2018 | DIR. J.A. BAYONA | REVIEW BY GLENN COCHRANE.
Picking up 3-years after the events of Jurassic World, which saw hundreds of theme park visitors ripped to shreds by a menagerie of prehistoric creatures, Fallen Kingdom depicts a society where dinosaurs and humans co-exist (separated by an ocean) and follows a growing social movement to save the creatures from a second-extinction when their island home is threatened by an active volcano. Of course the logical conclusion is simple... no good can come from saving them, let them die.
Much (exactly) like the events of the second instalment, The Lost World, a group of specialists are sent in to examine the creatures, and in this case relocate them to a new sanctuary. Their mission is commissioned by Sir Benjamin Lockwood (John Hammond's former research and business partner) and when they arrive on the island they are beaten to the punch by mercenaries, funded by Lockwood's scheming personal executor, Eli Mills. Cut to the volcano erupting in glorious fashion, dinosaurs freaking out and rampaging, humans running and screaming, and a handful of creatures being shipped to the mainland as live stock for a black market auction (in a top secret bunker beneath the Lockwood estate).
And so there we have it. A stupid and incoherent creature feature that attempts to recalibrate the ongoing narrative by showcasing weaponised cloning (I realised that was a component of the previous film), hybrid oddities and a perplexing private estate setting.
I am an unabashed fan of the series and have seen all of the previous instalments more times than I care to remember, and yet despite my affection for the franchise I cannot comprehend what it has become. That's not to say that I don't understand the storyline, but rather I don't see the progression as being logical, beneficial or integral to Micheal Crichton's original vision, or Steven Spielberg's flawless adaptation. I regarded 2015's Jurassic World with fondness and considered it to be a well measured and respectable revival of the series, and so it is all the more disappointing that they would carry on in such a mundane way.
Perhaps the studio misunderstands the fanbase and they assume that movie-goers simply want maximum dino carnage. Sure, that may have been the case while the concept was still novel, but now that we're up to the fifth instalment I think it's safer to assume that the audience wants a reasonable amount of pseudo science and logic to usher the narrative along. And what is most frustrating of all is that the story provides endless opportunities to explore deeper themes and concepts (such as deep sea exploration) but opts for the simplistic approach... roar, chomp, kill... and repeat.
With a fantastic production design, a marvellous marriage of practical and digital effects, and a strong performance from lead actor Chris Pratt, the film has its strengths. Yet all of the merits are stomped into mud by a sloppy sense of chaos and schizophrenic direction. That once believable universe created over 20 years ago on the basis of an “it could happen” concept, has descended into an unimaginable fantasy with zero realism and a dumb crossing of genres. Suffice to say it is a truly awful film... just awful.
JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM is the second instalment in the revival trilogy, and with the finale revealing the concept for the next chapter, there remains a slither of hope yet. But that hope should not be taken for granted, and should the studio fuck up they will risk killing the franchise entirely and losing a legion of loyal fans. This is it Universal... your final chance!
2017 | DIR. ROLFE KANEFSKY | REVIEW BY GLENN COCHRANE.
Telling the story of a group of revellers on a bus headed for the Burning Man festival in Nevada, the movie has them run into a depraved Satanic cult, and sees them flayed, dismembered and exposed to an assortment of creatively gruesome rituals. What ensues is an abundance of titties (of all shapes and sizes), talking severed heads, and every possible excuse to amp up the horror. Snakes and spiders galore, entrails and heavy metal music... PARTY BUS TO HELL is the definition of exploitation.
Watching the movie alone at home cannot possibly have the same impact as watching the movie with a cinema full of frenzied genre fans. And while my experience was by way of a media screener, I have experienced enough genre films with audiences to imagine how fun this one would have been in the right environment. Kanefsky's direction is frivolous and satirical, as he applies a kitchen-sink-n-all attitude.
Tara Reid serves as the headline attraction (and executive produces), with very little screen time. She gives the movie its draw card – if you consider her as such – but doesn't have much purpose. Her scenes are isolated (no doubt shot over the course of one day... two at the most) with the rest of the cast being put through the ringer. Fans of the calibre of gore being pumped out by Troma over the past decade (Poultrygiest, Return to Nuke'Em High) will be the ones who latch on to PARTY BUS TO HELL, and when the film descends into its orgy of hardcore sex and violence, they might just cream their pants.
