Friday, May 26, 2017

Movie with Abe: The Women's Balcony

I had the chance to review a fantastic new film that opens today and says a lot about religion, "The Women's Balcony." Head over to Jewcy to check out my review.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Movie with Abe: Take Me

Take Me
Directed by Pat Healy
Released May 5, 2017

People run all sorts of businesses. Some are more legitimate, and some more normative, and often the two intersect. And then there are those that are both off-putting in nature and considerably under-the-table in terms of their legality, yet those who operate them might still take pride in the work that they do. How well someone does their job and how above-board it is are two completely different things, yet it does tend to be interesting to see someone treat what others might balk at as completely standard operating procedure, giving it their all despite its truly strange nature.

Ray Moody (Pat Healy) runs Kidnap Solutions, LLC, an agency that specializes in custom abductions, mostly used to help rid people of habits that they would like to cut. His methods are certainly unorthodox, but that doesn’t stop him from going in to a bank to apply for a loan that a horrified teller has no intention of giving him. When he receives a call from business consultant Anna St. Blair (Taylor Schilling) requesting a full-weekend kidnapping, he is reluctant at first and then entirely surprised when, once the simulation begins, she seems to have no knowledge of having contracted him in the first place.

This is a relatively intimate film, one that features a few supporting players, like Ray’s disapproving sister, in short scenes, but mostly this is a two-person show. Ray is a nice guy who puts on a strong front to seem tough, but even he has lines he won’t cross, and he never intends to make anyone feel pain or misery. Anna, on the other hand, is impossible to read, one moment scared for her life and then appearing to bait Ray to be more aggressive in the next. Their relationship is difficult to decipher, but it does make for good entertainment.

Healy, who has appeared in a number of films over the years, steps behind the camera to film his directorial debut, which is definitely a comedy and one that puts him in a fun role at the center. Schilling, best known for “Orange is the New Black,” is the perfect actress to play opposite him, making Anna more than just a one-dimensional character. For the length of its short eighty-four-minute runtime, this film is enthralling and engaging, presenting an adventure that might not be for all tastes but produces more than a few laughs.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Movie with Abe: The Drowning

The Drowning
Directed by Bette Gordon
Released May 10, 2017

I had a conversation a few nights ago with a friend about movies and her perspective that they’re supposed to provide entertainment. That can mean any number of different things, but usually it signifies enjoyment and fulfillment, or at the very least something to take your mind off more important matters. That concept isn’t always true, since some movies don’t in fact provide entertainment, but there does need to be something for viewers to tether themselves to while watching. A movie called “The Drowning” was never going to be an uplifting comedy, but it could have been far less miserable than this film turned out.

Psychiatrist Tom Seymour (Josh Charles) and his wife Lauren (Julia Stiles) are out walking one day when they spot a young man jump into the water in an attempt to commit suicide. After Tom saves him, he visits the hospital and realizes that he is Danny Miller (Avan Jogia), a former patient that he treated and then got sent to jail after a murder he committed as a child. As memories of their unsettling encounters flood back to him, Tom finds Danny, now going by a new name, appearing back in his life in a very forceful and unwelcome way that causes great concern for the increasingly distracted and frazzled Tom.

What this film’s title refers to specifically isn’t clear from the start of the film, but it is apparent that Tom is retreating from his life, distancing himself from his wife, who is perfectly charmed by the new young man she meets whose identity she knows nothing about, and immersing himself in a book about the cases that he has overseen over the years. Tom is far from an inviting character, while Danny exudes a frantic, crazed energy that makes him seem dangerously unhinged.

Charles was a very strong part of “The Good Wife” and has made a handful of films since his exit from the show. This shouldn’t be counted high among them, and doesn’t showcase the best of the talented actor. Stiles’ performance is also rather wooden and adds nothing to the film. When it begins, it seems that this story is headed somewhere, but unfortunately it never manages to get there and instead wallows in its own discomfort, offering nothing close to entertainment and achieving little in the way of dramatic or dynamic transformation.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Jewcy Interview: Tomorrow Ever After

There's a great little movie called "Tomorrow Ever After" that opened this past Friday. I had a really cool opportunity to chat with filmmaker and star Ela Thier, who does some pretty interesting things. Head over to Jewcy to check out the interview!