Twit-view: EASY A

onesheet(The following Twit-view contains minimal spoilers.)

• EASY A takes place in Ojai! I wonder if any Walkers went to this high school #BrothersandSisters
• Ah yes, Amanda Bynes before she went crazy
• Emma Stone is an “and” credit in this?
• “Pocketful of Sunshine” remains the only Natasha Bedingfield song I love thanks to this film

• “sexy glade candles”
• It’s hard to see Amanda Bynes as a religious authority these days
• Pussycat Dolls songs will never go out of style
• Is there a Stanley Tucci movie where he isn’t an awesome person?
• What kind of California is this where high schoolers are so prudish?
• I’m always reminded that I want to watch the Demi Moore adaptation of THE SCARLET LETTER

• Olive: “I got sent to the principle’s office today.” Mom: “Did you win a medal or something?”
• Where’s my @buzzfeed list of the 27 Greatest Parents in Teen Comedies?
• Whore Couture
• I wish Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson were my parents

• I am sad that I never got to go to a raging house party when I was in high school
• I don’t really believe that Olive and Rhiannon are such best friends…Rhi seems way too shallow to be Olive’s bff
• The soundtrack to this film holds up pretty well
• Oh right, Cam Gigandet as a sexy Christian boy
• Olive: “C’est la vie” Todd: “La vie”
• Olive’s dog is so adorable…stealing scenes while chilling in the background
• “I’m the student counselor, I should know all the students—especially the ones who dress like prostitutes.” –Lisa Kudrow
• Lisa Kudrow plays every character like Lisa Kudrow
• “He’s not the sharpest Christian in the Bible.” –Lisa Kudrow about Cam Gigandet
• Rhiannon is the worst in this film—even Marianne is a better person
• The Father of the Leader of My Lynch Mob
• What is the Lobster Shack? Is it the child of Red Lobster and Shake Shack? Because that sounds pretty great…
• I can remember all the gifs that were floating around Tumblr from this film

• The alternate title for EASY A was GIFT CARD WHORE
• I want to see Penn Badgley in a beatnik film
• I love Lalaine (from LIZZIE MCGUIRE) in her little cameo
• Emma Stone’s hair is fantastic in her random musical number

• Also, “Knock on Wood” is one of the best songs
• #FreeOlive
• EASY A or, THE THINLY DISGUISED ODE TO 80s FILMS

• EASY A is one of the few high school films to NOT have a prom
• Lalaine is credited as “Gossipy Girl” (maybe it wasn’t really Dan who was GOSSIP GIRL)

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The Tribeca Film Festival 2013

Through my work for JustPressPlay, I’ve been covering this year’s Tribeca Film Festival with extreme dedication. I’ve seen 20-odd films so far and intend on seeing plenty more the rest of the week. But with the Festival in full swing, I thought I would catalog my reviews so far to keep you up-to-date on the best (and worst) offerings this year. So delve into my coverage of this year’s films and, if you can, go check some of them out! (And I’ll keep updating this article as more of my reviews get posted.)

The English Teacher

large_english_teacher_1Linda Sinclair (Julianne Moore) is perfectly comfortable with her quiet life as a high school English teacher—living alone and filling her spare time with reading novels and screaming at telemarketers on the phone. (Or so the trite and too on-the-nose narrator would have us believe.) But, when former student Jason Sherwood (Michael Angarano) returns to town after failing to make it as a Broadway playwright, Linda starts to become more active in her own life. She reads Jason’s play The Chrysalis and loves it (weird moth characters and all). She loves it so much that she becomes determined to mount a high school production of it (despite its decidedly adult and Ibsen-like tone). Yet Linda gets carried away with her passion for the project and her need to rekindle Jason’s aims as a writer. (read more)

The Pretty One

pretty_one_bannerOnce upon a time not too long ago, in a land not unlike rural California, there were twin sisters (both played by Zoe Kazan) who were as different as night and day. Audrey was a social butterfly. She won every competition. She stole boys’ hearts. She had a chic sense of style. And she moved away from home not long after her mother’s death. Conversely, Laurel was a wallflower. She had only one winning ribbon to her name. She only got the boys who weren’t good enough to attract Audrey. She had a hipster sense of style. And she stayed home to take care of her father after her mother’s death. (read more)

A Birder’s Guide to Everything

birders_guide_bannerDavid Portnoy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) may have spotted the extinct Labrador Duck. Sure, David’s only a 15-year-old birder and still reeling from his mother’s death over a year ago, but he needs to place his faith in something, so why not this extinct bird (although he will deny later in the film that the bird is a metaphor for anything). It also doesn’t help that his father (James LeGros) is about to marry Juliana (Daniela Lavender), who was David’s mother’s nurse no less. Thus it is understandable that David wants to evade the wedding to track down the supposedly extinct duck. (read more)

