It’s impossible to spoil this film, mainly because it’s so audacious, even braggadocious, but it adds immensely to the experience if you walk into One Cut of the Dead (Kamera o tomeru na! / カメラを止めるな! 2017) knowing nothing. It may be slow going at first, but trust me, you’ll want to stay to the very end of the credits. Consider yourself forewarned.
I just had a piece called “The Siren Song of Capitalism” published at Bright/Wall Dark Room. Check it out here!
I’m calling it: A Simple Favor (2018) is the The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) of 2018. A female version, but not twist, of the classic noir plot, it delivers entertainment in spades thanks to a fantastically dapper and too-cool-for-school Blake Lively as femme fatale Emily (costumes by Renee Ehrlich Kalfus), Anna Kendrick as Stephanie going so deep into character work that I honestly had no idea whether she was completely innocent, and Bashir Salahuddin playing Detective Summerville, a nasty-because-nice police detective who keeps his wisecracks to himself but lets them show on his face and in his line readings. Getting Henry Golding to play Sean, the patsy, is also an inspired choice: His newcomer energy plays right into the naivete required of the role. The characterization and backstories aren’t exactly all there, but as noirs go it makes a heck of a lot more sense than, say, The Big Sleep (1946), and it’s all held together by careful plotting (Jessica Sharzer, based on the book by Darcey Bell) and a coherent emotional throughline, putting another feather in director Paul Feig’s cap.
It’s with the heaviest of hearts that I regretfully inform you of the sad fact that Destination Wedding (2018), the “definitely not a rom-com” rom-com starring Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder, is not a good film. The story of two misanthropes who find themselves at the same destination wedding and hating every second of it, it sacrifices almost everything for the sake of a farce that it can’t quite pull off due to its (reluctant) commitment to the rom-com genre’s plot points—and as I pointed out before, caring too much about plot is the Achilles’ heel of farce.