Review: ‘The Drop’ leans into cringe comedy with the ring of fact

‘The Drop’

The title of director Sarah Adina Smith’s anxious social satire “The Drop” refers to a momentary mistake that turns into a life-altering embarrassment. Anna Konkle performs Lex, a sweet-natured middle-class Angeleno wanting ahead to a enjoyable journey to a beachfront vacation spot marriage ceremony along with her husband and enterprise associate, Mani (Jermaine Fowler), with whom she’s been operating a hip bakery and making an attempt to conceive a toddler. Then Lex by accident drops a good friend’s child on the bottom after a bee flies at her face; whereas the toddler’s OK, the incident prompts the occasion friends to rethink every thing they learn about each other.

Co-written by Smith and Joshua Leonard, “The Drop” depends closely on the improvisational abilities of an skilled solid of comedian actors, together with Leonard himself — in addition to Utkarsh Ambudkar, Jillian Bell, Elisha Henig and Robin Thede. They play a mixture of privileged L.A. varieties, who’re all vaguely dissatisfied with their heaps in life. Lots of the dialogue is about these individuals coming to that conclusion, by means of passive-aggressive conversations which can be by no means fairly as humorous as they need to be, irrespective of how a lot the film leans into “Curb Your Enthusiasm”-style cringe humor.

Nonetheless, whereas “The Drop” doesn’t at all times work as a comedy, it does have the ring of hard-won fact. Smith and Leonard spoof the presumptions and pretensions of people that prefer to outwardly undertaking as kindly and enlightened; they usually unsparingly illustrate how somebody’s seemingly rock-solid fame might be undone right away.

‘The Drop.’ R, for sexual content material, language and a few drug use. 1 hour, 32 minutes. Obtainable on Hulu

Nicolas Cage stars within the film “The Old Way.”

(Saban Movies/Lionsgate)

‘The Old Way’

The Nicolas Cage automobile “The Old Way” has been described because the actor’s “first-ever western,” which is type of true, in that he’s by no means earlier than performed somebody dwelling out on the American frontier with hats, weapons, horses and all that. Nevertheless it’s additionally true that a variety of Cage’s latest work — like “Prisoners of the Ghostland,” “Mandy,” “Pig” and extra — has been no less than western-adjacent, in that they’re films about haunted loners out for revenge.

That’s the zone Cage returns to in “The Old Way,” enjoying Colton Briggs, a reformed gunfighter who will get pushed too far when a vengeful gang tracks him down and kills his spouse, leaving Colton to lift their younger daughter, Brooke (Ryan Kiera Armstrong). With out the civilizing affect of real love, the widower returns to his roots, educating Brooke easy methods to observe, shoot and lie. Sarcastically, their quest to execute the opposite outlaws brings the daddy and baby nearer than they’ve ever been.

Director Brett Donowho and screenwriter Carl W. Lucas may have accomplished extra with this premise. Their story is slim, transferring straight from the very fundamental setup to a predictable payoff that sees Colton going through off in opposition to a younger killer (Noah Le Gros), who has a really specific purpose to spoil the gunslinger’s life. However the areas have some interesting old-school western grandeur; and the chemistry between Cage and Armstrong carries the image by means of its extra hackneyed moments. In the end, it is a film with actual character, a couple of man coming to appreciate with no small amazement that he has an precise legacy to move on — even when it’s a grim one.

‘The Old Way.’ R, for violence. 1 hour, 35 minutes. Obtainable on VOD; additionally enjoying in restricted theatrical launch

A close-up of a woman with long straight hair

Olivia Luccardi within the film “Candy Land.”

(Quiver Distribution)

‘Candy Land’

The gifted style filmmaker John Swab brings a particular contact to the ’70s-style exploitation image “Candy Land,” a gamy thriller thriller that mixes a slasher plot with a frank exposé of the lives of “lot lizards” — the prostitutes who ply their commerce at truck stops. Olivia Luccardi performs Remy, an exile from a Christian cult who finds a makeshift household among the many female and male hookers at a run-down spot in rural Oklahoma. Simply as her new associates are displaying her how their enterprise works, the fuel station and close by motel begin to be terrorized by a blade-wielding killer, who’s slicing up each the hustlers and their johns.

Swab doesn’t preserve the assassin’s identification secret for lengthy. About midway by means of its operating time, “Candy Land” basically dispenses with its plot and turns right into a sequence of scenes wherein the psychopath overtly dispatches one sufferer after one other, with a messianic zeal. All through these sequences, Swab delivers the grindhouse items, serving up hefty quantities of nudity and gore.

