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The Souvenir

Mistery of life
The interesting thing with The Souvenir is that after leaving the cinema I would have scored it with 6 stars only. But, I write my reviews always several days after watching a movie to avoid overemphasizing of the new. Usually the score goes down after few days. I think, this is the first movie it went up. Surely, somebody might say a rating should be of the movie only. But I appreciate what a movie does to me, too. And The Souvenir worked a lot on my soul and in my brain for the last four days, after watching. Why? I am not sure. I guess, because Hogg produced art, how art should be. A mix of beauty, irritation, space for interpretation, moral openness, different views from different angles. Who is the victim, who the culprit? Which way round and a-round? Human experience needs its own victims. A bad guy teaches this girl more than a good guy ever could. Does she know that already at the beginning of the relationship? Does she abuse him? I think, she does, in a way. But how guilty is she, by doing it? How guilty I am myself by abusing people's emotion towards me? Is it possible not to abuse our family and friends? We have only one life. The Souvenir shows our curiosity to break out into life, if we dare. If you decide to go for it - go for the best cinema around with the highest audio quality. Best, go alone. You will need every part of your body to open all your senses. Let yourself not be drawn into lack of interest. It can easily happen and this 8-star movie will perform as a 3-star movie.


Failed portrait of the Poor
The Rich. And the Poor. In this one the poor family is neither fighting for their rights nor are they fighting for their future. They try to go along as the parasites of a rich family. I guess, this script shows perfectly, how a saturated generation X sees the stereotype of poor people in today's times. Nothing to like in this movie. The story is inhuman in every sense.

Motherless Brooklyn

When everythin is well done...
Seen at the Viennale 2019: I have seen John Cusack in Identity (2003) the day before. Somehow the spirit of Motherless Brooklyn is similar. And so I and my partner mistook Norton for Cusack up to the middle of this movie (we have seen this one as surprise movie - which is always fun at the Viennale). The movie itself is very well done. Nothing to critisize. Norton plays fanastic. Baldwin, too. But the story is very conventional. It is not like Birdman (same actors). Good entertainment. But that is already all of it. Would I go to see it in a regular cinema program? I am not sure...

Saturday Fiction

This movie sucked me in.
Seen at the Viennale 2019: A handheld camera cannot get closer to acting people. Always in the face it is near impossible to get a helping overview for the espionage story. Who is for the Chinese, who for the Japanese, who for the Germans, the French, the US? Nearly impossible to understand why somebody is doing something. The b/w-pictures do not help to distinguish between all the unfamiliar faces. Since digital cameras can record even without proper lighting the pictures are not b/w like in the old movies, but grey in grey - that does not help to recognize the faces in every situation either. At the end of the movie it is somehow clear who was on which side. Looking at the picture a second time to understand all the details of the story? Nay.. but the movie is rescued sensationally by a hundred percent believable acting of all the cast. Not for one second there is any weakness in dragging you in. For the regular Cineast a must-see.


A rare jewel of Greek filmmaking
Seen at the Viennale 2019: the Greek National Film Archive lend this fragile 35mm copy to the film festival. It was shown twice to a sold out seating. Cinematography in this b/w movie was excellent. The mix of close-up-to-the-face filming and big panorama pictures of Greek dying nature was perfect. We know that war is no fun. The director knows that we know and therefore does not need and is not willing to celebrate this side of the war. He goes for the senselessness in life (and hints that this might be also true in times of peace...).

Marriage Story

Johannssen and Driver should not have done this movie
Seen at the Viennale 2019: Definitely, I should have fallen for this one. I love the acting of Johannssen and of Driver in all their previous movies. I was aware that it might be easier for Driver to play a character role (and I was right). But Johannssen did not fall short behind to hit the right keys in her emotional outbursts. Sadly, the script did not work out to create an convincing setting for the story about the divorcing of a grownup couple. I did not understand, why the lawyers got such an important part in the story. The static camera work did not help either, and so did not the clean stage setting. Also the television aspect ratio of 16:9 freezes the acting in a narrow space too small for the big screen. Maybe this movie works out in a better way as Netflix stream on Iphones. On the big screen it was disturbingly unsatisfying and a waste of the talents of the great actors Johannssen and Driver.

