Boundaries is a dramedy about single mother Laura (Vera Farmiga) taking her estranged father Jack (Christopher Plummer) and socially awkward son Henry (Lewis Macdougall) on an involuntary road trip. Jack is crotchety and wasn’t emotionally present for Laura’s childhood, Henry draws people naked (which everyone reacts to as if he is a budding serial killer) and gets expelled from school, and Laura hoards animals and doesn’t believe in herself.
As dysfunctional family comedies go, Boundaries presents nothing new in the trope, which would be fine if only it weren’t working so hard to tug at the heartstrings. With the exception of Plummer, a delightful appearance by Christopher Lloyd, and another by Kristen Schaal as Laura’s sister JoJo, there really aren’t enough likable characters to draw in the viewer. Laura is at times shrill and self-centered when she is supposed to be sympathetic, Henry is sullen, and Jack is emotionally distant, offering arch commentary on Laura’s mistakes even as he strongarms his grandson into helping him sell weed. Yes, there is a weed angle.
You can probably guess how the film ends, but spoilers will still appear below the cut, as always.
At the advance screening for Isle of Dogs I attended, there were several moments within the film that got laughs, gasps of delight, and rounds of clapping from the audience. As of this post’s writing, Isle of Dogs sits at 93% on Rottentomatoes.com. It is a stop-motion movie about dogs with an amazing voice cast, a creative if not super complex story, and a delightful look. I should have liked it.
I did not.
Maybe it’s because I’m not a Wes Anderson devotee and am not inured to his unique voice, comedic flourishes, or banter. I enjoyed The Life Aquatic and outside of that I have few impressions of his films, other than they employ bright colors and have a lot of neurotic people struggling to manage family relationships.
Although Isle of Dogs did many technical things very well, it did some pretty major things poorly. The story is not charming or heartwarming enough to compensate for these missteps, and ultimately the whole thing felt like the film version of an ill-conceived rainy day craft project.
My friend and co-blogger Tanya and I went to see Lady Bird, a movie directed by Greta Gerwig, this past weekend at the Enzian. Afterwards, we had thoughts. Some of them (including spoilers) follow.
But what is Lady Bird? In short, it’s the story of a young woman’s relationship with her mother during a year of transition between high school and college. The story is set in Sacramento and deeply embedded within the politics of the city, especially economic and racial ones. It was also great, awkward, fun.
Happy belated Star Wars day! May the Forth is Star Warth Day, ath everyone knowth.
Unfortunately life has ramped up, and I didn’t have time this week to write up my piece on stop-motion animation. I will go ahead and disappoint you ahead of time by saying I won’t have time next week either, OR the week after. Although I will try to get something done, I can’t promise anything and it makes me sad. Work basically exploded, so it’s keeping me mega-busy with no time to blog. It sucks, but hey, it’s a new opportunity to learn some neat new stuff. So, a mixed bag!
In the meantime, please enjoy reading about two new species of Tarsier that were discovered. If you don’t know what a Tarsier is, here is a helpful video.
Have a great couple of weeks! Look after yourself!
Still buried under personal projects, I am also sick this week. Yay me. In lieu of real content, please have:
This beautiful song from Kubo and the Two Strings, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Written by George Harrison, there are many versions of this song, including one with Tom Petty and Prince, but this one includes the shamisen and other Japanese instruments.
Some Texts From Superheroes. These ALWAYS make me laugh and are a great way to lose an afternoon. If you have even a passing knowledge of the Marvel and DC movies, you’ll be able to keep up.
Check back next week for A Stop-Motion Celebration! Have a great weekend!