But whereas “Candy Land” is unapologetically sleazy, it additionally has a pointy visible model and a completely realized little world, stuffed by a vibrant ensemble of sex-worker characters (nicely performed by Sam Quartin, Eden Brolin, Virginia Rand, Owen Campbell and Guinevere Turner), one creepy lawman (performed with gusto by William Baldwin) and interesting particulars in regards to the artwork and craft of sexually satisfying truck-stop clients. It’s doable Swab made this movie simply to inform a narrative in regards to the extra compassionate aspect of prostitution. If that’s the case, the film’s guilty-pleasure thrills are only a bonus.

‘Candy Land.’ Not rated. 1 hour, 33 minutes. Obtainable on VOD

‘Come Find Me’

On the floor, writer-director Daniel Poliner’s “Come Find Me” might appear to be a typical tearjerking indie drama. The first half is a couple of stressed-out younger lawyer named Christina (Victoria Cartegena), who’s again in her dwelling metropolis of New York to work on an enormous case whereas making an attempt to keep away from her meddling mom, Gloria (Sol Miranda). The second half jumps forward a few years to Gloria’s final days as a middle-school principal, which she juggles whereas getting ready for Christina’s marriage ceremony. This bifurcated construction — together with a late-film introduction of a time-loop ingredient — are indicative of Poliner’s extra delicate ambitions with this image, about how private targets and relationships evolve.

Not every thing Poliner tries right here succeeds — particularly within the movie’s first half, which might be laborious to observe at instances. However the story will get higher because it performs out, and the dialogue and performances are uniformly robust, helped alongside by the buildup of details about Gloria’s and Christina’s jobs and their historical past collectively. If the film feels a bit overstuffed, which may be as a result of Poliner clearly cares about these characters, and — fairly touchingly — has thought lots about what would make them pleased.

‘Come Find Me.’ Not rated. 1 hour, 47 minutes. Obtainable on VOD

‘The Offering’

There’s a welcome simplicity to director Oliver Park and screenwriter Hank Hoffman’s “The Offering,” a supernatural thriller that replaces the style’s standard generic Christian mysticism with a Jewish tackle curses and devils. Nick Blood performs Artwork, who left his Orthodox household to marry the gentile Claire (Emily Wiseman), however then returns to his father, Saul (Allan Corduner), when he wants cash to assist together with his pregnant spouse and their unborn baby. Sadly, Artwork arrives at Saul’s place of work — a mortuary — simply as a child-stealing, hallucination-inducing demon often called the Abyzou has been conjured. A lot of the motion in “The Offering” takes place in and across the household’s funeral dwelling, the place a number of freaky incidents flip into full-on Abyzou assaults. The plot is fairly routine, however its finer factors about non secular religion and rituals give the creep-outs and jump-scares actual nuance. What makes this such a satisfying horror movie is its cultural specificity.

‘The Offering.’ R, for violence. 1 hour, 33 minutes. Obtainable on VOD; additionally enjoying theatrically, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, downtown Los Angeles

‘The Price We Pay’

The grim and gory “The Price We Pay” belongs to the subgenre of horror movies like “Don’t Breathe” and “From Dusk Till Dawn,” the place some not-so-nice individuals present up on the mistaken place on the mistaken time, and shortly discover out what true evil is. Right here, Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff play fugitive crooks who take a hostage after a holdup gone haywire, after which try to lie low at a farm. There, the thieves uncover the property’s secret torture chamber — and that the oldsters who personal the place aren’t precisely pushovers. Directed by Ryûhei Kitamura (finest identified for “The Midnight Meat Train”) from a Christopher Jolley screenplay, “The Price We Pay” lacks the stunning twists and energetic performances of the most effective “knock on the wrong door” thrillers. The solid is ok, however there’s a dispiriting dourness to the movie. Nonetheless, after a sluggish begin, Kitamura does provide up some spectacular splatter scenes — peaking on the finish, with a wild climax that partly justifies the film’s existence.

‘The Price We Pay.’ R, for robust horror violence, gore and pervasive language. 1 hour, 26 minutes. Obtainable on VOD

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“The Celluloid Bordello” is a provocative documentary essay in regards to the many alternative ways in which films and tv have depicted prostitutes and strippers throughout the many years, in methods typically bracingly sincere however extra typically exaggerated and exploitative. Directed by Juliana Piccillo, the movie is loaded with clips, strung along with interviews wherein critics and intercourse staff provide insights into popular culture’s love-hate relationship with the individuals who promote their our bodies for a dwelling. Obtainable on VOD (additionally out there on DVD from First Run Options)

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