Friday, October 2, 2020


Sorry in advance for the slight amount of films, both in number and genre this time; it's been a rough few weeks movie-wise for me. Part of that, was that I was preparing for the Emmys and decided to catch up on more TV whenever I could, but also eh, I'm in a weird spot in my Netflix queue where, like, nothing recent is up next and most of that are documentaries that, admittedly get higher ratings on the Rotten Tomatoes meter then they probably deserve, 'cause they're okay films, so nobody dislikes them, but they're not necessarily great either. That, can get frustrating. 

Hopefully that'll be changing soon. Hell, this is a strange anomaly where I actually watched almost as many shorts as I did features this time around. (Shrugs) I don't review shorts usually, and I won't here, but I guess that's a nice enough change of pace. Actually, if I can showcase one movie that I won't be reviewing, you might want to check out the Polish film, "The Lure". It's the debut feature by Agnieszka Smoczynska, and-eh, it's- it's weird. It's a disco musical about shapeshifting mermaids monsters who become cabaret performers; I'm not kidding, and it's- it's a weird movie. I don't actually know what to make of it, but it caught my attention; kept my interest. 

Anyway, let's get to the films I did write a review for. 



I don't know who I would've predicted to be the next filmmaker to do an adaptation of "David Copperfield", but Armando Iannucci was probably nowhere near the top of my list. When it comes to Iannucci, I'm of a few different minds personally, but generally I'm in the minority on him. He's been considered one of the top comedic minds since his cult British TV series and subsequent film "In the Loop" broke through, and especially after he brought his kind of dark political satire with the TV show "Veep". It's not that I don't think funny, I think he's actually quite observant and sharp, but there's always been something a little off about him for me. I can't entirely put my finger on it, but the generally vibe I've always gotten from him is that he's just utterly cynical of government. Not politicians, or workers, although he hasn't looked brightly on them either, but just government in general, and maybe these days, that observation was more prophetic then I ever really gave him credit for, but I still hate that about him. I got through one season of "Veep" and have struggled every time I tried to give it another chance, and I didn't care much for "In the Loop" either. It's not that it's not funny, but the comedy never felt like it came from a human place. Even when he was punching up to power, it felt like he was punching down to the audience and hypothetically, those who would be most effected by their games of politics. 

Ironically, that's why I liked his previous feature film, "The Death of Stalin" so much; that was the first time, his dark cynic perspective on political comedy actually found the story where it worked. As much as we like to tend to think that politicians are just a bunch of hoods and crooks fighting over power, and yeah, saying this during the Trump administration, feels particularly double-speak sardonic at the moment, but the fact that is there are a lot of people who go into politics because of a sense of actual duty and are genuinely trying to help out and do their best to improve the country. and shitting on that's not fun. But shitting on the incompetence of Stalin's government and underlings as they stumble around trying to figure out what and how to do after he drops dead; that's dark, cynical and hilarious. (Also true, that helps as well.) 

So, suddenly he's doing an adaptation of "The Personal History of David Copperfield"?! Umm, look I'll confess that I've never actually read or seen any previous adaptation of "David Copperfield" until now, which admittedly probably isn't great for me, but I know enough about the story to know the broad outline and-eh.... it still seems like a particularly odd choice. Other then the fact that, despite the ethnicity of his name, he's actually born in Scotland and it's Dickens so obviously he's grown up with this story as second nature essentially, but this feels like an odd choice. It's even a particularly interesting idea to try to set this with a bit of a racially blind casting as well. I'm a little concerned with Dev Patel's casting as the adult titular Copperfield in particular; not that he's not great, he's actually a very good choice, but it feels a bit like stunt casting, especially since he played the adult lead character in "Slumdog Millionaire". I know there's a bit of backlash to that movie these days, but I still think it's a masterpiece, even if it is a too much of a British perspective on the poverty-stricken parts of India, a country they used to colonize, but you know, we're pretty global and cultural appropriation will happen both ways and something that gets a little overlooked is that there's a lot of Dickens in "Slumdog....". It kinda feels odd to think of an British-born actor playing all the young Dickensian heroes, that seems like an odd typecasting, but he is good. In fact, nobody's bad here, I particularly like Hugh Laurie's performance as Mr. Dick. They did the common thing where they switched the wine bottling job with him working at a boot blacking factory, which is more reflective of Dicken's real life. I also like that this is basically Dickens's life story, with the focus in on his ability to write and create; I'm not sure that's in the novel proper, but I like it here. That commentary about how he changes events in his writing for how he'd like it to be, that's cool. 

