And…well, it’s still hot out there and the cinemas are lessening their steady flow of celluloid love and the last vestiges of summer are also pronouncing the slower stream of tourists. Say no more, Lucas for alas, once you were but a mere holidaymaker in Barcelona, as well.
I will start by saying how nice it is to see Daniel Radcliffe outside of his wizarding world. This weekend, Daniel has his latest film opening, only his second or third major outing since the last Harry Potter vehicle a few years back. This one is called The F Word (What If?) or Amigos de Mas here in Spain. It tells the story of Wallace, a complex if sincere fellow, who is down on his luck after dropping out of med school. He lives with his sister and her family working a thankless job and quietly in a constant state of melancholia after a bad breakup. Enter stage left a gal named Chantry (played effortlessly by the stellar Zoe Kazan) at a party he was dragged to and sparks start to flicker…until he finds out she’s got a boyfriend already…wahwahwahwah. Now, as it’s a rom-com, one can probably deduce how things play out, but you might be wrong. This is the perfect end of summer comedy, and it’s a standout in this critic’s opinion...a bit indie, but great. ###-1/2
Now, somehow last week I missed a brand new film that must be addressed this week because it is a testament to simple, visceral, engaging cinema. Locke. Just…wow. Now I will quickly add that Tom Hardy’s voice here is a bit annoying and sometimes I just wanted to punch him…too calm and passive when life is hanging by a precarious thread. The entire film takes place in a car…literally, with a presented situation which I shan’t reveal here (it’s the bane and reason of this film’s existence) and our protagonist Ivan Locke is driving to meet his newest child being born while presiding over a myriad of issues this baby’s birth and his work are causing. As he says at one point in the film, “…An hour ago, I had a job, a family, a wife, a home…now I have none of those things.” This film explains how this happened. Absolutely fascinating. ####
Nineteen years ago, I was in high school and as the school year was winding down, the summer movie season was just starting up. This was back in ’96, I believe, and a film called Twister opened up to decent reviews and a HIGE box office draw, It would eventually go on to rake in nearly $500 million dollars at the US and international box office and would also, for a time, solidify Helen Hunt as possible box office dynamite. The new film Into the Storm (En el Ojo de la Tormenta) tries to re-live that in this second decade of the millennium…storm chasers through the Bible Belt la di da. Try as it might, it barely passes. There is an emotional element that one would be hard pressed not to feel, but the script is weak, the plot a bit trite. As it is a disaster film with thrilling elements, it’s easy to be somewhat entertained, but this one might be best seen on DVD’er if you ask me! ##
Finally today, I bring to you The Congress, a fervent and vivid tale that is at once intriguing as it is softly astounding. Real and yet utterly fantastical. Robin Wright basically plays herself, or at the very least, a strong caricature of herself. It freaks me out when I think of how long home girl had to put up with Sean bloody Penn. G-d bless him, he’s a great actor but you just know he rather messed in the head. Robin’s eyes are so forcefully real and piercing in this film. It helps that she
S always reminded me of my big sister. Peaceful, in a way. When she agrees to sell the copyrights to her digital image to be scanned and used for future films, she also gives away her right to ever act again. What happens next is unexpected and wonderful. Remember when Dorothy opened the door to her home post-tornado dramz in The Wizard of Oz and the world was in color? Something similar but rather science fiction takes place and instead of Technicolor, we get animation instead. Again, what we have is inventive cinema, from a joint European and Israli production, that asks more of its audience and is so worth the watch. One more time…just, wow! ###-1/2
Get out there and enjoy the rest of this summer as we head into the month-long countdown to autumn…awards season awaits! I’ll see you hear next week!