Film Review: The Nest

Sean Durkin’s long-awaited follow-up to 2011’s Martha Marcy May Marlene begins with a static shot of an unassuming suburban car port circa 1980-something and an ominous score. The family who dwells inside the house are indeed about to have their lives turned upside-down, but it’s not because of a ghost, demonic possession or a violent home invasion. The monster that terrorizes the family in The Nest is capitalism, and it’s a most insidious foe because it is pervasive, amorphous, and so, very real.

Jude Law (The Talented Mr. Ripley) stars as Rory, a British business man in the nebulous field of “finance”, who feels he has spent enough time wallowing in American mediocrity so that his horse-loving wife, Allison (Carrie Coon, TVs Fargo, The Leftovers) can be close to her family. He longs to return to the lucrative and fast-paced office life he enjoyed in London before he became Husband of the Year. He’s had enough of bringing Allison coffee every morning and getting the kids off to school so she can go to work at the local stables. When we first meet Rory, he’s schmoozing it up on the phone with an old colleague, and definitely trying too hard. If you wonder how well Rory’s schtick goes over in the London office, you’ll find out soon enough that most people see through his shit immediately. They keep him around because he seems “a nice enough chap” or perhaps because it’s because he looks like Jude Law. Regardless, Rory manages to carve a space for himself in his old office, and has already planned out everything before saying word one to Allison…

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Film Review: I’ve Got Issues

The landscape of film and television is about to change. Robert Pattinson made it two days on a big-budget movie set before contracting COVID, which means the entertainment world is nowhere near ready to return to “normal”. We simply can’t have that many people in a room together without endangering each other’s health. Now is the time for directors like Steve Collins to shine. His latest effort, I’ve Got Issues, is a low-budget collection of existential vignettes starring an average of no more than 2-3 characters at a time. What could be safer to shoot? You don’t even need to gather a bunch of effects artists together for post-production. Someone in a basement with a single laptop could handle that job. Wham, bam, cinema!

Of course, you’d have to be into the premise. With I’ve Got Issues, Collins posits that day-to-day life of regular folk is a lonely, emotionally draining, seemingly pointless uphill battle. (At the moment, I reckon he’d have a hard time finding someone to argue this notion.) Collins handpicked a cast of character actors with a capitol C to embody his Joe and Jane Does in their Sisyphean lives. Among them, Macon Blair (I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore), Maria Thayer (TVs Eagleheart) Paul Gordon (The Happy Poet), Sam Eidson (Zero Charisma), Byron Brown (Mustang Island), and John Merriman (Sister Aimee). Comedian Jim Gaffigan provides occasional narration with a bleak, deadpan delivery that’s nonetheless tinged with hope. The actors are all fully committed to their scenes which helps sell the absurdity…

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