What Richard Did

whatricharddidRichard spent the weekend hanging out with his friends. Richard started dating Lara. Richard had a family cookout with his rugby coach. Richard grew jealous of Conor’s intimate friendship with Lara. Richard went shopping. And Richard slept with Lara at his family’s beach house. That’s what Richard did. Oh, and Richard killed someone. (read more)

A Single Shot

large_a_single_shot_1While out hunting a deer, notorious poacher John Moon (a heavily-bearded Sam Rockwell) accidentally shoots and kills a young woman. As he searches for a place to dump the body, he stumbles upon her encampment and a box full of cash. Haunted by the dead woman’s image, John attempts to redeem himself by using the money to salvage what’s left of his tenuous marriage to Jess (Kelly Reilly), with whom he shares a son. But as the men who want that money begin to terrorize him, John is caught in a deadly (and dull) game of cat and mouse. (read more)

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me

elaine_stritch_shoot_me_bannerElaine Stritch is an iconic actress of both the stage and screen. Now well into her mid-80s she is still pushing herself to produce quality performances. But between her battle with alcoholism and combating a serious case of diabetes, Stritch is starting to grow weary. Not that she’ll let that stop her from helming yet another one-woman cabaret show (with a multi-city tour to boot). So one week after spotting Stritch at her hair salon, filmmaker Chiemi Karasawa agreed with her hair stylist’s suggestion that she should make a documentary about Stritch. (read more)

Trust Me

trust_me_bannerThe newest movie by filmmaker Clark Gregg (aka The Avengers‘ Agent Coulson) delves into his surprisingly “ambiguous feelings” for the movie-making business—specifically the world of child actors and their agents. Playing one of those notorious agents himself, Gregg brings to life the down-on-his-luck Howard Holloway. Struggling to retain a single client while combating his highly successful archnemesis Aldo Shocklee (Sam Rockwell in a mercifully focused and comedic performance—unlike in A Case of You), Howard fears his days in the business are numbered. (read more)

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

reluctant_fundam_bannerWhile it may seem odd that acclaimed Indian filmmaker Mira Nair is tackling a film centered around a Pakistani man, she certainly doesn’t think so. What drew her to The Reluctant Fundamentalist was its new look at the Iraq and Afghantistan wars. She read the novel (of the same name) by author Mohsin Hamid and fell in love with the fresh new look at the psychology of this subject. While those stories are normally told from the American point of view,Fundamentalist looks at it through the eyes of a Pakistani man. The film delves into “the mutual suspicion with which America and Pakistan (or the Muslim world) look at one another.” And through this unique point of view, we can gain a deeper understanding of the cultural differences that have informed so much hate in our country. (read more)

Bluebird

bluebird-john-slattery-skipLance Edmands’ debut film Bluebird is inspired by the Robert Frost poem, “The Last Word of the Blue Bird.” As he summates, “the poem tells the story of a little girl named Lesley who finds a bluebird, which she befriends. But when winter comes, the bird tells her that it must fly south.” The bird must escape the inhospitable environment of the wintry north if it hopes to survive. Edmands says, “The poem was used to teach children about loss.” It is exactly this loss and striving to find an environment to live in that he captures in his film. (read more)

G.B.F.

large_gbf_2In suburban high schools, the G.B.F. (or Gay Best Friend, for those not up on the vernacular) is the hot new thing. The only problem for the students in G.B.F.? There are no gay students at the school—at least not openly gay. But Brent Van Camp (Paul Iacono) plans to change all that by coming out and using the most popular girls in school to launch him to the top as Prom King. What ensues is a pop culture-infused meta comedy with Game of Thrones manipulation. (read more)

Floating Skyscrapers

large_Floating_Skyscrapers_1_pubsFor fifteen years, Kuba (Mateusz Banasiuk) has been training to be a champion swimmer. When not at the gym or in the pool, he spends his time sexing his girlfriend Sylwia (Marta Nieradkiewicz) and dealing with his overbearing mother Ewa (Katarzyna Herman), who bares a disturbing resemblance to Norma Bates (for instance, she makes Kuba massage her shoulders while she’s in the bath—with him still nursing a Sylwia-inspired erection, no less). Out of a seeming boredom with the status quo, Kuba begins to be distracted by guys at the gym—even going to so far as to hook up with a guy who cruises him in the shower (although he freaks out about it leaves before he can finish). (read more)

Adult World

large_adult_world_2The protagonist of Adult World may be a familiar figure. She just graduated from college. She relies on her parents for money. She thinks she’s the greatest writer of her generation. No, this isn’t Hannah Horvath; this is Amy Anderson. But don’t worry, Adult World isn’t trying to be like Girls, it’s trying to be funny—and it’s highly successful at it, too. (read more)

