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Mace & Crown | April 24, 2018

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Monarch Movie Minute: ‘Anomalisia,’ ‘I Am Not a Serial Killer’ and ‘Yoga Hosers'

Tyler Passarge

Staff Writer

‘Anomalisia’ (2015) | R | 90 min | 🎬🎬🎬🎬

When watching a movie from Charlie Kaufman, viewers are submerged in a surrealist world of crisis and doubt in the self. In movies such as “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” characters dealt with issues like love and regret. In “Adaption,” the fear of mediocrity haunted Nicholas Cage’s character. Finally, in 2015’s “Anomalisia,” the audience is tasked to look through the eyes of a man going through a midlife crisis as well as disconnect from those around him.

Customer service representative, Michael Stone (David Thewlis), feels a deep depression that leaves him unable to connect with anyone around him. To Michael, everyone else in the world (all voiced by Tom Noonan) just sounds the same. While on business in Cincinnati, Michael ends up transfixed with Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) after being able to distinguish her voice.

Initially written by Kaufman as a sound play (a show made entirely of dialogue and sound effects), the story was eventually produced as a stop-motion animated movie after crowdfunding. The beautiful animation in the film allows viewers to experience the dim melancholy world of Michael in order to sympathize with the isolation he experiences day to day.

Aside from the unique visuals, the film also stands strong thanks to the performances from Thewlis, Leigh and Noonan. Both the visuals and performances help give “Anomalisia” a raw and intimate feel that will leave the viewer mesmerized and enthralled. The film’s unconventional nature can be intense for some viewers, though, much like any Kaufman production.

With that being said, “Anomalisia” is an interesting and at times moving film about the beauty that comes with human connection, no matter how fleeting it may be.

This film is available on Amazon Prime.

‘I Am Not a Serial Killer’ (2016) | NR | 104 min | 🎬🎬🎬🎬

Troubled teenager John Wayne Cleaver (Max Records) lives his life under a code. Diagnosed by his therapist as a sociopath, John tries to keep his homicidal tendencies at bay under a strict set of rules. These rules, along with consistent work at his family’s morgue, aids John in trying to be a normal high schooler.

John’s control over his desires is put to the test when a string of grisly, animal-like murders begin to plague his small hometown. Things are only heightened when he suspects his elderly neighbor (Christopher Lloyd) might be involved in some way. For John, curiosity begins to turn into obsession as he begins to uncover the bizarre revelations behind the string of killings.

Always clouded with a sense of dread, “I am not a Serial Killer” is a tense, creepy and at times humorous murder mystery. Much of the sarcastic charisma that bubbles throughout the movie comes from Max Records, who successfully carries the movie. Through Records’ character, the audience is hurled into the mind of a potential killer.

Director Billy O’Brien embarks with his audience through scenes of effective and dark imagery that’s accompanied by an even more eerily effective score. This is a film that constantly finds itself subverting expectations, which only heighten the sense of danger. That danger in question is embodied by Christopher Lloyd, who delivers a bone-chilling performance.

Crafted with suspenseful directing and a gifted cast, “I Am Not a Serial Killer” is a tense and slow burn thriller that hooks in the viewer from minute one.

This film is available on Netflix.

‘Yoga Hosers’ (2016) | PG-13 | 88 min | 🎬

When writer/director Kevin Smith first popped onto the scene with “Clerks” in 1994, he gave a new name to independent filmmakers. On shoestring budgets, Smith has consistently made successful cult movies, such as “Mall Rats” and “Chasing Amy” that resonate with audiences even to this day. That said, it’s almost baffling to imagine why he chose “Yoga Hosers” as the next title in his filmography.

Serving as a spin-off to Smith’s 2014 horror “Tusk,” the film follows the Colleens (Lily-Rose Depp and Harley Quinn Smith), two smart-mouthed Canadian teenage girls. Why Canadian, you may ask? So Smith can supplement his barebones script with tired Canadian jokes, like how Canadians tend to say “Aboot” and “Ehh” a lot.

When the girls aren’t practicing in their band or doing yoga, they are stuck working as clerks at a 7-Eleven knock-off store owned by one of the girl’s father. Trouble brews for the girls when they are tasked with fighting small bratwurst-shaped Canadian Nazis bent on world domination. No, really, that’s the actual plot to “Yoga Hosers.”

It’s obvious that Smith is trying to go for B-level horror genre with his film, but his attempt at this kind of movie is both sad and embarrassing for a director of his notoriety. The film’s two leads (daughters of both director Smith and actor Johnny Depp) are charismatic and do what they can with the lackluster script. Whatever acting careers they have in the future will not come from their work here.

A low point in Kevin Smith’s career, “Yoga Hosers” is an unfocused mess of a film that goes out of its way to alienate its audience.

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!