|INHERIT THE VIPERTHE WHISTLERSTHIS WEEKTRAILERSTRAILERCATS|
“Inherit the Viper” may be an undercooked and regretfully titled domestic crime drama about life in the grip of America's opioid epidemic, but Anthony Jerjen's debut feature can be compelling for how it explores the core ironies of a modern plague. This is a crisis fueled by drugs that were ostensibly designed to help people, and the three siblings at the heart of Jersen's film — while never afforded the detail required to bleed off the screen — are constantly trying to dig themselves out of the pit their father left for them when he died; after sinking to a certain low, down can seem like the only way up. And after several years of cutting off their nose to spite their face, the surviving members of the Conley family are willing to do whatever it takes to numb the pain, which is something these small-time oxy dealers have in common with the sad rabble of local addicts whose misery funds their hope for the future. Someone's problem is everyone's problem.
By the time the movie begins, it's clear that the Conley kids have already built up a tolerance to the hurt around them. Josie “The Deuce” star Margarita Levieva is the most desensitized to the hardship around her, and the most indifferent to her role in making it worse. When one of her customers suffers a fatal overdose in the bathroom of some dingy Ohio bar, Josie just snatches the leftover drugs out from the corpse's hand and runs off to sell them to somebody else. It's the rare grace note in a movie that's often too busy turning the screws to hone in on its underlying human drama.
Andrew Crabtree's script has a keen sense of character, but many of the finer details are lost in a story that's at once both extremely simple and frustratingly convoluted. The gist of it is that the Conleys are at war with themselves: Josie is the id lashing out at the world, her wistful older brother Kip Josh Hartnett is the superego war vet who wants to put all the pain behind him and commit to a middle-class existence with his cheery pregnant girlfriend, and teenage Boots “Mrs. Fletcher” standout Owen Teague is the impressionable baby of the family caught between them. Boots sees his brother as a hero and his sister as their salvation, and he's wrong on at least one of those counts. When Boots and one of his dopey friends decide to steal Josie's supply and get in the drug game on their own, Kip has to save them with his old sniper rifle, kicking off a spiral of dead-end violence that will force the Conleys to reckon with the kind of pain they're willing to suffer for a brighter tomorrow. As Bruce Dern's crotchety old bartender puts it: “Are you willing to cut off an arm to save the body?”
It's a potentially compelling lens through...
When I had the opportunity to sit down for an interview with Corneliu Porumboiu, writer and director of the delightful film The Whistlers, it was the first time in my writing career I ever felt I shouldn’t come too heavily prepared with questions. I didn’t want answers from the filmmaker at the vanguard of the Romanian New Wave about his new work. Since The Whistlers is all about dualities, paradoxes and contradictions, what I really wanted was to simply engage in dialogue around all that the film raises. Luckily, Porumboiu indulged my odd request rather than scoffing at it.
Some quick background on this off-kilter crime caper before jumping into our conversation: The Whistlers follows the exploits of Vlad Ivanov’s crooked Romanian police inspector Cristi as he sets off to claim a bounty of drug money in the far-off Canary Islands. In order to get his hands on this coveted prize, he’ll have to learn a coded language of whistles that’s both simple and secretive. Along his winding path, Porumboiu has his protagonist confront any number of deceptive double agents, absurd situations, and self-serious archetypes from movie genres. It’s an uncategorizable delight, and it was an honor to dive deeper into the rich text with the filmmaker himself.
Is duality baked into The Whistlers from the beginning just given that it’s part of a genre where people are so often not what they appear, their alliances change, and dark underbellies emerge?
Yeah, when I choose this setup of drug dealings and police vs. mobsters, trying to kill each other if it’s possible, of course I played with that. I need this type of world [that’s] very on the edge. That [applies] also for the whistling, how to code and use whistling in a very borderline situation.
On the one hand, the whistling language Cristi has to learn connects people in such a straightforward and blunt way, but it’s also much simpler and more primitive form of communication. As someone who thinks a lot about language, do you think this is regression, progress, or somehow both?
I saw it in a way that, OK, my character will be sincere for that. On the other hand, I said this type of simplicity – at the end of the day, the film is about the process of learning this language. But, at the same time, the language became necessary not to use for the way that he wanted. It became more than that for him. But this process of learning the language, to simplify things…I think in my mind, it has to [make sense] for the character. So, through this process of learning, we go back like a puzzle through some situations from before [via flashbacks]. I wanted to have this movement through and for the character learning this language in a more simple way and clarifying him at some points.
