Wildlife (2018)

Wildlife
Director: Paul Dano
Writer: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan
Based on: Richard Ford‘s novel
Cast: Ed Oxenbould, Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan, Travis W Bruyer, Zoe Margaret Colletti
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 5.11.2018
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Plot:
Joe (Ed Oxenbould) lives with his parents Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Jeanette (Carey Mulligan) in what could and should be the standard family of the 1950s. But when Jerry loses his job, things start to fall apart. He finally decides to leave town to find employment, effectively leaving Jeanette and Joe as well. Now Joe has to watch his mother trying to cope with the situation by flirting which puts him in a very difficult situation.

I’m afraid that my expectations for Wildlife were a little too high. It’s not bad, but it just isn’t as great as the cast would suggest.

The film poster showing Carey Mulligan and Jack Gyllenhaal sitting apart in front of a canvas showing the sky, looking at each other.
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The Big Sick (2017)

The Big Sick
Director: Michael Showalter
Writer: Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani
Based on: their own lives
Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff, Adeel Akhtar, Bo Burnham
Seen on: 29.11.2017
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Plot:
Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) tries to make it as a stand-up comedian, a career choice he can’t really tell his parents about. But since they are mostly busy setting Kumail up with potential wives, much to his dismay, that doesn’t seem to be the biggest point of contention between them. When Kumail meets Emily (Zoe Kazan) and the two feel drawn to each other, it has the potential of making both of their lives much more complicated. Before they can figure anything out, though, Emily falls mysteriously ill and has to be put into a medically induced coma – and all the complications are sped up for all of them.

The Big Sick is a funny, touching and sweet film that I enjoyed a whole lot. It’s not necessarily a film that will keep me thinking for a long time, but that’s neither expected nor necessary.

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Ruby Sparks (2012)

Ruby Sparks
Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Writer: Zoe Kazan
Cast: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Chris Messina, Toni Trucks, Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas, Aasif Mandvi, Steve Coogan, Deborah Ann Woll, Elliott Gould

Plot:
Calvin (Paul Dano) wrote a critically acclaimed bestseller when he was very young – and has been stuck ever since. He can’t really write anything, he’s afraid that he won’t live up to his own reputation. But then he starts writing about Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan) – the perfect girl for him – and literally falls in love with his own creation. That is, until she actually shows up in his kitchen. At first, Calvin believes that he’s finally cracked, but other people can see her, too. And so Calvin doesn’t question it, instead starts enjoying their relationship. But how long can anybody remain perferct?

Ruby Sparks is the perfect take-down of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope. And not only that, it is also a wonderfully charming, touching and funny movie with an extremely excellent cast.

ruby_sparks

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Fracture (2007)

Fracture is a movie by Gregory Hoblit, starring Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike and Billy Burke.

Plot:
When Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) discovers that his wife has an affair, he hatches a plan to kill her and immediately confesses to the murder. So, when young up-and-coming DA Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling) gets this case as his last before starting at a prestigious law firm, he thinks that it will be a short one. But as soon as the trial starts, Beachum discovers that Crawford has been meticulous in his planning, and that his opponent is not as easy as he thought.

Fracture has all the rigt ingredients for an excellent thriller – good idea, awesome cast and an experienced director. But it falls a little short of the mark nevertheless.

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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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Meek’s Cutoff (2010)

[Viennale.]

Meek’s Cutoff is the newest film by Kelly Reichardt, starring Michelle Williams, Will Patton, Bruce Greenwood, Paul Dano, Shirley Henderson, Rod Rondeaux.

Plot:
A small group of settlers turn from the Oregon Trail to take a shortcut, led by the grandtalker Meek (Bruce Greenwood). When their water starts to run out in the middle of the desert, they don’t really know what to do and neither does Meek. But they notice that there is a Native American (Rod Rondeaux) following them. After Emily (Michelle Williams) makes first contact with him, they both run off. But the men decide that he should lead them to water and capture him.

After Wendy and Lucy*, I expected a lot from this film. So much that I watched it, even though I really couldn’t care less about the genre itself, actually. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. I had to fight to stay awake several times and was generally pretty bored.

[SPOILERS]

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It’s Complicated (2009)

It’s Complicated is the newest movie by Nancy Meyers, starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin and John Krasinski.

Plot:
Jane (Meryl Streep) and Jake (Alec Baldwin) have been divorced for a while, but remained on quite good terms. During the graduation of their youngest son, their romance gets rekindled. At the same time, Jane meets the charming architect Adam (Steve Martin). And that’s when things get really complicated.

It’s Complicated is a nice, rather run-of-the-mill RomCom. What makes it different from other such movies is the presence of an actual adult (a total rarity in RomComs) and the performances by Meryl Streep and John Krasinski.

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Revolutionary Road (2008)

Revolutionary Road is the film adaptation of Richard Yatesnovel of the same title. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet and is directed by Sam Mendes. I haven’t read the novel [yet], but if you’re looking for a comparison between the two, I thought this article very enlightening [includes spoilers].

Plot:
April (Kate Winslet) and Frank Wheeler (Leonardo DiCaprio) are living the Suburban Dream(tm). But both are really unhappy, having imagined a different life for themselves, with great accomplishments. Slowly, they make their lives a living hell for each other until April’s suggestion to move to Paris seems to liberate both.

It’s a wonderful movie from start to finish. Very sad, very interesting and deep [I mean that in the good sense], perfectly acted and set in scene.

revolutionary-road-poster

[SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS]

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