Gaby Hoffman

GOODBYE WORLD

Indie films don’t often tackle issues that are big on a geographic scale — big drama sure, but big events are usually outside their budgetary range. An impending apocalypse is a good example of the type of topic beyond an indie’s reach, but there are exceptions including 2012′s It’s a Disaster which successfully married lots of laughs, some relationship drama and the possible end of the world. (Or at least the end of Los Angeles.) Goodbye World seems to start off on the same strong footing, but it becomes clear pretty quickly that director/co-writer Denis Hennelly isn’t entirely sure what kind of film he’s trying to make. There’s comedy, relationship drama and an impending apocalypse, but there’s also very little of value to hold it all together. There is plenty of bickering though. James (Adrian Grenier) and Lily (Kerry Bishé) are hosting some friends for the weekend at their rural, self-sustaining, off the grid home in Northern California, and it’s there where they discover the outside world is falling to pieces after a mass text reading “Goodbye World” spreads like wildfire. Riots, bombings, martial law and renegade National Guard members are an increasing threat, so why are these “friends” all fighting over the little things?

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VERONICA MARS

Veronica Mars is apparently a very satisfying return of some clearly beloved characters from a TV series that went off the air seven years ago. Fans will love it. In fact, fans do love it, as I witnessed at the packed premiere in the 1100-seat Paramount Theater at SXSW. There’s nothing wrong with a movie catering to fans of a property, and there’s no reason to assume something serving as a continuation of a pre-existing entertainment product should work for those attempting to jump in blind. This certainly isn’t the first feature spun-off from a TV show that expects you to have at least some familiarity, nor is it unlike many sequels throughout the history of film, nor is it unlike a ton of made-for-TV movies offering a reunion of characters (and of cast members that play them) and, more importantly, of reunion of fans with those characters they’ve missed. Veronica Mars, however, is not for me and the majority of people who’ve never seen one episode of the show. Why did I go into something like this without catching up? I was curious to see if it would be worthwhile for others in my shoes. And now I can say that it is not. Maybe that’s all I need to say, but I’d like to offer more, because I believe that fans deserve better than what they get here, regardless of all the direct service they receive in the form of recall references that only exist to make someone feel […]

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hannah-en-couple-avec-adam

Tomorrow night, while you’re tuned into the 71st Golden Globes, the HBO series Girls (which is again nominated for a couple of those awards) will be kicking off its third season with an excellent therapy-filled episode featuring the guest-starring talents of Richard E. Grant (wise and weaselly), Bob Balaban (hilariously mumbly), Kim Gordon (magnificently meth-y) and Danielle Brooks of Orange Is the New Black (I almost want to believe she’s the same character here). You’ll want to DVR it. And make sure to subscribe to the whole season while you’re scheduling that recording. If you got rid of HBO or don’t have it, borrow someone’s HBO Go password. Stick with it for another round. Even if you’ve already made up your mind that you’re not going to bother with the show anymore, not after a fairly mediocre and miserable sophomore season, rethink that decision. So far, having gotten the chance to dip halfway in with the first six episodes, I think this is the most entertaining season yet. Maybe not the most consistently interesting, I’ll give its critics that, but still very smart and funny and relevant. And most importantly I think it’s the most likable it’s ever been. Perhaps after the midway point the characters will start being really shitty or pathetic again, which I’m sure is what some of its audience actually wants anyway. For now, I think it’s nice to not hate these people for a while. Because it’s the third season, I’ve appropriately limited myself to only three reasons for […]

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jenny slate obvious child

First of all, let’s not get confused. There are two films at Sundance next month with almost the same name. There’s The Obvious Child, a 12-minute animated short by Stephen Irwin (trailer here). And there’s the feature rom-com Obvious Child by Gillian Robespierre, which is the focus of this week’s column. To clear up more confusion, yes, there was already a film called Obvious Child by Gillian Robespierre. That 23-minute short from 2009 (which was once accessible on Vimeo but is now password protected — boooo!), is the precursor to this feature, which expands upon its story of a young woman who has an abortion and it’s not that big a deal. Like the original version, the new one stars Jenny Slate, the comedienne who infamously said the F-word on SNL on her debut episode. Now she’s maybe better known for her hilariously bonkers role as Mona-Lisa on Parks and Recreation. That’s where I know her from best, anyway (not counting the Marcel the Shell shorts that I always forget are voiced by her). I guess she also stars in the Alvin and the Chipmunks movies. Good for her. So does David Cross, who also co-stars in Obvious Child. Others in the cast include former child star turned Indie Spirit Award nominee Gaby Hoffman, late regular on The Office Jake Lacy (Pete aka “Plop”), Slate’s Bestie x Bestie partner Gabe Liedman and the always lovable character actor Richard Kind.

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