Tag Archives: Tony Revolori

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Things have really changed for Peter Parker, our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man (Tom Holland). He went to space, fought Thanos, vanished for five years, returned from the dead, fought Thanos again, and lost his mentor. But now, after all that, he’s back in high school, and he’s headed to Europe with his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon), his crush MJ (Zendaya), his rival Flash (Tony Revolori) and the rest of the science club. All that’s on his to-do list is to tell MJ how he feels about her. Unfortunately, as always happens to Peter, Spidey-stuff keeps getting in the way of his best-laid plans.

Just like Homecoming, Far From Home gets Spider-Man right. He’s best as a high schooler, trying to balance his hero responsibilities with his studies and social life. He’s also best as a small-scale hero who’s thrown into Avengers-sized problems. Far From Home gives us lots of both, as Peter’s trip happens to coincide with a major attack on Venice by a water elemental. Naturally, Peter dives into the city defence with gusto and in doing so teams up with a fishbowl-wearing hero named Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) and an eyepatch-wearing ray of sunshine named Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Both need Spidey’s help to save the world.

Things are not as simple as they seem, of course, and even a casual Spider-Man fan will know basically where things are headed from the trailers alone. But in getting to the climax, the movie has almost too many twists and turns, because at times the script struggles to make sense of the on-screen events (and the post-credits “solution” seems like a cop-out even as it raises some interesting questions).

As a fanboy, I have no problem at all overlooking those minor flaws. Far From Home is just so damn entertaining and Tom Holland is a fantastic Spider-Man and a better Peter Parker. Still, as a critic, I hope the next live-action Spider-Man movie takes a few more cues from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which stands as the best Spider-Man movie ever because the action never stops AND the script never stops making sense. Despite being chock-full of Spidey goodness, Far From Home doesn’t bring everything together into a cohesive whole like Spider-Verse did, but Far From Home’s can-do attitude and wacky humour still make for a really fun movie that Spidey’s fans are going to love.

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The Long Dumb Road

Nat (Tony Revolori) is driving his van across the American Southwest toward L.A., and art school. He’s a little sheltered and a little naive due to a cushiony upbringing, but with his trusty camera (with real, actual film, a relic from his granddad) by his side, he’s ready to turn this drive into a sight-seeing tour to get into the right head space before his education properly begins.

18544-1-1100Nat does not count on bumping into Richard (Jason Mantzoukas), a mechanic just out of a job when Nat’s van is in desperate need. They trade labour for a ride, and soon the two are unintentionally road tripping together. Richard is an odd duck; he’s volatile but sensitive, impulsive and oddly sweet. Richard gets them into a LOT of trouble, from failed romance to successful highway robbery. But his constant need to put himself out there means they also meet a lot of interesting characters along the road, and a lot of “wisdom” gets dropped. Richard is much more worldly and experienced, but he’s probably not the role model a young man such as Nat needs. But he’s the one he gets.

Tony Revolori could have easily been a Wes Anderson flash in the pan but I’m constantly glad to see him crop up elsewhere. Nat does his growing up, coming of age thing in this film, which means Revolori is in turns adorably nervous all the way to confidently heroic. That’s quite an arc. Richard might be further along the hopeless scale, but he’s confronting his own issues head on, even if he never learns the lesson. Jason Mantzoukas has so far been pretty one-note as an actor – he always turns in these rambunctious, beastly, off-colour characters, but he gives such a committed, over the top performance you can’t help but love him.

Richard is an erratic juggling act for Mantzoukas, and it’s a thrilling to watch.

I’m happy to report that director Hannah Fidell turns in a movie that is neither long nor dumb. It’s just funny and clever enough to be spent amiably. While I wouldn’t want Richard in my car, or heck, even on my bus, and definitely not on my plane, odd couple road trips are a tried and true genre for a reason, and these two put forth a solid, likable entry.

Table 19

I sort of wonder if this is an oddball comedy or just a comedy filled with oddballs. It IS filled with oddballs, that’s the premise. Eloise (Anna Kendrick) is the ex-maid of honour at her best friend’s wedding. Having recently been broken up with the bride’s brother\best man, she knows she shouldn’t be there but to prove a point she RSVPs yes, and as a reward for her bravery, she gets seated at dreaded table 19 with all the other losers and rejects who should have known better.

MV5BYThmOTM1OTktODc4Mi00NzU4LWI5MzItYzc0ZDY1YWJhZjVlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjg0ODEwMjU@._V1_The table 19 crew: Bina & Jerry Kemp (Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson) who are diner owners who don’t know the bride or groom personally, and barely know each other anymore; Renzo (Tony Revolori), a young kid who’s mother told him he stood a better chance of picking up at this wedding than at his junior prom; cousin Walter (Stephen Merchant), newly out of prison for having embezzled from the bride’s father; and Nanny Jo (June Squibb) who was basically a retaliation invite.

They’re a gang of misfits and the wedding is doomed for them. The critics have doomed Table 19 entirely, but I thought it had its charms. There’s certainly a lot of sympathy for the odd ducks of the world, and the performances are pretty winning (Squibb and Merchant being favourites). Some of the gags are tired but it’s kind of nice to see the weirdos normally relegated to the background have a moment in the spotlight. A Mumblecore film more concerned with characters and dialogue than plot, this movie isn’t going to light the world on fire. But like any wedding, it can be made tolerable with an open bar.

Take The 10

Chester is having quite a day. He’s finally found a buyer for his “vintage” 1997 Toyota Corolla which means he can take off for greener pastures in Brazil, leave behind his lame Whole(some) Foods job, and all that learning Portuguese won’t have been for nothing. His drug dealing best friend Chris is a little less excited about Brazil. He just wants to go to some concert, to which he can’t stop scalping tickets. But wait, you know there’s going to be a hitch: the Corolla buyer turns out to be in the market for a free drive-by and that puts Chester (Tony Revolori) in a very awkward position. Chris (Josh Peck) keeps making things worse, of course, and things were already pretty bad.