I'll single out a couple other performances Morfydd Clark was good, and I liked seeing Tilda Swinton ham it up like she does, but other then that, I don't really have too many other thoughts at all on this film. I can see a few glimpses of Iannucci's influences, but this mostly could've just been a straightforward adaptation honestly. It could just be me, as much as I love Dickins, I've never had much appreciation for "David Copperfield"; I tend to be more of a "Great Expectations" and "A Tale of Two Cities" guy. It's a hard movie for me to judge, it's a guy who I've been apprehensive-at-best towards doing something different that's not something that I have much of a connection with. The Brits seem to like it. It got a BAFTA nomination for casting, and it did very well at the BiFas. It's still in theaters technically now, assuming theaters are still a thing. Maybe if you like "Veep" and Dickins equally, other then that it's a weird experiment that just did fit into any of my own preconceived narratives of the people involved. Talk about admitting to a huge bias but that's about all I got at the moment. Maybe this movie will make more sense in the future for me, but right now, in the comme ci, comme ca category for me, so eh, marginal recommendation, I guess. 

A VIGILANTE (2019) Director: Sarah Daggar-Nickson


I-ummmm.... I'm gonna do a bad thing by panning this one. 

See this is a movie,...- it's a power fantasy. It's not a bad one either, it's about a domestic abuse survivor, who is herself out there, helping others survive by having them escape and even brutally attacking and threatening the abusers. "A Vigilante" is a generic title, but obviously an accurate one. I've seen a few recent movies like this depict women as victims who turn towards revenge against the men or against all men who, well, hurt women, and in this case children. They use many different skills to do this, this one, Sadie (Olivia Wilde) uses some lethal weapons and fighting tactics, as well as essentially forming her own kind of underground railroad. I think the key to these movies is, obviously the filmmaking style first of all. You can set this in an otherwise realistic, even a hyperrealistic world as it is here, but I have to actually, really care about the main character, and I just didn't find this character remotely compelling. 

I don't know what to tell you, I seem to be in the huge minority on this, but....- I mean, I liked hearing painful stories of survival at the group counseling sessions and whatnot, but this character, and how she's depicted.... I don't know, she's-, she's superwoman for these girls. There's never any threat of danger from her, we mostly see her, either in action or preparing for action through trianing montages. We get hints about her, but I watch this movie and I feel like I'm watching some kind of, fan fiction sequel of what "La Femme Nikita"'s doing now. Or some other more interesting, better female Death Wish character, like the Jodie Foster character in "The Brave One". I don't even like that movie, but the character was compelling. This,- it's so bare minimum, that she barely exists. She's a survivor of abuse, she's helping others survive abuse and that's about it. That, and she's out for "Revenge" which is the title of most of these movies. (Literally, I've seen at least two similar narrative movies from this past year called "Revenge", at least this one has a slightly more original title.) 

There's one disturbing memorable sequence where she saves some kids who were trapped and locked in a room in their home, that disturbs her a bit, 'cause her husband, (Morgan Spector) who doesn't even get a name, killed her kid with his actions apparently, and the ultimate is her hiding out until she can get her ultimate revenge on him. So it's kinda "Death Wish"-y, kinda not. 

I've seen a lot of reviews that praise first-time feature director Sarah Daggar-Nickson, and technically the craft is fine, but it's not compelling to me. Everything is so cold, dark, spare; I had to look up what city the movie took place 'cause it was fairly indescript. Turns out it was Kingston, New York, but it could've been anywhere with an overused "Cold Case"-blue-tinted filter. I don't hate the attempt here, there's a way to do this that can be both a power fantasy that decries the horrors of domestic abuse, praises the victims and still finds a way to create a genuine kick-ass, interesting and complex heroine at the center who seems to be able to circumvent the system and overpower the political and physically powerful in order to get vengeance and justice for those who've been hurt the most and need the help the most, but this isn't it. I don't mind bare bones, but those bones better be great or I'm gonna be looking around, wondering where the meat is. 

ECHO IN THE CANYON (2019) Director: Andrew Slater



"Echo in the Canyon" feels a bit surreal to me. I don't know quite how to describe it, but essentially the movie is a love letter from one side of my CD case to the other side of my CD case. 

