Review: ‘And Then I Go’ will haunt every parent in America.

AND THEN I GO

In the cruel world of junior high, Edwin suffers in a state of anxiety and alienation alongside his only friend, Flake. Misunderstood by their families and demoralized at school daily, their fury simmers quietly until an idea for vengeance offers them a terrifying release. Based on the acclaimed novel “Project X” by Jim Shepard, this unflinching look at adolescence explores how the powerful bonds of childhood friendship and search for belonging can become a matter of life or death.

With two small children, I now have a whole new set of anxiety as I research schools. I remember how bullying affected me when I was middle-school age. But with social media and the lack of consequences I have seen surrounding some children’s behavior, I am increasingly nervous about what my kids are getting themselves into through no fault of their own. My sister is newly a fulltime school counselor. The lack of coping skills and the increase of online harassment makes these kids more vulnerable than ever before. She job has quickly transformed from a few state-mandated cases into the disciplinary dumping ground for her particular administration. The uphill battle keeps getting higher.

The new film And Then I Go looks deep inside the isolation of two young boys as they are tormented by issues at home and school, some of their own doing and some by association. Performances from Melanie Lynskey and Justin Long are equal parts exhausted parents and concerned, loving individuals. They are caught in a cycle of changing behavior typical of their older son’s environment and a second child whose innocence is still intact due to age and personality. You feel for all parties involved and if you’re a parent yourself, can understand the look of desperation and quick jump to judgment.
The anchors of the film are undoubtedly our pair of lost boys, Arman Darbo and Sawyer Barth. These two give performances that will leave you breathless. The emotional depths to which these two have to go are heartbreaking and raw. Some moments are so natural you will wonder if there is a script at all. We will be seeing much more from these two in the future. Tony Hale and Carrie Preston offer us an insight into the minds of school staff and the attention they try to give to all their students. They are in the same mindset as parents emotionally and mentally. Exhaustive attempts to serve each child as an individual either stick or they don’t. All we can do is our best and remember why we do the jobs in the first place.
From the opening voiceover, there is an air of anxiety and melancholy. A deep seeded feeling of dread looms over the film as the plot rolls along. The cinematography and lighting are key to setting the film’s mood and tone. It’s a beautiful thing to behold, truly. While I was able to figure out where the film was headed, I was so invested in the characters that I was rooting for a different outcome throughout. You cannot help but hope that something or someone will intervene. But as a former teacher, I have seen the overcrowding and felt the burnout in taking work home, yet trying desperately to keep track of not only the kids in my own class but others. Resources being slashed left and right doesn’t help administration, teachers, and parents to do their very best. We are only human. I for one will be seeking out Jim Shepard‘s novel, “Project X”, immediately. And Then I Go should be required viewing for every adult in America today.

The Orchard will release AND THEN I GO On Digital and On Demand April 17, 2018.

The film features a stellar cast led by Justin Long (Yoga Hosers, Tusk, Accepted), Melanie Lynskey (“Castle Rock,” “Togetherness,” Heavenly Creatures), Tony Hale (“Arrested Development,” “Veep”), Melonie Diaz (Fruitvale Station, The Belko Experiment), Carrie Preston (“Claws,” “True Blood”), and powerful performances from teenage actors Arman Darbo (Defenders of Life) and Sawyer Barth (Super Dark Times).

 

Review: ‘DIGGING FOR FIRE’ ignites the funny and poignant.

Digging For Fire_posterThey say curiosity killed the cat. In the new film DIGGING FOR FIRE, curiosity most definitely killed somebody… but who? Jake Johnson and Rosemarie DeWitt lead an all star cast in this dark new indie from Joe Swanberg. While house-sitting for a client, Lee and Tim find a bone and a gun in the backyard, sparking a mystery that must be solved. Digging for Fire-4Johnson plays gym teacher Tim and husband to Dewitt’s yoga instructor Lee. While the film appears to tackle the mystery aspect at full force, the screenplay veers off onto the topics of marriage, parenting, and losing one’s identity. As Tim and Lee part ways for the weekend, Tim throws an intimate get together at the house, encouraging his guests to participate in his sleuthing. Lee drops their son Jude (played adorably by Swanberg’s real life son) off with her parents to visit with friends and explore some alone time. As their days and nights progress, the two weave in and out of age and stage realizations and reveal subtle personality quirks that are all too relatable. Digging for Fire-8While I wasn’t the biggest fan of Swanberg‘s Happy Christmas last year, Digging for Fire feels more like Drinking Buddies in it’s organic camera work and down to earth quality. Jake Johnson is always funny as hell and this is no exception. His every-man approachability combined with his genuine comic timing is a real win. Rosemarie DeWitt has the same “making the audience feel at ease” way about her. Their chemistry with one another and the entire rest of the cast including, Judith Light, Sam Elliott, Melanie Lynskey, Mike Birbiglia, Jenny Slate, Anna Kendrick, Brie Larson, Orlando Bloom, Ron Livingston, and Sam Rockwell (to name a few) is refreshing and fun to watch. I am really digging, no pun intended, the screenplay pairing of Johnson and Swanberg. This is clearly a great team.

DIGGING FOR FIRE opens in theaters and VOD today

 

Jeremy’s Review: Simon Helberg & Jocelyn Towne’s ‘We’ll Never Have Paris’ Is a Woody Allen Knock Off But Has Its Moments

We'll Never Have Paris posterThe romantic comedy landscape is peppered with film trying to show the absurdities of love all the while doing their best to unite the two love interests. Some people do this well, most fail miserably, while few hit middle ground. Simon Helberg & Jocelyn Towne‘s We’ll Never Have Paris fits into the latter category. While I’ve never seen Big Bang Theory where Helberg has made his name (and a shit ton of money), I can imagine that his portrayal of super-nerd Howard Wolowitz isn’t far from what we see in his character Quinn in this film. But I could be wrong, although, admittedly, I rarely am. Read More →

Liz’s Review: Joe Swanberg’s Not So ‘Happy Christmas’

Happy Christmas 1

Drinking Buddies was on my Top 10 list of Films for 2013. It was refreshing to see Olivia Wilde cast against her “usual type”, and thank God for that. She is incredibly talented. Jake Johnson is always funny. The two together, completely believable best friends with an edge. What was awkward in Drinking Buddies is still awkward in Joe Swanberg’s latest improv driven film, Happy Christmas. That something is Anna Kendrick. Read More →

‘Happy Christmas’ In Theaters July 25th – On Demand June 26th

When Jenny (Anna Kendrick), a hard partying 20-something moves in with Kelly (Melanie Lynskey), a budding novelist, her film director husband (Joe Swanberg) and their two-year-old son after a break up, the family’s idyllic life is shaken. Jenny begins a rocky relationship with their baby sitter-cum-pot dealer (Mark Webber), and she and a friend, Carson (Lena Dunham), bring Kelly to the realization that an evolution in her life, career and relationship is necessary for her happiness. A new comedy from the director of Drinking Buddies.

Written and directed by Joe Swanberg
Starring Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber, Lena Dunham, Joe Swanberg Read More →