Frauenarzt Dr. Schäfer

A must-see!
Seen at the Viennale 2019: Prof. Hausen, father of Dr. Schäfer's future fiancé rejects abortion as immoral. In contrast Dr. Schäfer openly advocates for a change in the law. The professors 'convictions are shaken as misfortune enters their own family. Topics such as unwanted pregnancy, sexual violence and the consequences of improperly performed abortions are placed at the center of the cinematic narrative within a surprisingly complex story to get to the point in a very elegant way. The bad guy, Hans Albers is brilliant, but so is the whole cast. If this one is in a cinema around you, definitely a must-see.

The Plagiarists

Too much spare time?
Seen at the Viennale 2019: You're looking for something to sit through? You are single and you are missing the senseless dialogue with a partner to convince yourself that you rather would be alone? You are longing for hours of loveless being? You want some time without any sensual input? And you want to see that in 4:3 videotape format? Maybe also some frozen ground with unconnected off-screen voice? You need a nap? If you tick all questions with yes than do yourself a favor and go for that movie!

Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love

One dimensional story telling
Seen at the Viennale 2019: Luckily, Cohen had such a strong personality. Even a mixed combination of pictures, film snippets and interviews is not too boring. The lengthy documentary tells a novice Cohen fan enough interesting stuff that overall a plus remains by watching this right straight forward told life of Cohen, with the excuse main theme of his eight year relationship with Marianne. At the end you know some new facts about Cohen. But it remains in the fog, what Marianne wanted from life, apart from wanting him as her partner for a conservative relationship that he was never ever to deliver.

A Dog Called Money

Sensible access into Harveys head
Seen at Viennale 2019: An early highlight of the Festival? This rockumentary catches my attention from the begin to the end. The way how thoughtful and intellectual Harvey visits all these places of different lifestyles is really impressive. Before her England record Harvey composed her songs from the inside out. With England she got her impressions from the outside of her own country. And for the next album she went abroad in the world. A very poetic access to countries we know from the newspapers as poor or war zones. Harvey goes to all this places and in every place she finds spirit for the better. Only at Republican Party's in Washington the string of believe in the power of human beings breaks. It is a shocking final in a beautiful movie with beautiful music. And gosh, what a fantastic voice PJ has to work with. She is gifted. And she uses her gift with touching humility. Highly recommended.

Avengers: Infinity War

Should stay closer to the Comic Book story telling
A very good attempt. The Marvel movies of today come closer to the strengths of comic books story telling: complex stories told on many narrative strings summing up to big finals. Digital art of today can provide the means to bring actors in real-live superheros feeling. A lot of this movie is to be liked. But the Marvel team should go back - one more time - to study further the story telling of the comic books. All good drawn stories do not go on with action scenes over pages and pages. That would be to boring and page-wasting for the reader. Action itself is done within very few pictures in comic books. One "wham!" and one "peng!". That's it. Nobody is interested in 10 pages of "wham" and "peng!". The needed action scenes are shortened in comic books (the fantasy of the reader jumps in) and the won comic book frames can be filled with in-between stories of love, hate, relation, politics, kisses, needings and longings of human beings universal told with the over-aggregated means of superheros. So please, reduce the time wasted on action scenes. Stay closer with the tellings of comic books. With each step the Marvel and the DC-teams go closer to the art of the telling in comic books, the better the movies have become. In Infinity War the grandios final would have been still more grandios with a reduction of the battle scenes to an absolute minimum. The first comic-movie that will dare to use an absolute minimum of time for battle scenes will come up with fantastic stories, I am sure.