I've discussed a little bit of my music tastes in recent years, I like to think it's more eclectic then it probably is, but being half, post-Grunge Lilith Fair-era pop/rock/adult alternative music/alt rock, and with a lot of wide-ranging classic rock on the other side.... Eh, the thing is, it's not that ecclective, 'cause basically they're the same genre, just from different eras. And it makes sense because those artists I love that I grew up with from this time, were inspired to make music from the artists this era, which anybody who was interested in music at that time, was also listening to. I don't know how much people get this now; I feel like this is a lost thing in the time of Youtube, the downfall of FM radio, and the lack of MTV and VH-1 even trying to be real music channels anymore, but most youths, generally listened to, not just modern music, but also older music, all the time. Classic rock is still one of the biggest radio formats out there, and there's a big reason for that. The music was predominantly better or just as good as whatever was popular, and it was shockingly easier to seek out back then.

It was also easier to find contextualization with the past back then. Something I've noticed when I watch a lot of reaction Youtube clips to old music, many of them listen to these old songs and are usually impressed or amazed or confused or some combination of the three by the old songs, but they don't really have the complete context of the music to understand it, and that is something that really matters. 

Jakob Dylan of The Wallflowers is essentially our humble host as we dive into Laurel Canyon, the famous section of L.A. known for being where the great musicians and artists of the '60s live and create, starting originally in the '60s and probably still exists today to some extent. I always think of Joni Mitchell first, in regards to the area, but everybody was there. Literally, everybody, the Beach Boys influence the Beatles across the pond, who in terms then influenced The Byrds, who then influenced The Beatles, as well as everybody else around at that time. 

The movie is full of interviews and cameos, including opening with one of the last recorded appearances of the late great Tom Petty, as they talk about the idiosyncratic details of the Laurel Canyon scene, specifically from 1965-1967, which is when they basically invented the modern folk rock movement which inspired everybody from the The Beatles to The Beach Boys to Dylan and it all came from this little artists den in L.A. Naturally, there's a lot of great stories from people like Michelle Phillips and Roger McGuinn and David Crosby among, many, many other, but not just stories about the interactions between them, but they also go over many of the songs and how exactly they inspired the songs and trends of other musicians. How The Byrds taking Bob Dylan songs and other folk songs and playing them with electric guitar led to Dylan going electric. They even show Clapton confessing to outright stealing riffs from others, although both sides say that he informed each other about it and both are okay with it. I'm mentioning that revelation in particular though, 'cause I have some friends who hate Clapton for reasons that frankly I don't fully understand, but they'll enjoy that. 

The movie is also basically half-concerts as Jakob Dylan, Beck, Fiona Apple, Norah Jones, Cat Power, Regina Spektor, several other of my favorite artists also hold a concert and recordings of all of these songs, and it's quite lovely. It's a little bit much, admittedly; I've seen a few critics of the movie, correctly point out that this can be construed as a movie about how much these modern artists love these older artists, and sure it is a vanity project, but I like this kind of vanity project. Do you want me to not want to have a Jakob Dylan and Fiona Apple duet of them covering The Beach Boys "In My Room"? C'mon, that's beautiful. The soundtrack is great by the way, and sure I might be bias. They're right that good music is good music, whenever it was made. 

I will say that there is one scene that's kinda, iffy for me. They're going through some of the legendary studios where these artists recording, and they see the photos on the wall of some of the artists there, this one had him showing Norah Jones around, and they come across photos of the African-American artists that later recorded there, like Ray Charles and whatnot, and Jakob jokes about not knowing who they are.... Ehhhh, that was bad. I mean, it's clearly a joke, but yeah, there weren't a lot of African-Americans in this scene, and that's an undercurrent that needs to be looked at more closely, but eh, they don't think to go into that. It's one slip-up while most of it is tales about how John Phillips wrote "Go Where You Wanna Go" was written because of his frustration with how was wife Michelle Phillips would just sleep around with anybody, which, yeah, totally was and that's amazing to hear her talk about it.... (Although, I do wonder a bit what MacKenzie thinks of that...., speaking of things they decided not to look more closely at.... ) 

The movie and concert were apparently inspired by Jacques Demy's "Model Shop" film which documented the tone and feel of the area. I haven't seen that movie, but I get the feeling. One of my all-time favorite films is Lisa Cholodenko's film "Laurel Canyon", which was a modern day story about musicians making and recording music in the area, and getting seduced by the surroundings. I think I'm literally the only person in the world who bought an AC/DC t-shirt, specifically as a reference to that movie, which absolutely nobody got unless I explained that's why I bought it, (And even then, it's an obscure indy film that I'm the only one who still remembers fondly) but that's what I wanted the t-shirt fot. There's clearly something intoxication, seductive, and inducive to creativity and inspiration about the area. So yeah, I'm happy that the area still feels this way and still inspires the artist of today (Or my today at least, since 1998 was the last time popular music was a relevent artform.) as well as the music that was created there.  

