On the latest episode of CinemAddicts we cover the films we’re looking forward to in the month of November. Topping that list is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri which is opening in limited release November 17. The flick, which is getting a ton of critical praise, will surely net another Oscar nomination for Frances McDormand who plays a mother who is trying to find justice for her daughter’s murder.
Several films are also reviewed in the podcast, as I discuss the upcoming films My Friend Dahmer, Sweet Virginia, and Blade of the Immortal. Ross Lynch gives one of this year’s best performances as the young Jeffrey Dahmer, and this Disney and music star proves he can take on challenging dramatic material (the house featured in the film is Dahmer’s actual childhood home). Opening November 17, Sweet Virginia is a first rate, Alaskan set thriller starring Jon Bernthal and Christopher Abbott. Blade of the Immortal, like My Friend Dahmer, opens November 3 and is director Takashi Miike’s latest samurai masterpiece.
Check out the latest episode of CinemAddicts below:
October is upon us and the most highly anticipated film of the month is Blade Runner 2049. Already receiving stellar reviews, Blade Runner 2049 may be one of the rare movies that improves upon the iconic original. Directed by Arrival and Sicario filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, the feature marks the return of former LAPD blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford). Ryan Gosling is simply known as K, the officer who’s searching for Deckard. Blade Runner 2049 opens nationwide October 6.
Critics darling Todd Haynes (Carol, Far from Heaven) is back with Wonderstruck, a storyline that follows the journey of two children living in different time periods. Julianne Moore, who previously worked with Haynes in Far From Heaven and Safe, reunites with Haynes in the feature that’s adapted by Brian Selznick’s book. Wonderstruck opens in limited release October 20.
Better Watch Out, the Harry Dean Stanton headlined Lucky, and Una (which features Carol actress Rooney Mara) are also covered on the latest episode of CinemAddicts. Take a listen below and feel free to comment!
How did we get here? Life can fly by in a flash, and that old adage about it being a race just brings up the idea that when viewed that way, there may be a competitive streak in all of us hoping to “win.” That’s the case for Brad Sloane (Ben Stiller), an angst-filled father whose doubts about his life’s path are only exacerbated by a trip to the East Coast with his son Troy (Austin Abrams) to visit colleges in Brad’s Status.
This pending milestone is leading Brad to sleepless nights wondering if his middle class life in Sacramento that he’s dedicated to starting a non-profit has been enough. Writer/director Mike White, who also makes a cameo in the film, also hits on an all too prominent theme in this social media age, watching Brad measure his life against those of his seemingly more successful college friends who have grown apart, at least from Brad, in their adulthood. Among them are a smug White House staffer turned author (Michael Sheen), a family man hedge fund king (Luke Wilson), a tech maven who retired early (Jemaine Clement) and a Hollywood director (White).
Simply put, Brad is worried he’s not keeping up with the Joneses, wondering how his life would have turned out if he had sold out, if he hadn’t fallen for his wife’s (Jenna Fischer) idealism and had ended up with someone who pushed him more and even questioning if his life would have turned out different with a more prestigious school. All these notions get put to the test over this visit to colleges with his son, as he begins to see that his son might have a chance to even eclipse his own dreams, something that both makes him proud but also threatens him a bit at the same time.
Luckily for Brad, this trip turns out to be exactly what was needed to help set him straight. A meeting with one of Troy’s former classmates at Harvard reminds Brad of his youthful idealism and he sparks a connection with the striking college student (Shazi Raja) who sets him straight after he unloads his life’s doubts. Meanwhile, a scheduling snafu with Troy’s Harvard interview forces Brad to reach out to his estranged friends leading to realizations about his own life and those of others as well as a confrontation that was a long time coming. And, through this bit of catharsis, he’s able to stop competing and rediscover the joy in his life, while embracing this special moment in time with his son as well.
Brad’s Status? It’s complicated. It’s messy. It’s a bit neurotic and self-absorbed. But it is a work in progress that writer/director White fills with understated humor and compassion.
As evidenced by her resonant drama Fill The Void, writer/director Rama Burshtein knows how to craft first rate storytelling with an impending marriage as its backdrop. With The Wedding Plan we follow the misadventures of Michal (a standout performance from Noa Koler), a strong minded and stubborn woman who is determined to get married within 30 days even if a groom doesn’t show up!