It’s as if simplicity of the whistling language unlocks something within...
EXCLUSIVE: Grace and Frankie may have suspended production on its seventh and final season because of the coronavirus crisis, but the Emmy nominated Netflix comedy is back this week with a special live treat for fans and a spotlight on seniors in need during these troubled times.
The Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin-led series will be having an online table read this Thursday to help Meals On Wheels COVID-19 relief program, I've learned – though you can make donations right now via the link here.
While other shows have taken a similar digital approach in recent weeks, the long running Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris showrun series is adding some originality. The April 9 presentation will feature an episode from the yet unaired seventh season, as well as a live Q&A afterwards moderated by Kauffman.
Along with Oscar winner Fonda and Oscar nominee Tomlin, fellow G&F cast members Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen, June Diane Raphael, Brooklyn Decker, Baron Vaughn and Ethan Embry will be participating in the reading of the Kauffman and Morris-penned “The Fallout” episode on Thursday.
Starting at 5 PM PT/8 PM ET, the whole shindig can be seen live and direct on the Netflix is a Joke YouTube page LINK HERE on April 9.
“While we’re sitting here afraid, unsure and isolated, we wanted to come together and do some good,” Kauffman told me of the decision to take the show online in a new form and with a peek into the future.”
“All we’ve got is time on our hands and technology at our fingertips,” the Friends co-creator added as production on Season 7 was temporarily suspended late on March 12 as restrictions on large gatherings tighten in the City of Angels. “So we decided to use both of those assets to raise money for Meals on Wheels, which brings food to food-insecure and isolated seniors. They are among our most vulnerable right now and need our help.”
“Our cast is all in and super excited,” Okay Goodnight founder Kauffman also says of her superstar packed team. “And Netflix and Skydance have been particularly supportive. As far as giving the fans a peek into Season 7, we figured more people would tune in to new content and it would, hopefully, be a draw for fans of Grace and Frankie. The hope is: more eyes, more money raised for Meals on Wheels.”
Produced by Skydance Television, which launched in 2013, Grace And Frankie was one of the first original series for Netflix. Though in a pause period right now, like everyone else in Tinseltown the seventh and final season is still set to premiere next year, which will make the series the longest running comedy in the streamer's history.
As of last night, there are 6360 confirmed case of the coronavirus in L.A. County and 147 deaths....
Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising?
This week we overcome being an ugly duckling, spend some more time with those with autism, have our third eye melted, look at some hip hop legends, and get exonerated for crimes we didn’t commit.Autism: The Sequel
Director Tricia Regan is bringing hope at just the right time.
Revisiting the subjects of the 2007 Emmy-winning documentary Autism: The Musical, Autism: The Sequel offers a heartwarming inside look into the daily challenges and triumphs of adults on the autism spectrum.
In 2006, HBO debuted the 2007 Emmy®-winning Autism: The Musical, a poignant, heartwarming film that followed five children on the autism spectrum as they wrote and performed their own musical. We revisit the stars of this musical 12 years later in Autism: The Sequel as the original subjects, now in their early 20s, navigate what independence means to them as they manage challenges and triumphs as adults.
If there was a way to excise the uplifting string arrangement towards the end of the trailer, I would do it. It’s not to say this documentary isn’t an uplifting story, but when you consider that these kids, who are now adults, are still struggling to live day-to-day with autism, it seems like a different approach could have been made to reflect their current accomplishments. This is a story that will continue long after this doc is done. This specific story is a celebration, but, also, there is the very real fact that there are more mountains for them to climb. It’s inspiring.The Innocence Files
True crime aficionados, rejoice!
Through the lens of The Evidence, The Witness and The Prosecution, The Innocence Files shines a powerful light on the untold personal stories behind eight cases of wrongful conviction that the nonprofit organization the Innocence Project and organizations within the Innocence Network have uncovered and worked tirelessly to overturn. The Innocence Files is executive produced and directed by Academy Award® nominee Liz Garbus, Academy Award® winner Alex Gibney, Academy Award® winner Roger Ross Williams; with episodes also directed by Academy Award® nominee Jed Rothstein, Emmy Award® winner Andy Grieve and Sarah Dowland.
You have a veritable who’s who of directing talent who have lined up to tell some very real stories. Stories that, without question, cast a deep and long shadow over the criminal justice system. No one deserves to be wrongfully convicted, much less jailed, for an...