Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Molly Shannon’

Kate Micucci, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza

THE LITTLE HOURS” My rating: C+ 

90 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Set in rural Italy in 1347, “The Little Hours” strives for historical accuracy, from the costumes and settings to the musical score beneath the action.

Except, that is, when it comes to dialogue. These 14th-century characters — nuns, priests, noblemen, servants — converse in the most modern of idioms.

They swear like drunken sailors. They employ 20th-century phrases.

It’s the contrast between the visual authenticity and the film’s aural outrageousness that gives “Little Hours” — based on a raunchy story by Boccaccio — its comic oomph.

That and a handful of wickedly funny performances from a remarkably deep roster of players.

Mostly the yarn — written and directed by Jeff Baena, maker of the zombie comedy “Life After Beth” — is set in a convent where the fundamentally decent Mother Superior (Molly Shannon) has her hands full keeping peace among her brood of black-habited and foul- tempered nuns.

The snippiest of the bunch is Sister Fernanda (Aubrey Plaza), a explosively nasty woman with an unblinking death stare and a vocabulary capable of peeling paint.

Her cohort is the clumsy Sister Geneva (Kate Micucci), the convent’s gnomish tattletale, a snoop always eager to inform on her sisters.

(more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Olivia Cook, and

Olivia Cooke, Thomas Mann and R.J. Cyler

“ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL”  My rating: B

105 minutes  | MPAA rating: PG-13

The dying teen film — last year’s “The Fault in Our Stars” being a prime example — typically wrings romance from the weepy nexus of young love and early death.

The Sundance hit “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” takes a different approach, eschewing tearful swooning and emphasizing a snarky (almost too snarky) humor.

Oh, it’ll still have you groping for a tissue in the last reel, but it’s much more devious than its filmic brethren about getting us there.

The protagonist and narrator of director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s debut feature is Greg (Thomas Mann), a high school senior who like many a smart dweeb before him employs post-modern irony to shield himself from adolescence’s slings and arrows.

Greg oozes weary contempt for the inanities of both teen and adult society (the latter represented by his touchy/feely parents played by Connie Britton and Nick Offerman). He has navigated the shark-infested waters of a big-city school by becoming a human chameleon, ingratiating himself with various youthful castes. Everyone thinks he’s part of their club, but nobody really knows him.

Perhaps not even Earl (R.J. Cyler), Greg’s best friend since elementary school. They’re an odd couple — the nerdy white guy and an ultra cool black kid.

Greg and Earl are fans of art house movies — we can’t be sure if they really like highbrow films or are just determined to set themselves apart from their mass-consuming peers — and devote their spare time to making short movies parodying cinema classics.

These goofy amateur remakes have clever names (“Grumpy Cul-De-Sacs” is the boys’ take on “Mean Streets”: “MonoRash” spoofs Kurosawa’s “Rashomon”; “Senior Citizen Kane” and “My Dinner With Andre the Giant” speak for themselves) and they’re fun in a so-bad-they’re-good way. (Jesse Andrews’ screenplay, adapted from his novel, references Wes Anderson’s “Rushmore,” whose high school hero stages theatrical adaptations of his favorite films. )

Greg’s too-hip-to-be-bothered facade gets shaken up though, when his mother insists he pay a visit to Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a classmate recently diagnosed with leukemia.

Neither Greg nor Rachel have any illusions about why he shows up at her door. It’s mom-mandated community service, and since Rachel shares some of Greg’s suspicions about conventional sentimentality and socially appropriate behavior, she makes  no demands on her new friend (although Rachel’s needy single mom — Molly Shannon with endlessly replenished glass of white wine — is pathetically grateful for her daughter’s gentleman caller).

One reason Greg keeps coming back — though he’d never admit it — is that Rachel has his number.  She knows the teenage fear of putting oneself on the emotional line and drawing back a stump; she recognizes in Greg and Earl fellow committment phobes. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Dane DeHaan and Aubrey Plaza in "Life After Beth"

Dane DeHaan and Aubrey Plaza in “Life After Beth”

“LIFE AFTER BETH”  My rating: C      (Opening Aug. 29 at the ***)

91 minutes | MPAA rating: R

How about a moratorium on zombie movies?  At least until someone comes up with a truly novel way of approaching what is quickly becoming a very worn-out genre?

In “Life After Beth,” small-town doofus Zach (Dane DeHaan) is mourning the death of his girlfriend Beth, who went out for hike one morning and was bitten by a poisonous snake.  As Jeff Baena’s film begins, Zach is dealing with her funeral.

Consumed by heartbreak, our hero starts hanging with Beth’s parents (John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon), sharing memories and bonding through mutual loss. His own family — Mom  (Cheryl Hines), Dad (Paul Reiser) and a trigger-happy security guard sibling (Matthew Gray Gubler) — would just as soon not have  his whiny self around.

One day Beth’s parents start acting strangely. They won’t come to the door. They close the shades.

A bit of sleuthing brings a shocking revelation. Beth (indie “it” girl Aubrey Plaza) has come back. She seems normal…albeit a bit distracted and flaky. But then she always was. How did this resurrection come to be?

Yup. Zombies.

(more…)

Read Full Post »