Film Review: Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town

mackenzie-davis-izzy-gets-the-f-ck-across-town-1200x520
It’s worth noting that first-time film director Christian Papierniak has a background in video games because that’s a bit how Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town plays out. When Izzy (Mackenzie Davis, Halt and Catch Fire) learns her ex-boyfriend plans to marry her former best friend, she decides it is her destiny to crash their engagement party. The problem is that Izzy’s car is as broke as she is. In L.A., no wheels mean that 5 hours might not be enough time to get from point A to point B. Izzy does her level best to squeeze favors out of people who don’t support her cause and are have clearly grown tired of her shit. But she’s in a race against time to get to Los Feliz before Roger is officially off the market (never mind the fact that an engagement party is not as binding as an actual wedding).

Papierniak’s protagonist is the manic pixie girl minus the dream. Izzy is a twenty-something lost soul convinced that getting back together with her ex is the answer to her ennui. Davis imbues what could have been a one-note character (the “hot mess”) with depth and occasionally invites empathy despite her myriad poor decisions. Izzy could be a precursor to Gillian Jacobs’ character on the Netflix series, Love. Once upon a time, Izzy was a big deal in the local indie rock scene, but now she’s relegated to the service industry. When she wakes up in bed with an (albeit very charming) stranger, she retains no memory of how she got there or how she soiled her work uniform with wine (and possibly blood). None of that matters anyway, because young Izzy is driven by Providence. In fact, it is a postcard from the Road Island capital hanging in her hook-up’s bathroom which convinces her that it’s her destiny to reconcile with her ex on the eve of his engagement to someone else. You see, the party is on Providence Road…

Read the rest at Hammer to Nail!

Advertisements

Hammer to Nail: SIFF 2017 Wrap-Up

Better late than never!

The 2017 Seattle International Film Festival, which runs for 25 days every spring in the Emerald City, is four weeks of wall-to-wall, butt-numbing entertainment. This year’s festival took place May 18th to June 11th and featured 400 films from 80 countries. All told, there were 750 festival screenings and events, including 36 world premieres. That’s a lot of time spent in a dark theater. On the festival’s final day, the SIFF employees who introduced the screenings asked the audience how many of them had seen over 100 SIFF films this year. I was shocked when a couple of people actually raised their hands. Those folks averaged 4 films per day. My itinerary wasn’t quite as impressive, but I did manage to squeeze in 26 films, at an average of 1 per day. Hey, I had to see my kids some time.

siff2017-banner-1

Special honored guests included Angelica Houston, who received an award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting; and the buttery-voiced cowboy Sam Elliott, who spent an afternoon reminiscing about his career and taking questions from an enthusiastic audience.

There were a lot of great films this year.

Read about them on Hammer to Nail!

H2N Review: The Incredible Jessica James

The Incredible Jessica James could just as well be called The Incredible Jessica Williams, because it’s basically a feature-length reel for the talents of the effervescent former Daily Show correspondent. Williams has got the dramedy chops and the charisma to sell what would otherwise be a medley of romantic comedy/self-exploration tropes. Netflix picked up this Sundance favorite, written and directed by Jim Strouse expressly for Williams. She played a supporting role in his last film, (the comma defying People Places Things) with such aplomb that he wondered why she hadn’t yet helmed a film.

Jessica James is a mid-twenties playwright living in Brooklyn. The thing about Jessica (both James and Williams) is that she doesn’t do anything half-assed. She boogies her way through the opening credits, celebrating life and immediately luring in the audience with her awesomeness. That’s not to say that she’s devoid of challenges. She struggles with a recent breakup. (Though she initiated the split, she continuously fantasizes about run-ins with her ex [LaKeith Stanfield, TV’s Atlanta] wherein he begs for her to take him back before being abruptly killed in a variety of freak accidents.) She papers her walls with rejection letters from theater companies, paying her bills with a job mentoring kids in the (read with British accent) art of theatre at a non-profit. She desperately wants her students to match her passion for the craft, and she gets a little overbearing when it seems like her favorite kid isn’t trying hard enough. Jessica is lovable but she’s also flawed and complex. That’s just not something you see very often in female-driven comedies…

jessica-williams-film-the-incredible-jessica-james-to-close-sundance-2017-715x405

Read the rest at Hammer to Nail!