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A safer choice of opening gala for the Edinburgh International Film Festival than last year’s Killer Joe, Drake Doremus’ Breathe In is a close knit, slow burning drama centred around piano teacher Keith (Guy Pearce)and the impact the arrival of exchange student Sophie (Felicity Jones) has on his family.

Keith and wife Megan (Amy Ryan) seem to have an idyllic lifestyle. Theirs is a world of stable employment, of large houses in the outer suburbs. A world where there is enough free time and energy to indulge in and follow their passions – Keith’s part time orchestral cellist position and Megan’s cookie jar collecting. A world in which their marriage is envied by friends surrounded by divorce parties, and they have the luxury of gifting a car to swim team champion daughter Lauren (Mackenzie Davis) for her eighteenth birthday. On the surface they are – like the family portraits they pose for – perfectly happy.

It becomes clear with haste that all is not as rosy as outside eyes are led to believe. Megan refers to Keith’s love of music as a hobby, drawing his ire and causing him to retreat inward with daydreams of bands past and what may have been. He longs for city life and seeks solace from those who are supposed to be his ‘favourite people’. He appears to show little interest in the pursuits of his daughter, and displays an underlying hint of resentment as to how family life has placed restrictions upon him. Watching this unfold, Sophie becomes drawn to Keith. Quiet, and with a maturity beyond her years, Sophie is able to see the papered-over cracks in his marriage.

Holding similar viewpoints on life, music and creativity, a bond develops between Keith and Sophie. A bond which alienates his wife, and rips apart the already tense relationship Sophie had begun to form with Lauren. A bond which Doremus goes to great lengths to portray as having been less sparked by lustful desire but instead conceived through sensitive longing and the recognition of a kindred spirit.

For all the tender moments though, it is hard to see Sophie as anything other than a way out for Keith; a reason to be excused from his commitments. His decisions and actions seem too quick, selfish, and almost unbelievable. There are no sexual advances, but is this wistful doe-eyed reaction to Sophie really more than a midlife crisis caused by boundaries and restrictions imposed by marriage and fatherhood? Perhaps he falls more for what Sophie represents – freedom, choice, and escape – than the girl she is.

Guy Pearce gives a thoughtful and understated performance as Keith, connecting well with Jones as Sophie, but their relationship is lacking in charm. It is hard to feel sympathy or empathy for either of them, not because of their actions, more through an emotional stiltedness. Which applies to the whole film as – with the exception of Lauren – emotion often becomes replaced with quiet acceptance. There is outfall, there are repercussions, but the consequences of Keith’s actions are never truly explored to their full potential, with Amy Ryan’s role as Megan being relegated to an afterthought.

The musical pieces and score by Dustin O’Halloran prove to be a highlight. There is much beauty to be found in its cinematography, also in its messages and themes of freedom and choice, but with a slightly ambiguous ending, Breathe In follows in the footsteps of Keith’s treatment of his wife. Becoming cold and emotionally distant, it starts to forget the viewer who invested their time in watching it, and flees off as soon as it can, avoiding confrontation.

There are solid performances throughout, but it just isn’t enough.
Bloody good beard on Guy Pearce, though. Damn fine beard.

(Review originally posted on Live For Films)

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Benedick & Beatrice

Benedick & Beatrice

So you have more or less all your TV projects cancelled at some point or another, you work on different films where your vision isn’t fully realised* and eventually you make the third highest grossing film of all time**. Now science fiction provocateur and all round nerd god Joss Whedon, has hit the heights of Hollywood power with Marvel geek fest ‘Avengers Assemble’ how does one follow up this mighty and well deserved success… well you get a load of your pals together to film an adaption of William Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ round your house when you’re on holiday, apparently so.

Suave bastard.

Suave bastard.

Returning from success in battle, Prince Don Pedro (Reed Diamond – Dollhouse), with his loyal soldiers Benedick (Alexis Denisof – Angel) and Claudio (Fran Kranz – Cabin in the Woods) by his side, seek shelter with nobleman Leonato (Clark Gregg – Avengers Assemble) and his family. Benedick, the egotistical gentry immediately heads into another battle, of words, with Leonatos’ niece Beatrice (Amy Acker – Angel) – hinting at a past that no one is mindful of. Claudio, immediately rekindling his love for Leonatos daughter Hero (newcomer Jillian Morgese), proposes and the wedding day is set. In order to amuse themselves throughout the preparations – Don Pedro, Leonato and Claudio set themselves a challenge – to make Benedick & Beatrice fall in love. Behind the scenes, Don Pedro’s bastard brother Don John (Sean Maher – Firefly) is looking to cause trouble for all in attendance. Will Beatrice and Benedick get together? Will Claudio and Hero get hitched without a hitch? Can, against all odds including himself, Inspector Dogberry (Nathan Fillion – Firefly) stop the disreputable Don John? ***

Dogberry at work...

