Reviews in Short: November 2012

Office

 

Office Space     For anyone who works — or worked — in the soul-sucking confines of a corporate cubicle, this Mike Judge comedy is a must.  Its deadly accurate depiction of the white-collar workplace has the makings for one depressing movie, but thanks to its ensemble of instantly recognizable office drones (standouts are Gary Cole as an unctuous, passive-aggressive boss, and Stephen Root as a mumbling milquetoast), it’s much more likely to make you laugh than cry.  Release:  1999  Grade:  B+

 

*****

 

Bay

 

The Bay     What’s great about the movies is that the good ones suck you in and make you forget that everything you see is make-believe.  The problem with most “found footage” movies is that the jerky camera, grainy film, and improbable edits are jarring reminders that everything you see is make-believe.  So it is with The Bay, which is unfortunate because its premise — pollution-generated, flesh-eating parasites invade a seaside Maryland town — is timely and believable.  Director Barry Levinson, who knows a thing or two about making movies the old-fashioned way, should have done so with this one.  Release:  2012  Grade:  C

 

*****

 

Kids

 

Kids     An “after school special” from hell, Kids depicts one day in the life of some NYC teens who drink, drug, and screw their way through life, spreading AIDS and respecting only peer pressure.  The lone role model on display is a grizzled taxi driver; other adults are either apathetic or missing in action.  Kids was heralded as a wake-up call to society back in 1995; I have no idea whether anyone actually woke up.  Release: 1995  Grade:  B+

 

*****


Gut

 

Gut     This low-budget horror film poses a provocative question:  Can television viewing habits lead to actual violence?  Nicholas Wilder, playing a disturbed loner who introduces his only friend to the lurid attraction of snuff movies, gets my vote for Creepy Friend of the Year.  But there is a fine line between building suspense and moving at a snail’s pace, and Gut, with too many lingering close-ups and a plodding story, is undermined by its sluggish momentum.  Release:  2012  Grade:  C-

 

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