Wiener Dog

This review was originally written for Blueprint: Review.

Todd Solondz is almost the dictionary definition of an acquired taste when it comes to film. For most directors, subjects like rape, dead parents, domestic terrorism and a lifetime of remorse wouldn’t necessarily inspire a comedy, yet they’re all par for the course with Solondz in this darkly comic anthology following the various owners of an ambivalent female dachshund.
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Steve Jobs

During the preparations leading up to the public unveiling of three products – the Mackintosh in 1984, NeXT Computer in 1988 and iMac in 1998 – business “composer” Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) deals with the same handful of people and problems, including his friend and marketing associate Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), co-Apple-founder Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen), engineer Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg), Apple CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) and Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterstone), Steve’s ex-girlfriend and the mother of his potential daughter Lisa.
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Men & Chicken

This review was originally written for Blueprint: Review.

Brothers Gabriel and Elias (David Dencik & Mads Mikkelsen) discover they were adopted after their apparent father passes away. Elias’ mother died in childbirth, and the fate of Gabriel’s is left unclear, so the pair set out to discover their biological parentage. Their quest takes them to the small island of Ork, a place with barely 40 inhabitants, and a dilapidated house believed to be the home of their father. Upon their arrival, Elias and Gabriel face another shock when they meet their three other half-brothers, aggressive but protective Franz (Søren Malling), gluttonous Josef (Nicolas Bro) and simple Gregor (Nikolaj Lie Kaas). The brothers live in a state of disarray and constant fighting, which Elias fits right into, but Gabriel attempts to reform it, all while persisting to find his father and uncover the secrets of his mysterious basement.
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Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is a put-upon movie producer for Capitol Pictures in 1951. Over the course of one 27-hour period he must deal with rival gossip columnist twins Thora and Thessaly Thacker (Tilda Swinton), a rising western star (Alden Ehrenreich) being reimagined as a dramatic actor, much to the chagrin of his new director (Ralph Fiennes), the unexpected pregnancy of a swimming starlet (Scarlett Johansson), offers for Mannix himself to change to a high powered position in another company, as well as the supposed kidnapping of major star Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) by a Communist cell calling themselves “The Future” and the fall-out from Whitlock’s disappearance, which is delaying the production of a lavish epic.
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Triple 9

After a crew of thieves – including two corrupt cops – partially botch the robbery of a bank’s safety deposit box for Russian gangsters, the team are given another chance and their fee is withheld until she successfully steal more information, key to the release of the gang’s boss. The only way to pull off the heist is to distract all the local cops long enough for a decent window of time, and the corrupt officers Marcus (Anthony Mackie) and Franco (Clifton Collins Jr.) believe the best way to do this is to pull a “Triple 9”, to kill a cop. And they think they’ve got the perfect target in Marcus’ new greenhorn partner Chris (Casey Affleck), the nephew of prominent Detective Sergeant Jeffrey Allen (Woody Harrelson). Meanwhile, the thieves’ leader Michael (Chiwetel Ejiofor) receives grief from the Russian boss’ wife Irina (Kate Winslet), whose sister (Gal Gadot) is the mother of Michael’s son. The rest of Michael’s team is comprised of Russell (Norman Reedus) and his younger, unstable brother Gabe (Aaron Paul).
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Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn, 1957. British-Russian Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) is arrested and charged with being a Soviet spy. In order for him to receive a fair trial he is assigned a defence lawyer in the form of James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks). Donovan has no choice but to accept the case, despite it being a guaranteed lose for him – the judge already calls Abel “The Russian” and has no qualms with admitting he has decided Abel is a spy before the case has even begun – and the case also puts a strain on Donovan’s personal life, with his family being attacked and Donovan being shunned in public. Even the police who respond to the call from the attack threaten to fight Donovan, yet he continues and pursues the case even deeper. After the case is over, American pilot Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell) is shot down using a secret spy plane, photographing key areas of the Soviet Union. When Powers is imprisoned within the USSR, Donovan is once again called upon to resolve the situation.
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Room

This review was originally written for Blueprint: Review.

Today is Jack’s birthday, he is five years old. To him, the whole world is Room, an 11×11 foot enclosure outside of which he has never been. He lives with his mother, Ma, plays with Egg Snake under Bed, eats with Meltedy Spoon and sometimes, when Old Nick visits, Jack has to sleep in Wardrobe, counting the groans before Old Nick falls asleep. The stuff on TV is all fantasy, things that don’t exist in real life. Jack’s world ends at the walls, the floor, the ceiling, the skylight and the heavy metal door, locked with a keypad combination. Beyond that, there is nothing.
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