Tag Archives: Elijah Wood

I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore (2017)

23 Feb

It’s a cruel, cruel world. Taking place in what could only be Trump’s America, I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore details the day-to-day life of Ruth (Melanie Lynskey), a jaded medical assistant who seems disgusted by the self-centeredness of a universe where “everyone I see is an asshole.” Ruth lives at home; her only friend is Angie, a busy housewife who has no time to listen when she nearly has an emotional breakdown after becoming a crime victim. It’s enough to push Ruth over the edge and investigate the perpetrators on her own terms, enlisting the help of her violent, short-tempered neighbor Tony (Elijah Wood) who just also happens to be a skilled martial artist.

Macon Blair, a skilled actor making his directorial debut, tightly commands every moment of this pitch-black comedic thriller. The jokes are few and far between, but they are delivered in such sly fashion they have a big impact (the bar scene is awkward enough to rival any episode from The Office). Blair, who comes fresh off of acting in Jeremy Saulnier’s acclaimed indie thrillers Green Room and Blue Ruin, is obviously a big genre fan himself, and his script here takes from a variety of influences (Martin McDonagh and the Coen brothers come to mind) while still feeling fresh and original. Lynskey gives her career-best performance as someone who is constantly weighed by the anxieties of the modern world but still someone who wants to make the altruistic change she wishes she could see in other people.

The story gets bumpy at around the halfway mark, but the few narrative issues are easily put aside when the film dives headfirst into its white-knuckle, absolutely batshit-insane third act. Here Blair’s talent shines like a beacon and he creates enormous amounts of tension in an incredibly tight timeframe. Clocking in at just over 90 minutes, I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore is a taut little thriller that leaves a bigger impression than it should.

Elijah Wood and Melanie Lynskey appear in I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore by Macon Blair, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Allyson Riggs.

Bottom Line: A genre-infused piece that shows Macon Blair’s inherent directorial sensibilities,  I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore is a deliciously clever and innovative take on the vigilante revenge story. It’s also incredibly suspenseful and drop-dead hilarious. 

Rating: 8/10 

Film Recipe: Fargo + In Bruges + Straw Dogs + Gran Torino 

MOST ANTICIPATED FOR 2017

2 Jan

So he were are. 2016 is history and as we look back on the best films of the year, we can also look towards the future and what’s coming down the cinematic pipeline. Here are my top ten most anticipated films -(provided we make it far enough in the age of Trump to actually watch them).   You can check out last year’s most anticipated here.

 

10 – Molly’s Game 

What’s it about? A young skier who get’s her own FBI investigation after creating an international poker series.

Why is it on the list? Aaron Sorkin is stepping into the director’s seat here, adapting a memoir by Molly Bloom. One of the finest screenwriters of our time, I’m curious to how Sorkin does behind the camera. Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba costar.

Release date – Unknown 

 

 

 

9 – Annihilation  

What’s it about?  All we know at this stage is that the plot has something to do with a team of scientists heading into the jungle for a secretive experiment of some kind.

Why is it on the list? Because Ex Machina was one of the most wholly original and singular sci-fi films in recent memory and Alex Garland has teamed up again with Oscar Issac. Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Natalie Portman round out a dream team of actors.

Release date – Unknown

 

8 – Wind River 

What’s it about? A Native American reservation becomes a murder scene which prompts an FBI investigation led by a veteran tracker.

Why is it on the list? Another accomplished screenwriter making a directorial debut. Taylor Sheridan‘s scripts for Sicario and Hell or High Water were both brilliant and I’m curios to see the acting duo of Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner in a non-superhero context.

Release date – Unknown for now, but I’m hoping to catch this at Sundance.

7 – The Bad Batch 

What’s it about? A blood soaked love story of sorts set in Texas. Also, cannibals.

Why is it on the list? I wasn’t the biggest fan of Ana Lily Amirpour’s Iranian-western-vampire coming of age story A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, but I was intrigued enough to see she had major directing potential. This new effort seems to have a Tarantino-influenced vibe and features a slew of great character actors including Jim Carrey, Keanu Reeves, Giovani Ribisi, and Diego Luna.

Release date: Though it’s played a few festivals, a widespread release date is unknown.  

6 – I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore 

What’s it about? A revenge thriller about a women tracking down the thieves who burglarized her house.

Why is it on the list? Fresh from his role in Jeremy Saulnier’s excellent, white-knuckler Green Room, actor Macon Blair takes a shot at directing his own original script. The premise sounds gleefully Coen-esc.

Release date: February 24 

5 – Mother  

What’s it about? “…a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home…” – IMDB

Why is it on the list? Because it’s Darren Aronofsky’s first film since the interesting-but-ultimately sub-par Noah.  Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Domhnall Gleeson, Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris star.

