|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...
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 follow a pack of good boys and girls, check our assumptions, learn a thing or two about race, catch up with Iliza Shlesinger, and appreciate our music teachers.Stray
I had to check to see if this was a canine sequel to the incredible Kedi, but director Elizabeth Lo has done something completely new and welcome.
In Stray, a trio of canine outcasts roam the streets of Istanbul. Through their eyes and ears, we are shown an intimate portrait of the life of a city and its people.
I’ve never been to Istanbul, but knowing there are stray dogs and cats roaming freely there almost makes it seem like a quasi-paradise. There is something so soothing about watching these dogs walk among people, no owner in sight, free to let the day take them wherever it might. And that shot at the beginning of the dog waking up on the beach? Powerful.Find Your Groove
This documentary by director Mike Kirk perfectly tees up the issue of arts education, and the importance of it, in our schools and communities.
In this uplifting documentary, stars and musicians from across the industry speak to the power and importance of music in society. Here we examine how close we came to not having many of the incredible artists who we cherish today had it not been for arts programs. Music has the power to inspire and change the world, and that starts with our supporting young talent.
The more this quarantine drags on, the more I need positive messages. It’s easy to dismiss this kind of entertainment as just liberal claptrap, but I would argue arts education is just as important as the sciences or the humanities. This plays an important part of a well-rounded society and knowing that physical education and the arts are the first things to get cut when times are tight means content like this should remind us of why the arts are vital.Bias
Director Robin Hauser isn’t here to make you feel comfortable.
The toxic effects of Bias make headlines every day: sexual harassment, racial profiling, the pay gap. As humans, we are biased. Yet few of us are willing to admit it. We confidently make snap judgments, but we are shockingly unaware of the impact our assumptions have on those around us. The documentary feature ‘bias’ follows filmmaker Robin Hauser on a journey to uncover her hidden biases and explore how unconscious bias defines relationships, workplaces, our justice system, and technology....
Apple TV+ comedies have already delved into the world of video game development and the life of Emily Dickinson. On May 1, the streaming service will explore the joys — but mostly the outrageous trials and tribulations — of parenting when “Trying” hits the platform.
Apple unveiled the trailer for “Trying,” a half-hour British comedy, on Monday, March 30. The series will center on Nikki Esther Smith and Jason Rafe Spall, a 30-something couple who must learn to grow up, settle down, and find someone to love after it’s revealed Nikki is incapable of having a child.
Per Apple, all that Nikki and Esther want is a baby — but it's the one thing they just can't have. How are they going to fill the next 50 years if they can't start a family? After ruling out every other option, Nikki and Jason decide to adopt and are confronted by a world of bewildering new challenges. With their dysfunctional friends, screwball family, and chaotic lives, will the adoption panel agree that they're ready to be parents?
The plot might hinge on Nikki's distressing infertility, but the “Trying” trailer promises plenty of laughs out of the protagonist's unfortunate situation. The series' trailer shows the duo hustling to improve their lives, gleefully pointing out one another's faults, but ultimately bonding through their quest to start their own family.
Additional cast members include BAFTA Award winner Imelda Staunton, Ophelia Lovibond, and Oliver Chris. The series is produced by BBC Studios, written by Andy Wolton, and directed by Jim O'Hanlon.
“Trying” will mark the latest addition to an expanding Apple TV+ comedy slate. The streaming service recently released “Mythic Quest Raven's Banquet,” a video game workplace comedy starring and co-created by Rob McElhenney “It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia” that has already been renewed for a second season. Apple TV+ is also preparing to release its animated musical “Central Park” on May 29, just in time for Emmy season.
Other recent and upcoming Apple TV+ projects include “Little America” and “Defending Jacob.” The former, which released in January, was praised by IndieWire’s Ben Travers as one of the streaming service's standout titles, while the latter, a limited drama starring Chris Evans, is shaping up to be a potential Emmy contender.
Check out the trailer for “Trying” below: