CRUSH (2022)

 Directed By: Sammi Cohen 
Written By: Kristen King & Casey Beckham 
Editor: Melissa Remebalich-Aperlo

Cast: Rowan Blanchard, Auli’i Cravalho, Isabella Ferreira, Tyler Alvarez, Teala Dunn, Rico Paris, Aasif Mandvi, Michelle Buteau, Megan Mullally, Addie Weyrich

An aspiring artist and high school student who is forced, against her will, to join her high school track team. However, the situation isn’t entirely bad, as it gives her an opportunity to pursue a girl that she has had a long-term crush on. However, things get even more complicated when she finds that she is falling for another teammate entirely. Soon she will see what real love feels like.

This is the most agreeable teen film I have ever seen. As it seems most of the characters have open sexualities. Though this movie is definitely centered around the teen LGBTQ community or at least the characters. Most of the characters are teenagers and the few adults seem more quirky and horns than anything. So they never come Off as imposing and definitely not in control. 

Especially Megan Mullally who is the main character, an enthusiastic oversexed sex-positive mom. Who seems similar to Emma Stone’s parents in EASY A. 

Nice to see Rowan Blanchard back on the big screen and in a leading role no less. She is not as out there as she was in the show GIRL MEETS WORLD, but here has a more solid character to play. Who you root for throughout the film. 

It is a wonder why the main character is so shy when it seems like every character is supportive throughout the film. This school seems to have no bullying or even a social class system. As everybody hangs with everyone and the worst thing that can happen is not being LGBTQ but into a renaissance.

Even the straight kids seem to be the minority. Speaking of which it is noticeable that this film is diverse. As most of the cast is made up of different races and it is never brought up. So that it feels like a breath of fresh air 

The film is predictable as a girl meets a girl tale and while trying to go after her crush realizes she is more compatible with someone. She never expected and luckily the crush isn’t some kind of evil or vapid character, just not who she wants when she wants her. 

The film moves fast and is so good-hearted and cute it is hard to be mad at it. It keeps you fully entertained while you wait for the inevitable and makes you care when it hits the familiar beats. Where you want everything to work out for everyone. 

Even the characters who seem or come off as stereotypes prove to have some depth and character.

While this film matches the good-hearted romantic comedy teen movies that have become a growing genre on streaming. This film is one of the rare ones where it feels like this could have been released in theaters and found a loyal audience. It’s not as strong or dramatic as some of the others and not as believable but it does entertain and offer characters to either identify with or wish you had in your life.  

Grade: B-

KIMI (2022)

Directed By: Steven Soderbergh 
Written By: David Koepp
Cinematography: Peter Andrews
Editor: Mary Ann Bernard 

Cast: Zoe Kravitz, Byron Bowers, Devin Ratray, Robin Givens, Rita Wilson, Derek Delgaudio, Erika Christensen, Charlie Halford, Jacob Vargas, David Wain, Andy Daly 

During the COVID-19 pandemic in Seattle, an agoraphobic tech worker discovers evidence of a violent crime while reviewing a data stream, and is met with resistance and bureaucracy when she tries reporting it to her company. To get involved, she realizes she must face her greatest fear by venturing out of her apartment and into the city streets, which are filled with protestors after the city council passes a law restricting the movements of the homeless population.

For a Steven Soderbergh film, especially a thriller he doesn’t really really execute as much visual panache as usual.

The film is a fine thriller that feels a little bland and straightforward at times. Even as it is partially inspired by films such as BLOW OUT, BLOW UP and even the conversation, that seems to only count in characters and story. As the visual style is direct and more clinical.

It feels like a modern-day Brian De Palma-inspired film only without the visual dynamics but the conspiracy thriller elements still in there. 

Zoe Kravitz is what really shines throughout. As she is finally given a lead role in which to flourish and show her talents after so many supporting roles in other films. She even has an interesting walk/run that fits her character and seems cute. It is also a little funny. 

The look they give her sets her apart and makes the viewer especially focus on her as the backgrounds are usually dull color-wise and she is so colorful that your eyes immediately focus on her. Her beauty also helps shine Through.

The film’s first half makes you believe this will be more of a contained thriller and is a little slow but that is to set up the characters and the story. When it comes to the second half we venture outside more and the plot comes more to the forefront but isn’t as layers as in the first half 

Luckily in the first half though we are more contained. The film expands the space of her apartment so that it feels luxurious.

In the end, the film is fairly predictable but will keep your interest. Don’t know if it was always meant to be so small scale or if it was more due to covid but it makes it work for it.

Grade: C+