film isn’t bad.

The film poster showing Ted Bundy (Zac Efron) looking at Liz Kendall (Lily Collins) through the security class in a prison visitors' center.
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The Disaster Artist (2017)

The Disaster Artist
Director: James Franco
Writer: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Based on: Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell‘s book of the same name
Cast: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Ari Graynor, Alison Brie, Jacki Weaver, Paul Scheer, Zac Efron, Josh Hutcherson, June Diane Raphael, Megan Mullally, Jason Mantzoukas, Sharon Stone, Melanie Griffith, Hannibal Buress, Bob Odenkirk, Randall Park, Dree Hemingway, Zoey Deutch, Ike Barinholtz, Kevin Smith, Keegan-Michael Key, Adam Scott, Danny McBride, Kristen Bell, J.J. Abrams, Lizzy Caplan, Judd Apatow, Zach Braff, Bryan Cranston, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Greg Sestero, Tommy Wiseau
Seen on: 26.1.2017
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Plot:
Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) dreams of being an actor and making it big. In one of his acting classes, he meets Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). Tommy is a strange guy, but Greg is struck by his mysterious charisma and generall weirdness. They become unlikely friends. And since Tommy seems to have a lot of money, he can offer Greg a chance that he wouldn’t otherwise get: they should go to Hollywood together, stardom is sure to follow. But when it doesn’t, Tommy makes a new plan: he will make a film himself for them and then their film is going to make them famous.

The Disaster Artist is fun to watch, at least if you can take a huge James Franco ego project, because that’s what it is, too. Mostly it’s a good story that kept me glued to the screen.

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The Greatest Showman (2017)

The Greatest Showman
Director: Michael Gracey
Writer: Jenny Bicks, Bill Condon
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Austyn Johnson, Cameron Seely, Keala Settle, Sam Humphrey, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eric Anderson
Seen on: 9.1.2018
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Plot:
P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) is driven and has big dreams. But he’s also poor. His wife Charity (Michelle Williams) is fully supportive. When Barnum loses his job, he finds a way to get a loan and invests in a museum of oddities. But he soon graduates from showing way figures to building a show with extraordinary people.

I was fully prepared for The Greatest Showman to be awful, but I really didn’t expect the level of terrible the film achieves. It’s a catastrophe wrapped in a candy look.

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Baywatch (2017)

Baywatch
Director: Seth Gordon
Writer: Damian ShannonMark Swift
Based on: the TV series
Cast: Dwayne JohnsonZac EfronPriyanka ChopraAlexandra DaddarioKelly RohrbachIlfenesh HaderaJon BassYahya Abdul-Mateen IIHannibal BuressRob HuebelDavid HasselhoffPamela Anderson
Seen on: 4.6.2017
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Plot:
It’s time to find new recruits for the lifeguards of Emerald Bay, the Baywatch. Overseen by Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson), the recruits prepare for a tough competition. All but Matt Brody (Zac Efron) that is, who finds that he shouldn’t have to prove himself at all since he’s an Olympic swimmer and Baywatch would be lucky to have him. But when a new drug hits the Bay, Mitch and Matt take it upon themselves despite their personal differences to clean up their bay and bring those responsible to justice.

I expected Baywatch to be stupid, sexist and childish, but with charm machine Dwayne Johnson at the helm, I thought it would still entertain regardless. But while the first part of my expectations came true – it is stupid, sexist and childish – the latter part unfortunately fell flat. The script is so bad, not even Johnson can save it.

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Me and Orson Welles (2008)

Me and Orson Welles is the newest Richard Linklater movie, an adaptation of Robert Kaplow‘s book, starring Zac Efron, Christian McKay, Claire Danes, Ben Chaplin, Zoe Kazan, Eddie Marsan, James Tupper and Kelly Reilly.

Plot:
Richard (Zac Efron) is a student at high school and a great fan of the theatre. When he gets cast in Orson Welles’ (Christian McKay) newest production – Julius Caesar – a dream comes true for him. With a mixture of boldness and naivite he soon endears himself to the entire cast, including Orson Welles and his assistant, Sonja (Claire Danes).

I was very hesitant to see this film. My relationship with Linklater films is rather shaky and that the movie stars Zac Efron… well. But I was pleasantly surprised. It’s entertaining, very nicely acted and funny.

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