FILM NEWS: MAR. 12-18 | Cinema Clips | Salt Lake City Weekly

FILM NEWS: MAR. 12-18 

New This Week, Special Screenings, and Current Releases

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Big Time Adolescence 3 stars
Hypothetically, if this movie consisted solely of 90 minutes of Pete Davidson smiling goofily and describing everything as "sick," it might still be hella-fun. It follows the friendship between 16-year-old Mo (Griffin Glick) and his unlikely best friend: 23-year-old Zeke (Davidson), the pot-smoking, layabout ex-boyfriend of Mo's sister. Mo's esteem for Zeke frustrates Mo's dad (Jon Cryer), and it's interesting to see paternal concern played as something akin to jealousy. The real pleasures, though, are in the relationship between Zeke and Mo, where each gets something they desperately need: for Mo, the attention of someone he thinks is cool; for Zeke, someone thinking he's cool. Writer/director Jason Orley breezes past the loneliness at the heart of Zeke, though we get a glimpse of the future awaiting him when Zeke's own mentor shows up. Mostly, Davidson gives a hilarious performance as a guy who wants the benefits of being admired without any of the responsibilities, accentuated by Orley's sharp editing rhythms. He understands how adults who refuse to grow up are hilarious—until they're more than a little sad. Opens March 13 at Tower Theatre. (R)—Scott Renshaw

[not yet reviewed]
A slain soldier (Vin Diesel) is brought back to life with enhanced abilities. Opens March 13 at theaters valleywide. (PG-13)

The Hunt
[not yet reviewed]
Several strangers are abducted and turned into part of a cruel game. Opens March 13 at theaters valleywide. (R)

I Still Believe 2.5 stars
See review on p. 43. Opens March 13 at theaters valleywide. (PG)

My Spy
[not yet reviewed]
A CIA agent (Dave Bautista) surveils a precocious 9-year-old girl and her family. Opens March 13 at theaters valleywide. (PG-13)

Swallow 2 stars
If Swallow had been made in the 1950s, it would have been radical; today, it's banal. Perhaps that's why writer-director Carlo Mirabella-Davis chose a slick postwar aesthetic for this slice of housewife horror. When she isn't vacuuming the modernist glass box she shares with her piece-of-shit husband (Austin Stowell)—in a vintage-y full-swing skirt, no less—lonely Hunter (Haley Bennett) is gulping down marbles, paper clips and other dangerous non-food objects. This eating disorder—called pica— is a real thing, but the feminist metaphor is overstretched and depressingly stale. Hunter is dealing with real trauma, which only begins with her horrible husband and his toxic parents (Elizabeth Marvel and David Rasche). But her isolation feels less like an authentic part of spousal abuse and more like a flawed component of a man's spin on a woman's trauma. There are nice touches: Hunter eating the pages of a self-help book is sharp, and Bennett's performance is both terrific and terrifyingly dedicated. But instead of becoming scary, Swallow remains shallow. Opens March 13 at Tower Theatre. (R)—MaryAnn Johanson

The Times of Bill Cunningham 2.5 stars
The obvious place to start is, "Why, after 2011's Bill Cunningham New York, did we need another documentary about Bill Cunningham?" And the honest answer is, "We didn't need it, but maybe there's still some good stuff." Director Mark Bozek organizes his film around an interview he conducted with Cunningham in 1994, and as a result the focus is squarely on the earlier years of Cunningham's life in the fashion scene before transitioning into his "Street Life" columns for the New York Times. Bozek leans heavily on illustrating Cunningham's anecdotes with his own photographs, so we get lots of celebrity shots, and stories that involve plenty of casual name-dropping. Fortunately, Cunningham is a lively enough raconteur—infectious in his enthusiasm for the professional life he's had the privilege to live—to engage even audience members who are already familiar with Cunningham's story from the previous documentary. The narration by Sarah Jessica Parker proves mostly distracting, like a Carrie Bradshaw-filtered version of Cunningham's New York; Cunningham's own undiluted emotion about the beauty and tragedy he's seen is all we really need. Opens March 13 at Broadway Centre Cinemas. (NR)—SR

The Traitor 2.5 stars
For an epic-length historical drama, Marco Bellocchio's film sure feels like it skimps on developing its title character. He's Tommaso Buscetta (Pierfrancesco Favino), a Sicilian Cosa Nostra operative who, in the mid-1980s, became infamous for cooperating with an Italian government prosecution of mob bosses. The scenes involving the trials themselves are far and away the strongest material, capturing a circus of hoots and threats from the accused in courtroom cages, and confrontations between Tommaso and his ex-colleagues that play out more like theater than legal proceedings. But the rest of the narrative feels wildly episodic, with Tommaso either in jail or in witness protection before the next time he has to take the stand. And while it's clear that Tommaso's break from Cosa Nostra is based on his belief that they abandoned their code long before he did, there's a complexity missing from his role in this landmark event, and how he copes with life away from it. You'll learn a lot more about an interesting piece of Italian—and organized crime—history than you will about il traditore himself. Opens March 13 at Broadway Centre Cinemas. (R)—SR

Wendy 2 stars
The latest from Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) once again has him following lower-class kids on a magical journey. This retelling of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan has the titular character (Devin France) and her twin brothers (Gage and Gavin Naquin) following a dreadlocked Peter (Yashua Mack) to an island full of kids of color, who follow a big-ass, luminescent fish they call "Mother" and apparently never age. Unfortunately, the movie spirals out of control in the second half, as Wendy and her brothers get into danger which has them confronting their own mortality, something the timeless Peter prefers not to deal with. This movie may also make some parents mad, as it virtually makes the case that kids who go missing end up in a distant land where they play the whole damn time. Zeitlin may be a filmmaker who wants to remind people how much wonder and optimism they had back when they were young, but this well-intentioned yet woefully miscalculated effort ends up getting away from him. This movie is—dare I say it—Zeitlin's Hook. Opens March 13 at theaters valleywide. (PG-13)—Craig D. Lindsey


At Park City Film Series, March 13-14, 8 p.m. & March 15, 6 p.m. (R)

To the Ends of the Earth
At Main Library, March 17, 7 p.m. (NR)

Tumbleweeds Film Festival
At Main Library, March 13-15, times vary. (NR)

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About The Author

Scott Renshaw

Scott Renshaw

Scott Renshaw has been a City Weekly staff member since 1999, including assuming the role of primary film critic in 2001 and Arts & Entertainment Editor in 2003. Scott has covered the Sundance Film Festival for 25 years, and provided coverage of local arts including theater, pop-culture conventions, comedy, literature,... more

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