With a handful of weighty storylines, “Disconnect” can be a lot to digest, but thanks to impeccable transitions, well-calculated story overlap, and a congealing tone, the film doesn’t feel like a sampling of stories, rather a look inside a well-developed world.
“Disconnect” highlights three scenarios, all with connectivity at the core. Kyle (Max Thieriot) is an 18-year-old kid making money by performing on an adult-only website. When journalist Nina Dunham (Andrea Riseborough) stumbles upon his page, she sees his unique story as the ideal expose. Jason (Jason Dixon) and his buddy Frye (Aviad Bernstein) are your typical high school kids, honoring the social ladder and addicted to Facebook. The pair gets a kick out of bullying class loner, Ben Boyd (Jonah Bobo), by creating a fake profile and convincing Ben that a girl has a crush on him. Then there’s Cindy and Derek (Paula Patton and Alexander Skarsgård), a couple targeted by an identity thief eager to exploit their passwords, bank accounts, and deepest secrets.
Director Henry Alex Rubin doesn’t waste a second, pulling you right in using a single shot to follow Kyle through his home. The place is packed with kids who seem fairly typical and in good spirits, but then comes the reveal – the building is actually a teen-driven online porn operation. But still, Kyle clearly feels good about his work and it’s no wonder; he’s particularly nice to look at and quite the charmer. While you’re remorsefully admiring Kyle for being the best of the best, when Nina steps in to offer him a way out, you’re presented with a surprisingly conflicting scenario. Clearly the right thing to do is to help Kyle live a more noble life, but he’s happy and really is being taken care of by his boss. There are glimmers that suggest Kyle isn’t the brightest of the bunch and every now and then Thieriot loses his charm and feels more like a threat, but the chemistry between him and Riseborough is powerful enough throughout that their scenario forces you to juggle all the various potential resolutions at once, hoping both can wind up having what they want while also knowing it’s just not possible.
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Sure, all comedies should be funny, but, let’s face it, what comedy is really that funny that it can keep you laughing for a full 90 minutes? This tends to be a bit of a pitfall with the genre; writers have joke tunnel vision and then, when that tunnel collapses, we’re left with a neglected story that leaves us checking our watches until the next funny gag arrives. In the case of Horrible Bosses, however, the story and consistent tone of the film, take the form of a robust safety net, catching up when a joke falls through and bouncing us right back into the action.
Think your boss is tough? Nick (Jason Bateman) is a long-time, dedicated employee who’s long overdue for a promotion. Too bad his boss, Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), is a power happy lunatic who enjoys dashing Nick’s hopes and dreams. Then there’s Dale (Charlie Day), a soon-to-be-married dental assistant who suffers the wrath of Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Anniston), a boss who enjoys gassing her patients into oblivion so she can continue her effort to get a piece of Dale’s you-know-what. Meanwhile, over at the Pellit family chemical business, the super sweet papa Pellit (Donald Sutherland) is out, leaving his drug addict of a son, Bobby (Colin Farrell), to reign supreme and make poor Kurt’s (Jason Sudeikis) life miserable.
Thanks to the economy, blackmail and superiority complexes, ditching their jobs isn’t an option, so Nick, Dale and Kurt go for the next best choice, killing their bosses. In an effort to do the deed and actually get away with it, the guys hire a professional (Jamie Foxx) to take care of business for them. However, things get complicated when their hitman refuses to pull the trigger himself, rather instruct his costumers on how to take care of their problems themselves.
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Please fasten your seat belt, put your seat and tray table into the upright position and prepare to enter air world. For most, traveling by plane is a hassle. You’ve got to pack up all your stuff, go through security and spend hours on a stuffy plane. On one trip, Walter Kirn came across a ‘new creature,’ a person who lives to fly. This chance encounter inspired Kirn to write Up In The Air.
The novel tells the story of Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), a corporate downsizer who considers himself a resident of the skies. He spends the majority of the year traveling the country firing people without remorse, just looking forward to getting closer to his goal of acquiring ten million frequent flier miles. Ryan thrives on his simplicity but when out of his comfort zone and off the road, he’s as complex and troubled as they come.
Kirn passed that complex story over to Jason Reitman who not only related to Ryan’s situation himself, but knew exactly what to do to adapt Kirn’s book to film. Along with actresses Vira Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, Kirn and Reitman give insight into the movie you’ll be eager to see once it lands in theaters in December.
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My phone interview with Clifton Collins Jr. had a rocky start. It went something like this: “Hello?” “Hi, this is Perri from Cinema Blend.” “Who?” At first I thought I called the wrong number or miscalculated the New York/California time difference. Finally I thought to toss in the key word, extract, and the two of us were on the same page. You forget that even though most of the country is focusing on the upcoming release of Extract, the film’s cast and crew are probably busy with other projects. Clifton is certainly no exception.
Whether or not you know Clifton’s name, you’ve seen some of his work. He’s played key roles in a number of hit films including Traffic, The Last Castle, Capote and Babel and is making his repertoire even more impressive with an extremely successful 2009. He’s starred in Sunshine Cleaning alongside Amy Adams and Emily Blunt, played an evil Romulan in one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters, Star Trek, and, this weekend, will make you laugh as the lovable but unlucky Step in Extract.
You’d think with a laundry list as extensive as Clifton’s he’d have zero time to devote to anything besides his acting career, but he’s been able to put to use another talent, directing music videos. Clifton directed two videos for the Zac Brown Band and I called him right in the middle of his next one. “No, I’m not the lighting company, I’m Perri from Cinema Blend. Would you mind switching gears for a bit and talking about Extract?” “Sweet, you can take as much time as you need. I love this movie!”
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