Long overshadowed by Sideways, we’re giving this understated dramedy its due for depicting Midwest with the specificity Hollywood rarely gives it.
Alexander Payne’s Nebraska is as unassuming as the regular Midwestern folk it depicts. Even though this small, quiet, black-and-white comedy was flooded with nominations during the 2013 awards season it won almost none of them. Ten years on, it remains overshadowed by Payne’s more popular works like Sideways and Election. But this odd little dramedy is not only one of Payne’s finest films to date, it’s also his one true love letter to his home state of Nebraska and the Midwest itself. Continue Reading →
Talking animals have been an entertainment staple for practically as long as movies have been around. Most classics of the genre, like 1993’s Homeward Bound, aim squarely at children in the audience. Director Josh Greenbaum’s Strays seeks to subvert that approach by weaving dirty jokes and curse words into familiar genre tropes. The result is considerably more grating and unpleasant to watch. Continue Reading →
Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken
It’s not easy being a teenager. It’s especially not easy being a teenager like the titular protagonist of Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken. As that title would suggest, Ruby Gillman (Lana Condor) is a Kraken living in a seaside town with her family. Her parents and younger brother seem to have no trouble assimilating to the broader world, while Ruby struggles. All she wants is to blend in as a normal human-- albeit one with blue skin and no spine. However, to be an average teen, she’ll likely have to break some of her mom’s strict rules, namely, never going near the ocean. Continue Reading →