April 20, 2019
The Hummingbird ProjectApril 20, 2019
Comedy / 2019 / 111 minutes
No one plays a socially awkward genius like Jesse Eisenberg, so it comes as little surprise that the young actor returns to form in Kim Nguyen’s gripping 2019 techno thriller The Hummingbird Project. Paired with the icy cool Alexander Skarsgard, Eisenberg plays one half of an ambitious familial duo looking to lay a direct line of fiber optic cable from New Jersey to Kansas that will allow for High-Frequency Trading, a big stakes, world-altering gambit complicated by the interference of their old boss (Salma Hayek), a powerful financial trader. It takes a confident directorial hand to make the corridors of high finance so fascinating; thankfully Nguyen is more than up to the task, bringing an edgy verisimilitude to the tightly-plotted, fast-talking screenplay and letting his fine trio of leads give the game of greed a flawed and relatable humanity. With Michael Mando.
AquamanApril 20, 2019
Action / 2018 / 143 minutes
Long the joke of the superhero world, no one thought a big budget Aquaman movie would prove viable, yet in the hands of superstar director James Wan, the man with the ability to talk to fish is now a box office king. A joyful, pulpy romp that is equal parts adventure serial and Lord of the Rings-style fantasy epic, Wan’s take on Aquaman refigures the one-time superfriend as a surfer King Arthur (embodied perfectly by dude bro uberhunk Jason Momoa) semi-reluctantly questing for the magical trident that will allow him to claim the throne of Atlantis and stave off a war between the mythical undersea kingdom and the ocean-polluting surface world. It’s a big, silly, infectiously fun slice of spectacle entertainment, elevated over typical superhero faire by Wan’s total commitment of the material, the all-in performances of the leads, and the dazzling, imaginatively realized underwater worlds. With Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson and Willem Dafoe.
Dazed and ConfusedApril 20, 2019
Comedy / 1993 / 102 minutes
Marijuana is omnipresent in Richard Linklater’s seminal 90s high school comedy Dazed and Confused, and while it is used to keep the good times rolling, it’s not the focus. A hazy, lazy memoir of Linklater’s daze as a high schooler, the story chronicles several groups of teens through the last day of school in small town Texas circa 1976; the freshman kids are ritualistically bullied by next year’s seniors, friends gather to hang out and get stoned, and preparations are made for an end-of-the-year kegger. Expanding on the aesthetic established in his 1991 indie breakthrough Slacker, Linklater allows conversation to drive the nostalgia-soaked scenes, and coupled with an awesome soundtrack full of album rock classics captures the free and easy feeling of cruising with your best buds. Featuring early appearances by future stars Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Adam Greenberg, Milla Jovovich and Matthew McConaughey in his breakout role as the laconic lech Wooderson.
Half BakedApril 20, 2019
Comedy / 1998 / 82 minutes
What would 4/20 be without a stoner comedy with which to ride out your buzz, and what film celebrates the love of marijuana more singularly than Tamra Davis’ Half Baked? Co-written and starring Dave Chappelle before he was catapulted to superstardom with Chappelle’s Show, the story follows three stoners (Chappelle, Guillermo Diaz and Jim Breuer) as they try to get a fellow pothead out of jail for accidentally killing a cop’s diabetic horse. Hijinks ensue involving a marijuana lab, the prerequisite drug lord, Chappelle posing as a rapper, and the alleged ashes of Deadhead messiah Jerry Garcia. A cut above the usual drug comedy fare thanks to a great cast and healthy hit of genuine heart. Featuring cameos from Tommy Chong, Clarence Williams III, Tracy Morgan, Jon Stewart and Snoop Dogg.
ClimaxApril 20, 2019
Thriller / 2019 / 95 minutes
“Accessible" and "tender" are not adjectives commonly used when describing the work of cinematic enfant terrible Gaspar Noe, yet his 2019 offering Climax is being described in such terms despite its evocative title. But if you're concerned that the controversial French auteur has softened, think again; Climax sees Noe's predilection for drug-induced hysteria, wild camera movement, graphic sexuality and explosive violence on fully display as he chronicles the interaction of a culturally and sexually diverse dance troupe through a rehearsal and LSD-laced after party where raw, existential truths are laid bare. But what makes Climax unique in the Noe canon is the lack of all-pervasive nihilism so prevalent in his other works – here he finds a chord of hopefulness to land on (if only a momentary one), offering a glimpse of possible salvation in a maelstrom of human failings, a hint of light before plunging back into darkness. With Sofia Boutella and a cast of professional dancers.