ASK DR. RUTH (2019) Director: Ryan White


I'm about at that age where Dr. Ruth Westheimer has, essentially always been an everpresent part of the pop culture. She's always been around to me, that little old lady who showed up on late night talk shows and talked about sex in, not necessarily the most graphic of terms, but, in very much a straightforward, no b.s. demeanor. Honestly, I've never erally thought to look too much into her though. I've seen her mocked and parodied forever, even by herself. She's basically made a career out of being the little old woman who talked about sex. 

Okay, I guess in hindsight, I should've realized just how shocking and brazen she would've been when she first bursted onto the scene, like even among the major 2nd Wave feminist figures that populated television screens in Middle America, there really wasn't anybody like Dr. Ruth. Hell, according to some, she was one of the first major name or celebrity to go by Dr. and a quick shortened first name, which she probably should get more blame for to be honest, but that's neither here nor there. "Ask Dr. Ruth" a loving biodoc about the now 90-year old sex therapist who still remains active both in her work, and in general. 

Through some animated sequences as well as some personal visits to some of her childhood homes. Her family was killed by the holocaust by the time she was a teenager. She was injured in the Palestine War when the building where she was on rooftop rifle patrol was bombed. She was a tiny little woman who wasn't particularly attractive according to her, but she had found a sex instruction book on the top shelf of her parents room as a kid, and basically, it fascinated her. Not in a sexal way necessarily, and that's what was always fascinating about her, the practical approach she's always had to sex talk. Not just sex talk, relationship talk, 'cause that's really what she talks about on her radio and TV shows and appearances; in many ways, looking back through what and how she talks about it, she reminds me more of someone like a Dan Savage of her times; I wouldn't be shocked if he was influenced as much by her as he was say, influenced by Dear Abby. 

And she has the education and knowledge to back it up, she has psycholgy and soiology degrees on both sides of the Atlantic. She had three husbands, and many children and grandchildren, all of whom seem just as fascinated by her as everyone else, especially when she became famous for her radio show when they were coming-of-age. Dr. Ruth was ahead of the curve on discussing sex and all aspects of sexuality as though it was something that we should just commonly do just like everything else we do, and that's why she's worth a documentary about her. And she's still going and learning to. I like the little scene at the end where she talks about being embarassed about using the word "Cocktease". (Shrugs) She's not wrong, the language oen ever since, partly bn flux as well, now more then ever since, partly because of her, the subject isn't so taboo. It's not like there aren't still people out there concerned that they prefer their vibrators to actual intercourse, but you know, now it can be discussed without real embarassment, or whatever other hangups somebody has. (I'm using that example 'cause it was a problem of a caller to her show that was shown in the movie. Trust me, I have many different and more distressing sexual hangups of my own, fuck you very much.) 

Anyway, "Ask Dr. Ruth" is a delightful and insightful profile of Ms. Westheimer, and I'm even more glas to see this old woman talking about sex then ever before. 

TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG (2019) Director: Dominga Sotomayor Castillo


At a couple times during "Too Late to Die Young" I heard a Spanish-language version of Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You" during "Too Late to Die Young"; which I recognized was a bit anachronistic; the movie takes place before the song came out, but I didn't care that much about that. Partially because I love that song, but mostly because it just fits with the tone and mood of the location and feeling of the film. 

The world is 1990, shortly after Pinochet's dictatorial reign has ended, and the country is still rebuilding itself. in Penalonen, a commune in the hills over Santiago. It's one of those movies that seems to take place on those last days of Summer or something, but the last days are the last days of the regime and the tense space that causes within this commune which, not only still exists, but is apparently autobiographical for the film's director, Dominga Sotomayor Castillo. Apparently the movie got stuck on the festival circuit and a little forgotten in that light of "Roma", which, yeah, okay, it isn't in that league, but I'm not sure that would've been the film I'd compare the film too. The movie that came to my mind most when watching this was Olivier Assayas's "Summer Hours"; it's not that good a movie either, that's one of Assayas's very best, but it's about adults and kids struggling with the future of what their lives will be while, but literally and with regard to their childhood home, and whether or not they want to remain or move on from it. The adults are more-or-less meandering around, they're planning a New Years Talent show, and for the event. It's a big gathering as they consider the future of the commune, that was built to be away from the dictatorship, that's suddenly now turning into a democracy. 