Dogberry at work…

Before watching this movie I must admit that I had trepidation on how Whedon could handle such a low key endeavour without his usual wit and pop culture**** littered dialogue to fall back on. It would transpire that I had no need to worry as Whedon handles the play expertly with the respect it’s due and the main reason for this success is – casting. Denisof & Acker***** rekindle the chemistry displayed previously in Whedon’s ‘Angel’ and it is through this intelligent casting that the film rests on and ultimately succeeds. The whole ensemble bring their A game****** and look like they are having a ball doing so. Everyone is cast to their strengths whilst also displaying a side of their work which we have not seen before hand. Maher is positively treacherous as Don John, Diamond displays some fun and playfulness not seen in previous roles and Fillion shows that he can still be hilarious whilst performing 19th century prose. It is evident throughout that the cast are having a ball in this picture and thankfully this feeling is contagious to the viewer.

Beatrice, sneaking much?

Beatrice, sneaking much?

Whedon has picked the material intelligently as the characters fit nicely into the archetype characters of previous accomplishments. Especially Beatrice, who would not be out of place in Dollhouse or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One could argue that the characters in ‘Much Ado’ fall into the categories in the Whedon co-scripted film ‘The Cabin in the Woods’, the Virgin (Morgese), the Jock (Denisof), the Fool (Fillion), the Scholar (Beatrice) and the Whore (Don John)*******. It is a testament to the source material and to Whedon’s tight and reserved direction that the performances of the cast really shine through; making what could have been a visually bland snooze fest into a heart-warming and frequently hilarious film.

Yes ladies, bearded Denisof... CALM DOWN!

Yes ladies, bearded Denisof… CALM DOWN!

It seems that what got this film attention (how it was filmed) seems to be what has made this truly special. This is a picture of love from its Director and the fact that it was done independently meant that no compromises needed to be made. Don’t be put off, yes its Shakespeare but it’s a hoot. Quite possibly this is Whedon’s greatest triumph and it now displays that he is not just the snappy dialogue guy but a serious Director that can handle all types of material.

I genuinely can’t wait to see this picture again.

*Except Serenity…

**And it was good too!

***A lot happens, a slight nightmare trying to explain the plot of this.

****It is interesting that he is now such a high profile pop culture icon now.

*****These two need to be in more things!

******Get it?

*******Admittedly I may be reaching a bit far with this one.

Ryan Gosling as stunt riding heart throb 'Handsome Luke'

Ryan Gosling as stunt riding heart throb ‘Handsome Luke’

Stretching over a period of fifteen years, Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines tells the intertwining tales of travelling carnival stunt rider Luke (Ryan Gosling), law student turned policeman Avery (Bradley Cooper), and the legacy they leave to their teenage sons.

Set mainly at a slow and steady pace, with minimal action, pared downed dialogue and most of the emotion being portrayed solely through body language and gestures, the film is very much character driven. Much like his last feature Blue Valentine, Cianfrance places the focus entirely on relationships. Where Blue Valentine explored the intricacies of love, marriage, and hateful breakdown, The Place Beyond the Pines instead deconstructs male relationships; laying fatherhood, friendship and loyalty out on a science lab table top for a full on guts-out prod about.

The-Place-Beyond-The-Pines
Split into three sections, the focus initially falls on Luke. Moving through Schenectady with his motorcycling act, he discovers a fling the previous summer with local girl Romina (Eva Mendez) has led to him becoming a father. Luke decides to put his riding days behind him in order to become a permanent feature in his newfound child’s life. Struggling for money in the face of tensions with both Romina and her new lover, Kofi (Mahershala Ali), Luke steps his fledgling friendship with new landlord Robin (Ben Mendelsohn) up a level to target banks ripe for robbing.

