Tribeca Festival 2021 capsule reviews: ‘Settlers’, ‘Glob Lessons’, and ‘7 Days’

Settlers

Mankind’s earliest settlers on the Martian frontier do what they must to survive the cosmic elements and each other.

Undeniably riveting, Settlers pits one family unit against another. Brooklynn Prince, who burst onto the scene in The Florida Project, captivates as a child whose survival depends on the lies she’s been fed by adults. Sofia Boutella skillfully plays her mother and ardent protector. As the reality of the situation of humanity is slowly revealed, the peril grows for everyone involved. Settlers is a film about trust, through and through. As time passes, Remmy’s role is taken over by Nell Tiger Free. She must navigate loneliness, and more importantly, the advances of the man who keeps her both alive and captive. Settlers’ unique script by director Wyatt Rockefeller allows us to question what we would do when faced with extreme circumstances. The landscape beautifully mimics the surface of Mars. Its desolate surroundings create palpable isolation and ceaseless desperation. The addition of a robotic character is the only thing that brings levity. Ismael Cruz Córdova as Jesses walks a precarious line between savior and villain. His beliefs steer the story into the darkest regions of human nature. Settlers is worth the watch for extraordinary performances and one hell of a feature debut from Rockefeller.

DIRECTOR
Wyatt Rockefeller
CAST

Sofia Boutella, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Brooklynn Prince, Nell Tiger Free, Jonny Lee Miller


Glob Lessons

Two mismatched strangers confront their fears of intimacy and inadequacy as they tour low-budget children’s theatre out of a minivan across the frozen Upper Midwest.

Nicole Rodenburg and Colin Froeber give us every emotion on screen. As a theater major, I know Jesse and Alan. But as a human being, everyone will know them. The concept of pouring your soul into your passion with little in return is universal, be it children’s theatre or any other occupation. There is a fine line between love and loathing. The laughs are plenty lying within awkward non-conversation and road movie tropes. Tension and tolerance levels eventually come to a head with creativity as their savior. In Glob Lessons, the moments of genuine intimacy between Froeber and Rodenburg grab hold of the viewer. Jesse and Alan are fleshed-out characters. At times they are pathetic, other times endearing. The chemistry between Froeber and Rodenburg is the stuff of movie magic. Glob Lessons isn’t flashy and that’s the point. Life is messy. Let’s own it. I am excited to see what comes next from a voice like Rodenburg’s. If Glob Lessons is any indication, we’ll be seeing more very soon.

 

DIRECTOR
Nicole Rodenburg
SCREENWRITER

Colin Froeber, Nicole Rodenburg


7 Days

As if their pre-arranged date, organized by their traditional Indian parents, wasn’t uncomfortable enough, Ravi and Rita are forced to shelter in place together as COVID-19’s reach intensifies.

This film snuck up on me. Filmed during lockdown and using COVID as a major plot point, 7 Days turns the concept of traditional arranged marriage on its head. Geraldine Viswanathan brings the laughs as Rita. Breaking the mold of the dutiful would-be bride, she begrudgingly comes to Ravi’s rescue with little to no hope of being his match. Karan Soni, who co-wrote the screenplay with director Roshan Sethi, plays straight-laced, Ravi.  As boredom sets in and guards are let down, a genuine connection slowly develops. The chemistry between Viswanathan and Karan feels grounded and made for some incredibly memorable moments. 7 Days is funny and heartfelt. I was not expecting the darker turn in the script. It was a bold move that paid off in spades. Filmed mostly in one room created the tension and awkwardness we needed to experience alongside Rita and Ravi. It takes the idea of close quarters to the extreme. 7 Days is a true gem from this year’s festival.

DIRECTOR
Roshan Sethi
SCREENWRITER
Karan Soni, Roshan Sethi
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Roshan Sethi, Karan Soni, Geraldine Viswanathan

Review: ‘Corporate Animals’ is an awesome ensemble comedy.

Lucy (Demi Moore) is the delusional CEO of a struggling startup aimed at millennials. In her infinite wisdom, Lucy leads her staff, including her long-suffering assistants Jess (Jessica Williams) and Freddie (Karan Soni), on a team building retreat in the caves of New Mexico led by an overeager guide (Ed Helms). When disaster strikes and the food runs out, mandatory office bonding becomes a lot more… appetizing.

Demi Moore plays a caricature of a “crunchy” CEO who takes her employees on a team-building excursion that goes awry. Trapped in a cave, already eccentric personalities are pushed to their limits. This script uses the “ripped from the headlines” and pop culture tactic to drive its tongue-in-cheek dialogue. It has a very Office feel to its co-worker chemistry dynamic. Demi Moore is authentically hilarious as an entitled phony nightmare. Ed Helms is never not funny. Jessica Williams and Karan Soni make an incredible team, SNL needs to take them both on immediately.  Each and every cast member has funny moment after funny moment. These are fully fleshed out characters which is a compliment to both the cast and the writer, Sam Bain.

Filmed almost entirely in the cave set, you can feel the claustrophobia of the cast. This is a “Lord of the Flies” daydream for anyone who hates their boss. The funniest moments revolve around hallucinations of all kinds. Corporate Animals doesn’t break any new ground but who cares. It’s still an undeniably fun time and a great comedic platform for both veteran and newcomer cast.

Screen Media will release the film in theaters and on demand September 20th.

Review: ‘Deadpool’

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Actor Ryan Reynolds has been passionate about bringing Marvel icon Deadpool to the big screen ever since his failed portrayal as Wade Wilson in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine and, after much demand, Reynolds got his wish. The actor, along with director Tim Miller, have created one of the most faithful adaptations of a comic book hero ever to grace the silver screen. Get your chimichanga’s ready cause the “Merc with the Mouth” is about to blow your mind.

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Ryan Reynolds plays Wade Wilson, a mercenary who spends most of his time extorting bad people and hanging out with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), a call girl and the love of his life. After finding out he’s been diagnosed with cancer, Wade consents to a top secret program run by Ajax (Ed Skein), a deranged scientist who uses torture to unearth the dormant mutant gene in his human subjects, a gene in which he hopes to cure Wade’s cancer and turn him into a super soldier. The experiment ultimately leave Wilson with accelerated healing powers, but also leaves him badly scarred in the process. In an attempt to right the wrong that has been done to him, Wilson becomes the anti-hero known as Deadpool and unleashes his brand of justice on all of those associated with the program. When Ajax makes things even more personal and goes after Vanessa, Deadpool enlists the help of his best friend Weasel (T.J. Miller) and X-Men Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) to rescue Vanessa and hurt a lot of people…really, really bad.

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Deadpool is a labor of love and you can tell that everyone involved truly gave everything they have to make this a near perfect action comedy. Director Tim Miller sits back and manages the filming and trusts his actors to bring out the absolute best in their characters. Ryan Reynolds is absolutely superb as the titular character. Reynolds quick delivery and dry sense of humor make him perfect for the role and he delivers a portrayal of Deadpool that fans will embrace with roaring applause. The supporting cast of T.J. Miller, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skein, Brianna Hildebrand and others are each rather enjoyable, but let’s be honest here, this is Reynolds’ movie and the film lives and dies with his performance.

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Overall, Deadpool is not a film for everyone, especially not for children! The language and violence and graphic nudity will make it a hard sell for some as well, but the film is an absolute blast and one that will entertain those who are not easily offended. I can honestly say, as a Deadpool comic fan, that this is the film fans have been waiting for and they won’t be disappointed.

Stars:

4 1/2 out of 5

After credit scene?

Yes! 2 of them, so stay thru the credits til the lights come up!

Trailer: