The Washington D.C. Film Critics Nominate Coogler, Jordan, and The Favourite


Yesterday, the Washington D.C. Film Critics announced their nominees for the best of 2018.  While the big three contenders — Roma, Star is Born, and Green Book — are all present and accounted for, the D.C. Film Critics did take the time to nominate Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan for their work on Black Panther.  They also nominated The Favourite for Best Picture, which isn’t unexpected but The Favourite, like Black Panther, can use all the support it can get to prevent being overshadowed by the big three contenders.

(Before anyone asks what I’m basing my analysis on, allow me to point out that I’m not the first film blogger to pretend to be an Oscar expert and I’m sure I won’t be the last….)

Best Film:
The Favourite
Green Book
If Beale Street Could Talk
Roma
A Star Is Born

Best Director:
Ryan Coogler (Black Panther)
Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)
Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite)

Best Actor:
Christian Bale (Vice)
Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Ethan Hawke (First Reformed)
Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)

Best Actress:
Glenn Close (The Wife)
Toni Collette (Hereditary)
Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Best Supporting Actor:
Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy)
Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born)
Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)

Best Supporting Actress:
Cynthia Erivo (Bad Times at the El Royale)
Nicole Kidman (Boy Erased)
Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Emma Stone (The Favourite)
Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

Best Acting Ensemble:
Black Panther
The Favourite
If Beale Street Could Talk
Vice
Widows

Best Youth Performance:
Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade)
Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie (Leave No Trace)
Milly Shapiro (Hereditary)
Millicent Simmonds (A Quiet Place)
Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give)

Best Voice Performance:
Bryan Cranston (Isle of Dogs)
Holly Hunter (Incredibles 2)
Shameik Moore (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)
Sarah Silverman (Ralph Breaks the Internet)
Ben Whishaw (Paddington 2)

Best Motion Capture Performance:
Josh Brolin (Avengers: Infinity War)
Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One)
Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Solo: A Star Wars Story)

Best Original Screenplay:
Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade)
Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara (The Favourite)
Paul Schrader (First Reformed)
Nick Vallelonga & Brian Currie & Peter Farrelly (Green Book)
Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole (Black Panther)
Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters (A Star Is Born)

Best Animated Feature:
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Mirai
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Documentary:
Free Solo
RBG
Science Fair
Three Identical Strangers
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Best Foreign Language Film:
Burning
Capernaum
Cold War
Roma
Shoplifters

Best Production Design:
Production Designer: Hannah Beachler; Set Decorator: Jay Hart (Black Panther)
Production Designer: Fiona Crombie; Set Decorator: Alice Felton (The Favourite)
Production Designer: Nathan Crowley; Set Decorator: Kathy Lucas (First Man)
Production Designer: John Myhre; Set Decorator: Gordon Sim (Mary Poppins Returns)
Production Designer: Eugenio Caballero; Set Decorator: Bárbara Enríquez (Roma)

Best Cinematography:
Robbie Ryan, BSC (The Favourite)
Linus Sandgren, FSF (First Man)
James Laxton (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)
Matthew Libatique, ASC (A Star Is Born)

Best Editing:
Yorgos Mavropsaridis, ACE (The Favourite)
Tom Cross, ACE (First Man)
Alfonso Cuarón, Adam Gough (Roma)
Jay Cassidy, ACE (A Star Is Born)
Joe Walker, ACE (Widows)

Best Original Score:
Ludwig Göransson (Black Panther)
Justin Hurwitz (First Man)
Nicholas Britell (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Thom Yorke (Suspiria)
Hans Zimmer (Widows)

The Joe Barber Award for Best Portrayal of Washington, DC:
The Front Runner
RBG
Vice

Playing Catch-Up With The Films of 2017: The Book of Henry (dir by Colin Trevorrow)


In the movies, child geniuses inevitably turn out to be little creeps at that’s certainly the case with The Book of Henry.

Henry (Jaeden Lieberher) is an 11 year-old with an exceptional IQ, which essentially means that it’s supposed to be cute when he talks down to people and treats them like shit.  In fact, Henry is such a genius that he’s managed to make a lot of money on the stock market and he also invents stuff.  He practically raises his younger brother, Peter (Jacob Tremblay, who is as authentic as Lieberher is overbaked).  He also takes care of his mom, Susan (Naomi Watts).  Susan’s a waitress because it’s a rule of movies like this that the single parent of a child genius will always either be a waitress or a physicist.  There’s really no middle ground.  Anyway, Susan appears to be destined to be forever single but she says that’s okay because Henry is the only man she needs in her life.

