Despite some tense moments, The Little Things mostly walks a familiar path and ends with more of a whimper than a bang. However, the effortless gravitas Denzel Washington brings to his character keeps the film from becoming completely rote. It’s worth checking out just for his performance.
Though the chance to turn the scenario into a wicked black comedy is definitely a missed opportunity, Concrete Plans is well-paced and features solid characters. Viktor and Bob serve as moral compasses, while Jim and Bob’s nephew, Steve (Charlie Palmer Rothwell), evolve into hateful sons-of-bitches. There’s also a lot of perverse gratification in watching Simon get what’s coming to him, mainly because we’ve all encountered assholes with a similarly-misguided sense of superiority.
Though The Bloodhound does come to an interesting conclusion, I imagine some viewers will walk away unimpressed – perhaps irritated – with a denouement that doesn’t tie-up loose ends into a tidy bow or answer nagging questions (of which there are plenty). But Picard is far less concerned with narrative clarity than creating a singular mood, which he manages to do quite well. He also knows not to test the viewer’s patience for too long. Running a relatively brief 71 minutes, The Bloodhound is like a quick road trip with no real destination in-mind and coming to a conclusion just before everyone gets tired of sitting in the car.
I suppose some viewers expecting a straightforward thriller might find the abundance of humor off-putting. Personally, I found it to be an unexpected breath of fresh air. Dark Web: Cicada 3301 may not be quite as “dark” as the title and promotional material suggest, but it still dishes out plenty of intrigue and action to go with the laughs. If only Robert Langdon had a similar sense of humor.
Wrong Turn makes the right moves. Bolstered by well-defined, inclusively diverse characters, an efficient-yet-deliberate pace and a consistently foreboding tone, the story is intriguing and – God forbid – sometimes thought provoking. Equal parts brains and blood make this a pleasant surprise, a welcome change in direction and the best film in the franchise…by far.
Whether or not you align with the experimental nature of the film, the technical prowess (even for a short so isolated and simplistic in scope) is remarkable. ChewBoy productions remains an ambitious, uniquely bizarre, indie film group unafraid to embrace the delightfully weird Duplass-ian grassroots that make experimental film so interesting. The Zizz is one part The Puffy Chair with a small dash of Last Year at Mariebad and slight tonal similarities to THX 1138. It’s an enigmatic amalgamation of themes that universally offer solace in understanding—an acknowledgement that the internal dilemmas, the suffering we feel inside, may actually be a shared experience. Perhaps, in that way, The Zizz (in what it represents) doesn’t have to feel so daunting.