It's going through the kids too though. Some are out chasing animals through the woods, the main story involves a tender teenage love triangle centered Sofia (Demian Hernandez). She's best friends with Lucas (Antar Machado). He wants to be closer as they've grown older on the compound, but she's fascinated by a motorcycle-riding older visitor (Matias Oviedo). This isn't too complicated a metaphor, he's from outside the world she's known and now basically wants to go and see the rest of it. Naturally those who stay out of it are fearful for her, but the world is changing.... I think that's the only reason the movie is set during the time period; the movie could technically take place at basically any point, storywise, but it's given more prescience at this point. Chile's one of those countries that's been jumping way ahead on the world cinema stage in recent years, and it makes sense, it's in the middle of it's first generation of filmmakers who've survived and lived through that tradition coming of age, that's the kind of thing that brings about a New Wave, and soon there's gonna be the first generation of Chilean filmmakers who lived only in their modern Democratic rule. This is only Sotomayor Castillo's third feature so she's got a lot left to bring to the table. This feels like a good introduction to her if not a perfect one. I suspect this movie might have some more power in Chile then it does here where I've seen the better versions of these films, but this is a good mood piece and that's all I wanted. I get what it feels like to live and grow up in a place like this, and that was the main objective, so I'm recommending it. 

MIDNIGHT FAMILY (2019) Director: Luke Lorentzen


I gotta be honest, I barely realized that "Midnight Family" was a documentary, for a while, this felt like a fascinating albeit disturbing premise for a movie. Apparently in Mexico City, they only employ 45 ambulances, which..., okay if you know how bit Mexico City is, that's ridiculously low. Mexico City is larger in population then New York city, that's basically, an ambulance for every quarter million people, that's just not enough. 

To make up the difference, there's private companies that have basically taken over ambulance services, "Midnight Family" follows the Ochoa family who owns an ambulance and spends their night traveling around Mexico City. They go to the emergency, sometimes it's more of a normal episodic nature, other times there's more trauma and drama around. We get a little sense of their homelife, but mostly we see the horrific work they have. Not horrific in what they do, specifically, but in the whole idea. For one thing, private ambulances seem like a huge crapshoot, and we get it with a lot of discussion they have with their patients over which hospitals to take them too. Honestly, this is something I don't get in America either. There should just not be private hospitals, period. I don't know what to tell people with this, if you're a building and you're a hospital, and you're closest to anything, that's where you should go, and any system that sets up something different is inherently flawed. 

Private ambulances are inherently flawed as well. I'm sure the Ochoas have some medical training; they're not just Uber for gun shot or ambulance victims, but who knows about everybody they're racing to get to the accident first, (Yeah, that's another thing...) they may have people who know what they're doing, they may not. They may take you to a good hospital or to the nearest hospital, or the one they have the deal with.... Honestly, this practice isn't new, even in America, ridiculous arguments happen like this all the time. Don't get in car accident near a county border, that's all I can tell ya there. 

Anyway, "Midnight Family" was shot over a few years and it's at it's best when it paints this mosaic of this surreal late night family riding around, trying to pick up and help those who need it, even if they might not be the best people around to help. It was directed by Luke Lorentzen, and he's pretty cinematic with his camerawork, including some good shots through the windshield of the car. Honestly, I think he could take this premise and make a really good non-documentary feature about this. Hopefully something like that comes in teh future, in the meantime, I enjoyed "Midnight Family", even if it was hard to watch and made me think more then it entertained me.

