Reviews: ‘Your Place or Mine’ saved by relatable script
‘Your Place or Mine’
In writer-director Aline Brosh McKenna’s gimmicky-but-mostly-likable romantic comedy “Your Place or Mine,” Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher play long-distance pals who unexpectedly have life-changing experiences when extenuating circumstances trigger them to swap houses for some time. Witherspoon stars as Debbie, a divorced Los Angeles mother whose son Jack (Wesley Kimmel) is a sickly nervous wreck. Ashton Kutcher performs Peter, a commitment-phobic New York enterprise guru who’d relatively be a novelist. When Debbie has pressing enterprise in New York City, Peter flies to L.A. to observe Jack.
After some clumsy setup, the film begins clicking when Debbie and Peter embark on poorly thought-out missions to repair the largest issues in one another’s lives. In the method, as they spend time with every others’ pals and neighbors (performed by Zoë Chao, Steve Zahn and Tig Notaro, amongst others), they notice that perhaps they don’t know one another in addition to they thought. They additionally marvel if, after over 20 years of platonic friendship, they need to couple up.
McKenna, who wrote the screenplay adaptation of “The Devil Wears Prada,” is maybe best-known for co-creating the TV sequence “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” with Rachel Bloom (who has a small cameo right here). Frankly, “Your Place or Mine” feels a little bit TV-ish. Many scenes ramble on with no sense of urgency; and the movie is full of colourful aspect characters who every appear to be awaiting their very own particular episode. There’s even an prolonged subplot, as Debbie is courted by a kindly guide editor (Jesse Williams), with whom she has rather a lot in widespread.
What saves the image is McKenna’s knack for locating one thing actual and relatable inside quirky comedian characters like a hyper-organized overprotective mom and a swaggering cool man who makes a residing telling different individuals methods to succeed. Here, the kernel of fact is that even greatest pals current facades to one another, preserving emotions and experiences hidden. Forget that previous saying about strolling a mile in one other particular person’s footwear. To actually get to know somebody, transfer into their home.
‘Your Place or Mine.’ PG-13, for suggestive materials and temporary robust language. 1 hour, 49 minutes. Available on Netflix; additionally enjoying theatrically, Bay Theater, Pacific Palisades
‘Somebody I Used to Know’
Writer-director Dave Franco and his co-writer/star Alison Brie subvert some hoary rom-com conventions in “Somebody I Used to Know,” a well-meaning dramedy with an awesome forged and admirable ambitions — however which by no means fairly finds a superb groove. Brie performs Ally, a actuality TV producer who copes with a profession setback by heading to her small hometown within the Pacific Northwest, the place she reconnects along with her ex-boyfriend Sean (Jay Ellis) and his youthful fiancee Cassidy (Kiersey Clemons). This sounds just like the setup for a Hallmark-style “the simple life is the best life” story. But Ally is definitely torn between returning to her previous and warning the hip, likable Cassidy — who reminds her of herself 10 years in the past — to not accept lower than what she deserves.
Franco and Brie deserve credit score for consciously critiquing romance formulation by writing a film the place nobody is an out-and-out villain and everybody’s conduct stays rooted in actuality. They encompass their leads with some comfortingly acquainted faces too, together with Haley Joel Osment and Brie’s previous “Community” cast-mate Danny Pudi. But they haven’t give you sufficient to switch the foolish humor and shameless emotional manipulations of a conventional rom-com. There are jokes right here, and dramatic moments too; however everyone seems to be so darn earnest on a regular basis that nothing actually thrilling occurs. Instead, we simply hang around with some fairly respectable people for some time, after which the credit roll.
‘Somebody I Used to Know.’ R, for sexual content material, graphic nudity, language all through and temporary drug use. 1 hour, 45 minutes. Available on Prime Video
Early in writer-director Gabriel Bier Gislason’s offbeat horror-romance “Attachment,” Maja (Josephine Park) and Leah (Ellie Kendrick) get pleasure from a traditional meet-cute. Maja, a fading Danish TV star, takes a gig studying to children at a public library the place she by accident swaps her picture-book with British college pupil Leah’s dry textbook. The girls giggle, flirt, have a drink collectively, then fall into mattress. Two days later, Maja impulsively strikes into the London home that Leah shares along with her Danish immigrant mom, Chana (Sofie Gråbøl). That’s when she finds out her new girlfriend could also be possessed by a dybbuk.
Gislason balances a number of genres right here, and never at all times deftly. The film works greatest as a whirlwind love story, the place Maja’s ardour for Leah is so robust that she endures a wierd new tradition, a disapproving Chana, and all method of creepy paranormal phenomena to remain by her lover’s aspect. When “Attachment” turns into extra of a full-blown possession thriller in its remaining third, it loses the lighthearted appeal and eager statement of its earlier sections. Still, that first hour is so candy that the comparatively bitter components don’t spoil the image. It’s simply so uncommon for a film to current a completely fleshed-out story of a relationship — particularly when it’s in the end concerning the demon set to tear all of it aside.