PLACE BEYOND THE PINES
With Luke’s expert bike skills and Robin’s previous criminal form, a successful heist team is born, and it isn’t long before we see the two of them celebrating with a spot of beer and Bruce Springsteen. Having had no relationship with his own father, Robin fits the bill of father figure for Luke. Older, wiser, it’s as though he recognises a younger self. Luke may be pulling in the money, however the barriers between he and his son remain. Desperately wanting to do the right thing, Luke’s dream of the perfect family unit is shattered by his underlying violent tendencies and the horrible realisation that even when made with the best of intentions, bad decisions can often lead to a fall.

Ryan Gosling with Eva Mendez as Romina, mother of his child

Ryan Gosling with Eva Mendez as Romina, the mother of his child

Gosling’s performance is understatedly stunning – his particular trademark brand of heart breaking eye acting working to full effect in the role of errant father trying to make amends.

Bradley Cooper as Avery Cross

Bradley Cooper as Avery Cross

With the story falling on the shoulders of reluctantly heroic cop, Avery Cross, we are quickly introduced to a man dealing with the consequences of his own bad decision. Whether or not his intentions lie in the right place is initially hard to judge. We see a young man coming to terms with a work-related incident that leaves him hospitalized. Defying his own father’s calls for him to return to his law background, Avery becomes driven to succeed in a police force riddled with corruption, while also entangling himself in the life of Luke’s nearest and dearest, and becoming increasingly distanced from both his wife and baby son.

The-Place-Beyond-the-Pines-Eva-Mendes-Bradley-Cooper-600x318
Sacrificing friendship for the greater good – to clear a heavy conscience or purely to further his career goals? – Avery’s motives seem unclear. Cooper performs well in the role of the young Avery, troubled by an error of judgement, but the real time for him to shine will be once he leaves the shell suits of the past behind and Cianfrance moves the story on by fifteen years.

Emory Cohen as AJ and Dane DeHaan as Jason

Emory Cohen as AJ and Dane DeHaan as Jason

The third and final segment centres on the children of Luke and Avery, and the repercussions of their father’s past doings on their lives. Luke’s son Jason (Dane DeHaan) knows nothing of his biological father, having had a stable upbringing with Romina and Kofi, while Avery’s son AJ (Emory Cohen) appears to have grown up distanced from his father by career and divorce. The bonds of friendship and family are tested, as secrets from the past return – pushing Jason to his limits, and haunting Avery to breaking point. DeHaan looks old before his time throughout, displaying great ability for both subtlety and rage.

dane-dehaan-the-place-beyond-the-pines1
Cooper is a revelation towards the very end, showing how much talent lies beneath the tendency to stray toward lighter roles. It’s a shame that we don’t get to see more of this earlier, as with the young Avery there could be much more exploration of the relationship with his father, and there are stilted talks with his psychiatrist that could be expanded upon. We only get to see the full effects of the ghosts which plague him very late in the day, but then a slow build up seems par for the course with Cianfrance.

PLACE BEYOND THE PINES
So much of the story hinges on fatherhood, and sacrifices made for the ones we love, but some of the aspects are only touched upon briefly. Where it succeeds there are the jokes between Jason and ‘real’ father Kofi, Luke’s sense of duty to Romina and their child, the eventually destructive sense of care shown to Luke by Robin, and Robin’s short but very sweet interactions with Jason. Where it fails, I feel a little cheated by the shallow depths of Avery’s relationships with both his father and son, and the fleeting glance of friendships that test his loyalties.

the-place-beyond-the-pines-bradley-cooper1
But overall – as with Blue Valentine – Cianfrance’s best and most believable relationships are the ones he shows you. Relationships, partnerships and friendships, that are built up bit by bit through actions and interactions. The old writing axiom of “Show, don’t tell” is always at work. As mentioned before, the build up is slow, and very considered. For some this means the running time may be a problem, but for those willing to sit back and let the story gradually unfold, there are many rewards.

The performances are of the highest standard, even smaller roles for Ray Liotta and Bruce Greenwood being approached with as much care as those of the main cast. Ben Mendelsohn is such a strong presence in his role as Robin and stripped of all her usual glamour, Eva Mendez is beautifully sad as Romina. Mike Patton’s sweeping soundtrack works in harmony with the sublime cinematography of Sean Bobbit – the final scene in particular making for a visually stunning viewing experience.

Putting fatherhood issues aside, The Place Beyond the Pines is full of ill-judged decisions made in haste. But in life, everyone makes mistakes. It’s what we do over time to rectify them that truly counts.

Epic in scope and length, Derek Cianfrance has taken on an ambitious project which doesn’t always work, but when it does, it hits where it hurts.

