Hitting the Big Screen Sept 20 – Sept 26
Directed by: Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Rating: 2 out of 5
Release date: Sept 20, 2013
David, A cocky young grad student, flees Yale after graduating to head west. He strikes out for Oregon and a summer of picking apples. because he wants to have some new experiences before he enters the real world. What he doesn’t anticipate is, well, everything that ends up happening. Welcome to adult life Dave! Jonathon Groff (GLEE) plays David and C.O.G. is definitely his story yet as the movie progresses we begin to realize that he’s not a terribly sympathetic character, he’s his own worst enemy with his good intentions. The movie plays out as a bizarre set of episodes that David experiences after he arrives at the apple farm. He planned the trip with his girlfriend as something they could do together for the summer. She dumps him for some dude she found on the internet leaving David alone. He awkwardly tries to befriend the Mexican immigrants he works with in the orchard, to some success. He gets promoted to an apple factory where he awkwardly attempts to befriend the working class women, to very little success. At the factory he meets a dude who drives the fork-lift who seems very interested in him. This friendship quickly dissolves as David is freaked out by the lecherous gay man yet he sure seemed to enjoying getting hit on by him. Next David runs into some small town weirdos and a religious con man who leeches off a nice Christian family. Unfortunately the movie’s absurd plot is neither very funny or weird enough to be very interesting. For the most part it’s flat out patronizing to almost everyone involved, especially David who may or may not be gay. That is not really explored. The movie is based off an essay by the famous NPR commenter and essayist David Sedaris, which if you are a fan of his work than maybe you will enjoy this. For those who don’t find Sedaris their bag? Then your on your own in deciding how much you enjoy watching a fish-out-of-water story. It plays at the SIE Film Center.
A Single Shot
Directed by: David M. Rosenthal
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5
Release date: Sept 20, 2013
The accidental shooting of a young girl sets off a deadly cat-n-mouse game in A Single Shot. John Moon (Sam Rockwell) is the shooter who plays it all wrong after mistaking the girl for a deer he wanted to poach. You see John’s been living a country song – lost his job, his wife, his kid and now he’s done killed a person. He’s fallen on hard times, real hard. When he finds a bunch of money in the girl’s campsite he foolishly takes it, oblivious to who’s money is it. The first of several wrong choice John makes. He tries to give his estranged wife a few grand but even she’s smarter than him and wants to know where he got it. Enter several methed-out looking dirt-bags and the hunt is on. It’s a real small, rural town, there’s not many places for him to hide. John has to defend himself while trying to make sure his wife & son stay safe too. The movie’s dark, bleak atmosphere is similar to Jennifer Lawrence’s break-out hit Winter’s Bone from 2010. Unfortunately, A Single Shot doesn’t have near the story or acting performances of that gem. William H. Macy plays a smarmy, small-town lawyer who sadly gets too little screen time while Jeffrey Wright gets way too much time as John’s drunken, mumbling frenemy. There’s a whole other sub-plot involving John’s family’s lost farm that never really adds to anything more than the running time. The movie has some flashes of interest while building enough suspense to keep you engaged. Rockwell makes the most of his leading role which is a change of pace from his typically frenetic roles, such as his character in Seven Psychopaths. It also plays at the SIE Film Center.
In A World…
Directed by: Lake Bell
Rating: 4 out of 5
Release date: Aug 26, 2013
It took me a few weeks to finally see In A World… but it was worth the wait. The movie is hilarious and heartwarming without being treacly or cliched. It’s easily one of the funniest movies of the year, right up there with the likes of Frances Ha & The Heat. Lake Bell wrote, directed and starred in the movie which features an all-star cast of comedic actors like Demetri Martin, Tig Notaro, Rob Corddry, Fred Melamed, Ken Marino, Nick Offerman and many more. The movie manages to build it’s unique, singular world of voice-over artists and vocal coaches, not the traditional look at Hollywood focusing on actors and directors. Bell plays Carol, the daughter of a Sam Sotto, a reigning titan in the voice-over field. She desperately wants to enter the world of voice-over work to leave behind her day job as a vocal coach to movie starts like Eva Longoria. Knowing that a female has never ascended to the top seems daunting. Carol charges on with the help of her friends, especially Louis (Demetri Martin) who has a crush on her. The movie is loaded with hilarious awkwardness but not of the mean, crass variety of Curb Your Enthusiasm. It’s more simpatico with Flight of the Conchords or a Wes Anderson movie if it was set in the present day. It’s also a real treat to see Carol’s 90’s wardrobe of baggy clothes and jean overalls and musical references to the Cranberries. In a World… is one of those rare movies that left me wanting more when the credits rolled. It’s been playing out at the Chez Artiste for several weeks now, so head on out there this weekend to see it. This movie should be playing on thousand screens all across the country.
Other Movies Opening
Prisoners – the Hugh Jackman/Jake Gyllenhaal child abduction thriller got great reviews at the Toronto Film Festival stoking the buzz for this one. From all accounts it sounds like a real intense movie that I know I want to see this weekend.
Battle of the Year 3D – it’s a movie about b-boy break dancing in 3D and starring Sawyer (Josh Holloway) from LOST. Enough said.
Populaire – French movie set in the 50’s revolving around typing competitions. Not your average subject matter. It stars talented Romain Duris and Deborah Francois.
Salinger – the widely maligned documentary on the super-reclusive author J.D. Salinger, best know for writing The Catcher in the Rye and then shortly disappearing from the public’s eye forever. Advance word has not been kind but everyone’s favorite movie head Harvey Weisntein has added some scenes and is doing a full-court press to spin the bad P.R.