Quick Cuts: Baby Driver

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to see an early screening of Edgar Wright’s latest movie, Baby Driver.

The film follows a teenage getaway car driver code-named “Baby” (Ansel Elgort) as he attempts to leave behind his life of crime and win the affections of a waitress named Debora (Lily James). Baby is something of a driving prodigy, and has proven himself an asset his boss (Kevin Spacey) can’t afford to let go. Baby’s true passion, however, is music, as its the only way to drown out his chronic tinnitus. The movie is an effortless blend of action and comedy, with an emphasis on action (especially in the latter half of the film). While some elements have a hint of camp or parody, it is generally a straight-forward action film.

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Quick Cuts: Serial Mom

John Water’s “Serial Mom” is an often overlooked and nearly forgotten cult film that highlights the vast cultural differences between the early 90’s and today. Released in 1994, the film is Water’s reaction to the resurgence of the hyper-sanitized moral majority. in the early 90’s. The film stars Kathleen Turner as Beverly Sutphin, a suburban home-maker and stay-at-home mom with intense psychological issues that turn her into a mass-murderer. Yes, this is a comedy, and yes it is actually funny.

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Quick Cuts: Arrival

Every year since 2013 we’ve had a serious science fiction drama for adults released in the fall. Gravity, Interstellar, The Martian and now, Arrival all feature visionary directors tackling ambitious science fiction projects. The primary difference with Arrival, is that it isn’t a spectacle. If you’re looking for a more dark and realistic Independence Day, this movie isn’t for you.

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Quick Cuts: Nerve

Considering teenagers and young adults make up a majority of US movie-goers, it seems odd that relatively movies starring teenagers make their way to the screen every year. It makes sense; teens more readily relate to adults than vice versa which limits the overall audience. Perhaps more surprising is the expected drop in quality when discussing a film starring teenage characters. For every Mean Girls, there are four DUFFs. For every Hunger Games there’s a Vampire Academy.

Nerve finds itself somewhere in the middle of the pack. It does most things right, but a few things wrong, and it adds up to a generally positive experience.

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Quick Cuts: Swiss Army Man

I’ve seen a number of off-kilter, unorthodox and even bizarre movies in my time. At first glance, Swiss Army Man may be the weirdest. We open the movie with Paul Dano stranded on an island about to hang himself, before he spots the dead body of Daniel Radcliffe at the edge of the water. And that’s when the farting begins. Yes, there’s no way around it, this is the farting corpse movie. The story follows Paul Dano using Daniel Radcliffe’s lifeless body as a sort of multi-tool to find his way back to civilization. He uses the corpse’s rigor mortis, gag reflex and seemingly endless supply of gas to do just about every task a survivalist would face. Hence the title, “Swiss Army Man”. The movie makes it very clear early on that this is not supposed to be realistic at all, but a metaphorical multi-tool to talk about society.

If you’ve already jumped ship on this one, I don’t blame you.

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Quick Cuts: Into the Forest

Many of the strongest dramas are tightly focused stories of a single relationship. In the case of Into the Forest, it is a relationship between two sisters. In the not so distant future, a global power outage throws the world into chaos. Instead of examining the broad implications or showing a global perspective, the film focuses on Nel (Ellen Page) and Eva (Evan Rachel Wood) living in a house deep in the woods with their father.  Continue reading “Quick Cuts: Into the Forest”