Film Reviews: New Releases July 14-16

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  • LeBron James and Bugs Bunny in Space Jam: a new legacy

Can I Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters ****

See the feature review. Available July 16 via; available July 23 via (NR)

Gunpowder Milkshake ** 1/2
When a movie looks like a deliberate pastiche of a dozen other popular movies, it seems the best you can hope for is some transient pleasures. And that’s more or less what you get from director Navot Papushado and co-writer Ehud Lavski in this bloody action thriller about a super-assassin named Sam (Karen Gillan) who finds himself dealing with a 8 year old girl (Chloe Coleman) while trying to survive the many, many guys trying to kill her for various and various reasons. History borrows heavily from John wick Serial model of underworld building, including a ‘library’ made up of badass (Michelle Yeoh, Carla Gugino and Angela Bassett) and various locations where a ‘no guns’ policy is understood. There’s also an attempt at emotional depth by juxtaposing Sam’s unwitting surrogacy with her issues with her own mother (Lena Headey). For the most part, however, it’s a slightly above-average spin on a dozen other Tarantino clones from the past 30 years, capitalizing on its killer cast and creatively staged chunks of chaos. like a sequence where Sam has to fight with two temporarily anesthetized arms. A handful of new twists can at least provide a temporary distraction from the feeling that there is nothing new under the sun. Available July 14 via Netflix. (D)

I carry you with me ** 1/2
On the one hand, director Heidi Ewing deserves recognition for attempting a unique hybrid of dramatic storytelling and documentary storytelling; on the other hand, I’m not sure it actually works in this case. The factual story begins with actors playing the lead roles of two lovers in 1994 (and not gay-friendly) in Mexico: Iván Campos (Armando Espitia), an aspiring chef, and Gerardo (Christian Vazquez), a teacher. Ewing and co-writer Alan Page fight their way through the complications of their relationship, from family expectations to a long separation when Iván decides to try his luck in New York City (including a heart-wrenching illegal border crossing). While there are some highlights to this journey, including how their respective fathers react to their sons’ sexual orientation, Ewing and Page clearly remain so close to actual events that the dramatic structure is sacrificed. And the time i carry you with me reached its current conclusion – with Iván and Gerardo themselves playing themselves – the filmmakers seem to be abandoning any attempt to resolve many of the conflicts that have been introduced. For anyone who watches a movie based on a true story and complains that “it didn’t actually happen that way”, here is an example of why a movie has different dramatic requirements than a real life. . Available July 16 in theaters. (D)

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Nicolas Cage in Cochon - NEON FILMS

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  • Nicolas Cage in Pig

Pig *** 1/2

Writer / director Michael Sarnoski’s original little drama begins in a way that suggests a very different direction than the one it ultimately takes. Its protagonist is Robin Feld (Nicolas Cage), a recluse living alone in the woods of Oregon with his truffle pig, bartering his produce to Amir (Alex Wolff), a middleman selling truffles to upscale Portland restaurants. Then, thieves assault him and kidnap the pig, sending Robin on an odyssey to Portland to retrieve the animal. Along the way, Sarnoski distributes information about Robin’s story before the hermit; the endangered pet element, a weird underground fight club, and the way Robin’s name is pronounced in a low voice alludes to some sort of John Wick of the culinary world. Ultimately, however, Pig gives both Robin and Amir arcs that play with the collision of pretentious food culture – including a large scene where Robin psychologically breaks down a chef who creates dishes based on mousse from blueberry and pine smoke – and the simplest, Ratatouille-esque link between food, love and memory. The result might make some of the weird storytelling twists and turns seem out of place, but Sarnoski’s performances and sharp, patient direction make it a quest narrative with more of an emotional kick than a physical one. Available July 16 in theaters. (D)

Roadrunner: A film about Anthony Bourdain ***
There is an unsettling quality about the way director Morgan Neville takes advantage of his access to so much stock footage and voiceover starring the late chef / writer / TV personality Anthony Bourdain, like he’s us was talking from beyond the grave. An attempt to figure out what he might be trying to say is at least part of what’s going on here, as Neville focuses on Bourdain’s years of public life – since the publication of his best-selling memoir. Confidential Kitchen in 2000 to his suicide in 2018, rather than attempting a cradle-to-grave biography. Interviews with friends and colleagues provide context for the many sequences of Bourdain himself taken from his various TV series (as well as sequences and behind-the-scenes shots), exploring how his addictive personality influenced every part of him. his life. As a straightforward character study, it’s always exciting to explore the ways Bourdain struggled to be a celebrity, and with all of the undiagnosed conditions that drove him on. But as Neville flirts with exploitation once he begins to question interview subjects about Bourdain’s death, he provides a surprisingly heartbreaking portrait of those left behind after a suicide, wishing that a voice of beyond can answer unanswered questions. Available July 16 in theaters. (D)

Space Jam: a new legacy *
There have been films much worse than Space Jam: a new legacy, but it could represent the pinnacle of a particularly disgusting brand of garbage that flatter the public. It’s pretty pointless trying to sum up the premise – something to do with a computer algorithm (Don Cheadle) that has achieved self-awareness inside the Warner Bros. server. Studios, and wants LeBron James (himself) to do … something, who the fuck knows – because that’s just a thin frame for the rat-a-tat parade of references involving not just the characters from Looney Tunes , but virtually every recognizable piece of intellectual property owned by WB. Of course, the credited group of writers sometimes stumble upon a decent joke or cross-pollination of characters from cartoons and other movies that don’t make you want to get worked up. The whole company is so deeply cynical, a parade of “Got This Reference” tracks that never remotely feel affectionate towards the characters he trots on, as evidenced by the transformation of Bugs, Daffy and Company into versions. CG of 2D icons. More confusingly still, the story ultimately revolves around a controversial relationship between LeBron and his teenage son (Cedric Joe), as if everyone can care about the hoop star’s emotional skills and a tender moment of reconciliation. in the midst of conscious anarchy. This is what happens when you leave the elementary school focus group of the episode “Poochie” of The simpsons make decisions about making a film. Available July 16 in theaters and via HBO Max. (PG)

Witches of the East **
Documentaries don’t often take aesthetic risks, so it’s a shame that French filmmaker Julien Faraut’s unusual choices almost always undermine what should have been a foolproof subject. This topic is the 1950s / 1960s Nichibo Kaizuka Women’s Volleyball Club of Japan, made up of workers from a textile factory, and which has become such an international powerhouse that they have been nicknamed “the witches” for their purpose. almost supernatural performance. Faraut insists there was nothing supernatural about the grueling practices they put in place, although he does so in a way that itself proves to be quite grueling – showing footage archive their exercises over and over again in a way that just becomes tedious. And many of Faraut’s other decisions prove to be equally frustrating: sequences interspersed sporadically with volleyball-themed anime while waiting too long to explain its context; getting interviews with surviving team members, while leaving voiceovers on boring footage like one of them playing games with her grandchildren; completely losing track of the team for a long streak focusing on the post-war emergence of Japan as a manufacturing powerhouse. The film recovers somewhat for a final starring the 1964 Olympics gold medal match against the Soviet Union, mounted for real tension and capturing the incredible skills of women. At this point, he’s also wasted a lot of time on the distractions of a big real story. Available July 16 via (NR)

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