(Cringe)

Anyway, Henry lives next door to the Sickleman family.  You know that’s going to be a problem because, in the movies, good people never have names like Sickleman.  Glenn Sickleman (Dean Norris) is not only the police commissioner but he’s also not a very good neighbor.  He’s the type of neighbor who complains if the leaves from your tree gets in his yard.  He’s also not really comfortable living next door to a child genius.  It’s probably because Henry is kind of a condescending jerk.

Henry suspects that Glenn is abusing his stepdaughter, Christina (Maddie Ziegler, who is best known for Dance Moms).  However, before Henry can do anything about it, he has a seizure dies.  Uh-oh, turns out that Henry had a brain tumor!  A genius killed by his own brain.  So.  Much.  Irony.

However, before he died, he left behind a book and recorded instructions for Susan.  It turns out that Henry knew he was going to die because Henry was a super genius who could see the future.  (At least, I assume that’s what happened.)  So, he decided that his mother should murder Glenn and he even came up with some helpful instructions for how she could do it and not get caught.

Now, let me ask you a question.  If you discovered that your recently deceased son spent the last few days of his life plotting how to murder his neighbor would you…

a) Destroy all the evidence and pretend you never saw it

b) Shrug and decide to grant his last wish by following his instructions and killing the neighbor?

I mean, let’s think about this.  By all evidence, it would appear that Henry was a sociopath.  Even if you accept the idea that he had to kill Glenn to save Christina, you still also have to accept the idea that he coldly and methodically plotted out the perfect way to commit a murder and then, realizing he was going to die, he decided that his mom should commit the murder instead.

This is the type of material that a director like David Fincher, Michael Haneke or Lars Von Trier could have a lot of fun with.  However, The Book of Henry was directed by Colin Trevorrow and he takes this weird sentimental approach to the material.  Instead of freaking out over having raised a sociopath, Susan immediately starts to follow all of his instructions.  What’s amazing is that, even in the recording he made for his mom to listen to after his death, Henry is still a condescending little jerk.  At one point, from beyond the grave, Henry directs his mom to take a right turn.  Then he adds, “No, your other right.”

But what really gets me about this movie is that, after all the build up, Henry’s big genius plan is for Susan to get a rifle and shoot Glenn.  That’s it.  I mean, anyone could have thought of that!  If you’re going to make a movie like this, at least have Henry come up with some big complicated scheme!  At least give us that!  I mean, honestly, Susan could have come up with Henry’s plan on her own.

Does Susan follow through with the plan?  I’m not going to tell you.  But I will tell you that the film’s climax features a school talent show.  Maddie Ziegler gets to dance.  Jacob Tremblay gets to perform a magic trick.  They’re both really talented.  Sparkle Motion does not perform and that’s a shame.  Sometimes, I doubt Colin Trevorrow’s commitment to Sparkle Motion.

Anyway, to say that The Book of Henry is a bad film doesn’t quite do justice to just how ill-conceived this film really is.  Someone decided to make a heartwarming and rather humorless film about a child ordering his mother to commit a murder.  You may think it’s a parody at first but no, it’s a real movie.  It’s The Book of Henry.

 

Playing Catch-Up: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (dir by Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone)


Have you heard of Conner4Real?

If you haven’t, you’re probably just old or else you don’t keep up with what’s happening in the world of popular music.  His real name is Conner Friel and he used to be a member of the Style Boyz.  Of course, the Style Boyz eventually broke up.  Kid Brain became a farmer.  Kid Contact became a DJ.  And Kid Conner — well, he became Conner4Real and he became a bigger star as a solo artist than he ever was as a Style Boy.  His debut album, Thriller, Also, broke records.

But the follow-up, Connquest … well, Connquest wasn’t quite as acclaimed.  In fact, it was hated by just about everyone.  This is despite featuring classic songs like:

Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song)

Mona Lisa

and Equal Rights (featuring P!nk).

