Friday, August 28, 2015

No Escape

My View: No Escape (2015)  R  An American couple (Owen Wilson, Lake Bell) and their kids are caught in the middle of a coup in a Southeast Asian country. Now they must get from their hotel to the American Embassy, running from a crowd hell-bent on executing every foreigner they find.   I liked Wilson as an every-man action hero, and while Bell isn’t asked to do much other than needing to be rescued, she is extremely likable on the screen. But, this film is filled with rampant xenophobia, an unknown country  filled with horrible people determined to rape or kill every foreigner. There are some action sequences that are so outrageous that at, my screening, most of the audience laughed. And, the two daughters (Sterling Jerins, Claire Geare) are so annoying that you almost wish that, at some point, the parents could leave them behind. This is a strange and messy film that isn’t enjoyable to watch and misses the mark by so much that it makes Vietnam (yes, that Vietnam) the hero of the film.    My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   No Escape Facebook Page
Indiefest: Mistress America (2015)  R   Tracy (Lola Kirkel), a college freshman, is not ready for her stepsister Brooke (Greta Gerwig), who is going to turn Tracy’s life upside down. Brooke is a whirlwind of non-stop ideas and talk. I loved this film, co-written by its star, Greta Gerwig. Gerwig plays Brooke, a 30-something girl who lives in a small apartment in Times Square. She is a woman of a million ideas and tells you them in a very rapid stream of conversation. Lola Kirkel plays a slightly shy, reserved college student trying to figure out a way to fit in while trying to become a short story, writer. Kirkel beautifully plays Lola and is able to take some of the spotlight from Gerwig with a winning, quirky performance. The dialogue is fast-paced and witty, and the storyline gets better as the complicated plot moves along. This film should make Gerwig a star and put Kirkel on every casting director’s radar. If you like smart, funny comedies that have rich, well rounded characters, this film is for you.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Mistress America Website
My View: We Are Your Friends (2014)  R   Cole (Zac Efron) is a struggling DJ with dreams of becoming a record producer. He meets DJ James (Wes Bentley) who takes an interest in Cole and helps him learn the business. When Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski), James’ girlfriend, starts dating Cole, Cole has to choose between love and business.  The only reason to see this mess of a film is to participate in the drinking game: “Take a shot when Zac takes off his shirt” (I lost count at 10). This film is predictable from the start with characters who do things with no other reason than just so that the plot can move along. We are supposed to like Cole, but he sleeps with his mentor’s girlfriend, takes serious amounts of drugs and abandons his friends when he gets better gigs. Sophie, played by Emily Ratajkowski, is equally shallow, turning down liquor several times, making a big deal about it, but then takes drugs at a moment’s notice. The dialogue is laughable with such lines as, “You’re not a real person until you’re 27.” My head was hurting after seeing this movie, not from the loud electronic dance music, but from the awful storyline and horrible dialogue.    My Rating: Cable     We Are Your Friends Website
Indiefest: Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet  (2015)  PG   Mustafa (Liam Neeson) is a poet whose works has been banned, and he has been a prisoner for seven years because the authorities believe his words will incite rebellion. He is given a chance to go back home, but that means he will have to leave his love Kamila (Salma Hayek) and her daughter Elmira (Quvenzhane Wallis). Will he choose to stay in prison for love or go home? This is a beautiful film that doesn’t quite fit together. It takes the poems of Kahlil Gibran and animates them, all by different artists using a vast array of mediums. The problem is the story, itself, about Mustafa, Kamila and Elmira is rather simple and has an almost cartoony feel to it. It makes the transitions between the storyline and the poems seem jarring, which makes the film seem at war with itself. I think kids will be bored when the poem sections come on, and adults will be bored by the Mustafa storyline.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Prophet Website
Indiefest: Digging for Fire (2015) R   A married couple (Jake Johnson, Rosemarie DeWitt) decide to spend the weekend apart. What could go wrong? Director Joe Swanberg, who co-wrote the script with leading man Johnson, brings us a tale of a modern couple who are struggling to keep their identities separate from their marriage. Both characters feel as if they have lost themselves by becoming a couple, especially after the birth of their son. Their lives have become meshed together, and both wonder if there will ever be a point when they feel like their old selves again. I like this film, but I wanted to love it. I think one of the problems with this film is that the cast is so big. There are certain characters whom we barely see, much less get to know. I enjoyed the performances of Johnson, and especially DeWitt, who makes her character seem conflicted and real. Sam Rockwell as the “fly in the ointment” friend is brilliant as the guy who loves to stir up trouble. It’s an interesting, light film that, while the plot is rather superficial, it does explore the cracks in a couple’s relationship. We get to see if those cracks become mended or if those cracks become massive fissures that a marriage ultimately can’t survive.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Digging for Fire Website
Forgotten Film: K-PAX (2001) Prot (Kevin Spacey) is patient at a mental hospital. Prot claims that he is from a faraway planet called K-PAX. As his psychiatrist (Jeff Bridges) tries to help him, the mystery of Prot grows deeper, and the psychiatrist begins thinking that just maybe his patient might not be crazy. While the cast in this film is excellent, it’s Kevin Spacey who makes this film so gripping to watch. He makes you hope and possibly believe that Prot is from another planet. This is a fascinating film with an ending that will have you thinking about this movie for days.    My Rating: Full Price   K-PAX Info

Weird Credit: From Digging for Fire: Food Stylist

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Everest (2015)  PG-13   I have recently seen several documentaries about climbing. It will be interesting to see how Hollywood shows the sport. The film stars Elizabeth Debicki, Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright, Josh Brolin and Emily Watson.   Everest Website  
Until Next Time!

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