Is it possible to make a suspenseful action-movie about a factual event, even when the outcome is very well known? The true story of “Captain Phillips”, whose cargo-ship was hijacked in 2009 by Somali pirates, has been adapted for the big screen and it shows a truly forceful battle for survival that is going on in various layers and fought with all conceivable means.
Set in the Indian metropolis Mumbai, “The Lunchbox” is a feel-good-movie that caters to the audience’s senses just as well as it does to the protagonists’: A neglected wife makes an effort to regain her husband’s attention and affection by cooking delicious meals for him. But by mistake the lunchbox with her lovingly prepared and spicy dishes keeps getting delivered to the desk of a lonely widower, who appreciates her delicate food a lot more than the careless husband…
“Venus in Fur” is combining amazingly entertaining and witty dialogue with astute psychological insight into power relations and manipulation (a rather unusual combination of Gemini and Scorpio). The amusing battle of words puts strong emphasize on Gemini-quality as it is taking place between an actress, auditioning to embody Vanda in the play mentioned in the movie’s title, and the director, who finds himself increasingly compelled to explain his play, gradually deconstructing it thereby.
An introverted fourteen-year-old avoids an unwanted school trip and dodges his overprotective mother by holing up in the basement of his father’s house, where he encounters his heroin addicted half sister and has to find an arrangement with her for the week of his stay. In “Me and You” Bertolucci entwined some of his favourite motifs like escapism, private yearnings, incestuous love among siblings into a coming-of-age story, the intended poetry of which might be close to corny in some parts.
The comedy ”Don Jon“ introduces a self-involved porn-addicted macho and shows us how, by detour via a relationship with an equally egotistical princess-type, who is obsessed with romance, this guy realizes that sex can be more than a mere ego booster. Only through friendship with an older fellow student he eventually even starts an affair with, “Don Jon” experiences acceptance for his behaviour and personal life style (including his love for porn) and finds a way to authenticity, actual self-love and creative intimacy.
”Computer Chess“ at first glance appears like a documentary about the beginnings of the home computer era, yet it turns out a highly detailed independent comedy about a computer chess tournament set in the 80ies. Bespectacled and brainy nerds pondering the growth of algorithmic decision-trees and storage capacities happen to meet a group of some late new-age hippies staying at the same hotel – which leads to some additional funny encounters on the Virgo-Pisces-axis.
Based on a novel by Doris Lessing, “Adore” is a beautifully and elegantly visualized story about mothers and sons. A quartet of two middle-aged women who have been friends since childhood and their adolescent sons settle in a tangle of friendship, love and eventually sexual desire, where every single character is endangering the fragile balance as soon as they provoke the slightest change in their mutual relationships…
“You’re Next“ is a brutal shocker: In a pretty familiar manner and by murderous attacks, carried out by masked killers, a family, coming together for a celebration in the typically remote country cottage, is decimated one by one. This is another worthy and chilling example for the subgenre of home invasion movies, which is massively attacking the feeling of safety in one’s own home, adding some ugly family secrets in this case...
Two big shots in literature and film art, Cormac McCarthy and Ridley Scott, raised great expectations with “The Counselor”, a film about big business and big drug cartels, about megalomania and the big greed for more and more wealth. With a great cast this anti-thriller stages the quick rise and fall of a counsellor, who has greatly fallen in love with a woman he wants to offer a great and luxurious lifestyle to. Therefore, even though being cautioned, he engages with enormous arrogance in doing business with one of the biggest drug cartels. The movie indulges in more or less philosophical dialogue and, of course, grand images…
“The Notebook” (based on Agota Kristof’s excellent eponymous novel) is about a pair of twins, who during World War Two are moved from Budapest to the countryside, where a demanding and ill-tempered grandmother leads a meagre life and makes the young boys work hard. The new environment is hostile and their lives are fraught with insults, physical abuse and destitution, there’s no room for emotion or vulnerability. Thus, in order to survive, the boys decide to discipline each other, to harden themselves against every kind of pain and to write down their experiences in curt and factual words in one big booklet.
A very inventive, rather eccentric and post-modernist new interpretation of a fairy tale is offered by the Spanish film “Blancanieves – Snow White“: Set in the world of bullfighting, arenas and travelling freak shows in a Spain that feels strangely out of time, the traditional story of Snow White is narrated in the black-and-white style of silent films and defamiliarised in an artful and sophisticated manner…
“Nothing Bad Can Happen” is a passion narrative. The young “Jesus freak” Tore is lonely and suffers from epilepsy; the only thing keeping him grounded is his faith. His encounter with family man Benno, whom Tore apparently by praying helps with a broken car, seems to him as a sign of God and he accepts Bennos invitation to stay with him and his family. Giving the film a Scorpionic touch, Benno proves to be a sadistic bully, who by Tores christian humility and meekness feels provoked to abuse him just as he already is abusing and mistreating his teenage daughter. Nevertheless the picture is for the most part infused with Tores believing martyrdom, an utterly Piscean quality.
The Cinemascope is meant to give an overview of current movies and their main themes from an astrosemiotical perspective (i.e.: regarding film as semiotic system and translating it into the astrological semiotic system). A well made movie not only has a story and a certain theme, it also provides a special atmosphere, a certain feeling and it draws us into its very own world. This basic quality that is contrived through characters, plot, setting and many other components also translates into one or more astrological principles. Quite simply: a fast-paced action-flick confronts us with plain Aries energy, a horror-movie evokes Scorpio-like abysmal depths and fears etc. We step out of the theatre and – if the film succeeded in sucking us in – find ourselves dwelling on and engaging in that special energetic quality.