GOMORRAH (***) - Starring Toni Servillo and Gianfelice Imparato. Directed by Matteo Garrone.
It does for deglamorizing the mob in Italy what The Wire did for deglamming street gangs in Baltimore. But I only watched one season of The Wire cuz the first episode of the second season I realized I didn't care about the characters and didn't want to descend into an urban hell for another 13 hours. This left me feeling the same way. I appreciated its artistry and it's exposing some of the harsh elements that still go on with organized crime in Italy, but I was happy to be rid of their company at the closing credits.
EXTRACT (***) - Starring Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Ben Affleck, JK Simmons, Clifton Collins Jr., David Koechner, Gene Simmons and Beth Grant. Directed by Mike Judge.
Mike Judge once made the slacker classic Office Space, about an employee dealing with stupid bosses. Now here come Extract, about a boss dealing with stupid employees. Bateman is our deadpan hero who (while high) is talked into hiring a gigolo to seduce his wife (Kristen Wiig) to see if she'll take the bait. As his home life unravels, he has to deal with the demands of entry-level employees who feel entitled to more and more from him and the company. Maybe this was hurt by the bad title and the timing of being sympathetic to an employer when unemployment is over 10%, but while it's not laugh out loud funny, it certainly creates more smiles than your average Hollywood comedy.
PAPER HEART (*1/2) - Starring Charlene Yi, Michael Cera and Jake Johnson. Directed by Nicholas Jasenovec.
This movie pretends to be a documentary that happens to capture Charlene Yi and Michael Cera fall in love while Yi is making a cross-country documentary about love. But there's nothing revelatory in her interviews with regular people about love, and their courtship is actually a dull thing on which to eavesdrop.
SUMMER HOURS (**) - Starring Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling and Jeremie Renier. Directed by Oliver Assayas.
I'm surely in the minority here, but this movie never captured my attention. It's about adult children who must sell the home and possessions of their mother after she dies, and it's about letting go. It's also so leisurely paced that it never really feels like anything is happening. It's a well-acted French film that made me want to take a nap.