This movie has no pretensions, and it makes no apologies. It will have its haters, and is destined to be critically maligned... but when the genre and target audience is taken in to account there is no denying that PART BUS TO HELL is fucking insane. It is a no-holds barred demonstration of excess, and an unadulterated gorfest, and when push comes to shove it delivers a shit-tonne of fun. I just wish I could have seen it with an audience of equally insane movie goers.
2018 | DIR. GARY ROSS | REVIEW BY GLENN COCHRANE.
The film opens up in identical fashion to Ocean's Eleven, with Danny's younger sister Debbie (Sandra Bullock) dressed in orange prison garb and facing a parole hearing. She sweet talks her way out the door and back into her life of crime, and within the blink of an eye she assembles a team of 7 skilled women to pull off the biggest jewellery heist in history. Along the way we are treated to occasional cameos from past players, as well as a who's who of Hollywood talent.
The word serviceable was coined for films like this, and with a ridiculously flaccid plot, the film's success rests squarely on the shoulders of its cast. It is by no means a great movie, but it is a superior one to the previous two entries, and with confident performances from all of the women – notably Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter – it feels much closer to a rightful sequel than either Twelve or Thirteen did. And for that I am grateful.
Original director Steven Soderbergh stepped down for this latest entry, making room for Gary Ross (Pleasantville, The Hunger Games, Seabiscuit) and with that switch comes a more polished product, boasting a more frivolous attitude. The all-star male cast of the earlier films has been replaced with an equally lavish line-up of actresses in addition to Bullock, Blanchett and Bonham Carter. They include Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Rhianna, Awkwafina and Mindy Kaling. This incredible casting leaves little room for naysayers and armchair critics who feel that the “female angle” is stupid, and by the time the end credits roll the whole controversy surrounding the gender-reversal is reduced to piss in bathwater.
The film beams with confidence from all directions. The women conquer the screen with attitude and tenaciousness, while Ross's direction makes no apologies. It fronts its critics head-on and does its darnedest to set itself apart... and perhaps this is its Achilles' heel. So much energy is put into creating confident and interesting characters that very little effort was put into crafting a decent plot. The heist itself is simple enough, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Without time for substantial character development (fair enough) we have to take it on face value that these women are highly skilled criminals... We are given very little to support this, despite them utilising far-fetched and highly technical gadgets and a lap top. And so with a “trust us” attitude, the film relies on the audiences' suspension of disbelief, more so than the first film did.
The highlights of OCEAN'S 8 are the snappy editing, accompanied by an infectious soundtrack, and a surprisingly restrained performance from James Corden as an unshakeable insurance investigator. His time on camera brought balance to an otherwise laborious turn of events, and with those amazing women getting up to all kinds of mischief, the movie makes its shortcomings easy to overlook.
Far be it from perfect, but far be it from bad. OCEAN'S 8 may not be necessary, but it is certainly the best of the sequels. It embodies the spirit of Soderbergh's films and carries the legacy forward nicely. And despite it being – more or less – a retread of the first story - I was able to ignore most of its flaws nevertheless and enjoyed what it had to offer. It's a fun movie, no doubt about it.
2017 | DIR. GEORGE RUSSELL | REVIEW BY ALEX MAYNARD
This unevenness is exemplified by how much stronger the film becomes in its second half during the profile of weev. Given how fascinating he is to watch and hear, it’s no surprise that Auernheimer’s story is similarly thought-provoking; in fact, it’s likely that viewers who don’t recognise his name will at least recall some of the events recounted here. For instance, in 2010 weev helped reveal an AT&T security flaw allowing iPad user information to be viewed by any member of the public with enough computer savvy, an incident that received significant media attention. Russell shows impressive restraint throughout, forming a clear stance in support of weev and his fellow hackers without simply condemning AT&T. Rather, as the fallout escalates into criminal charges and jail sentences, TROLL INC. sets its sights on the U.S. government’s fear of the unknown, a gutsy contention that’s admirable for continuing to feature interviews from both points of view. It’s shockingly difficult to reach a definitive consensus on whether weev actually committed a crime during the AT&T incident, but it’s once again to Russell’s credit that the conclusion feels appropriate and triumphant.
However, the broader scope of the film’s early interviews leaves it lacking momentum prior to the focus on weev. I can appreciate that situating trolling in the context of 21st century society may be necessary for viewers who haven’t spent much time online, with the academic Gabriella Coleman proving particularly insightful. Yet these scenes will be a chore for those with background knowledge, feeling like pointless reminders of definitions at best and patronising at worst. Perhaps different audiences will respond more positively to this informative approach (indeed, generational shifts in technology use will likely make this segment helpful for older viewers), but I’m not convinced Russell fully considered who the target demographic was supposed to be. After all, TROLL INC.’s second half is overtly critical of the technologically conservative as mentioned above; I can’t imagine such people even watching this film, let alone having their minds changed by it.
