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Mace & Crown | April 25, 2018

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Monarch Movie Minute: ‘The Invitation,’ ‘Moonwalkers’ and ‘Night Owls’

Monarch Movie Minute: ‘The Invitation,’ ‘Moonwalkers’ and ‘Night Owls’
Tyler Passarge
Contributing Writer

‘The Invitation’ (2015) | NR | 99 min. | 🎬🎬🎬🎬 

After two years of estrangement caused by a tragedy, Will (Logan Marshall-Green) receives an invitation from his ex-wife, Eden (Tammy Blanchard), and her new husband for a lavish dinner party. When he arrives, Will begins to feel uneasy about the affair. Perhaps it’s the awkward setting of Will and Eden’s former home, or perhaps it’s Eden and her husband’s outlandish behavior.

As the night goes on, Will and the other attendees of the party begin to learn the bizarre truth about what kept Eden separated from the world for two years. The strange revelation convinces Will that there may be more to this party than just a warm reunion. This leaves Will to determine whether there really is a more sinister motive behind the party while trying to convince his doubtful friends that something is awry.

Thanks to the wonderful script developed by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, “The Invitation” is drenched in tension that builds throughout. As our protagonist becomes more engrossed by the bizarre characters and uncomfortable happenings of the night, discoveries are brought to light that will direct the story into new and fascinating territories. The lingering feeling of danger will leave the viewer anxious over what happens next.

The only issue with the movie is that the ending can be seen from miles away. However, by the time the ending does comes around, the movie has earned your curiosity and attention. There is more than enough to like about “The Invitation.”

This film is available on Netflix.

‘Moonwalkers’ (2015) | R | 107 min. | 🎬🎬 

When it’s uncertain if the Apollo 11 will reach the moon in time, CIA agent and Vietnam War veteran Kidman (Ron Pearlman) is sent to talk famed director Stanley Kubrick into staging a fake version of the moon landing. Kidman instead finds himself paired up with Johnny (Rupert Grint), an inadequate band manager, and his drug-addled roommate, Leon (Robert Sheehan), both of whom mistakenly trick Kidman into thinking Leon is Kubrick.

With the help of a colorful cast of characters, our three heroes are in a hijinks-prone and drug-fueled race against time to stage one of the most notorious moments in history, even if it involves going up against some unsavory folks. Will our protagonists beat the odds? Unfortunately, by the halfway point, the audience won’t really care.

Admittedly, there is some promise to a unique concept like the one in “Moonwalkers.” Everybody in the movie tries hard to bring something to the table, but the script they are working with gives them nothing to do other than read off cheap stoner jokes that are best fitted for a bad “National Lampoon” movie.

The movie largely disappoints by being considerably infuriating when it comes to how the filmmakers decide to convey this story. Everything that progresses the narrative is due to a character saying or doing something that is so foolish and out of character that it almost takes the viewer out of this immensely unfunny movie. It would be charming if the movie was actually witty and entertaining, but sadly it isn’t.

This film is available on Netflix.

‘Night Owls’ (2015) | R | 90 min. | 🎬🎬🎬 

Kevin (Adam Pally) has found himself in quite the predicament. He’s been brought back to Madeline’s (Rosa Salazar) home for a drunken one night stand, but before the night is over, Madeline unsuccessfully attempts to kill herself. Adam comes to find out that the home he has been brought to is the home of his boss, and Madeline is his boss’s scorned ex-mistress.

To avoid a scandal, Kevin is tasked by his employer to keep Madeline at the house and to keep her awake. If Kevin allows Madeline to fall asleep, the pills she took to kill herself will take her life. Although Kevin and Madeline are initially at odds, the conversations and adventures they share throughout the night will bring them closer together while leading them both to personal revelations.

The thing that holds “Night Owls” back from being something more is the formulaic plot. Once someone has seen a movie like this, they’ve seen them all. There are moments in “Night Owls” that try to play on the themes of romantic comedies (and the film does it quite effectively), but these moments don’t help the movie when it goes into cliché and predictable territory.

What holds the movie up is the wonderful chemistry between Pally and Salazar. When watching the two, it’s easy to believe the interactions between the characters are genuine. Director Charles Hood takes advantage of the two’s interaction by holding the camera on their conversations in effective ways. The movie itself can be cheesy, but the leads and confident direction make “Night Owls” a worthy but routine date movie.

This film is available on Netflix.

Rating System:
🎬 — Straight to DVD.
🎬🎬 — Well, there goes 2 hours of my life!
🎬🎬🎬 — Add to my queue.
🎬🎬🎬🎬 — A must see.
🎬🎬🎬🎬🎬 — Mind blown!