God damn, I need a pair of those trews in my life...

God damn, I need a pair of those trews in my life…

On a lighter note, the highlight for me was always going to be Ryan Gosling and Ben Mendelsohn boogying with a dog to Dancin’ in the Dark though, wasn’t it? I mean, come on…

Colin MacNeil Judge Dredd

Due to the recent resurgence of interest in the character of Judge Dredd*, thanks to the recent reboot of the franchise with Dredd 3D hitting our screens** and the back catalogue of stories presented in 2000AD being published in compendiums, the patrons of the Glasgow Film Festival were treated to a conversation with his creator John Wagner & famed Dredd artist Colin MacNeil.

051

Arriving sharpish at the Glasgow CCA to find that a large queue had already scurried into the auditorium, disappointingly there seemed to be more than enough room for everyone and that this was far from a sold out event***. Greeted by our host John McShane who explained that the set up would be the usual for these events (he asks questions for a while and then it’s open to the floor), we welcomed on stage the men we were here to see.

What we were treated to was a bit of history on the character, the situations that he has found himself in and the inspiration behind these creations, as well as Wagner’s tendency to argue with his employers. Of course the subject of Dredd 3D took up a large portion of the conversation, covering the Stallone incarnation of the character…

 “I can’t say a bad word about Sylvester Stallone, the film would not have been made without his involvement, but because of his involvement this led to the problems with the movie”.

 …to Karl Urban’s**** portrayal. This led to the gentlemen stating their favourite incarnation of the world they have created to be the fan film ‘Judge Minty’ – which was being shown a couple of days later*****. However, the discussion on movie adaptations of the character led to the revelation from both men that they do not really watch films, the irony of which was lost on no one.

Judge Dredd was not the only topic of conversation, John Wagner’s ‘A History of Violence’ was covered in detail, both the comic and the Cronenberg adaption, Colin MacNeil’s inspiration for his visuals and working conditions, and other related 2000AD characters. This heralded the questions from the floor, which covered the recent American comics’ adaption of the character…

“I haven’t read it, is it as bad as the DC version?”

 To the recent indication that Dredd may be gay…

 “It doesn’t matter!”

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Once several questions had been attended to, we were at the end of our event with the points of our attention doing some signage for afters******. This was a fascinating discussion with some nice revelations on the films and how the comics were written/drawn, but not too much focus on the Judge himself, as we more or less know everything we need to know about him through 30+ years of reading his cases.

*He is a hard bastard, what’s not to like?

**All 10 people that saw it in the cinema.

***Due to a general lack of interest in British comics or the quality selection of alternative events at the GFF?

****Eh, fucking ace!

*****Nae time off to go and see it.

******Later moved to the café due to other performances taking place.

berberian3
British sound engineer Gilderoy (Toby Jones) is flown to Italy to work on sound effects for extreme supernatural horror film ‘Il Vortice Equestra’. In an unfamiliar setting – where not only location and working conditions are uncommon to what he is used to, but the film subject matter he is dealing with – Jones gives a great performance as a fish out of water, struggling to find his footing both in the oppressive surroundings of the studio and amidst the foreign culture.

"Room service? Take a fucking hike, mate."

“Room service? Take a fucking hike, mate.”

The people he has to work with for the most part prove to be unwilling to help him feel at home, the behaviour of some – particularly suave and predatory director Santini (Antonio Mancino) – serving to unsettle Gilderoy, and add to his unease. The only comfort he gets comes in the form of letters from home and his interactions with one of the actresses doing voiceover work. Statements of doom, possibly meant to be comedic, come from Santini and producer Francesco (Cosimo Fusco), intensifying Gilderoy’s nervousness.

This man knows how to make women scream...

This man knows how to make women scream…

“Come this way…don’t be afraid” is maybe not the best opening line to hear when walking in on a projector showing priests torturing supposed witches…

Equestrian school black magic peril, captured.

Equestrian school black magic peril, captured.

The magic of sound is fully explored within Berberian Sound Studio, an insight into how everything is put together makes for fascinating viewing. There are many things to amuse fans of Giallo horror: the black leather gloved hands of the otherwise unseen studio projectionist, nods to films such as Dario Argento’s ballet academy-set Suspiria, and cracking scene descriptions involving wonders such as undiscovered bodies in poultry tunnels and dangerously aroused goblins prowling dormitories.

