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Café Society

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September 29, 2016

Café Society   USA

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:40 & 8:25 pm

Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Steve Carell, Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively, Parker Posey Runtime: 96 minutes
Language: English

Rating: PG

cafe-society“A sweet retro-romance set mostly in old-time Hollywood. Cast is marvelous.”—James Verniere, Boston Herald.
Woody Allen of late has been relishing the glow of nostalgia in his films. Among his recent (and more successful) forays, Midnight in Paris beautifully blended modernist impulses with his reverence for the past. More introspective in tone, Café Society sometimes resembles Radio Days in its skeptical affection for the jazz-tinged world of his parents.

The new film’s Woody surrogate is Jesse Eisenberg, a guileless yet oddly arrogant New Yorker named Bobby, making his way alone in mid-’30s Hollywood. His uncle Phil, played with shark-like precision by Steve Carell, is a big-shot agent who takes forever to lend Bobby a hand. But, more importantly, he introduces the kid to his sexy, self-assured assistant, Vonnie, Kristen Stewart, who’s good in a more supple role. She has a boyfriend who never seems to be around, and Vonnie shares Bobby’s jaded view of the studio world.

Bobby’s Left Coast adventures—narrated by the director—are intercut with scenes from the reality he left behind, represented by his comically bickering parents (Jeannie Berlin and Ken Stott) and “tough Jew” brother Ben (Corey Stoll), whose gangster ways have been keeping the family afloat during the Great Depression. Ben also runs a chi-chi nightclub, where Bobby finds some romantic competition for Vonnie in the form of Blake Lively. A sense of unfinished business hangs over them, giving this sun-dappled snow globe a bittersweet air.

The goings-on benefits greatly from its impressive cast, particularly Eisenberg who is especially strong here. The film is lightweight, charming and affable. Special mention goes to famed cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now, Last Tango in Paris) whose sumptuous cinematography gives Café Society moments of golden-hued enchantment.

 

 

Captain Fantastic

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September 29, 2016

Captain Fantastic   USA

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:40 pm

Director: Matt Ross
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Frank Langella, George MacKay, Kathryn Hahn
Runtime: 118 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

“Captain Fantastic leaves viewers with the cheering, deeply affecting image of a dad whose superpowers lie in simply doing the best that he can.” – Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

cap-fantastic

Un Certain Regard Award (directing), Cannes Film Festival; Directors to Watch Award, Palm Springs International Film Festival; Best Film, Seattle International Film Festival.

 

Not to be confused with the stable of superheroes currently cramming cinema screens, Matt Ross’ Captain Fantastic is an engaging, comic family road movie. Viggo Mortensen is bearded Ben, who, along with his wife (Trin Miller) have taken their brood of six kids ‘way off the grid, living in a yurt in rural Washington.

 

The kids all have made-up names. They are trained in martial arts and rock-climbing. Their food is either hunted or grown. They read books assigned by dad, ranging from Dostoyevsky to particle physics. They have comical philosophical disputes.

 

However, when mom dies, their world is completely rocked, revealing budding fissures in the family unit. Upon learning that Jack, (Frank Langella) their mom’s father and their grandfather, is planning a Christian funeral, the appalled troupe head off in the family bus to New Mexico.

 

The oddness of the family begins to look less bizarre when compared to the freakishness that passes for 21st century American normality. A trip to a diner, a supermarket, and a tussle with a traffic policeman result in some amusing cultural conflicts. The family’s naiveté is blithely illustrated when father Ben greets the morning in the buff: “It’s only a penis,” he tells a passing elderly couple.

However it is at the funeral where they confront mom’s parents and come to realize that their lifestyle might not be sustainable as the forces of reaction line up against them.

….2

Captain Fantastic benefits from a witty, politically aware script. The kids are enjoyable and Mortensen is wonderful in the title role, showing a light hand at comedy. Perhaps it is not so ironic to realize that Captain Fantastic really may be a superhero movie after all.