starring Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac, Noah Jupe
screenplay by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen and George Clooney & Grant Heslov
directed by George Clooney
starring Calum Worthy, Jackie Long, Charlamagne Tha God, Anthony Michael Hall
written by Joseph Kahn & Alex Larsen
directed by Joseph Kahn
by Bill Chambers The best parts are obviously the Coens' and the worst parts are obviously director George Clooney and co-writer Grant Heslov's. Trouble is, the best parts aren't that great and the worst parts...yikes. A period piece set in the Eisenhower era, Suburbicon centres around the eponymous suburban development (that the title isn't just a pun unto itself is the first red flag, to borrow one of the movie's pet phrases), which has controversially allowed a black family to breach this all-white neighbourhood. Next door, horn-rimmed patriarch Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) lives a pleasant life with his little-leaguer son (Noah Jupe), wheelchair-bound wife (Julianne Moore), and sister-in-law Margaret (also Moore). (One of them's blonde, like the other Elvis in Kissin' Cousins.) One night, while Jupe's Nicky is lying in bed listening to the radio, a pair of thugs (Glenn Fleshler and Alex Hassell) breaks in and holds the family hostage. Everyone is chloroformed, but Mrs. Lodge's system can't handle it, and Gardner is left a widower. When the home-invaders are caught and put in a police line-up, Nicky can't figure out why his father won't positively ID them. They have very recognizable faces, after all. Using the Coen Brothers' casting director, Ellen Chenoweth, Clooney populates the frame with the sort of memorable oddballs you see in their films, actors who seem like they're always being looked at through a wide-angle lens.
"Satire" has also been synonymous with the hype for Joseph Kahn's Bodied, in which a white kid/grad student becomes a sensation in the underground world of battle rap by applying the lessons he learns while researching a paper on the use of the n-word in the sport. I was rolling my eyes from the introduction of Adam (Fran Kranz-ish Calum Worthy), who's not so much Richie Cunningham as Fonzie's Richie Cunningham impersonation--a ringer whose transformation into Eminem (whose producer credit is the best joke in the movie) is painfully disingenuous and grating. Kahn is a kid with a loaded shotgun: he hits some targets--Adam's insufferably pious girlfriend (Rory Uphold) wearing a T-shirt that says "Kale" in the varsity "Yale" font is a bit of characterization worthy of a chef's kiss--but mostly makes a mess. It's hard to know how to take a dig at a couple of Snapchat airheads when the film is constantly flashing words on the screen and embellishing the soundtrack with gunshots; Snapchat is Kahn's whole aesthetic. It's hard to know how to take the digs at white privilege, however pointed and welcome, when Kahn has five Taylor Swift music videos on his resume, including the latest one where she finally unzips her human suit. (The equal-opportunity digs at SJWs mostly paint him as a tedious "South Park" centrist.) What you need to know about this movie is that it's fucking loud, and fucking long, and not worth the wait for the killer closing line, although it is fucking killer. Suburbicon - Programme: Special Presentations; Bodied - Programme: Midnight Madness