The dangerously aroused goblin doesn't look so threatening in his turtleneck/sportscoat combo...

The dangerously aroused goblin doesn’t look so threatening in his turtleneck/sportscoat combo…

There are fantastic scene transitions, used to great effect in confusing the location of Gilderoy’s living arrangements. Does he live in an apartment out with the studio, or a mocked-up room right next door? These bring about a heightened sense of claustrophobia, where it appears that Gilderoy is not only mentally imprisoned by the film and the sound room, but perhaps physically imprisoned.

Gilderoy starts to unravel, like a reel of film falling from the projector.

Gilderoy starts to unravel, like a reel of film falling from the projector.

Unable to escape the horrific subject matter and atmosphere, Gilderoy becomes increasingly distressed, with the need to deliver the most terrifying of sound effects bringing about a change in his character. That we never see any footage of the film, with the exception of the opening titles, increases the power of the atrocious acts Gilderoy is viewing as he smashes aubergines, drowns cabbages, and rips the stalks from radishes with wild abandon. Symbolically cutting back to a vat of discarded and increasingly decaying vegetables, which mirror the crumbling psyche of Gilderoy, It’s not long before it all becomes too much, and the real becomes mixed with the imagined. Onscreen fiction enters Gilderoy’s waking life, and happenings at home infiltrate the celluloid.

The soundbooth virgin, struggling to scream.

The soundbooth virgin, struggling to scream.

For me to accurately pigeonhole Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio would be not only be a struggle, but would also be doing it a disservice. It’s a hypnotic mix of Giallo film history, culture clash and Lynchian nightmare. An uncanny and hallucinatory film phantasm. A ghost in the projector. It’s stunning.

Berberian Sound Studio is a bit of a masterpiece, and contains some of the best sound production out there, where the sound almost becomes a character itself, central to the whole story. A 20-strong sound team have worked audio alchemy with this film. The effects being worked on are of course a main feature of Berberian Sound Studio, but the incidental sounds – footsteps, typing, the dialling of a telephone, paper rustling, envelopes opening, the crawl of a spider – all seem turned up to the maximum volume. You become sensitive to everything you hear. The musical score echoes the unnerving soundtracks of many Italian horror films of the seventies, and adds so much to the atmosphere of the film. The sound effects, when coupled with expertly captured visuals – which often hark back to Giallo films themselves – and an outstanding central performance from Toby Jones, make the film a cinematic experience you can’t miss.

Some cabbages masquerading as DJ's. Banging.

Some cabbages masquerading as DJ’s. Banging.

The eerie, otherworldly sound of a UFO being produced from a simple lightbulb, over a slow tracking shot of vegetables illuminated by candlelight. Don’t think I’ve ever seen the friendly ‘five a day’ seem as creepy…

grabbers1
Opening with what appears to be an asteroid falling to earth, Jon Wright’s Grabbers doesn’t wait long before unleashing the scares and jumps. From fishermen being attacked at sea, to mutilated whales washing up on shore, it quickly becomes clear that all ain’t quite right with the waves around this tiny island…and that big sparkly fella falling from the sky? Definitely no asteroid.

Whales. Not usually the suicidal type.

Whales. Not usually the suicidal type.

Odd egg-like entities buried in the sand and strange creatures caught in lobster creels are only the beginning for island Garda Ciaran O’Shea (Richard Coyle) and temporary partner Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) when some squids from space get a thirst for human blood. Although they do seem rather averse to feasting on the blood of local alcoholic Paddy…

Chairs. Adequate method of defence when faced with a squirming, tentacled beastie?

Chairs. Adequate method of defence when faced with a squirming, tentacled beastie?

Previously kept at bay due to their need for water, all manner of daftness ensues when a storm hits, allowing the tentacled terrors to manoeuvre about freely on dry land. Holed up in the only pub on the island, O’Shea and Nolan – assisted by marine ecologist Dr Smith (Russell Tovey) and moonshine brewing Paddy – hatch a rather inspired and amusing ‘plan of action’ to fend off the marauding monsters. With nothing but booze to save them, it’s time to load the super soakers with vodka, and grab the Guinness before the only thing left is the crystalizing Crème de Menthe at the back of the cupboard.

Paddy imparts 40% volume wisdom on  Garda O'Shea. Proof that alcohol *can* save lives?

Paddy imparts 40% volume wisdom on Garda O’Shea. Proof that alcohol *can* save lives?