Fortunately, when Conner4Real was facing his greatest existential crisis, a film crew was present to record his struggle.  For those of us who were fascinated by the career of Conner4Real, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a chance to see how Conner dealt with everything from his terminally ill pet turtle to the elaborate marriage proposal ceremony that led to Seal being attacked by wild wolves.  We would have gotten to see Conner and his manager defeat a swarm of mutant bees but, unfortunately, that happened right after the only time that Conner’s manager asked the film crew to stop filming.

Oh well, these things happen.

So, as you should have guessed from all that, Popstar is not a serious film.  It’s a mockumentary, with the emphasis on mock.  It was also one of the funniest films of 2016, a spot-on parody of the silliness and pretensions of fame.  Conner is a combination of Justin Bieber and Macklemore at their shallowest, a well-meaning but thoroughly empty-headed singer.  In fact, if Conner was played by anyone other than Andy Samberg, he would be so annoying that the film would run the risk of being unwatchable.

But fortunately, Conner is played by Andy Samberg.  It’s hard to think of anyone who plays dumb with quite the same panache as Andy Samberg does.  There are plenty of lines in Popstar that shouldn’t work but they do, specifically because they’re being delivered by Samberg.  He brings just the right amount of sweetly sincere stupidity to the role.  Almost despite yourself, you find yourself hoping that things will work out for Conner and the other Style Boyz.  Conner may not deserve to be as big a star as he is but it was obviously going to happen to some idiot so why not a sincere one?

Samberg is not the only funny person in Popstar.  The movie is full of funny people, from Sarah Silverman to Bill Hader to the always underrated Tim Meadows.  It’s also full of celebrity cameos and I have to admit that I usually tend to cringe when I see too many people playing themselves.  But in Popstar, it works.  One need only rewatch something like Zoolander 2 to see how well Popstar pulls off its celebrity cameos.

Sadly, as funny as Popstar was, it was also one of the biggest bombs of 2016.  (The trailer, it must be said, did not do the film justice.)  However, I expect that it will soon develop a strong cult following.  In a few years, we’ll get a sequel.  It probably won’t be as as good.

Oh well.  These things happen.

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions For December!


For the final time this year, here are my monthly Oscar predictions.  Usually, the critic groups and the guilds help to make it a bit more clear what is going to be nominated.  That’s not so much the case this year.  It’s been a very good year for film and let’s hope the actual Oscar nominations reflect that.

You can also check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November.

Best Picture

Beasts of No Nation

The Big Short

Carol

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Trumbo

Best Director

Tom McCarthy for Spotlight

Adam McKay for The Big Short

George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road

Jay Roach for Trumbo

Ridley Scott for The Martian

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston in Trumbo

Johnny Depp in Black Mass

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant

Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett in Carol

Brie Larson in Room

Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn

Sarah Silverman in I Smile Back

Best Supporting Actor

Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nation

Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies

Michael Shannon in 99 Homes

Sylvester Stallone in Creed

Jacob Tremblay in Room

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara in Carol

Helen Mirren in Trumbo

Kristen Stewart in Clouds of Sils Maria

Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina

Here Are The Very Confusing SAG Nominations!


Spotlight

The nominees for the SAG Awards were announced earlier today!  The SAG Awards are usually one of the more accurate of the various Oscar precursors.  Because so many members of the Academy are also members of the Screen Actors Guild, the SAG Awards are usually a pretty good indication of what films are on the Academy’s radar and which ones aren’t.  Occasionally, an actor will be nominated by SAG and then snubbed by the Academy.  Last year, for instance, SAG nominated Jake Gyllenhall for Nightcrawler, Jennifer Aniston for Cake, and Naomi Watts for St. Vincent.  None of those three received any love from the Academy.  But, for the most part, SAG is one of the most reliable precursors out there.

And that’s why so many of us are in shock today!  The SAG Awards in no way resembled what many of us were expecting.  Other than Spotlight, none of the film’s that many of us expected to be nominated for best ensemble (the SAG’s equivalent of the Academy’s best picture) were nominated (and even Spotlight only received one other nomination, for Rachel McAdams who, up to this point, hasn’t really figured into the Oscar discussion).  The Martian was not nominated for best ensemble or anything else for that matter.  Creed was totally snubbed.  Brooklyn was nominated for actress but not ensemble.  Mad Mad: Fury Road was nominated for its stunt work and nothing else.  Helen Mirren received two nominations, for films that hardly anyone (outside of the SAG, obviously) was really paying any attention to.  Sarah Silverman received a best actress nomination for I Smile Back, which I hadn’t even heard of until about a week ago.  It’s an unexpected and strange group of nominees.

