Monday Movies Needs Him. He’s Our Friend.

Robot and Frank opens with a sequence borrowed from Bottle Rocket: a robber breaking and entering into his own home. But unlike Owen Wilson’s Dignan, whose crime is in preparation for a more eventful life, Frank (Frank Langella) is helplessly reliving his adventures. Frank lives in Cold Spring, NY, five hours’ round trip from his barely-not-estranged son Hunter (James Marsden), and under the lengthening shadow of dementia. When Hunter brings him a helper robot, an affably clunky-looking white cartoon astronaut without a name (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard, inhabited by dancer Rachael Ma), he proudly resists at first, but soon learns that the robot’s obedience to federal and state law is subordinate to its prime directive, to maintain his health, and if planning and executing heists keeps his mind sharp and his life purposeful, the robot is happy to learn the meaning of “case the joint.”
Continue reading “Monday Movies Needs Him. He’s Our Friend.”

Monday Movies Was Meant to Have a Business Meeting. With Destiny.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home is the fourth feature outing of Jay and Mark Duplass. Their first, The Puffy Chair, helped define the “mumblecore” genre, along with the early work of Joe Swanberg and Andrew Bujalski. Their second, Baghead, a mumblecore-horror hybrid with a metacommentary on filmmaking, indicated a lively impatience with their creation, demonstrating a consistency that showed they knew their strengths in addition to an openness to teaching themselves new tricks. After that they made Cyrus, about which I know little other than that it starred Jonah Hill, John C. Reilly and Marisa Tomei, and while indie was not quite a micro-budget film. (Of those, I saw only Baghead, which I liked a lot.) Continue reading “Monday Movies Was Meant to Have a Business Meeting. With Destiny.”