Thor: Ragnarok

Loosing gravity
Okay. The inspiration was Ragnarok, the old saga of the dying northern gods. Added are some jokes and a different outcome to get a happy end. As a long time comic reader a very disappointing experience. But I guess, for people who have grown up with Star Wars, the Hobbits and King of Thrones this new Thor movie checks all the boxes. A mixed bag of fantasy, science fiction, jokes and action. And inner struggles are shown in a populist easily accessible way. But for movies like this there are no established comic heroes needed. Make such a script for a pure fantasy movie, so I know, I don't have to go for it. Fantasy is a colorful, conservative told tale without any vision. It does not add anything to its characters that may ring a bell in me or gives anything in meaning to my life. Pure entertainment. But from my comic heroes I am used that they mirror my own struggles in life. The uncertainties, the trying of love, the trying of being a good one, all the lost hopes, and the regaining of hope. The longing for being alone, the longing to be together with others. The best comic super hero tales bring me to tears. Give new insight. Let me struggle further in my own life. But this Thor is just fantasy. Boring entertainment. Action happens, and after that another one. And then it's over.

I have seen Justice League the day before. Justice League went wrong. The script did not work out. But at least they tried. The characters (Batman, Superman) did not overcome their own gravity, could not get disconnected from their history in comics. Justice League failed, because the script was torn apart in its aim to get something right. But still, that is the essence of being human, too. To try and to fail. That bound my feeling for the failing of Justice League. That is something. But Thor did nothing with me. Absolutely nothing.

Justice League

Too much action
DC-Superheros are more important than Marvel's. With the creation of Superman and the contradiction that a superior being has no advantage whatsoever, because he is more vulnerable regarding friendships and family than a "normal" human, a mirror of humanity has been created that no other superhero delivers. So I always worry with Superman movies. The comics can deliver the side stories of humanity. The movies can not, because the producers always prefer the action and not the needed affection. The cast could deliver easily - some few scenes show it. But the script does not ask for many. But this movie is a must to see anyway. Every movie that shows Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is a must. She delivers in a magical way - it is unbelievable how fantastic she looks, moves, speaks, inside out, outside in. I wish, a good social competent script for Superman. And a script with the depth of Logan:Wolverine for Wonder Woman.


I had to go and look at that movie by myself...
... after all the hate or love reviews. If you want to go for this picture, I can recommend to read the short review from IMDb-user wasabiteabag from Australia. In his review is a fine summary of all the symbols in the movie and it helps a lot to be aware of symbolism as main carrier of the script. With that in mind it is a must see. I liked very much, how the creation process of "god" went out of control, without holding anything back. The movie grows and grows. Try to be part of the growing during watching.

Battle of the Sexes

Emma Stone and Steve Carell
really shine. It is a pity that Carell and Stone did not play do a movie with a more distinct script. The plot of the Battle is much too thin to take me away. Feminist fight for equal rights is always a bit obscure, if it is connected to people who are already famous and can do what they want, anyway. Make a feminist movie of e.g. a cleaning woman in the 60's and I am sure Emma Stone could make another Oscar performance.

The Shape of Water

Seen at the Viennale 2017: it is good, they chose Sally Hawkins for the main cast. Very well done story telling. It is all a bit too aesthetically. And too predictable. And all feelings are told. There was not much room for my own fantasies. Everything was shown. No space in-between left. If you want to go to the movies for an evening for sheer, perfectly done entertainment - go for it!

Sanpo suru shinryakusha

Slow Motion Sci-Fi
Seen at the Viennale 2017: At the beginning I liked this movie. I like the succinct dialogues that appear to be very often a trademark of Japanese movies. But with ongoing time, I sat in the cinema thinking: come on!, we got it, please show us the next scene. I did not look for the time. But it became a pain. Very often I thought, okay now comes the logical end. But no. Another intermediate dialogue had to be followed. And another one. And another one. At the end I was really exhausted.

Chak daan juen ga

Why did I stay?
Seen at the Viennale 2017: Bad acting, illogical story, no suspension, not even any idea of telling something new. I wanted to rate it with 1 star. Movies without any attempt to give deeper insight into human beings are worthless. On the other hand, I did not leave the cinema. So I give 2.

