“Indignation,” directed by James Schamus, is a challenging, provocative film that should be knocking on the door when Oscar nominations are announced next January. Taking place in 1951 and based on Philip Roth’s novel, it tells the story of how young people can be haunted by an authoritarian system beyond their control.
Here, the wonderful young actor Logan Lerman plays Marcus Messner, a smart, sensitive Jewish boy from Newark, New Jersey, who accepts a scholarship to a small Ohio college to avoid being drafted into the Korean War.
Once in college, Messner is interested in nothing more than his studies and working in the school library. However, in the process he meets the beautiful Olivia Hutton (Sarah Gadon), a troubled young girl haunted by a past that will soon be revealed.
As Messner wrestles with his studies and his uncertain attraction to Hutton, he comes into conflict with the school’s dean, played in stunning fashion by Tracy Letts. They have several encounters in the dean’s office that will leave you pinned to your seat as you await the outcome.
This is a marvelous story where human imperfections drive young people from each other’s arms. The film will break your heart, and I haven’t seen any movie confront lost love in such a crushing fashion since Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift starred in “A Place in the Sun” (1951).
Lerman is only 24, yet he has already made a mark on the big screen. Think of his brilliant performance in “Fury” (2014), the overlooked “Noah” (2014), and the wonderful “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (2012).
This is a movie awash in family concerns, mental illness and romance at its deepest levels. It is also about young people having the courage to challenge authority and the crushing consequences.
“Sausage Party” is an R-rated animated film from the twisted, creative minds of Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and James Franco. Both funny and offensive, it has an underlying meaningful story drowning in a tidal wave of profanity.
Ninety percent of the film takes place in a supermarket where all of the food can communicate without being noticed by humans. They all hoped to be purchased to be taken to a joyful, new life in the next world called “The Great Beyond.”
Seth Rogen voices a frankfurter called Frank, and he loves Brenda, a nearby bun (Kristen Wiig). They yearn to be purchased by the same shopper so that they can consummate their relationship in a wiener/bun fashion that we all recognize.
Trouble ensues when a mustard jar (Danny McBride) is returned to the store. He screams out the tragic story concerning the cannibalistic outcome awaiting everyone. Frank and his cohorts engage in a quest inside the store to determine the truth while most refuse to see anything but joy awaiting their ultimate purchase.
Nonetheless, the film does have some strength at its core. As you watch the interaction of the various goods on the store shelves, you see a mixture of resentment and dislike. Just like in real life, the food products have to determine if they are being asked to pursue a religious fantasy. Additionally, they have to bond together to provide the core source of happiness in life, namely hope.
This is one of those films that I can neither recommend nor condemn.
“Bad Moms” may turn out to be a of sleeper hit of 2016. It is at times dark, dirty, vulgar and profane, but it also is incredibly funny. Eighty percent of the national audience on its opening weekend was women, and their repeated laughter provides the best review of this R-rated film.
There are times when the film, directed by “The Hangover” duo Jon Lucas and Scott Moore goes one bridge too far, but it really doesn’t matter. No one knows better than women the speeding train they are forced to ride as they balance the demands of the workplace, children and marriage.
This film centers around three mothers played by Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn. Here, Kunis’ character wrestles with a part-time day job where she is the oldest employee assigned to selling brands of coffee while dealing with an idiot husband.
Bell plays the mother of four who must deal with the demands of a clueless husband, while Hahn dominates the movie as a profoundly vulgar woman whose principle goal is to get as intoxicated as possible while getting laid by whoever is available.
As these three women become friends, you share the pleasure that they find in each other’s company. However, Hahn gives a breakout performance as a sarcastic woman who uses four-letter words in the same magnificent style that Picasso used oils and canvas.
I encourage you to stick around for the final credits. The female leads appear with their mothers in real life and their conversations create a bond with all of the women who have purchased a ticket. This film acts as a therapy session where all mothers can experience the forbidden pleasure of being bad.•
Robert Hammerle practices criminal law in Indianapolis at Pence Hensel LLC as of counsel. When he is not in the courtroom or the office, Bob can likely be found at one of his favorite movie theaters. To read more of his reviews, visit www.bigmouthbobs.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.