In Review: Irresistible

Like the reanimation of ghosts past, the year leadup to an election cycle always guarantees a cinematic product and a shrugging response by audiences. Studios program glib or grim political musings that no one asked for, the best of which might have been the eyerolling self-seriousness of failed prestige play The Ides of March. Remember the Kevin Costner-led Swing Vote? There is a reason that you certainly don’t. While these films often arrive as naked attempts to cash in on the moment in superficial terms, cinematic memory typically does right in allowing them to go forgotten and quickly so. Pray for a similar fate to meet Jon Stewart’s Irresistible, a pungently toxic dose of cynicism in a subgenre defined by its cynicism.

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In Review!: “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising”

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As much as the first Neighbors examined reinforced broski attitudes and behaviors long accepted by American culture, its sequel Sorority Rising explores feminism through the new generation.

Which is to say: not as deeply as it could. The progressive mindset behind the film is more of a framework for the plot than an agenda to be pushed, for the laughs are always the main focus (and they rarely let up). The new focus gives the film an edge that is almost necessary to follow up a film that didn’t beg to be sequelized, and keeps the antics from being too much of a tired rehash even though the whole structure have been lifted from the original. It’s admirable to see a male-focused comedy team contemplate these themes, even if it doesn’t dig as deep as the opportunities presented. For example, why present a toddler girl’s love of the word “no” within moments of a frathouse sign reading “no means yes” without mining the defiant “no” for its inherent power?

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filmmixtape’s Best Supporting Actress of 2015

Here’s the start of filmmixtape’s first Best of the Year superlatives. Yes, some things will be coming at their own pace – I have a few major things to see. It may be late, but I’m a completist, dammit. I’m starting off with what is always my favorite category: Best Supporting Actress.

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Rose Byrne – Spy

  • Every withering word out of her mouth in etched in marble. Byrne’s comedic gifts are absurdly under-valued against larger comedy names, and she’s been found unexpected honesty in hilarious performances in Neighbors and Bridesmaids. But she’s never been this uproariously precise or taken given broad humor this much brains.

Nihal G. Koldas – Mustang

  • Her grandmother is as both funny and urgent as the film needs her to be, but she’s never as anonymous as her character’s standing in the film’s patriachy. An extension of the film’s quintet of girls, she’s terrified, passionate, and loving in her own way. So much of the danger we feel for the girls come from the equal mix of fear and compassion on her face.

Sarah Paulson – Carol

  • Suggesting a complete life sideways of the love story at the film’s center, Paulson is dynamically present in every one of her few scenes. The Abby she creates is never the expected stock friend role in a love story – she shares a deeper connection to Carol and grants more kindness in Therese than some throwaway. She finds variety and range, crafting an Abby that is randy, defiant, and devoted.

Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina

  • She aces the high degree of difficulty: compellingly human beyond even sexual intrigue, but never humanly articulated. Like the film, she maintains tension by never overplaying her hand into outright menace or innocence. Still fascinating on multiple viewings, it’s a uniquely physical performance though she’s often perfectly still.

Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

  • Verbally dexterous as necessary to Aaron Sorkin’s relentless screenplay, you can clearly sense the actress energized by the challenges she aces along the way. She fleshes out Joanna Hoffman as more of a complete person than the rest of the ensemble floating in Jobs’s orbit, every bit believably disarming Jobs in the final act by digging deep and finding the film’s emotional core.

See who almost made the cut and filmmixtape’s winner after the jump!

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