Deep Powder

large_DEEP_POWDER_2It’s the early 1980’s; and the Deep Powder Alpine Country Club is a secret society at the savvy and prestigious New England boarding school, Mount Ambrose. The teenage members of this club—easily resembling Gossip Girl characters—enjoy skiing (both kinds); and, once a year, one lucky member makes a drug run to Ecuador for some high-grade cocaine. Based on true events, Deep Powder follows the dramatic final year of this club and the resulting investigation into their illicit actions. (read more)

Hide Your Smiling Faces

images2013 is shaping up to be the year of Kids with Guns (cue that Gorillaz song). From Mia Wasikowska toting a rifle in Stoker to those Disney darlings forcing James Franco to fellate a pistol in Spring Breakers, youth gun violence is percolating throughout pop culture. But Hide Your Smiling Faces isn’t a hedonistic look at violence; it’s a quiet contemplation of death through the eyes of children (with guns). (read more)

A Case of You

large_a_case_of_you_1A Case of You is a romantic comedy for the 21st century. When Sam (Justin Long) tries to woo the aloof girl at the coffee shop, Birdie (Evan Rachel Wood), he stalks her Facebook profile to transform himself into the man of her dreams. Such is the exact setup you would expect from a rom com, and A Case of You does not fail to meet the rote expectations of its genre. (read more)

Jennifer Lawrence Is the Only “Silver Lining” in this “Playbook”

Don’t let anyone fool you, Silver Linings Playbook is a romantic comedy. Sure, it’s one of those male-centered rom-com (i.e. Playing for Keeps); but it still retains all the elements of the genre. No matter how much director David O. Russell (who also adapted the film from the Matthew Quick novel) tries to obscure the genre, the last ten minutes of the film are so quintessentially rom-com that he loses that battle.

MV5BMTM2MTI5NzA3MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODExNTc0OA@@._V1._SY317_Pat (Bradley Cooper) was institutionalized after violently abusing his wife’s lover (turns out he’s bi-polar, not just an angry husband). His mother, Dolores (Jacki Weaver), busts him out of the mental institution, to bring him back home to his father, Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro), who is a gambling addict that suffers from superstitious OCD. He wants his son to spend “family time” with him, which consists of watching football games while holding a special handkerchief to help his team win. Pat, of course, wants none of that; he’s too busy trying to win back the love of his wife, Nikki (Brea Bee) who currently has a restraining order out against him.

To help him, Pat enlists Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) whom he meets through his friend Ronnie (John Ortiz) and his bougie wife, Veronica (a deliciously entertaining Julia Stiles). Tiffany and Veronica are friends with Nikki, and Tiffany agrees to slip her a letter from Pat (breaking his restraining order) in exchange for his help in dancing with her at a big dance event. Tiffany recently took up dancing to cope with her manic depression that resulted from her husband’s death.

There’s certainly enough in this plot to make it an amusing film, but problems with the film’s execution quickly begin to arise. Whatever likeability Cooper brings to Pat is soon lost as his flaws are proudly displayed. His bi-polar disorder apparently gives him the right to walk about speaking unfiltered thoughts to anyone within 10-foot radius; it also means he’s violently aggressive at the drop of a hat. This results mostly in him and Pat Sr. devolving into shouting matches that frequently turn violent, which happen about every 5-8 minutes. Lastly, his obsession with getting back together with his wife feels even crazier than his anger management skills. Why would he want to be with a woman who would cheat on him (with an ugly, older man, no less) and file a restraining order against him for defending his husbandly honor? And why should we, as an audience, care about this at all if we don’t even meet Nikki until the last 15 minutes of the film?

Other questions abound, as well. Why would Dolores take her son out of the mental health facility if she were just going to cower in the corner adding her frightened whimpers to the cacophony of noises produce by the arguing men? How does Officer Keogh (Dash Mihok) always show up one minute after Pat starts feeling enraged (that scene in front of the movie theater is utterly ridiculous)? Does Pat own any clothes that aren’t sweat suits and jerseys? And are we supposed to revel in the foibles of these crazy people or feel sorry for their psychiatric plights?

Of course, these questions go greatly unanswered in this thinly plotted film (over half the film is spent rehashing the same basic plot points like a broken record). Yet if Cooper is too erratic and De Niro too obsessive, then Lawrence is the film’s saving grace. She plays up the character’s mental issues while still being a relatable character. Her actions are believable (if predictable); and her chemistry with Cooper is palpable (yet another reason why it is hard to believe he could still be obsessed with Nikki). But not even Lawrence could save this film from being a miserable headache of a film.