Connect with us

Movie Reviews

Sasquatch Sunset (2024) – Movie Review

Published

on

Sasquatch Sunset (2024) – Movie Review

Sasquatch Sunset, 2024.

Written and Directed by David Zellner and Nathan Zellner.
Starring Riley Keough, Jesse Eisenberg, Nathan Zellner, and Christophe Zajac-Denek.

SYNOPSIS:

A year in the life of a unique family. It captures the daily life of the Sasquatch.

Sasquatch Sunset is what happens when you cross a crude, juvenile sense of humor that feels transplanted from the mind of a teenager who just discovered sex and its resulting bodily fluids from all genders, with a surprising sense of poignancy and emotional resonance. When one thinks directors David and Nathan Zellner are losing interest by repeating some of the same jokes, which primarily include a sasquatch family fornicating, masturbating, urinating, pooping, and fumbling their way through life (any interaction with small woodland animals is amusing), they don’t necessarily pivot away from that graphic onslaught of raunch or lose confidence but simultaneously embrace something more moving and thoughtful regarding parenthood and the planet. It’s dumb and gross in its approach to humor, but it also comes equipped with something vital to say.

Advertisement

Dumb is also used affectionately, as this sasquatch family, who do nothing but grunt and gesture (the actors reportedly worked with mimes to help effectively express themselves in this wordless feature), are free to be crass and brainless. At least until the sibling filmmakers flip that upside down, showing that Riley Keough’s pregnant sasquatch (the light narrative follows the family for an entire year, broken up into the four seasons in a chapter structure) has as much maternal instinct as any other animalistic species and slowly seemingly becomes self-aware of the damage being done to the planet. Shot by Mike Gioulakis, part of the joke appears to be that something so raunchy looks sweepingly beautiful, further emphasizing the ecological points being made.

Given that there is also some astonishingly detailed costume and makeup design that make these creatures feel like they exist, the emotional element is more effective. It’s a small ensemble of four, but with two recognizable names, Jesse Eisenberg and Riley Keough, unafraid to appear unrecognizable in the film; you might have to squint or use a bit of extra focus to adjust yourself to see who is playing which sasquatch, and while that might sound initially confusing for some, it doesn’t turn out to be an issue and is, if anything, might be the highest compliment there is to pay the below-the-line team. The sasquatches look nothing like their acting counterparts, save for slightly noticeable facial structure features and eyes, but evoke a strong sense of humanity among their toilet humor shenanigans.

As for the story itself, Sasquatch Sunset certainly benefits from heading in knowing very little about it. What can be said is that the family (it is unspecified how they are exactly related to one another) spend their days traveling across the forest, picking for food, and occasionally stopping to take care of business such as bowel movements or sex. Within the group, a rather aggressive sasquatch (played by one half of the writing/directing team, Nathan Zellner) is taking charge (many times in ways that backfire) and sexually forcing himself on the resisting Riley Keough sasquatch, currently meeting with the Jesse Eisenberg sasquatch. The love-Bigfoots also appear to have a younger son (much smaller and even more curious about the surroundings), played by Christophe Zajac-Denek.

This leads to a dramatic change in the group, with the sasquatches discovering more about the world, threatening the existence of all wildlife. There are such small, brilliant choices here that shouldn’t be spoiled, but one can’t go without mentioning a couple of devastating needle drops, and a score from The Octopus Project simultaneously tapped into the silliness and seriousness of the project. Admittedly, even with an 88-minute running time, there are still bits of dead air and repeated gags, with a slower first half that takes on a presentation similar to a nature documentary before emotions beyond crudely laughing emerge. Even for someone on board with its sense of humor, some of it can feel like an endurance test of ranch.

One of the first sights in Sasquatch Sunset is of the Jesse Eisenberg and Riley Keough creatures fucking in the woods, which is funny and also kind of bottom-of-the-barrel lazy comedy. The impressive trick is that the Zellner brothers make us care about these characters either way; it’s a film with no right to be as melancholy and emotionally affecting as it is, which lends substance to the gross-out humor. It walks the line between stupid and smart, pissing and shitting with every step.

Advertisement

Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★

Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=embed/playlist

 

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Movie Reviews

Chhaya Kadam: Earlier my name wouldn’t even be written in film reviews, now I have a Grand Prix winning film at Cannes

Published

on

Chhaya Kadam: Earlier my name wouldn’t even be written in film reviews, now I have a Grand Prix winning film at Cannes

This is clearly the year of Chhaya Kadam! After a great run with the actor’s earlier releases, Laapataa Ladies and Madgaon Express, her film All That We Imagine As Light became the first Indian film to win the Grand Prix at the recently concluded 77th Cannes Film Festival. One of her other films, Sister Midnight, was also screened at Directors Fortnight. Talking to us after the Grand Prix ceremony, Kadam exclaims, “It was the first Indian film to be screened at the main competition in 30 years, and we directly won an award! We had a story rooted in our motherland about women like us. For a subject like that to get selected here… I have no words.”

Actor Chhaya Kadam

Acknowledging her great run this year, she says, “People in Cannes also recognised me as Manju Mai (from Laapataa Ladies); they would say, ‘hey Manju Mai, Chhaya Kadam’.”

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India’s general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

Kadam’s tryst with acting began in 2006, then she went on to star in Marathi films such as Fandry (2013), Sairat (2016) and Nude (2018). “Earlier, my struggle was to get work; now it is for good work,” she shares, adding that it doesn’t end there. While she’s enjoying the fame now, there was a time when the actor’s work wasn’t recognised. “Earlier, film reviews would miss out on mentioning my name, even if my character was important. Bura toh bahut lagta tha. But then I thought I should work so hard that people are compelled to mention my name in their reviews,” she ends with a chuckle.