TROLL INC. is at its best when its intriguing subject matter is combined with a compelling argument, both of which weev provides in spades. Regardless of your thoughts on trolling, the importance of these case studies to understanding media and technology convergence make the film feel vital, standing alongside Citizenfour in how well it captures modern society.
2016 | DIR. SOPHIE GOODHART | REVIEW BY ALEX MAYNARD.
I can imagine Robbie’s (Scott) disability being insensitively depicted at the hands of a lesser auteur and performer, but here I found that his characterisation was impressively nuanced. Scott has arguably perfected portraying assholes between Step Brothers and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a skill that Robbie’s early scenes wisely allow him to demonstrate. As alluded to above, I was pleased that the humour often stemmed from the rude and obnoxious behaviour of a person who happens to be blind rather than solely making them the butt of a joke, although there are some wickedly funny taboo moments such as an argument between Rose (Slate) and Bill (Kroll) during Robbie’s swimming practice. Yet simultaneously, this decision not to reduce the jokes to simple cheap shots at blindness mirrors Robbie’s own desire not to let his disability define him, which Scott conveys brilliantly in a late dramatic shift. I wasn’t sure whether MY BLIND BROTHER would have time to fully develop the character given its previous attention to the Bill-Rose-Robbie love triangle, but this was definitely a case of better late than never. While Ben Wyatt may still be my favourite Adam Scott role, Robbie sets a new benchmark for his film career.
Conversely, Bill readily defines himself by one thing, or rather, one event: he’s responsible for the accident that caused Robbie’s disability. The film’s first reference to this is mid-conversation, dropped so casually among pick up lines and jokes that viewers might almost miss it. Kroll and Goodhart not only reveal just how Bill’s intense guilt has stayed with him decades later, but also how it’s informed the feeling that he deserves his dead-end life as penance. I loved that these ideas utilised a ‘show, don’t tell’ approach, distinguishing themselves from the myriad tragic backstories in fiction. However, I was disappointed that there weren’t many scenes featuring Bill without Rose or Robbie, leaving details that the film had bothered to introduce such as his job feeling underdeveloped; in my opinion, Bill’s lack of ambition would’ve been better represented if there were a clearer sense of what he forces himself to settle for. Meanwhile, Rose is easily MY BLIND BROTHER’s most frustrating character, veering quickly from relatable uncertainty to baffling decisions. For instance, while Slate convincingly portrays grief and anxiety, I literally rolled my eyes when Rose told Robbie she loved him. The contradiction I perceived between her feelings and actions was unfortunately never resolved, and perhaps explains why the film’s ending came across as inconsequential.
MY BLIND BROTHER ambles along steadily, thankfully retaining its leads’ charm without their lack of direction. Although its arcs aren’t as carefully considered as the balance between humour and drama, the stellar performances from Kroll, Slate, and particularly Scott will please anyone thinking of giving it a look.
2018 | DIR. RON HOWARD | REVIEW BY GLENN COCHRANE.
It would be misleading to call Solo: A Star Wars Story an origin story, and with the movie focusing on a twenty-something Han Solo at a time when he meets Chewbacca and Lando for the first time, it is better described simply as a prequel. Alden Ehrenreich (Blue Jasmine, Hail Caesar) steps into Harrison Ford’s incredibly big shoes and assumes the character effortlessly, and with this important piece of casting, the audience is reassured that the fallacy of The Last Jedi would not infect this new recalibration.
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2018 | DIR. CHRISTIAN GUDEGAST | REVIEW BY SHAUN CRAWFORD.
Set in the bank robbery capital of the world, L.A. (there’s a heist every 48-minutes, apparently) it has Scotsman - Gerard Butler - as ‘Big’ Nick, the leader of a by-any-means-necessary County Sheriffs unit dedicated to stopping bank robbers.
He’s a rough-around-edges kinda guy who marches to the beat of his own drum (one sequence where he’s eating donuts from a blood-spattered box on the ground at a crime scene is particularly revealing) who is having familial problems and doesn’t mind letting his fists do the talking.