Michal’s insistence that a marriage will take place is rooted in her religious faith (she’s an Orthodox Jew) that God will provide her a husband and ease her loneliness. Though her love for God is commendable, her goal of getting hitched even after her fiance (Erez Drigues) admits he’s not in love is a bit unrealistic. As evidenced by her career (she owns a mobile petting zoo), Michal is a refreshingly independent thinker, and she goes on a series of blind dates to find her Mr. Right. Oz Zehavi plays a pop star who unexpectedly enters Michal’s life during her dilemma and Amos Tamam is the owner of the wedding banquet who helps Michal the hopeful celebration.
Along with Koler’s winning work as the unpredictable and candid Michal, The Wedding Plan is also powered by an excellent screenplay from Burshtein Even though it’s a romantic comedy, the film doesn’t go for cheap laughs or devolve into a saccharine mess. Burshtein finds light and a bit of darkness in every day situations, and it’s the dialogue that Koler has with her family and these individually distinct suitors that makes The Wedding Plan a feature that’s worth a look.
Now out on DVD via Lionsgate, The Wedding Plan’s special features include a photo gallery. My only complaint is that a Burshtein audio commentary or a featurette would have been welcome, especially since The Wedding Plan is simply a wonderful film.
On the latest episode of CinemAddicts we preview the September releases Mother!, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, It, and American Assassin.
One smaller scale feature that’s worth a look is Rebel in the Rye, a biopic on Catcher in the Rye author J.D. Salinger (NicholasHoult). Kevin Spacey is Whit Burnett, the writing teacher who had a huge influence on Salinger’s life and ZoeyDeutch plays Salinger’s girlfriend Oona O’Neil (she would later marry Charlie Chaplin).
Directed by Danny Strong, Rebel in the Rye is based on the 2011 biography J.D. Salinger: A Life and it’s powered by a first rate performance by Hoult as the reclusive scribe. Strong has a ton of events (Salinger’s college life, Oona romance, WWII years) to fit into a 106 minute running time and he does it seamlessly. Fans of Salinger’s work looking for a bit more insight into the writer, or movie buffs who love narratives centered on the art of writing (the Salinger and Burnett relationship is the film’s strongest aspect) should definitely check out Rebel in the Rye.
Rebel In The Rye opens in select theaters September 8 via IFC Films. Check out this month’s episode of CinemAddicts and feel free to comment below!
As far as hockey movies go, it will be hard to top 2011’s Goon (unless you throw Slap Shot into the mix). Director Jay Baruchel, who co-wrote and starred in the original, takes on the challenging task of ensuring the franchise doesn’t have a sophomore slum with Goon: Last of the Enforcers. Thankfully, he succeeds with flying colors.
Team first and fearless “goon” Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) is back, and during the story’s first act he’s named team captain. Doug’s joy is short-lived after a bloody confrontation with hockey terror Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell) leads to his temporary retirement. With his wife Eva (Alison Pill) expecting their first baby, Doug lands a dead end desk job to pay the bills.
When Anders joins The Highlanders, Doug’s team goes on a losing streak mainly thanks to Anders’ divisive and violent nature. With The Highlanders at their lowest ebb, Doug may have a shot to rejoin the squad once he gets back into playing shape. Helping Doug get back into hockey fighting shape is his old nemesis Ross Rhea (Liev Schreiber). Baruchel also returns as our protagonist’s vulgar best buddy Pat, with Elisha Cuthbert starring as Eva’s crass but lovable BFF Mary.
Goon: Last of the Enforcers predictably doesn’t take any of the proceedings any seriously, and Baruchel unabashedly puts a ton of sport movie tropes into his narrative. Everyone looks like they’re having a great time, and once again Sean William Scottis winning as the ultimately kindhearted enforcer.
The ensemble of Goon: Last of the Enforcers have the best comedic moments in the film, and a big part of the comedy’s success lies in letting the supporting cast have their respective moments in the sun (T.J. Miller nearly steals the show as an obnoxious sportscaster).
Goon: Last of the Enforcers opens in theaters and Digital HD September 1st, and if you’re looking for a winning comedy with a ton of laughs and a bit of heart (not to mention a plethora of fisticuffs), then this movie should be right up your alley.