Thirst Street

Brilliantly played by Lindsay Burdge
Seen at the Viennale 2017: after "Three Billboards..." the best movie at the Viennale (to me). Lindsay Burdge playing a stalking woman in need of love is absolute believable. Having been stalked by a woman for nearly one year in my own past, I can only congratulate the absolute realistic thoughts given to that girl by the script writers Nathan Silver and C. Mason Wells. Both have been at the cinema after the screening and told us that Ms. Burdge herself gave the final edge to her acting. I am a bit sorry that I did not ask for the microphone during the Q&A. Because Nathan Silver expressed more than once his sadness about the passing of the Viennale director (for the past 20 years) Hans Hurch in the Q&A-session. And somehow I had the feeling, one of the audience should answer this, because we all miss Mr. Hurch, who was always around and isn't anymore. A word from the audience itself might have helped all of us... another missed opportunity, sadly.

The Master

Wanted to be something like Citizen Kane...
Seen at the Viennale 2017: the story is not right (to me). The master (played brilliantly by Seymour Hoffman, 10 stars for his acting!) is preaching his philosophy of the character-development of human beings. And his theories go far: happenings in past lifes have effect on today's life of a person. But in the story itself it all collapses down to a simple failed love in the current life of Freddie Quell (completely over-acted by Phoenix - no wonder, he did not get an Oscar). Who ever tried a similar treatment for his own psyche, knows that true problems go so much deeper, than a missed love! Anderson was not able to catch the complexity (and possible beauty) of his subject. And it's really a shame - The Master was filmed onto 70 mm. And the festival here in Vienna showed a 70 mm copy on analog projection. Beautiful pictures and easily understandable spoken words. Overall, a missed opportunity, because of a lousy script.


Daphne is not very special
Seen at the Viennale 2017: Seems to be a new trend. To follow female young women with close-up camera through their daily life's. Has something to do with new camera techniques, I assume. Because faces of people can tell stories of their own, somebody can make easily a "character study" instead of a well told story with interesting characters. I appreciate that such movies are a psychological help for up-growing young girls (I hope they find their way to pictures like this). But for an adult they are quite boring. Daphne is the typical woman, more on the conservative side of thinking. A girl of our day. I can watch character studies of them all around me, without going to the movies...

Jeune femme

Should have used a sweeter cat
Seen at the Viennale 2017: Laetitia Dosch rescued this movie from absolute impassibility. To follow female young women with close-up camera through their daily life is a new trend. I guess, it has something to do with new camera techniques. Because faces of people can tell stories of their own, somebody can make easily a "character study" instead of a well told story with interesting characters. I appreciate that such movies are a psychological help for up-growing young girls (I hope they find their way to pictures like this). But for an adult they are quite boring.

Making Judith!

Not so explicit actresses
Seen at the Viennale 2017: Lemke is famous for collecting daring actors and actresses around him. In the last years foremost Tini-Kristin Bönig and Henning Gronkowski. It is always a pleasure to dream cinematic day dreams by following such a cast through Lemkes fantasies. Sadly, for this movie, similar powerful players are not part of the cast. Judith Paus (leading actress of Making Judith) is beautiful and striking, but not that type of a over-ambitious slag that would justify the need to make a movie with. Anyway, I will go to every future Lemke-movie again and again. Surprise is always waiting around the corner.


Nice parable
Seen at the Viennale 2017: Sisters don't talk much about their real problems, but they understand each other without talking on a deeper emotional level anyway. Julia Ducournau makes a very intelligent horror movie out of this basic bond between brothers and sisters. Not that much horror, but never-the-less a lot of food for thoughts, and therefore entertaining.

Beach Rats

Seen at the Viennale 2017: A guy is really really bored. And we have to watch him on screen. He is gay and takes drugs. And he meets older men. So what? I cannot really believe, that boys like him exist. At least he is gay and is looking for sex. I assume that a young boy who is eager for sex has a vital force in himself, driving him to stupid ideas and encounters. But this boy does not have any urge in him. I guess, in reality he would not even search for sex with such low energy in him. I guess, the real gay boys on that beach are much more filled with energy, what cannot be imagined or shown in an art movie by a director without similar inner needs. Real life is not that lifeless.

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