Keep in mind, it’s not necessarily a bad thing that the nominees are unexpected.  Beasts of No Nation and Straight Outta Compton will both receive deserved boosts in their hunt for Oscar gold.  At the same time, I have to admit that I wasn’t happy to see either The Big Short or Trumbo nominated for best ensemble because I know I’m going to feel obligated to see them and they both look so freaking tedious and blandly political!  But consider this: if The Big Short and Trumbo are both huge Oscar contenders, we may face a situation where both Jay Roach and Adam McKay are nominated for best director in the same year.  I think that’s one of the signs of the apocalypse and, at this point, I’m kind of ready to welcome the end of the world.

Anyway, here are the SAG nominations!  Look them over and, after the Golden Globe nominations are announced tomorrow, update your Oscar predictions accordingly.

Best Performance by a Cast Ensemble in a Motion Picture

Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

  • Cate Blanchett – Carol
  • Brie Larson – Room
  • Helen Mirren – Woman in Gold
  • Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
  • Sarah Silverman – I Smile Back

Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Rooney Mara – Carol
  • Rachel McAdams – Spotlight
  • Helen Mirren – Trumbo
  • Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
  • Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

Best Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

Best Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

  • Downton Abbey
  • Game of Thrones
  • Homeland
  • House of Cards
  • Mad Men

Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

  • Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones
  • Jon Hamm – Mad Men
  • Rami Malek – Mr. Robot
  • Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul
  • Kevin Spacey – House of Cards

Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

  • Claire Danes – Homeland
  • Viola Davis – How to Get Away with Murder
  • Julianna Marguilles – The Good Wife
  • Maggie Smith – Downton Abbey
  • Robin Wright – House of Cards

Best Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Key and Peele
  • Modern Family
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Transparent
  • Veep

Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Ty Burrell – Modern Family
  • Louis CK – Louie
  • William H. Macy – Shameless
  • Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory
  • Jeffrey Tambor – Transparent

Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Uzo Aduba – Orange is the New Black
  • Edie Falco – Nurse Jackie
  • Ellie Kemper – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep
  • Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation

Best Performance by a Male Actor in a TV Movie or Mini-Series

  • Idris Elba – Luther
  • Ben Kingsley – Tut
  • Ray Liotta — Texas Rising
  • Bill Murray – A Very Murray Christmas
  • Mark Rylance – Wolf Hall

Best Performance by a Female Actor in a TV Movie or Mini-Series

Best Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series

  • Blacklist
  • Game of Thrones
  • Homeland
  • Marvel’s Daredevil
  • The Walking Dead

The Washington D.C. Critics Are Mad About Max!


MadMaxFuryRoad

One good thing about Mad Max: Fury Road doing so well during award seasion is that it gives me an excuse to say that “So-and-so Is Mad About Max!”  Thank you, film critics, for making my job a lot easier.

Anyway, yesterday, the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics announced their nominees for the best of 2015!  And, once again, a lot of love was shown to Fury Road.  However, I am even happier to see that they also gave some attention to one of my favorite films of the year, Ex Machina.

Here are the nominees!

Best Film:
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Sicario
Spotlight

Best Director:
Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
Todd Haynes (Carol)
Alejandro G. Iñárritu (The Revenant)
George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Ridley Scott (The Martian)

Best Actor:
Matt Damon (The Martian)
Johnny Depp (Black Mass)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)

Best Actress:
Cate Blanchett (Carol)
Brie Larson (Room)
Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
Sarah Silverman (I Smile Back)
Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Best Supporting Actor:
Paul Dano (Love & Mercy)
Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation)
Tom Hardy (The Revenant)
Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

Best Supporting Actress:
Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
Rooney Mara (Carol)
Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)
Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)

Best Acting Ensemble:
The Big Short
The Hateful Eight
Spotlight
Steve Jobs
Straight Outta Compton

Best Youth Performance:
Abraham Attah (Beasts of No Nation)
Raffey Cassidy (Tomorrowland)
Oona Laurence (Southpaw)
Güneş Şensoy (Mustang)
Jacob Tremblay (Room)

