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Angela at work

Kimi

When did Zoë Kravitz get so good? In Kimi she’s not only the star of the film but almost the only person in it, and she has a grip like a tractor beam on the attention. It helps that she’s beautiful, of course, but there’s more going on here than that. She plays Angela, a … Read more
Bruno, Vera and Jo hug

Don’t Follow Me Around

Don’t Follow Me Around (Komm mir nicht nach) is the second of the Dreileben trilogy set in a quaint old German town in the heavily forested state of Thuringia. Goethe, Schiller and Johann Sebastian Bach are all associated with the area, though nowadays it’s got more of a name for what doesn’t happen there rather … Read more
Russ in the crawlspace

Bad Bones

Bad Bones has good bones. Which is handy because microbudget movies have hurdles to get over, and a good story really helps. No prizes for guessing it’s a horror movie, what with a title like that. It’s also director/writer Stephen Eggleston’s feature debut and he teases to deceive in the opening setups – a pre-credits … Read more
Katrin and Nike drink wine

Summer in Berlin

One of the big films of 2006 in Germany, Summer in Berlin (Sommer vorm Balkon) caused barely a ripple anywhere else. Which is a pity, because it’s a great example of a precisely acted, brilliantly crafted film telling a good story without histrionics. In a world dominated by superhereos, subtlety sometimes struggles to get a … Read more
A gunman menaces Pete

All My Friends Hate Me

Psychological horror is delivered in an unusually pure form in All My Friends Hate Me, a British movie saving its best moves for its closing moments, when it shifts tone three, four, maybe five times. It repurposes the plot and some of the mood of The Wicker Man – a guy bumbling around in a situation … Read more
Johannes is smitten with Ana

Beats Being Dead

The story behind Beats Being Dead (Etwas Besseres als den Tod) is an unusual one. Three hot German film directors belonging to what’s often loosely termed the Berlin School were corresponding together about the upcoming 40th anniversary of the DFFB (Berlin’s film and TV academy), and generally bemoaning the state of German cinema – what … Read more
Patty and Simon

Dinner in America

Dinner in America starts raucously, in shock joke territory, and ends up as a tender love story. In scene one a zonked-out woman taking part in a drugs trial is motioning lasciviously towards a fellow trial member – he’s spraying puke across the formica by the way – in a clear “fuck me” invitation by fingering … Read more
Rebecca and Marco on a bed

Winter Sleepers

In 1997’s Winter Sleepers (Winterschläfer) German director Tom Tykwer warms up the engines for his breakthrough hit, 1998’s Run Lola Run. There are fewer tricks here, not as much visual pizzazz, the fourth wall remains unbroken, and yet Tykwer is clearly up to something as he spins out a tale of two different couples, one … Read more
Zombies smiling

The Sadness

Rob Jabbaz’s feature debut, the Taiwan-set movie The Sadness, revives two genres. Welcome back the zombie movie, which has been having an afternoon nap since Train to Busan persuaded more or less everyone that there was no point trying to top it. And the torture porn/gorno movie, which has been absent without leave for a … Read more
Floyd, Walter and Ricco play football

Gigantic

Gigantic is a German film from 1999 about three Hamburg lads – 20somethings – who inhabit the back end of the cultural landscape. McJobbers and party animals, they’re so-so at everything, at best, terrible at some things, but one thing they do have is enthusiasm for life. It makes for largely unsuccessful lives, but fascinating, … Read more
Catwoman and Batman

The Batman

The Batman. Let’s get the plot out of the way first, since it’s the most straightforward aspect of the latest bulletin from Gotham City. A caped crusader, a trio of villains in the shape of Paul Dano’s Riddler, Colin Farrell’s Penguin and John Turturro’s Carmine Falcone, a campaign of murder being waged against city officials. … Read more
Petra and Franziska

The Sex Thief

The Sex Thief is an attention-grabbing title for a film. It’s called the more cumbersome Die Beischlafdiebin in the original German. Run that compound noun through Google Translate and you’ll find no mention of sex at all. No mention, either – unless AI is more advanced than any of us can imagine – of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, … Read more

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