I have such positive feelings for Revolori from The Grand Budapest Hotel that I want to like this take-the-10-770x353movie immediately, and for a while, I do. But this Chris guy just keeps getting into such dumb situations and I suppose his character is less sympathetic so I’m just annoyed. My tolerance for dumb shit is not as high as is required to enjoy this movie. I may have laughed a couple of times but mostly I just thought things like: I wonder if any aps on my phone need updating? and Is this the perfect time to finally hook up all my single socks? and Holy mother of pearl, why are there still 20 agonizing minutes left?

So I guess that means I don’t recommend it. You know, unless you’re feeling super mellow and time-wastey and prone to generous laughter. Writer-director Chester Tam believes he is creating some unconventional characters, but he’s really only got caricatures with no depth or development. It’s a buddy-hijinks comedy that reminded me a bit of Go but only suffered from that comparison. It’s new on Netflix, but it’s barely worth the energy it takes to scroll past.

 

Dope

You might not know Shameik Moore yet, but you will.

He’s not the only reason why I was grabbed by this movie: the script is smart, the soundtrack is awesomesauce, and the angle is fresh. dopeBut Moore, unknown to me, turns in an A+ performance while writer-director Rick Famuyiwa is making choices I’m quickly becoming addicted to.

The story: Malcolm is a good student in a bad school, a good kid in a bad neighbourhood. He dreams of Harvard and 90s hip hop but on his way to his admissions interview he winds up with a bookbag full of dope. He’s got two friends, Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) and Jib (Tony Revolori – the little bellhop from The Grand Budapest Hotel), and though this charming trio is made up of teacher’s pets and band geeks, they resolve to navigate the dark web and treat their reluctant drug dealing like a 21st century enterprise.

This movie is tonally inconsistent, but it’s not because the film doesn’t know what it is, it’s because it aims to be a bit of everything, and I kind of liked that about it.  Famuyiwa means to challenge our dopebandnotion of what a drug dealer looks like – or what a Harvard applicant looks like, for that matter, but even the film itself defies expectations. It manages to seamlessly integrate these 90s throwbacks into a world where these kids have never bought nor owned a CD. They idolize rap but they play in a punk band. Welcome to 2015. Pharrell Williams and Sean (Diddy) Combs are listed as producers, so you know that shit is solid.

The cast is exceptionally good, and you need them to be to make this story work. Comedy-drama-crime: the film covers a lot of ground, but at its heart it’s an identity crisis, an acknowledgement of our many selves. Famuyiwa is not a newbie but this is his first film where I feel like I actually know him. You can’t infuse a script with this many pop culture references and not reveal yourself. Famuyiwa, I think I’m on to you.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Full disclosure: I am Wes Anderson’s twin sister, and thus, incapable of impartial movie reviews.

Fuller disclosure: That was a bold lie. I’m just an uber-fan, but upon reflection I don’t want to accuse myself of impartiality. Yes, I love his movies fervently, I wish to live in them, but my esteem is earned. Wes Anderson never takes a night off. He earns it every time.

I was going to watch something new, and maybe I was going to like it, but this little delicacy presented itself as an alternative, and therefore it was the only alternative.

budapestWes Anderson introduces us to Gustave H, a legendary and well-perfumed concierge at the famous Grand Budapest Hotel, and Zero Moustafa, the humble lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft (and recovery) of an invaluable painting and the battle over a will and a vast family fortune.

Immediately Anderson’s aesthetic draws you into this world, the colour palette is sumptuous and alive, and it’s like stepping into someone’s well-appointed dream. As always, the details are meticulously executed: the hotel’s shabbiness, the gritty grout, the choice of fonts, the embroidery, the mustaches, both real and drawn-on, the crest worn by Edward Norton and his army men of a little fox head greatly resembling a certain Fantastic Mr. Fox.

The movie is shot with three different aspect rations to help the audience differentiate between the time periods. The adventure is rapid-fire and the dialogue is virtually spat out.  In fact, the rapid gunfire of dialogue is a problem when viewing the movie in a theatre: the laughs are so close together it’s sometimes hard to hear whatever comes next.

The characteres are vividly drawn and always so much fun to get to know – in this case, Ralph Main Quad_AW_[26611] Grand BudapestFiennes plays a character playing a character who makes pretension feel absolutely charming. Tilda Swinton makes a grand dame indeed in her voluminous old age spots, old lady lipstick, and ridiculously piled hair. There are actually so many stars jam-packed into this movie that I’ll never be able to name-check them all. The enjoyable thing is that these cameos rarely (if ever) feel forced, instead it’s intoxicating and energizing.

It’s a caper-y type film and the plot covers a lot more ground than most of Wes Anderson’s films. But the crime is nestled within a sumptuous frame work and the whole film eats like one of Mendl’s delicious little cakes that are turned our so perfectly that Saoirise Ronan, who plays Agatha, said that making those little pastries convincingly was by far the hardest stunt she’s performed in any movie.

I’d like to say that this is possibly Wes Anderson’s best movie to date, but I feel that such an assertion would be a betray of sorts, like choosing my favourite among my dogs (which reminds me – great little Anderson in-joke moment: after killing a dog in nearly every other movie, Anderson finally sticks it to a cat in a manner so abrupt and cruel it can’t help but get a big, suprised laugh). It’s hard to find a movie that’s this entertaining, this varied and layered, and even if you watch it as a George Clooney edition of Where’s Waldo, you can’t go wrong.

 

Stay tuned for more Wes Anderson reviews – I won’t be able to resist.