My first entry to the Better Zombie catalog eight months ago was a proto “Thrifting Adventures” post about a thrift shop I like and some stuff I got there. I made this review and forgot about it. As I’ve been clearing out my backlog, upped my lightbox game, and strengthened my reviewing skills, I figure I’ll add to that practice and get this review of the Sub Pop Video Network Program 1 tape in the can.
Your Name is almost completely style at the expense of substance. We follow two teenagers through elaborately animated set pieces around homes hidden in forests, interiors of homes that are shown at extreme angles, and clouds, because of course there are clouds, it’s by the director of Voices of a Distant Star and 5 Centimeters Per Second. Those teens encounter a certain premise that, if the reveal wasn’t spoiled for you in the advertising…
Inherent Vice is a psychedelic rock jam translated into a movie. We tag along as private investigator “Doc” Sportello takes a case for his ex after she’s moved on from the hippie lifestyle of the late 1960s and into the glamor with a violent undercurrent that would replace it. Life is treating Doc well, though something’s missing, and it’d be easy to say a coherent plot. The lively conversations and vibrant world are more important than plot, similar to these four examples:
Hell or High Water is more than a mere distraction on a quiet Saturday afternoon and yet doesn’t have staying power. We follow two brothers, smart Toby and reckless Tanner, as they stumble through a series of bank robberies. Toby is a failed family man working toward a better future and Tanner sees no future while seemingly working toward failure. They’re hitting small time banks and covering their tracks well enough that the big cheese new guard is not interested. Who is?
A Woman Under the Influence is a harrowing yet unfulfilling glimpse into a family suffering from the stresses of 1970s America. Mabel is nervous, awkward, and insecure about herself. Nick switches between concern and control for his wife. Mabel lashes out against a world she doesn’t understand. Nick caves into the pressures of his peers. Their kids know that mommy ain’t right and daddy ain’t fair. Their parents know that they have issues. There is just one problem.