Category: Indie

“Four Good Days”

8.1

Get ready to get sad. Then mad. Then worry. Then sad again. Then happy? I think it’s happily ever after, but damn… if it wasn’t a rough path to get there.

Huge Kudos to Mila Kunis and Glenn Close for taking on these roles. For a mainstream film, this story goes down some dark rabbit holes. It’s fairly unafraid to go places that help give the narrative much more weight and impact in the end. Stephen Root is a bit of a sleeper hit, though, serving to provide perfectly timed perspective to the other cast around him. Without him, I don’t think the story lands half of the punches it does.

May have to set your morals aside for the third act, or be ready to process some things. In the end, an incredible story to bring to the big screen.

“Minari”

8.5

A24 made this?!? I mean, there is a fire in the third act that reflects flickering light in the face of the cast that serves as a potent metaphor. But it’s not one of their family members ablaze, and there’s no witch in the woods who steals the children. Very out of character for them.

That said, this was an incredibly heartfelt and impactful family drama about the struggle to find the “American Dream” as an immigrant family. I loved the way that the story wove together so many different perspectives. American Culture, Korean Culture, Midwestern culture. The similarities and differences. What ties us all together as a community and what makes us unique as individuals.

Well worth having to read subtitles. I look forward to the film market becoming more international in the future, because of films like this.

“Together Together”

8.4

So many societal issues, handled with the perfect mix of grace and awkwardness. Ed Helms and Patti Harrison shine as the two perfect people to bring this story to the screen. Similar to “Promising Young Woman,” this film takes incredibly awkward topics and brings them to life on screen in such a way that they seem much more approachable. The beauty of human life and the relationships between people. The wonder of what life can be when we let go of “the plan” and “normal.” I laughed, I got a little misty-eyed, I came away with a lot to ponder in how to present this. The only beef I had was with the ending, but I can also understand and support the artistic choice. A lot of heart in this one. The kind of storytelling that has come through and shined on the big screen in the past year with the almost absolute absence of big, blockbuster franchises sucking up all of the silver screen real estate. Well worth a watch!

“Sideways”

7.6

Think “The Hangover,” but in California wine country with only two friends. And one is an insufferable author. It’s fun to see these two play off each other. The eternal optimist and the eternal Eeyore.

The story is pretty predictable, the soundtrack is the same one you get with every other rom-com from this era, but the laughs are plentiful. Pour yourself a nice Merlot (I’m a Bourdeaux guy myself), sit back, and relax while enjoying this tale of these two gents getting their grapes crushed by life.

“Shiva Baby”

6.9

Get ready to get uncomfortable. And be uncomfortable until the credits roll. A film that beautifully encapsulates the pain of family/church functions. Especially when your booty calls all show up to the same party. Awkward…

Sharp script, witty dialogue, well-framed shots. It plays like a play. Just the right amount of claustrophobia to keep you on the edge of your seat and waiting to see what the next twist will be.