Release date: Unknown 

4 – Dunkirk 

What’s it about?  “Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II” – IMDB

Why is it on the list? Christopher Nolan is one of the rare few directors who can effectively blend pedestrian blockbuster fare with an inspired artistic vision.  This has potential to be one of 2017’s biggest critical and commercial hits.

Release: July 21 

3 – Lemon  

What’s it about? A boy gets dumped by his blind girlfriend.

Why is it on the list? Though Lemon is her first feature, Janicza Bravo has one of the boldest directorial voices in indie film today mixing awkward sensibilities reminiscent of films like Napoleon Dynamite and the works of Todd Solondz and Wes Anderson. Check out her short Gregory Goes Boom!  (NSFW) which also stars Michael Cera and Brett Gelman to get a taste of what we might expect from Lemon.

Release date: Unknown 

2-  Blade Runner 2049 

What’s it about? A sequel to the 1982 Ridley Scott film Blade Runner. 

Why is it on this list? Though most modern sequels/reboots don’t hold a candle to their origins, the fact that this is being helmed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Arrival) and shot by cinematographer legend Roger Deakins (1984, No Country For Old Men, Skyfall, and so, soooo many more) might be reason enough to make an exception. The icing on the cake is a top-notch cast consisting of Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Robyn Wright, Mckenzie Davis, Dave Bautista, Jared Leto and Barkhad Abdi.

Release date: Oct 6

1 – The Killing of a Sacred Deer

 

What’s it about? “A teenager’s attempts to bring a brilliant surgeon into his dysfunctional family takes an unexpected turn.” – IMDB

Why is it on the list? The Lobster was unexpectedly my favorite film of 2016 and, I’m itching to see what Yorgos Lanthimos is cooking up.

Release date – Unknown 

 

 

The best of 2014 (so far)

23 Jun

With June winding down, the year is nearly reaching its halfway point. Now it’s time to sort through the good, the bad, and the ugly, and take a look at my favorite 15 films of the year so far. Keep in mind there are a few films released with a lot of good buzz I have yet to see (Ida, Tom at the Farm, Hellion, Cold in July, Night Moves, Obvious Child and Snowpiercer). Note I am also using the word favorite as opposed to best or greatest – these are simply the ones I enjoyed most. So without further delay:

 

15 – Edge of Tomorrow 

imgres-1

Why? – I was pleasantly surprised by how tight and free-flowing this film was. It has a great time with the whole time-loop ting but still manages to be kickass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 – Grand Piano

imgres

Why? It’s so refreshing to see a “concept horror” that actually knows how to have a good time and not suck. Plus Elijah Wood playing a non-hobbit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 – The Grand Budapest Hotel 

url

 Why? Wes Anderson has outdone himself again and created an enchanting film with an all-star cast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 – X-Men: Days of Future Past 

Why? –  The action is playful and fun and character dynamic between Magneto, Prof. X, and Mystique is great stuff. Plus – time travel. What could have been a TOTAL mess-up ended up becoming my favorite summer blockbuster.

11 – The Immigrant 

the_immigrant_1-620x827

Why? Great performances all around, but Marion Cotillard absolutely steals the show and gives her finest performance to date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 – Joe 

imgres-2

          Why? Because Nic Cage is still a total badass (seriously).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 – The Babadook 

images

Why? Australian horror gets a makeover with a genuinely terrifying film that satisfies with smarts as well as scares.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8-  Infinitely Polar Bear 

url-1

Why? This heartfelt film shows the ups and downs of mental illness and boasts some of the best child acting I have seen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 – Whiplash 

Whiplash-Miles-Teller

Why? With great performances from J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller  make this is an absolute must see for music fans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 – The Double 

Why? A clever, dark comedy from Richard Ayode brings an introspective examination of identity, corporatism, and fate.\

5 – Borgman

Why? This weird, surreal tale about a mysterious vagabond probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s still an incredibly bold exercise in filmmaking.

 4 – Blue Ruin            

MV5BMTY4NTM2MDg5OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDA3OTAwMTE@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_

  Why? A new arthouse take on the homestyle revenge thriller.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 – Enemy

Why? Jake Gyllenhaal stars in this trippy, Freudian story of the dual nature of sexuality and manipulation.

2 – Under The Skin 

Why? A beautifully creepy film featuring aliens, sexual tension, and jaw-dropping cinematography. Oh – and that haunting score by Mica Levi is genius.

1 – Boyhood 

Why? Richard Linklater delivers the year’s best emotional high with his 12-year film which lets us follow a child who literally grows up right before our eyes.

So there ya go. Let me know in the comments of via email what films you think deserve a spot here, as well as any titles I might have missed out on.