That is not to say that it is not a good movie. It in fact gives mature treatment to the lives of these teenagers in a quite refreshing way. The biggest shortcoming of the film is that Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) is such a compelling on screen-persona that it becomes disappointing that the movie is from the perspective of the male lead instead of her. Woodley is a rising star in Holywood, and watching her work her craft here is worth the time invested, even if moments with her off screen feel too uneven. Final grade: B.
Ryan: The line between just friends and boyfriend-girlfriend is explored in the indie dramedy, Drinking Buddies (R) starring Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston.
Drinking Buddies is a breath of fresh air in the summer movie season. The movie is not without issues—admittedly the stream of consciousness narrative does get stale from time-to-time. But the film succeeds in being an anti-romantic comedy—not in terms of being dark and gritty but more so in turning the conventions of the atypical romantic comedy on its head. If this story was produced in the typical Hollywood rom-com fashion, it would have made for a completely different and far less interesting movie.
Also of note, Olivia Wilde finally delivers a performance worthy of her classic Hollywood looks. Performances of this ilk are often over-looked and that would be a disservice to Wilde. She’s simply great in this movie. Final grade: B.
Andy: Making the rounds on the documentary circuit this summer was the Rock-doc, A Band Called Death. The film chronicles the formation of a band by three teenage brothers in early ‘70s Detroit. The brothers played an uncompromisingly loud style of rock-n-roll that seems commonplace today, but was virtually unheard of during that time period. In short, the film argues, these three teenagers from inner-city Detroit invented Punk Rock several years before The Ramones had even been heard of, but their circumstance and unwillingness to change the band name kept them from getting signed. Hence, they were forgotten until this documentary unearthed their music for the masses.