On the flip side, there’s Merriman (Pablo Schreiber), a slick, calculating professional thief who runs his band of brothers with logic and precision. When Merriman and his crew hatch a plan to rob the one bank in LA that has never been robbed, the holiest-of-holies, the Federal Reserve, Big Nick and the boys do everything they can to get in their way. From here it’s a game of cat-and-mouse as each group tries to outsmart and outplay the other while the stakes escalate.
First time director Christian Gudegast does a workmanlike job handling the sprawling saga, conjuring a gritty, boots-on-the-ground feel that is one of the films strongest points. There’s more than a hint of Mann in his neon-slicked compositions and his synth-heavy score, and even more in his depiction of serious professional people doing serious professional things.
An aging Gerard Butler growls his way through the plot seemingly enjoying his chance to play a proper dirty character. This is possibly the most interesting thing he’s ever done, finally getting a bit of range and dichotomy and not simply relying on his extraordinary physique to carry the lion’s share of the character.
Schrieder, on the other hand, has less to do aside from looking cold and detached, but as an adversary to Big Nick and his litany of problems, it’s a necessary counterpoint.
It’s not as action-packed as you might think and it should get credit for not sacrificing the smaller, more intimate moments in lieu of full-throttle street battles (that being said, when it does kick-off it kicks off in a spectacular way), but what you really have to tip your hat to is the sheer bravado of aiming at getting into the same echelons as Michael Mann’s trademark territory. You need a wheelbarrow to carry around those kind of cajones.
2018 | DIR. DAVID LEITCH | REVIEW BY GLENN COCHRANE.
Enter David Leitch, a relative newcomer whose capacity for strong, action-driven cinema was proven (and then some) by his astonishing films John Wick and Atomic Blonde. He came to the table with his guns fully loaded, and with a scriptwriting alliance including Reynolds, he conjured a formula that would carry the franchise forward with confidence and style.
The lack of originality and an overwhelming sense of déjà vu was always going to be DEADPOOL 2's shortcoming, and it certainly does maintain the stamina of its predecessor. But where a blatant “rehash” would be condemned in any other film, DP2 has the benefit of being entirely meta and self-referential. It has the ability to look at its own reflection and call out its imperfections, and this deception is where the viewer needs to hold it to account. “More of the same” is tantamount to laborious, and so while perpetuating the R-rated stylings that fans swooned over, Leitch has had to throw as much shit at the wall as possible, knowing that some of it will stick.
The story has Deadpool forming the X-Force, a ragtag fighting team comprised of ruthless mutants including Cable (Josh Brolin) and Domino (Zazie Beetz) amongst others. While grieving the loss of his partner (Morena Baccarin) Deadpool sets about saving a teenage mutant, Russell Collins - who calls himself Firefist - from letting his rage lead him down a path of catastrophic consequence. Of course along the way the audience is treated to a cavalcade of cameos and an abundance of violence... not to mention a relentless barrage of comedy.
And so the question is; is DEADPOOL 2 better than DEADPOOL 1? No it isn't. But is it good? Yes... yes it is. The sucker-punch-effect of the first movie's impact is gone, and an overcompensation of vulgarity and gore has taken its place. In fact the film is so stocked with jokes that it teeters on the edge of exhaustion. And the violence has been elevated to the point of being horrific. Not only is the action graphic, it's as close to repulsive as a superhero movie will ever get. And with no stone left unturned the film is intentionally gratuitous, painfully convoluted and yet entirely enjoyable. It also happens to possess an unexpected sentimentality, with Reynold's character going through the motions of grief as the story unfolds.
Reynolds assumed his character in the first instalment and now he stakes his claim! He is entirely commanding on screen and delivers the brand of wit that only he knows how. Whether spitting lines from behind his mask, or cracking wise through his “over-ripened avocado” prosthetics he teases the audience with the type of maniacal pleasure that a super-villain might enjoy.
Josh Brolin joins the cast and gives a fantastic turn as the ever-popular Cable. It is a stoic and robust performance that offers a springboard for Reynolds to riff off. He is a welcome addition to the franchise, as is New Zealand teenager Julian Dennison (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) whose crossover to Hollywood has been natural. He is very good indeed, and yet those of us from Down Under who know his work (and his ability) it is clear that he has been underutilised. Perhaps the American sensibilities aren't aligned with his classic New Zealand nuances, or maybe he has been miscast as Rusty Collins... because as wonderful as his on-screen presence is, his character feels out of place; integral – yes – but mismatched with the overall texture of the movie.
