Fierce fighting scenes and impressive chases with a master of Parkour provide lots of adrenaline-soaked action in “Brick Mansions”, a dystopian thriller about drug gangs and corrupt politicians. Since police wasn’t able to get the gang crimes under control a whole Detroit neighbourhood is closed off. But now this same neighbourhood becomes the place where an undercover cop and an ex-con have to search for a kidnapped young woman…
“A Hans with hot sauce” (“Einmal Hans mit scharfer Soße”) is sort of a German-Turkish “Heimatkomödie” (a funny sentimental film with regional background), reminding me of the classic “Kohlhiesel’s daughters” and revolving around traditional moral concepts: A young Turkish woman is pregnant and has to get married as quickly as possible. Yet according to traditional values, her elder sister needs to be married off first. However, this sister is very particular about her future husband: he has to be a German but one with lots of southern fire. Following the search for this special kind of alleged unicorn the movie presents various popular clichés and folksy and amusing culture-clash situations.
The documentary “Love & Engineering” is asking if flirting, love and relationships might depend, just as computer programs do, on sending the technically correct signals. At least that’s the assumption of a software engineer, who spends two years coaching four young men to “hack” the “female system”. Thus, using the proper sociolect, there’s a discourse about how to competently bypass the targeted woman’s “firewall” when flirting. But even after two years of coaching the unhappy singles are still trying to “outsmart the system” without understanding it or even figuring out their own programming errors…
Apart from the extraordinary way it was filmed – shot over 12 years with the same cast, who is thus growing up and ageing before our eyes – “Boyhood” is a straightforward story about a six year old boy coming of age and becoming an 18 year old young man. From the boy’s subjective perspective the film conveys quietly and full of empathy common big and small (family-)dramas about growing up and parenting, thus creating intimate and touching moments as well as illustrating the emotional journeys of all family members.
Being both a concert film and a pop opera, “Peaches Does Herself” stages the imaginatively exaggerated evolution of pop-icon Peaches’ creative output, transforming it into a total work of art. Thought-provoking impulses, musical and erotic explorations and inspirations are pictured on stage in an extraordinary and glamorous way, thus primarily featuring one thing: a lot of great fun. Aquarian elements like the intellectual digressions into playing with the reversion of gender clichés, queer theory and Foucault are celebrated that way as a fundament for self-empowerment and self-actualization and elate the audience.
Vivian Maier led an inconspicuous and modest life as a nanny with some quirky habits like compulsive collecting of old newspapers. Then, seven years ago, researching Chicago's history a local historian accidentally stumbled upon
undeveloped negatives of her artful photographies that capture street life in the 50ies and 60ies with a particularly precise observing eye and great love for detail. With “Finding Vivian Maier” a documentary emerged about the reclusive photographer with the big artistic talent, who never in her life published any of her perfect pictures...
A light romantic comedy with lots of dancing “Cuban Fury” introduces a pudgy, very self-conscious engineer, who avoids any kind of attention, then falls for his new attractive boss, yet considers her to be way out of his league. That is before he learns about her love for salsa dancing. As a teenager Bruce was a gifted salsa dancer, yet after being bullied and humiliated because of it, he stopped dancing. But now he decides to revive his great talent for salsa. Just as it is understood that there have to be some minor obstacles to overcome, it is self-evident that the couple salsa-dances into their happily-ever-after...
“Violette” is a biographical film about Violette Leduc, a friend of Simone de Beauvoir and a writer, who broke several taboos in her books which were published during the 50ies in France. Not only did she write about perceiving herself as ugly and about her feeling of ostracism that is also expressed in one of her novels’ title: “The Bastard”. Even more scandalous were her bold and uninhibited words about her sexual desire and erotic experience, about her abortion and her love for women… The poignancy of her feelings and the intensity of her emotional reactions made her seem like a contaminant in the (Libra- and Aquarius-like) intellectual circles of artistic avant-garde.
Also in France during the 50ies a popular series of historical novels was published, which revolve around the valiant and strong-willed “Angelique” and have now been remade into a sumptuous movie. Set against the luxurious backdrop of French absolutism under Louis XIV, the historical adventure film tells the story of a young woman, married off against her will to a much older man, whom she begins to love, despite her initial resentment, because of his generosity, his wisdom and his open-mindedness. When due to a malicious scheme he is threatened to be burnt at the stake as a heretic, Angelique has to fight not only for her love but also for truth and honour…
A man in his car driving through the night and talking on the phone – this is the minimalist plotline we are offered in “Locke”. The disciplined and reliable construction manager and family man leaves his work regardless of a very important duty and triggers a marriage crisis in order to uncompromisingly take full responsibility for an earlier misstep. Over the phone and in a very restrained and level-headed manner he faces up to all the troubles he caused and strives to limit the damage…
Aquarian elements such as parody, dissociation by directly addressing the audience, self-mockery and bizarre humour are utilized in “Me, Myself and Mum” to narrate the story of a boy, who appears to be out of the ordinary in many ways. It is mainly Guillaume’s strong bond with his mother, who after having two sons wanted a daughter, which makes him wish he was a girl and act accordingly. After many troubles, misunderstandings and years he has a late and quite special coming-out that is a surprise for everyone… The movie showcases gender clichés and plays on their effects with sometimes slightly unsophisticated jokes.
“The Fault in Our Stars” narrates the touching love story of the two teenagers Hazel and Gus, both suffering from cancer, and it does so without being too melodramatic. There’s more to this tale than a mawkish teenage-romance about star-crossed lovers. Questions about how to deal with weakness, pain and powerlessness during a period of life that usually represents the opposite of all that are put into focus and the suffering amidst disease and death is replaced by an infectious, surprisingly unchained and natural devotion to life itself…
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.