ALL ABOUT NINA (2018) Director: Eva Vives


I have lots of thoughts on "All About Nina"; trying to organize them succinctly is turning out to be tricky, so excuse me for any undue rants and tangents during this reviews. (I know, from me, that's sounds particularly fresh, trust me, normally they aren't undue.) Perhaps a little bit of this, for me, stems from where somebody knows or recalls an actor from. You may have seen somebody in a million things, but you might think of some actors more for one role or two over another role. For instance, if I ask you to name the first role that comes to your mind if I were to say-eh, Natalie Portman, the answer might say a lot about you. For me, it's shocking that anybody would first say "Star Wars". I would probably go with "Black Swan" or "Jackie" or- well, if I'm being honest, "The Professional". The more well-rounded you are on an actor's work, or the more well-rounded the actor's work, the less this thought crops into head, but I'm still in that space with Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Now, I've seen her in a bunch of films, and I bet if I played this game and asked most people what's the first role you'd think with her, you might not get as many varied answered since she's never been the biggest name out there, but you might get the TV show, "Fargo", you might get, "10 Cloverfield Lane", maybe one or two votes for PBS's short-lived "Mercy Street" series. Unfortunately, most people would probably say "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World", which is really unfortunate because that movie is utter garbage and it shouldn't be nearly as popular as it is. For me though, the first role I think of is "Smashed". 

Yeah, "Smashed"; you've probably not seen it, but you should. In the movie, her and Aaron Paul play an alcoholic couple, who struggle to stay together after she decides she wants to be sober. Her performance is up there with the great list of cinematic drunks of all-time, and it's an amazing performance and a really underrated film. That's unfortunate for this, because essentially she's a character with a similar arc in "All About Nina". She's not a drunk, well-, she is, but that's not the problem with her here. She doesn't try to get better; it's a slice-of-life character piece where we see the main character just going down into their own abyss. Nina Geld is a New York stand-up comic who's got a lot of pent-up frustration and anger. She goes home with, whoever she can find most every night after performing and throwing up sometime after.

She then walks into her apartment and finds Joe (Chace Crawford), one of her one-night mistakes that won't go away, and who she can't seem to get rid of, even when he beats her up. He's also a cop with a family...; (Sigh) her life is definitely not the fun kind of trainwreck. Correctly though, she decides to go out west in L.A. where Comedy Prime is and they're auditioning women stand-up for some opportunity. (I get the sense that it's a Comedy Central stand-in.) as well as her mother Debora (Camryn Manheim) and her nosey longtime neighbor and friend Amy (Mindy Sterling) in that perfect annoyingly cheerful way that Nina clearly can't stand. She's a no fuss, no muss, don't deal with bullshit kind of girl and that's reflected in her act as well. 

She then begins dating Rafe (Common) a nice guy, who apparently has a bad habit of dating trainwrecks. They're two people who are used to dating disasters begin dating each other, and she doesn't know how to handle it. I won't go into too many explicit details of, "The reveal" at the end. Apparently it's based on first-time feature film writer/director Eva Vives's personal experiences, so I don't want to be too hard on this, but this feels a bit like a therapy script. In fact, it is a therapy script; I'll just say that. And that's not inherently a bad thing either, this reveal....- (Sigh)

Okay, full disclosure here, I kinda know what she's doing, 'cause I've written a script that's kinda similar to this, it wasn't done in a therapeutic way, I don't think, but it was about a mysterious female character and you're wondering why the hell she's like this the whole time, and it's not revealed until the end why, and, well, it's not really a good narrative. This is why as great as Winstead's performance is, and it is great btw, eh, I have that other film, "Smashed" in my mind, which not only was a better look at somebody going through a personal change while dealing with a troubled past, but it didn't have this mystery as to what her problem is, and that helped us feel more empathetic to her character. Here, we feel for her, but we're mostly just confused and wondering what-the-hell happened to her as she acts out as she metriculates through place-to-place. There's a time to reveal stuff like this, but I don't think it works with this kind of movie, my old abandoned script included. And I don't even need to go to my work either; James Gardner's "Jellyfish" which was also released in 2018, is also about a young comic struggling to live through the pains of her life and that including some traumatic and distressing homelife and experiences and that movie didn't hide or shy away from what got under her skin. Now that movie was about a teenager, so it's not a perfect comparison, Nina Geld is a thirty-year old who's never dealt directly with her distressing past, but yeah, when you compare the two, "Jellyfish" is far and away the stronger film, and there are other similar character pieces I can name, and in comparison, despite the performance, "All About Nina" is a notch below most of them. I want to recommend this, there's a brave performance in Winstead, as well several good supporting work at the edges of the screen, including some cameos by other stand-ups, including Jay Mohr who it's always nice to see acting, but I don't like the structure of the plot, and ultimately it doesn't entirely feel like a natural story; it feels more like a therapy script that maybe needed one or two more drafts before it was really ready to be filmed, or perhaps shoved in a desk somewhere.

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