“I wanted to make a film about an orgy,” said writer-director Patrick Brice to an enthusiastic audience following a screening of his film The Overnight. With an impeccable cast featuring Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman and Judith Godrèche, he brings a surprisingly poignant intimacy and earnestness to a story that, in other hands with other actors, could easily have gotten lost in its own kinkiness.
It’s easy to be disillusioned by bland, scare-free horror films like The Lazarus Effect. Of course, not every horror film makes Ouija look like The Exorcist, but perhaps we can use this as a learning exercise. Rather than cursing the darkness, let’s light a little candle and look at “Three Things We Can Learn from The Lazarus Effect.”
One thing Togetherness does so well each, without even seeming like it has to work that hard to achieve it, is the way each new detail or drip of backstory about these characters seems completely natural as it is introduced. Even if an insecurity or personality tic arrives without prior discussion in previous episodes or allusions from other characters, everything melds together in a way that reflects life experience. The best example of this is the gradual return of Tina’s Texas accent as she gets closer to Houston, beginning with the surfacing of “y’all” on the plane and culminating with her drunk Southern Drawl. Not one character knows or expects everything that comes out of another’s mouth and to pretend otherwise would not be an honest representation of interpersonal relationships. Even Michelle and Brett, together for a decade or more, are continuously finding new ways to speak their minds that shocks their partner and at points even hurt them.
If Togetherness was only about Amanda Peet’s Tina being dishonest with herself about how her behavior around men and friends affects the rest of her life, it could be a great show. Peet is performing far out of her normal lane with this zany, insecure women who either cannot or refuses to acknowledge social cues from men she dates. Long the straight woman in her television and film roles (except for Bent- RIP Bent!), Peet is impossible to look away from here, constantly the most entertaining yet cringe-worthy of the four main characters introduced in the pilot. Her misguided attempts to force a relationship out of what is so obviously a brief hookup with a perfectly cast Ken Marino is only the tip of the iceberg for Tina, as she sets all her hopes on one guy only to see them dashed when he “breaks up with her” via text message.
Bluntly revealing information to the audience is one manner by which to increase the tension, another being the performance of a capable star. In the case of Creep that star shines very brightly on Mark Duplass. Having co-written the screenplay with director Patrick Brice Duplass was well positioned to understand where to take the character, how to behave and when to dial up the creepiness. The most inventive decision is to make Josef has compelling a character as he is through comedy.
The director and the majority of the cast of Parkland were present on Day 2 of TIFF 2013 to promote and support their new film, a dramatization of the chaotic aftermath of John F. Kennedy’s shooting. The movie, a would-be Oscar contender, is a serviceable but wildly uneven account of the tragic event that shook a nation.