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


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.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, 2015)

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

I am suspicious of my enjoyment of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl in spite of the fact that the film, premiering at Sundance in 2015, received the U.S. Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for U.S. Drama, and I am not alone in such enjoyment. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, a director until now primarily known for his TV work (Glee, American Horror Story) and based on a YA novel by Jesse Andrews, the film follows Greg (Thomas Mann), the titular “Me,” who, under non-negotiable orders from his mother, befriends a high school classmate, Rachel (Olivia Cooke), who is diagnosed with leukemia; Greg is to be a companion to her through the ordeals of her illness and treatment. And so Greg, with his childhood friend and fellow film-buff, Earl (RJ Cyler), entertain Rachel in large part with the films the two boys make together, short films that cleverly pun around with titles of classic and foreign cinema: The 400 Blows becomes a film about “The 400 Bros”; 8 ½ becomes “Ate ½ (of my Lunch)”; A Clockwork Orange becomes “A Sockwork Orange.”

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