Tag Archives: Sebastián Silva

Nasty Baby (2015 Sundance)

26 Mar

Veteran indie director Sebastian Silva (Magic Magic, Crystal Fairy) makes his return to the Sundance Film Festival with his latest entry Nasty Baby. Like he does with his previous films, Silva expertly creates a blend of genre fare and ultra-realism into something striking, bold, and memorable.

The story centers around a trio of characters living in central Brooklyn. Silva plays Freddy, a gay performance artist living with his partner Mo (Tunde Adebimpe from TV On The Radio fame). The two are desperate to have a child and team up with Polly (Kristen Wiig) who has agreed to have the child via surrogate. Unfortunately, Freddy’s sub-par sperm puts the shy-but-likable Mo under considerable pressure.  The film follows this trio’s baby delhema along with certain characters from the neighborhood including a fellow artist Wendy (Alia Shawkat), oldtimer Richard (Mark Margolis) and a grumpy homophobic man known as “The Bishop” (Reg E. Cathey). Nasty Baby proceeds as a witty, dialogue driven, Noah Baumbach-esc urban comedy until tragedy strikes within the neighborhood and things take a dark turn.

Always one to embrace natural performances, Silva directs the characters with an incredibly fluidity and gives an amazing debut performance himself. The script (also by Silva) is fantastic; interactions between our progressive trio of Polly, Mo, and Freddy feel so alive and fresh, giving the film an exciting, serendipitous quality. Things aren’t sugar-sweet for long however, as the film takes a bizarre tonal shift during its third act, guaranteeing to leave some viewers feeling cheated or manipulated. Despite the sudden brashness of it’s ending, Silva has created something truly bold within the recent subgenre that I like to call “urban millennials in a crisis”.

Bottom Line: With engaging dialogue and some killer performances, Nasty Baby really struck a chord with me, and should stand out as another original (but incredibly divisive) work from one of the most exciting new directors out there.

Rating – 7/10 

Film Recipe: Rachel Getting Married (2008) + Magic Magic (2013) + Hesher (2010) + Progressive Lifestyles 

 

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Magic Magic (2013)

12 Aug

Chilean filmmaker Sebastian Silva made waves at this years Sundance Film Festival with two superb films staring Michael Cera that were both filmed on-location in Chile. Micheal Cera hasn’t always been one of my favorite actors, but his performance in Magic Magic shows he can be more than the self-conscious teen nerd he has come to be known for (Superbad, Juno, Arrested Development).

Magic Magic is the story of an American girl named Alicia (played by the always lovely Juno Temple), who visits her cousin studying in Chile.  Because of an unexpected exam, her cousin Sarah (Emily Browning) is separated, leaving Alicia to journey with a group of strangers towards a vacation home on a mysterious island. Of course, things aren’t always what they appear to be, and what starts out as an innocent trip with some friends turns into a bizarre and unforgettable journey.

What really makes this film remarkable is the wonderful casting and chemistry that this group of friends share on-screen. Michael Cera is brilliant and adds a subtle but welcoming amount of comedic relief. Juno Temple is also fabulous and creates an intense mood in the film through her performance. Emily Browning, Catalina Moreno, and Augustin Silva make a great and believable supporting characters.

Some friendly advice: if you are the type who hates spoilers then DO NOT WATCH THE TRAILER, as it gives away far too much of the plot. If you aren’t into the weird, psychological sort of films, then this might not be your cup of tea, but I think Magic Magic is one of the year’s best for it’s unpredictability, wonderful cast, and intense thrilling script.

Rating: 8/10

Similar to: Black Swan, Repulsion, Sisters