‘Attachment.’ In Danish and English with subtitles. Not rated. 1 hour, 45 minutes. Available on Shudder
It takes some time to regulate to the tone of writer-director Corey Deshon’s “Daughter,” a psychodrama a few hyper-controlling patriarch referred to as Father (Casper Van Dien), who abducts a younger Vietnamese American girl he calls Daughter (Vivien Ngô). Father topics Daughter to numerous torments till she learns to slot in with Mother (Elyse Dinh) and Brother (Ian Alexander), who’re additionally being held towards their will, for hazy causes. Because everybody’s conduct is both synthetic or abrasively aggressive, it may be laborious to discover a approach into this movie.
But Deshon sticks along with his plan — which additionally features a grainy 16mm look and exactly composed frames, devoid of muddle — and by the film’s second half he will get the place he intends to go. After Daughter calms down sufficient to hitch the household, she realizes that being “good” means extra than simply adopting a docile, nice angle. She’s additionally supposed to simply accept and parrot Father’s warped worldview. There are clear metaphorical implications right here, illustrating a life lived underneath authoritarian rule. Once “Daughter” establishes that as a milieu, it turns into extra gripping, as our heroine tries to determine methods to use Father’s personal guidelines to her benefit and loosen his grip. The symbolism stays heavy, nevertheless it’s all in service of a strong prisoner’s story, concerning the small methods individuals discover freedom.
‘Daughter.’ Not rated. 1 hour, 35 minutes. Available on VOD
‘Nothing Lasts Forever’
When individuals debate the ethics of the diamond enterprise, they typically discuss the place the gems have been mined and who advantages from their sale — whether or not or not they’re “blood diamonds,” in different phrases. Jason Kohn’s revealing and entertaining documentary “Nothing Lasts Forever” frames the difficulty in a different way, making two shocking factors: that diamonds aren’t as uncommon or valuable as jewellery advertising would have shoppers imagine; and that artificial diamonds, virtually indistinguishable from the pure type, have been blended into the world’s provide so extensively that many individuals won’t ever know whether or not their diamonds are “real.”
Kohn is a presence in his personal movie, heard typically from behind the digicam asking blunt questions of his interview topics who’re practically all main gamers within the business. His voice isn’t intrusive or distracting; as an alternative it has the impact of creating the interviews really feel extra conversational, and thus extra sincere. Formally, “Nothing Lasts Forever” is fairly sq., counting on a rapid-fire meeting of reports footage and a virtually wall-to-wall musical rating. But Kohn’s speaking heads are remarkably animated and, collectively, the interviews current a provocative debate concerning the that means of “valuable.” As the jewellery designer Aja Raden insightfully notes concerning the proliferation of lab-grown gems, “If I don’t know the difference, the difference doesn’t exist.”
‘Nothing Lasts Forever.’ TV-14, for grownup language. 1 hour, 27 minutes. Available on Showtime
The curious subculture of movie star impersonators takes middle stage in director Gracie Otto’s “Seriously Red,” a crazy Australian comedy that doesn’t do sufficient with its premise regardless of a successful lead efficiency. Krew Boylan (who additionally wrote the screenplay) performs Red, a so-so realtor who converts her lifelong love of Dolly Parton into a brand new profession when a reserving agent sees her impression and thinks she’d make an awesome companion to an ersatz Kenny Rogers (Daniel Webber). Otto and Boylan initially play this state of affairs for laughs, with the bumbling Red repeatedly embarrassing herself. The film then turns overly maudlin as soon as Red realizes plenty of her pals within the impersonation neighborhood — herself included — are hiding from one thing. Still, even at its bluntest, “Seriously Red” attracts plenty of warmth and lightweight from Boylan, whose Red enjoys embodying the informal confidence, folksy knowledge and bombshell bravura of one of many world’s most beloved entertainers.
‘Seriously Red.’ R, for sexual content material, nudity and a few language. 1 hour, 38 minutes. Available on VOD; additionally enjoying theatrically, Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood and Harkins Chino Hills
“All That Breathes” is an Oscar-nominated documentary about two New Delhi brothers on a private mission to rescue a sure type of chicken — the black kite — from being poisoned by the town’s polluted air. Director Shaunak Sen combines touching slice-of-life scenes with hypnotic pictures of the pure and concrete worlds colliding to ship a subtly profound message about our duty to different residing creatures. Available on HBO Max
Available now on DVD and Blu-ray
“Chicago” received the perfect image Oscar in 2003, cementing the legacy of this energetic, trustworthy big-screen adaptation of a Broadway musical favourite. The twentieth anniversary Blu-ray version contains in depth featurettes and prolonged musical performances; however the principle attraction continues to be the film, which gives a sensible and tuneful tackle movie star and infamy, connecting the Jazz Age to right now. Available on Paramount