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Posts Tagged ‘Alexander Skarsgard’

Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgard

“THE HUMMINGBIRD PROJECT” My rating: C+ 
110 minutes | MPAA rating: R

“The Hummingbird Project” could be described as a race-against-time movie.

Two cousins risk everything to build a high-speed internet “highway” between Kansas and the East Coast, all to shave a few microseconds off the time required to send the latest stock market updates halfway across the continent.

Why bother? Because a microsecond head start on the competition — the time it takes for a hummingbird to flap its wings just once — could mean millions in profits.

Kim Nguyen’s drama is acceptable if unremarkable in most respects. It  features a vintage Jesse Eisenberg performance (i.e., arrogant nerd) and an atypical one from Salma Hayek (here toning down the sexuality to play a Wall Street shark).

Where “Hummingbird…” really shines, though, is in the work of Alexander Skarsgard, an actor who mostly has been seen as a hunky type (a charismatic vampire in “True Blood,” a predatory stepdad in “Diary of a Teenage Girl,” an abusive husband in “Big Little Lies,” a muscled tree swinger in “The Legend of Tarzan”).

Here Skarsgard plays an antisocial dweeb, a bald, soft-bellied algorithm cruncher more comfortable with his computer screen than other human beings. It’s such a startling transformation that initially he’s unrecognizable. It’s a classic case of an actor getting lost in his role.

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Bel Powley as Minnie

Bel Powley as Minnie

“DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL” My rating: B 

102 minutes | MPAA rating: R

“I had sex today,” 15-year-old Minnie tells us in the first scene of “Diary of a Teenage Girl.”

“I think this makes me officially an adult. I guess.”

Striding down a street in 1970s San Francisco, Minnie is quietly proud of  her recent transition to womanhood. She doesn’t even seem particularly concerned that the man who took her virginity is Monroe, the 35-year-old boyfriend of her bohemian mom.

In fact, Minnie targeted and seduced him. Monroe isn’t really a bad guy, but he’s kinda thick. He didn’t put up much of a fight.

“Diary…” features a home run performance from newcomer Bel Powley as Minnie while offering a non-hysterical depiction of sex between a grown man and a young girl. This is not an after school special warning of the dangers of pedophilia, and writer/director Marielle Heller (adapting Phoebe Gloeckner’s novel) doesn’t condemn her heroine to a life of misery for her youthful indiscretions.

By film’s end, in fact, we’re pretty sure that Minnie is going to not only survive, but thrive.

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