“I want to be sex-in-the-bathroom people,” could be the working thesis of Slow Learners, the comedy from Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce. Platonic friends Anne (Sarah Burns) and Jeff (Adam Pally) aren’t successful in their personal lives. After many failed attempts at relationships, they decide to wholly change their image.
Sound conventional? Don’t worry, it is.
Continue reading [Quickie]: Slow Learners (2015) Movie Review
Director Jon Watt’s Cop Car opens on two boys (Hays Wellford and James Freedson-Jackson) walking through a field carrying walking sticks as big as their bodies. They alternate reciting swear words; one gleefully energetic and the other dourly reluctant. Both are confident in their juvenile assumptions.
The pair come across a police squad car parked in the woods with no one attending to it. They cautiously approach it as if it is some wild beast, throwing rocks at it and fearfully running up to touch it. Then, they realize that Continue reading Cop Car (2015) Movie Review
In the Hungarian film White God, young Lili’s (Zsofia Psotta) mixed-breed dog Hagen (Body and Luke) is abandoned by her overbearing father (Sandor Zsoter) and left for dead. Now a stray, Hagen wanders the streets fruitlessly searching for his owner, only to find himself among a group of other strays who run about the city avoiding the human world that has rejected them.
Large swathes of the first half of this film show Hagen walking through heavy-trafficked streets, moving in and out of the hands of various dog-hating lowlifes. At times, minutes go by without Continue reading White God (2014) Movie Review
Craig Daniels (Pat Healy) is a mechanic and a family man. At least, he was a mechanic. Then he got fired. On the same day that he received an eviction notice. As he scrubs his grimy hands at the end of his short last day, a closeup reveals the wedding ring on his finger. A finger that is tensely tapping against the sink with the knowledge that its owner has fallen into dire straits.
Enter Vince (Ethan Embry), the sleazy but well meaning high school friend of Craig. Vince is a debt collector. The off-the-books type of debt collector. Then enter Colin (David Koechner), a seemingly well-off stranger who just wants some drinking company on his wife Violet’s (Sara Paxton) birthday. As per the genre’s usual tropes, something seems off about Colin and Violet. Colin is uncharacteristically charismatic and friendly. Violet is uninterested in almost everything.
As the night moves on and the drinks start flowing, Colin starts engaging Craig and Vince in a series of bets. They are innocent bets, but they come with tempting Continue reading Cheap Thrills (2014) Movie Review
Straight Outta Compton is a biopic centering around legendary rap group N.W.A. The film chronicles the rise of artists Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell), and Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) from the unforgiving streets of Compton, California to super stardom as hip-hop pioneers. All the while, bitter racial tensions flood the streets and the nation as the characters encounter multiple run-ins with police and follow the Rodney King trial on television.
Director F. Gary Gray and writers Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff use this biopic as a platform to engage in topical social commentary. The tension in the film between police and African Americans takes Continue reading Straight Outta Compton (2015) Movie Review
Reed Richards (Miles Teller) is a child with a dream: to create a teleportation device and change the world for the better. After his prototype device is disqualified from his high school science fair, scientist Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey) hires him to work on a government funded device of the same ilk for the sake of accessing a nondescript alternate dimension dubbed “Zero.”
From there, Fantastic Four is a haphazard jumble of plot points inserted abruptly with no sense of pacing or flow. The opening sequence with Continue reading Fantastic Four (2015) Movie Review
In The Gift, married couple Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) move back into Simon’s California hometown after the unexpected loss of their unborn child. The first snaking shots of their new house are an immediate sign of their status. Simon is successful at a well-paying job and is on the verge of a promotion. Robyn is happy doing freelance work from home. Seemingly, life in the pair’s little world is picturesque.
Then there’s Gordo (Joel Edgerton). At first, we only see him from a distance, curiously looking in on the couple as they are shopping, just behind Simon’s shoulder. Eventually he approaches Simon, saying that Continue reading The Gift (2015) Movie Review