For Reel


Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)
May 10, 2016, 7:05 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Richard Linklater
4.5 Stars
Everybody Wants Some!!If Everybody Wants Some!! follows the same tangential, loosely-structure narrative of its spiritual predecessor Dazed and Confused, it plays like even more of a shaggy dog Odyssey, following a group of competitive idealists who navigate their way through a variety of social groups in search of sexual conquests. This atmosphere of shameless indulgence risks becoming predatory and merely crude in today’s comparatively sensitive culture (the picture argues that the 80s were a very, very different time), but Linklater is too smart of a filmmaker to tell a story of excess without waxing philosophical about it. That is not to say that the central characters lose themselves on their journey, but they do take moments here and there to tease each other for the false personas they put on in order to pick up women. Like Dazed and Confused, the film is remarkably good at finding sensitivity and sweetness in a social environment that often plays as cruel and predatory. If one resists the characters’ hazing, bullying, and even misogyny in the early goings, by the end of the picture there is a certain affection for their other traits, like Finnegan’s (Glen Powell) game-for-anything attitude. The late appearance of a love interest for the hero (Blake Jenner) is a bit of a misstep—the film argues for the couple’s cuteness too obviously, and Zoey Deutch plays her ideal quirky girl without enough of a sense of humanity (a nice exception: Linklater stages a scene in which she confidently invites Jenner to her room just before getting changed in a panic). But the picture feels as accomplished as its predecessor in the way that it navigates its social circles and slowly builds an affection for its characters, and Linklater’s predilection towards writing introspective thinkers is benefited by being juxtaposed with a group of characters who seem unlikely to be having these conversations.

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Bernie (2011)
July 5, 2012, 6:36 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Richard Linklater

For over two decades, Texan Richard Linklater has quietly been carving out a career for himself that marks him as one of the most versatile American directors of his time. Bernie, his latest, is a reliable detour, showing him experiment with docudrama in a way that mimics the Errol Morris aesthetic. Based on a 1998 article published in Texas Monthly magazine, the picture follows a high-spirited, relentlessly charitable funeral director who was convicted of murdering an 81-year-old woman. As the title character, Jack Black shows an unusual restraint and sensitivity – as much as the real-life man’s femininity could have been mocked, Black instead opts to show the genuinely good-hearted Bernie with sincerity, making the audience consistently empathize with the most unlikely of killers. Linklater, for whom Texas provided the setting of his nostalgic comedies Slacker and Dazed & Confused, similarly doesn’t treat the small-townsfolk as simple-minded, but rather people who can’t fathom how a loved-one could have done something so horrifically out-of-character. That it doesn’t answer the question (beyond the fact that the woman was especially mean) is frustrating but tastefully objective. Frivolous as it seems in the early-goings, Bernie craftily sneaks up on you, with Linklater accenting the underlying sadness of the man and allowing Black a platform with which to produce his career-best work.