SIFF 2017: The Little Hours (Jeff Baena, 2017)

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Note: as this film is under embargo until its release in the Seattle area, here are exactly 75 words.

No doubt parallels abound between Boccaccio’s plague-ridden Renaissance and our own apocalyptic present, so surely the time is ripe for this adaptation of a story from The Decameron, about vulgar nuns fighting the patriarchy the only way they can: sex, alcohol and witchcraft. Very funny, with Aubrey Plaza, Alison Brie, Kate Micucci leading the improv-ed script. Dave Franco is adequate, but fortunately his role mostly just requires being yelled at and looking pretty.

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SIFF 2017: Wind River (Taylor Sheridan, 2017)

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Note: as this film is under embargo until its release in the Seattle area, here are exactly 75 words.

Like Hell or High Water and Sicario, for which he wrote the scripts, Taylor Sheridan’s second feature is the story of manly men and women doing manly things in a manly genre and a manly wilderness. This time, it’s a park ranger (Jeremy Renner) helping an FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) track down a murderer on a reservation. The ending’s a disaster, but strong performances from Native actors Gil Birmingham and Graham Greene almost redeem it.

SIFF 2017: Landline (Gillian Robespierre, 2017)

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Note: as this film is under embargo until its release in the Seattle area, here are exactly 75 words.

Following up their excellent 2014 rom-com Obvious Child, director Robespierre and star Jenny Slate reunite for a family comedy set in 1995. Slate and her teenage sister (Abby Quinn) discover their father (John Turturro) is cheating on their mom (Edie Falco) and spiral out of control into comic misadventures. Robespierre’s films resemble much of 21st century Hollywood comedy in their openness, vulgarity and spontaneity, but they have an emotional depth and maturity that the Apatows can’t fathom.