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Nick Hornby (Brooklyn)
Phyllis Nagy (Carol)
Drew Goddard (The Martian)
Emma Donoghue (Room)
Aaron Sorkin (Steve Jobs)

Best Original Screenplay:
Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen (Bridge of Spies)
Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley (Original Story by Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen) (Inside Out)
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (Spotlight)
Amy Schumer (Trainwreck)

 

Film Review: Ashby (dir by Tony McNamara)


Ashby

At first glance, Ed Wallis (Nat Wolff) seems like your typical nerdy high school student.  An introvert who has a hard time making friends, Ed is a talented writer but what he really wants to do is play for his school’s legendary football team.  One thing that sets Ed apart from cinematic nerds of the past is that he is not lacking in confidence.  He’s shy but he understands what he’s capable of accomplishing.  He knows he’s a good writer.  He also know that he has the potential to be a good football player.  When he crashes the team’s practice and manages to talk Coach Burton (Kevin Dunn) into giving him a shot, Ed proves that he’s the faster than anyone else on the team.  And when one of the other players starts to bully him, Ed has no trouble convincing the quarterback to stand up for him.  After all, as Ed explains it, if Ed’s not in a good mood than he’s not going to catch anything that the quarterback throws.  And if Ed doesn’t make those catches, the quarterback won’t have a good game and, if he doesn’t have a good game, he won’t get any scholarship offers.

At first, Ed’s determination to play football horrifies both his mother, June (Sarah Silverman), and his best (and only) friend, Eloise (Emma Roberts).  June is a single mother who terrifies Ed by openly discussing her sex life with him.  Eloise, meanwhile, is a self-styled misfit who is nicknamed “weird girl” by Ed’s fellow jocks.  It’s only after they see Ed playing on the field (and, not coincidentally, making the winning catch), that June and Eloise start to support Ed’s athletic dreams…

Meanwhile, Ed is getting to know his neighbor, Ashby (Mickey Rourke).  Ashby is a former CIA agent who has just been informed that he has only a few months to live.  Ed needs to talk to an old person for a class assignment.  Ashby needs someone to drive him around town.  At first, Ashby refuses to open up to Ed but slowly, Ashby starts to lower his defenses.  Ashby is soon coming to Ed’s football games, flirting with June, and serving as a substitute father figure.

Of course, Asby is also murdering people.  Though Ed doesn’t know it, the reason that Ashby keeps asking him for a ride is because Ashby is determined to track down and kill three men who he feels betrayed him.  Ashby does this with the full knowledge that eventually, the CIA is going to send somebody to take him out…

Ashby is a mix of genres that don’t really go together.  It’s a gentle coming-of-age comedy that’s also a violent revenge thriller.  The end result is an extremely messy film that never finds a consistent tone.  And yet, at the same time, that inconsistency is a part of the film’s strange charm.  The film is so determined to make its oddball mix of genres work that you actually do find yourself rooting for it, even if it doesn’t quite succeed.  Ashby is one of those films that shouldn’t work and yet, somehow, it does.

Some credit for that has to go to director Tony McNamara.  He directs with a good eyes for detail (the satiric portrayal of both high school and suburbia feels totally authentic) and he keeps the action moving at such a quick pace that you really don’t have time to obsess over the film’s mishmash of themes and tones.

Even more credit, however, I think has to be given to the cast, all of whom show an admirable commitment to bringing their eccentric characters to life.  Mickey Rourke’s plays Ashby as if he might be a distant relation to his character from The Wrestler while Sarah Silverman is so perfectly cast as June that you occasionally find yourself wishing that the entire film could be just about her.  I’ve lost track of how many times Emma Roberts has been cast as a quirky high school girlfriend but she still brings as much depth as she can to her underwritten character.

Ultimately, though, the film belongs to Nat Wolff, who was so good (as was Emma Roberts) in last year’s Palo Alto.  Wolff’s character in Ashby may not have much in common with the sociopath that he played in Palo Alto or the blind friend he played in The Fault In Our Stars, but Wolff brings a sly charm to all three roles and that charm convince the audience to not only accept but even embrace some of the film’s inconsistencies.  Nat Wolff truly holds Asbhy together, helping the film to survive some of its more uneven moments.

Ashby has been given a limited theatrical release and is available through VOD.  It’s definitely an uneven film but it’s worth seeing.