Film Review : The Kings of Summer (2013)

IMDB Score – 7.2
Rotten Tomato Score – 76%

Directed By – Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Starring – Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias, Nick Offerman, and Erin Moriarty

Three teenage friends, in the ultimate act of independence, decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land.

It seems like the “coming of age” story is getting a bit played out. I wanted to see this mostly because of the players involved and the fact that the trailer makes it look like a modern day “Stand By Me” but I couldn’t help being a bit bored with the whole kids learning how to be mature adults thing. “The Spectacular Now” and “The Way Way Back” complete the trio with this film to give this summer the summer of teenage angst and rebellion.

I actually ended up really loving the first half of this film. The film follows Joe, played by Robinson, and Patrick, played by Basso, as they go trough their strange home lives in search of a way out. A party that gets busted up leads them to a spot far out in the woods where they decide to escape too and build a house. Biaggio, played hilariously by Arias, tags along and the three set out to get supplies for their summer.

A lot of people are bashing this film for being a bit pretentious but I honestly didn’t see it. I didn’t take the moral lessons that the film was throwing out by the end of the film so it really didn’t matter much to me that it came off a bit derivative and contrived. It was a just a funny film about kids experiencing their own summer. Moises Arias honestly should be in more things. He was easily the best thing about this film and stole every single scene. He might be the funniest person I’ve seen in a film all year. The rest of the cast did a great job and you just can’t go wrong with Nick Offerman. The second half of the film just couldn’t keep up with the humor and charm of the first half as the drama of the situation became just too much for me. I wouldn’t say it ruined the film for me but it certainly took points away.

I can’t blame the film though. I have horrible problems ending things.


Film Review : Sightseers (2013)

IMDB Score – 6.5
Rotten Tomato Score – 85%
Netflix Watch Instant

Directed By – Ben Wheatley
Starring – Steve Oram and Alice Lowe

Chris wants to show girlfriend Tina his world, but events soon conspire against the couple and their dream caravan holiday takes a very wrong turn.

Last year I was rocked off my ass when I saw Ben Wheatley’s fantastic hitman/horror mashup “Kill List”. The film was beautifully shot and paced and left just the right amount of questions for me to ponder over after the film. The film also has the luxury of having one of the most frightening and tense last fifteen minutes I’ve ever seen and it’s been a favorite of mine since. A couple months ago I noticed Wheatley’s new film on VOD and procrastinated like I always do, missing the chance to see it. Luckily for me, Sightseers became available on Netflix this week and my procrastination went rewarded once again.

I actually didn’t care much for this film until about 40 minutes in. What starts out as a typical road trip movie transforms itself into a black comedy nightmare that became more and more entertaining as it progressed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a strange film. Like most black comedy, it isn’t going to be for everybody but once you see one of the main characters try to write a letter using a four foot long giant pencil then you realize that this is satire and shouldn’t be taken seriously. The whole film doesn’t evolve like that but there are plenty of moments where you’re wondering what the hell is going on…and I like that. I don’t like to be spoon fed plot and cliches and watch the same story carry on for the 90th time and wonder how THIS one is going to end. I applaud Wheatley for sticking to his guns and directing this film in a unique and independent manner.

Once again Ben Wheatley has proven himself to be a talent behind the camera because this movie has some absolutely gorgeous shots. I knew going in that I wasn’t going to get the angry nightmare that was “Kill List” but I still witnessed that style in some scenes of Sightseers. It also helped that there were some flat out wackiness and humor to keep the viewer interested in one of the more bizarre road trips to come on screen. It’s worth an hour and a half of your Netflix time.