Continue Reading

Movie Reviews

Ezra (2024) – Movie Review

Published

on

Ezra (2024) – Movie Review

Ezra, 2024.

Directed by Tony Goldwyn.
Starring Bobby Cannavale, William A. Fitzgerald, Robert De Niro, Rose Byrne, Vera Farmiga, Whoopi Goldberg, Rainn Wilson, Tony Goldwyn, Jackson Frazer, Greer Barnes, Tess Goldwyn, Ella Ayberk, Lois Robbins, Alex Plank, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Matilda Lawler, Joe Pacheco, Amy Sheehan, Barzin Akhavan, Donna Vivino, Jacqueline Nwabueze, John Donovan Wilson, Joshua Hinck, Sophie Mulligan, Thomas Duverné, Guillermo Rodriguez, and Jimmy Kimmel.

SYNOPSIS:

Comedian Max co-parents autistic son Ezra with ex-wife Jenna. Faced with crucial decisions about Ezra’s future, Max and Ezra go on a life-changing cross-country road trip.

Advertisement

Undeniably made with good intentions, Ezra wants to tell a story about a young autistic boy and his father struggling to accept that uniqueness (lamenting that his son will never be “normal”) due to some personal baggage related to his rocky upbringing. Ezra is also a film that consistently gets sidetracked or finds itself telling that story in a broad, mawkish manner with outlandish plot beats that continuously sink the few elements that work. That’s also surprising considering screenwriter Tony Spiridakis (who had been working on the script for roughly 15 years) is basing that father-son relationship on his experience raising an autistic child. Why turn such personal material into… this?

A film about the challenges of parenting an autistic child and ensuring that everything from school to public behavior is going well has enough realistic, stressful drama to be relatable to anyone who has ever been in a similar situation. The dynamic that parents Max (Bobby Cannavale) and Jenna (Rose Byrne) are divorced (the actors are married with children in real life) adds another layer of domestic intrigue.

Directed by Tony Goldwyn, the film seems to have no awareness of when to stop manufacturing more drama or when it begins to feel like piling on for the sake of telling a story that quickly begins to feel false. It becomes less of an earnest look at autistic childhood and more of a far-fetched road trip flick where the logic for certain characters is nonexistent, and the narrative rapidly transitions to do something that could only exist in the movies, something that is counterproductive to why this film was made.

This is frustrating since there are touching flourishes whenever Max interacts with the titular Ezra (William A. Fitzgerald, a delight to watch and autistic). Despite getting expelled from school, Ezra is a kind soul with various stimulation triggers (such as hugs or sensitivity to eating with forks), who often speaks in famous quotes and takes everything literally to such a degree that when he overhears Jenna’s new partner jokingly talking about murdering Max, he frantically runs out of the house to warn his loving father. This leads to Ezra making the choice to run into the middle of the street while scared and avoiding a barking dog on the sidewalk, nearly getting hit by a car, with doctors under the impression that it was a suicide attempt, dealing with the incident by forcing the parents to put the boy into a special needs school and take antipsychotic medication.

That’s only the beginning of this exaggerated story, which then sees Max kidnapping his son from Jenna, believing that she has lost hope in fighting for his rights and is too comfortable listening to professional advice. He doesn’t like that the medication zombifies his son (understandably so) and appears to believe that allowing the boy to go to a special needs school means he is accepting that there is something wrong. Many of his hangups with accepting his son’s autism come from a tumultuous relationship with his father, Stan (Robert De Niro), a former chef who gave up his dreams to provide for Max after his mother left. This grandfather also has trouble acknowledging his grandson’s autism, uncomfortable uttering the term. Both of these men, in a sense, are hiding and running from reality.

Advertisement

Perhaps a more skilled filmmaking team could make something out of that, but Ezra also has to contend with baffling subplots such as Max’s aspiring standup comedian career and his relative closeness to securing a spot performing for Jimmy Kimmel. There is also a road trip aspect that sees Max heading West with Ezra, coming across several old friends for the sake of convenience. In one sequence, the film makes the case that there will be kids (even girls) who accept Ezra and those who will bully him, doing so in a confused way, unsure if it wants to sanitize itself. It’s also accompanied by sappy music.

At a certain point, Ezra is officially reported as kidnapped with warnings and notices throughout the 24-hour news cycle. Max is aware of this, yet confoundingly still thinks showing up to audition for Jimmy Kimmel will end well. The occasional tender moments between father and son are continuously undercut by this stupidity and overblown narrative decisions. At least it follows suit, ending in a fittingly melodramatic cringe.

Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★

Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=embed/playlist

Advertisement

 

Continue Reading

Movie Reviews

Movie Review: “Mad Max: Fury Road” Now Playing at Boone Regal

Published

on

Movie Review: “Mad Max: Fury Road” Now Playing at Boone Regal
May 27, 2024 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” was one of the most critically-lauded action movies not just of its year, not just of its decade, but of all time. I will forever curse “Pitch Perfect 2” for opening the same weekend and doing better at the box office, thus keeping me from reviewing “Fury Road” (for the record, I would have given it an enthusiastic B). While Tom Hardy’s Max was an important presence in that movie, audiences seemed to find themselves drawn to another character, one that had an even more commanding screen presence, did more to make the film instantly iconic, and more than warranted an expensive prequel. Alas, we’ll have to keep waiting for that origin story for the guitar-playing Doof Warrior. In the meantime, we have this movie about another beloved “Fury Road” character, Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa.  Read more
Continue Reading

Trending