Tuesday, September 18, 2018
It's been a long time, hasn't it? I hope all of you have been very well. You might be wondering what have I been up to. Well, I've been focusing more on my studies, and this year happens to be my senior year of college. I'm currently working on my Senior Thesis Film, among other things. I'm still seeing movies, as you might have guessed, and if you're wondering what I've seen and what I've thought of what I've seen, you can check out my Letterboxd page and follow me on there to keep up with every movie-related thing I'm up to. Speaking of movie-related things, as the title of this article says, I'm covering the 2018 Urbanworld Film Festival this coming weekend! What is the Urbanworld Film Festival, you may ask? Well, it's a festival that's been around ever since 1997, and it celebrates the diverse voices in the world of Film, Music, and Television. They, as their website says, "fight tirelessly to expand the definition of “urban” beyond ethnicity to include sensibility, culture, and proximity."
I attended one of their film events last year, which was the New York premiere of the film "Marshall" starring Chadwick Boseman and Josh Gad, among other familiar faces. Despite some snafus that I, unfortunately, had to endure that night, I could tell that the festival was run with as much love and care as they could give. They were as accommodating to me as they possibly could have been, and to that, I strongly appreciate it and thank them and their workers for their generosity that night. When I applied as a press member for this year's festival, I honestly didn't think I would be approved. After all, I haven't written fully on this blog since 2015, and I haven't written for We Live Entertainment since 2016. And yet, here we are. I don't think I'm going to be covering a whole lot of the festival, but the stuff I am planning on covering I'm very excited about. Check back in throughout the next week or so to see reviews and recaps of some of the events I'm going to attend, one of which includes the New York premiere of director Steve McQueen's ("12 Years a Slave") new film "Widows," which boasts an incredible ensemble cast lead by Viola Davis and Liam Neeson.
I hope you guys enjoy what I end up writing for my coverage, and I thank you all for reading my stuff over the past nine years. If you would like to know more information about Urbanworld, check out their website at www.UrbanWorld.org. If there's anything playing at the festival that you'd love to see me cover, let me know in the comments! If you're in the New York area and plan on attending the festival, let me know what you're seeing! If you see me at one of the screenings, don't be a stranger and come say hi! Again, thank you to everyone for reading my reviews, as poorly written as they might have been, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on the films and events I attend this weekend. I may decide to start writing more reviews on here again, but don't hold me to that, as my workload is very busy these days. Hope you're all having a great day/great week, and I wish you all the very best.
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Zoey Deutch, Kathryn Hahn
April 20th, 2017 (Tribeca)
March 16th, 2018 (LIMITED)
1 hour 30 minutes
*DISCLAIMER: This review was written in April of 2017 during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival for ScreenComment.com, and has since been reposted here to my original blog*
On the surface, Max Winkler’s directorial debut “Flower” looks and feels like any other coming-of-age teen dramedy to come out in recent memory. However, looking at how great the films in this new wave of teen films have been, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Zoey Deutch stars as Erica, a girl who gets joy in life from hanging out with friends, having a fun time, and blackmailing unsuspecting men with the power of oral pleasure. All is great in Erica’s life, but things begin to take a different turn when Luke, the son of her mom’s boyfriend is let out of rehab. Joey Morgan plays Luke, a mentally unstable and overweight young man with a lot of demons resting under his skin. And with a plot involving a potential sexual predator from Luke’s past coming into the mix, things get more complicated than anyone could have imagined.
From the opening scene, it’s clear that Erica is a nasty woman, and not the kind that people would vote in as our next president. She’s a bitch, long story short, and the film acknowledges this despite us having to like her in the end. With any other actress, it might have been hard to do that, but Deutch is having so much fun being such a crazy and awful teenager that her charisma draws the audience into liking her. Her chemistry with all the cast members, particularly with Kathryn Hahn, who plays her mom, is great as well. Hahn’s performance on its own is yet another example of how strong of an actress she can be. It's easy to compare her work here to her character from last year’s summer breakout smash “Bad Moms,” but there’s a lot more pain and struggle here, all of which comes out at the beginning of the third act.
I’d say that Deutch is easily the standout out of the cast, but the real surprise comes from Joey Morgan. Morgan is probably most notable for “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse,” which, for lack of a better term, isn’t the most intelligent and profound of teen-centric films. Luke is the heart and center of “Flower” as a whole, being both the catalyst for all of the forthcoming events and the most complex out of everybody else. His growth as a character feels incredibly satisfying, especially with Erica by her side. Though the outcome of their bond feels extremely odd and strange, it makes sense how they got there, and I believe the film earned that moment. I will guarantee you, though, that it will turn people off and possibly even question what they thought of the entire movie as a whole.
I haven’t even begun to scratch some of the other active elements this movie possesses, including the hilarious and fun supporting performances from Dylan Gelula, Adam Scott, and Tim Heidecker, to name a few. I also haven’t mentioned how effectively funny and moving the script, co-written by Winkler, Alex McAulay, and Matt Spicer is. “Flower” has a lot of strong things going for it, and as a whole, I think it very much succeeded both as a comedy and drama.
The third act takes an unexpectedly dark turn culminating with a rather bizarre conclusion that, as mentioned before, may very well make or break the film for people. The movie drops in quality for me once that act kicks in, but because of how strong the first two acts are, as well as the performances and the screenplay, I still recommend “Flower.” There are many other teen coming-of-age movies I’d recommend seeing over this, including Deutch’s other recent teen drama “Before I Fall,” the highly overlooked “First Girl I Loved,” and another film playing at Tribeca called “Saturday Church.” Like I said, though, I’d still give “Flower” an enthusiastically positive recommendation. Zoey Deutch’s fiery hilarious yet sophisticated performance alone makes the price of admission worth it.