Needless to say, DEADPOOL 2 is an aggressive and fascinating movie-going experience, which delivers what the audience expects, and then dumps a shit-tonne more on them. Whether or not that additional injection of energy is too much, will depend on the viewer. I would have preferred a little less acerbic humour, to be honest, and I found the movie to be rather strenuous. The plot meanders and ricochets all over the place, hoping that it's wide net snags as many laughs as possible, and for that reason it fails to match the integrity of the first movie. Nevertheless it's a whole lot of fun and it packs one hell of a wallop. Over reaching, over done and over the top... but overall FUN.
2016 | DIRECTOR: DANIEL GROVE | REVIEW BY ALEX MAYNARD.
I’d never heard of the Tehrangeles district that formed in Los Angeles following Iran’s revolution, yet writer/director Daniel Grove casts it through a lens of excess and opulence that makes sense in light of the context his film provides. Two exceptional opening sequences provide both the factual information surrounding the Iran-Iraq War and a glimpse at its impact on individuals. Subsequently, Grove depicts those lucky enough to survive emigrating to pursue the American Dream, including former child soldier Behrouz (Reza Sixo Safai). While Behrouz has legitimate career aspirations, he’s simultaneously an immigrant who will do whatever it takes to achieve the romanticised notion of a ‘better life’; THE PERSIAN CONNECTION is full of similarly minded people, from real estate moguls to drug kingpins. As alluded to above, the version of Tehranangeles on display here at first appears to reveal the glamorous outcome of this pursuit, indeed, the cinematography in club scenes during the film’s first half is stunning. Yet beneath the fluorescent glow we see danger, addiction, corruption and a sense of entitlement that stems from relying on others’ success. Worldbuilding is particularly crucial for any genre film, and Grove provides it in spades.
Meanwhile, Behrouz’s nadir and efforts at redemption may be archetypal neo-noir story beats, but Safai brings a range of emotions to the role that elevate him to a compelling protagonist. This is most apparent when he is coerced into assassinating Sepehr (Nikolai Kinski), an acquaintance with whom he shares a complicated relationship; despite their history, Behrouz is genuinely reluctant to go through with the task. I adored the following sequence not just for its brilliant directing choices such as emphasising brutality using different framing, but for the changes shown by Behrouz within mere minutes: he is merciful, desperate, ruthless and grief-stricken all at once. Likewise, the romantic relationship between him and Oksana (Helena Mattsson) typically feels like more than a simple genre requisite through Safai’s sincerity, for instance, suggesting that the couple take a holiday together because “that’s what people do” when they care about each other. Nevertheless, while the Oksana subplot connects cleverly to Behrouz’s main arc, it’s unfortunate that it drives so much of THE PERSIAN CONNECTION’s final third, culminating in a predictable and slightly melodramatic conclusion that was saved only by its effects and art direction. In my opinion, the script also could have used a little more polish, given there were several moments throughout where character dialogue felt awkward, especially from Farid (Dominic Rains).
THE PERSIAN CONNECTION’s embrace of neo-noir conventions will undeniably please genre fans, but it arguably deserves even greater recognition for offering a distinct perspective. Ultimately, this film is a consistently engaging and gritty watch that integrates culture and history into its narrative so seamlessly, you might learn something without even realising.
The Persian Connection is now available through Eagle Entertainment.
Schumer plays Renee, a supposedly “average-looking” and overweight woman who works in the basement of a renowned cosmetic company. Considered to be too ugly to work up top, she spends her days daydreaming about a better life. When she suffers a concussion at a spin-cycle class, she wakes up believing that she is insatiably gorgeous and the envy of the world. Her misplaced confidence sees her strutting her imagined “attractive” self from one situation to another, unaware that she actually looks the same.
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Most significantly, Jonathan straddles two storylines that are never reconciled as clearly as writer/director Thomas Baldinger seems to have intended. The eponymous Jenna (Tracey Birdsall) is both Jonathan’s new love interest and his boss’ sister-in-law, yet none of the potential conflicts this could present for all three characters are addressed until well into the film’s second half. In an unexpected decision, the relationship between Jonathan and the boss, Joe (Garry Pastore), receives the most attention; I don’t recall the latter even sharing a scene with Jenna. Although using traits such as outright racism and homophobia to subsequently cast Joe as an antagonist feels unsubtle, there’s no inherent problem with this. However, drawing the audience’s attention to a pre-existing character dynamic and not resolving it is a glaring Chekhov’s gun waiting to be fired. Similarly, there’s a recurring joke about Jenna resembling a famous porn actress which doesn’t pay off despite Baldinger granting it substantial explanation and emphasis. An actual porn actress cameos as herself briefly, and once again WHO’S JENNA? fails to take advantage of its own setup by simply having its title character appearing onscreen with her.
