Drinking Buddies (2013)

drinking buddies

Drinking Buddies is stupidly smart and funny. Another wonderful Swanberg piece with improvised dialogue packs enough drama and romance to keep it out of the romcom category. The story basically slices into the middle of a friendship and unwraps a lot of low-strung drama and reactive emotion at it. The two friends work at a beer brewery in Chicago and are as the title suggests drinking buddies.  Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson have chemistry-filled performances, maybe it was the beer. They did in fact drink beer during filming as they also worked and filmed at the brewery. Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston round up the cast and provide great balance and tensions to the story. There is much immaturity and ambiguity which paints a very natural picture of friendship and relationships in general.

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Our Summer in Provence (Avis de mistral) (2014)

avis de mistral

Our Summer in Provence is a clash of generations story told as a light family drama led by Jean Reno as the grumpy grandfather. Three Parisian kids spend the summer with their country-folk grandparents in the melting pot region of Camargue, Provence in southeast France. There are perpetual stereotypes, textbook feel-good moments, and overzealous themes on a silver platter. The film also dips into various pools of plot lines like sex or alcoholism and tends to dabble when it comes the core story. The story instead fills with cliche like a biker gang, drug dealer boyfriend and town cougar. The soundtrack becomes off putting as the film isn’t nearly aligned; it is aimless. It is entertaining as a family dramedy movie though as it offers a rustic setting and a variety of characters.

Under the Skin (2013)

under the skin

Under the Skin is psychedelic. The dark science fiction thriller story is eerie, sexual, graphic and strange overall. The film’s foggy Scottish Highlands and creepy score congeal into an art-like film. Sharp editing and tone-perfect cinematography also add to the experience. Other aspects of the production that makes it so artistic are the many non-actor characters; unscripted conversations; and the general alien perspective of Scarlett Johansson’s character which is mysteriously blunt. Her womanly character is constantly unexplained yet does transform from seductive to seduced (by oneself). The film is fully art-house because understanding is relative and subjective. Under the Skin will undoubtedly get under your skin on way or another.