Alice Eckle is a roller-skating waitress deeply in love with Indiana State Trooper Scott. Before the two can get engaged, however, Eckle suffers a severe accident with a nail gun and gets a nail lodged deep in her skull. Unfortunately for her, she doesn't have any health insurance so she is forced to walk away from hospital without any surgery to remove it. In the meantime, she suffers brain damage which causes her to have mood swings, an increased sex drive and unpredictable behaviours. Needless to say, Scott is less than keen on the idea of marrying her now. No matter though, Alice appears to have other things on her mind; she wants to meet young Congressman Howard Birdwell to show her support for his proposition of beginning a healthcare bill. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to have a clue what he's talking about, but that doesn't stop her falling head over heels for him.
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There's a fundamental flaw to this multi-strand social media-themed drama: it's told completely from the perspective of older people who are fearful about the possibilities, rather than the generation for whom electronic communication is the norm. It's well-made by director Jason Reitman (age 36) and his cowriter Erin Cressida Wilson (50) from the novel by Chad Kultgen (38), but it kind of misses the point that this is the future of human interaction. So younger (or more switched-on) viewers won't buy the cautionary message.
IR's set in Austin, Texas, where Rachel and Don (Rosemarie DeWitt and Adam Sandler) are each so focussed on finding space outside their marriage that they don't notice that their teen son Chris (Travis Tope) is hanging out with self-proclaimed slutty cheerleader Hannah (Olivia Crocicchia). Her best friend Allison (Elena Kamporis) is starving herself to be like her, spurred on by her mother (Judy Greer), who is doing everything she can to make Allison a star. Meanwhile, Patricia (Jennifer Garner) is desperate to control how her daughter Brandy (Kaitkyn Dever) uses small-screens, especially worried about her growing friendship with Tim (Ansel Elgort), whose father (Dean Norris) is annoyed that he has quit the school football team.
Oddly, the film seems to adopt the adults' fears as its central tone: the internet and mobile phone communications are potentially dangerous, addictive and isolating. But this makes the film feel more like a sermon than a set of intertwined stories. A far more interesting approach would be to explore how communication and relationships are shifting due to the influence of online media. Indeed, the generational aspects to the films various plotlines are the most compelling elements, with clashing points of view between grown-ups and kids. But audience members who believe that mobile phones and social media sites are the future will struggle with the way Reitman presents them as inherently troublesome.
Continue reading: Men, Women & Children Review
James Franco's collection of autobiographical short stories is adapted into a remarkably evocative film by Gia Coppola, granddaughter of Francis. And the film's next-generation credentials don't end there. It stars Emma Roberts (daughter of Eric) and Jack Kilmer (son of Val), superb young actors who bring their characters to vivid life even as multiple story strands weave around them. And what makes the film important is its willingness to present teens authentically, often in ways parents probably wish they didn't know about.
It's set in suburban Northern California, where high school teen April (Roberts) worries that she's the last virgin in her class. She's secretly in love with Teddy (Kilmer), and he likes her too, but everyone thinks he's having a fling with the class slut (Zoe Levin). So while babysitting one night for her soccer coach (Franco), she is both startled and thrilled when he makes a move on her. Meanwhile, Teddy's best pal Fred (Nat Wolff) is causing chaos everywhere he goes, as the school's teens go from party to party indulging in alcohol and drugs, testing the boundaries of authority. And their parents seem fairly oblivious to all of this.
Coppola shoots and edits the film in a way that's deeply personal, focussing on the inner lives of the characters rather than the gyrations of the various plot strands. This gives the film a surprisingly cohesive tone, linking everything together into a single tale of young people trying to work out a path to adulthood in a society full of mixed messages. And things rarely go as expected. For example, Teddy is sure he'll go to prison when he crashes his car while driving stoned, but he is given a second chance. And he discovers that doing community service is actually rather enjoyable.
Continue reading: Palo Alto Review
One group of very different people - including popular high school teens and their less popular peers, and a married couple struggling in their relationship - is explored in a telling story of how social media has taken over various areas of people's lives. From love lives and infidelities to body image, the world of social networking has become a hub for public scrutiny and lack of privacy as the world flock to the net in order to gain acceptance and admiration, to meet potential partners, become famous, or even bully each other. 'Men, Women & Children' looks at the dangerous rise in the sharing of sexually explicit content, cyberbullying and other disastrous effects that the web has had on the Western world.
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Alice Eckle is a roller-skating waitress deeply in love with Indiana State Trooper Scott. Before...
There's a fundamental flaw to this multi-strand social media-themed drama: it's told completely from the...
James Franco's collection of autobiographical short stories is adapted into a remarkably evocative film by...
One group of very different people - including popular high school teens and their less...