The Humans review

The Humans, directed by Stephen Karam, is a film adaptation of his one-act play of the same name. It is a dark comedy with lots of family tensions, realism, and irony. The darkness of the film’s cinematography sets the tone for this haunting, and sometimes funny movie.

The Humans is set in Manhattan, in an old duplex with lots of maintenance issues. It centers on the Blake family, which include Erik, played by Richard Jenkins, Erik’s wife Deirdre, played by Jay Houdyshell, their daughter Aimee, played by Amy Schumer, and younger daughter Brigid, played by Beanie Feldstein. There is also Brigid’s boyfriend Richard, played by Steven Yeun, and grandma Momo, played by June Squibb.

The Blake family is together for the Thanksgiving holiday, but as soon as they are all together the resentments start to build, with everyone struggling to get along. The dialogue between the characters in The Humans is often a recipe for disaster, as they struggle to find peace in each other’s company, and the problems with the duplex is the source of much annoyance between the characters. The performances by Richard Jenkins and Steven Yeun, both playing self-centered, melancholy characters, probably stand out the most in the film.

I found myself enthralled at times during The Humans, but it ultimately feels like a watch once film. It is a worth it, though, for those who love play adaptations and twisted family dynamics. Three stars for The Humans.

Red Rocket Review

I am a fan of bizarre comedies, even if they push the envelope in terms of subjects and boundaries, because that is where the plot can be the funniest. Some may view director Sean Baker’s newest film, Red Rocket, as having a bizarre concept or premise. The film is indeed twisted, but its bizarre premise is the genius of Red Rocket.

In Red Rocket, Simon Rex plays Mikey Saber, a negative person who is a has-been adult film star and a failing actor. Mikey leaves Los Angeles for his small Texas hometown, where he moves in with his estranged wife and mother-in-law. He can’t find work and has a drug problem, but he thinks his life is starting to move forward when he meets a girl named Strawberry, played by Suzanna Son. Mikey is love crazy for Strawberry, but his life goes south as his judgment worsens. Red Rocket is a recipe-for-disaster film where I found myself hoping for more disasters. I haven’t laughed so hard at a film with such a strange plot as this in ages.

The performance by Simon Rex as Mikey is right up his alley, since he was actually an adult film star at one time and he has played unconventional roles in movies and TV. This one, though, is his best unconventional role yet. Rex will have his fans laughing until it hurts with Red Rocket.

Red Rocket is a daring and hysterical comedy, and it will get the NSYNC song, “Bye, Bye, Bye”, stuck in your head because it is played over and over in the film. I promise, though, that the song will only add to the joyous entertainment of Red Rocket. Three and a half stars for the hilarious Red Rocket.

House of Gucci Review

Director Ridley Scott released two films this year—The Last Duel and the recently-released House of Gucci. I love Scott’s directing, but despite the low box office numbers for The Last Duel, I actually preferred it over House of Gucci.

House of Gucci certainly has an all-star cast. Lady Gaga is Patrizia Reggiani, who marries Maurizio Gucci, played by Adam Driver. Jeremy Irons is Maurizio’s father, Rodolfo Gucci, and Al Pacino is Maurizio’s uncle, Aldo Gucci. Jared Leto plays Aldo’s son, Paolo Gucci. The film focuses on the breakup between Patrizia and Maurizio and the downward spiral of the Gucci family and brand.

House of Gucci is faithful to its story and its representations of the Gucci family seem accurate enough. My issue with the film is its sometimes flaky and inconsistent acting. And although makeup was no doubt a big part of the era in which the film was set, the makeup in House of Gucci was just over the top, particularly on Jared Leto as Paolo and Lady Gaga as Patrizia, if it’s possible for her to be over the top.

Despite its problems, House of Gucci has some impressive performances. It could also be a thrilling and daring ride, and at times just plain fun. But there is a limit to how much glamour, fashion, and wealth I can take. I just think the film was over-hyped and is overrated. Two and a half stars for House of Gucci.

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