EVERY THING WILL BE FINE
(Germany/Canada/France/Sweden/Norway - 2015)
last films, and still unreleased in the US), EVERY THING WILL BE FINE plays more like an homage to SWEET HEREAFTER-era Atom Egoyan, from the crux of its story being a tragedy uniting several people, to its cold, wintry Canadian setting. Judging from the end result, Wenders can't do vintage Egoyan any better than Egoyan can these days. Making superfluous use of 3-D, which is limited mostly to some falling snowflakes for the six people who managed to see this in a theater, EVERY THING WILL BE FINE offers the most somnambulant cast this side of Werner Herzog's HEART OF GLASS, headed by James Franco as Tomas Eldan, a struggling Quebecois novelist whose marriage to Sara (Rachel McAdams, with a distracting and stilted Swedish--I think--accent) is in a rough patch. It gets worse when Tomas is involved in a freak accident on a snowy rural road where he thinks he narrowly averted hitting a young boy in a sled but realizes too late that there were two boys on the sled and the other died, pinned under his SUV. This scene, where Tomas thinks he and the surviving kid had a close call but slowly realizes, when the boys' shell-shocked single mother Kate (Charlotte Gainsbourg) asks where the other boy is, that he's accidentally killed the unseen second child, is by far the best in the film and it's all downhill from there.
(UK/US/Canada - 2016)
NEBRASKA screenwriter Bob Nelson. As in that film, we have a story set in a blue collar town where most of the residents have seen better days. Anthony (MIDNIGHT SPECIAL's Jaeden Lieberher) has it pretty good other than his ambivalence about being prodded into confession and confirmation by his church-going mom Bonnie (Maria Bello) and stepdad Kyle (Matthew Modine). Bonnie and Kyle are going away to a church-sponsored couples retreat for the weekend, leaving Anthony in the care of his alcoholic, sporadically-employed carpenter dad Walt (Clive Owen). Slumped-shouldered Walt has been dealt some shitty hands and is beaten down by life, but he's trying to make things work. He's on his latest attempt to quit drinking and isn't sure what to do with Anthony over the weekend, but that soon becomes a moot point as the pair encounter one obstacle after another. Walt gets a lucrative job lined up for Monday morning, but his expensive and sentimental (they were his dad's) specialty tools get stolen from his truck, his truck breaks down, a trip to drop a huge jar of change into a Coinstar machine at the grocery store to get some quick cash is all for naught when Anthony accidentally hits the "Donate" button, and they get locked out of the house when Walt gets an eviction notice. Borrowing Bonnie's SUV--Anthony neglects to tell Walt the brakes need replaced--the pair spend the weekend tracking down Walt's tools BICYCLE THIEF-style, getting help from a variety of odd folks both helpful and dubious, ranging from Walt's fatherly friend Otto (Robert Forster), drunken gun nut Vaughn (Tim Blake Nelson), and eccentric drywaller Drake (Patton Oswalt) whose claim to have the inside info on Walt's tools is negated by the fact that everyone knows he's back on meth.