Coyle makes for a loveable shambles of a character, with he and Bradley forming a complementary double act of opposites as hard-drinking lawman O’Shea and uptight, by-the-book Nolan. Their dynamic and chemistry makes for some great dialogue and one-liners. The building of their working and personal relationship with each other is a highlight. Puts a warm glow in the heart that can only be matched by some of the meths in jar, sorry – moonshine, kicking about Paddy’s kitchen.

Jesus H. Cthulhu! What the fuck is that??

Jesus H. Cthulhu! What the fuck is that??

The alien CGI effects are professionally polished, the inhabitants of Erin island lovely, and the film mixes in the right balance of humour and peril. Grabbers is a cheery creature feature, with a hefty dose of charm. The world of horror could do with more of these lighthearted numbers populating it. This one is definitely a comedy horror that will have you reaching for the whisky on rainy evenings when something goes bump in the night…

america8

Bobcat Goldthwait’s God Bless America is a biting backlash against the dumbed down, celebrity obsessed world of reality TV and trashy talk shows. Divorced, diagnosed with a terminal tumour, and fired from his job after a gesture of friendship is misconstrued as sexual harassment, Frank (Joel Murray) is a man pushed to the edge of his limits in a culture where no one seems to care. No one has any real conversation. Water-cooler chat revolves around the regurgitation of views heard on radio shows and gossip columns name checking the Kardashians. Likening the dumbing down of society to the fall of Rome, Frank indulges in flights of fantasy where he guns down his co-workers and blasts the brains out of his neighbours from hell.

Food processor accident or neighbour blood...the decision is yours!

Food processor accident or neighbour blood…the decision is yours!

The tipping point comes during an episode of My Sweet 16, in which a spoiled teenager screams all manner of obscenities at her parents for buying her the wrong make of car for her birthday. Having just received a tantrum-filled phonecall from his estranged little girl regarding not having an iPhone, Frank decides to rid the world of the obnoxious reality TV teen.

"That's some good shootin' there, honey."

“That’s some good shootin’ there, young ‘un.”

With nothing to lose, and content to kill himself straight after, Frank is confronted by Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr) who – enthused and excited by his decision to kill what she sees as one of the worst types of human imaginable – convinces him to keep on going. The unlikely pair set out on a road trip with the intent of clearing away multiple blights on society. Featuring scenes that will no doubt bring joy to those who have ever been irritated by noisy cinema goers and whose hackles have been raised by the Westboro Baptist Church, all elements of popular culture-gone-wrong are targets in their cross hairs.

Ticket, aye? You want tae see ma fuckin' TICKET??

Ticket, aye? You want tae see ma fuckin’ TICKET??

Joel Murray is outstanding as Frank. A sad-eyed everyman, with a longing for the days when people indulged in real conversation, and the weak were not persecuted or seen as figures to be ridiculed. In what is his first major role, Murray shines, and I do hope we get to see much more of him on the back of this. The relationship between Frank and Roxy is rather touching. Clear boundaries are set as to what Frank sees as right and wrong in their pairing, and it’s clear that with his own little girl too wrapped up in her materialistic problems to even want to see him, Roxy becomes almost a surrogate daughter. Yes, not many fathers would take their child on a killing spree, I know, but the level of affection and tenderness is definitely there. Tara Lynne Barr is sparky and effervescent as Roxy, seeing only the good in her actions, but unaware of the hurt she is able to cause Frank when he has opened himself up to forming a bond with her.

"There comes a time, when a girl should maybe start thinking about...eh, shaving?"

“There comes a time, when a girl should maybe start thinking about…eh, shaving?”

With God Bless America, Goldthwait has a lot to say about the high regard society places on celebrity culture, the exploitation of the mentally challenged, the inability of people to be shocked in this day and age, the dumbing down of the media, the degeneration of society as a whole, and also touches on the objectification of children. It’s rather sad that in order to finally get their message across to a wider audience, Frank and Roxy have to become part of what they hate most in order to reach the masses.

'Mon ya bastards!

‘Mon ya bastards!

During Frank’s daydreams pre-killing spree, Goldthwait throws in a moment that has the possibility of leading to a few cinema walk outs. Something shocking that may be a stretch too far for many. It gives a brief glimpse of how bad things could get if you stick with Frank on his journey, and you might not want to go along for the ride. But you should. There’s a lot that is wrong with the world these days, and Bobcat Goldthwait provides a darkly comical antidote.