By contrast, the film dedicates time to providing detail where it isn’t necessary. For instance, the opening sequence depicts Jonathan’s parents en route to the hospital for his birth, as well as revealing that their neighbours are expecting a child at the same time. While the dialogue and interactions between the two couples are hilarious, they don’t complement the main plot enough to justify the sequence’s existence. The neighbours’ son Andy (Joseph D’Onofrio) grows up to be Jonathan’s best friend, yet the fact that they share a birthday or even were childhood neighbours is never mentioned; likewise, their parents are never seen nor heard from during the present-day scenes. Meanwhile, after Joe blackmails Jonathan into closing their company’s account for a client named Kevin Steele (Michael Tota), the otherwise insignificant Steele is essentially given his own subplot. Thankfully, he’s an irreverent porn actor, which does offer some variety to the film’s humour, including an absurd sight gag that I won’t spoil.
There are at least three plot threads from WHO’S JENNA? that were engaging enough to warrant a more sustained focus, and it’s a testament to the acting that I believe doing so would be entertaining with any combination of the major characters. A tendency to mismanage time throughout the film limits each of these ideas’ scopes and resembles a proof of concept, but nevertheless, the strengths largely outweigh the weaknesses.
And the film makes the choice easy for audiences. If you liked the first Super Troopers then you will want to see this long-awaited sequel, and if you didn’t like it, then why would you bother? And so, stepping back into my [none of your business] year-old shoes from 2001, I came to part 2 with nostalgia on my mind and a grin on my face. And what a great time I had.
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Given that Landis is directing his own script, it should come as no surprise that ME HIM HER’s greatest strength is its writing. I loved that its central premise targeted Hollywood’s attitudes towards gay actors, an ongoing and complex issue to which the film smartly doesn’t try to offer an easy resolution. The decision to give Brendan (Luke Bracey)’s storyline a happy ending is important for affirming the script’s LGBT-positive message, but as a recent Indiewire article pointed out, there remains systemic pressure for relative unknowns in film and television to suppress parts of their identity to receive more job opportunities. Indeed, Brendan’s PR team cynically suggest in an early scene that when and how to come out is more important than the announcement itself, which he even follows outside of professional settings.
This mounting pressure and uncertainty is why both Brendan and the film need Cory (Dustin Milligan) to provide levity. Although his storyline is more predictable and unfortunately steals the focus away from Brendan’s, in my opinion it was necessary to achieve Landis’s desired tone. Cory at times feels like a character from a cartoon or comic, particularly during a Scott Pilgrim-esque swordfight sequence, and his outright wackiness is where ME HIM HER’s direction borrows most heavily from John Landis-era comedy. I found this was most enjoyable when Cory and Brendan were given the chance to play off each other such as in a brilliant scene reuniting with the latter’s parents; Bracey and Milligan have a dynamic that feels like the believable product of a long friendship, and typically led to strong one-liners. Nevertheless, Cory’s plot thread ultimately amounts to his attempts to get closer to Gabbi (Emily Meade) after a one-night stand, which was simply unengaging beyond leading to some of his zanier behaviour and as previously mentioned was given too much runtime.
My issues with the Cory-Gabbi plot are closely linked to ME HIM HER’s most glaring issue: strange and occasionally ill-advised directing choices. I felt that a dream sequence featuring the duo was shot so confusingly that it brought the pacing to a halt, and throughout the film lines of dialogue would be given subtitles or appear printed onscreen in huge letters seemingly at random and without any explanation. Meanwhile, Gabbi’s realisation of her bisexuality could’ve been explicitly paralleled with Brendan’s coming out, yet Meade seemed to become more passive and mumbled her dialogue during the second half outside of a single scene. As writer-director, Landis should have facilitated a greater consistency between the ostensible motivations from his script and the actors’ interpretations.
Overall, ME HIM HER reveals plenty of potential from Max Landis as a comedic auteur, and he should continue working within the genre so that the role of director feels more intuitive. With a script that manages to stay optimistic and funny while giving a nuanced take on a contemporary issue, it makes for a charming and easy watch.