Arts & Entertainment
The working-class neo-noir thriller “Emily the Criminal” lights up the big screen. Horror-comedy “Bodies Bodies Bodies” expands nationwide.
Beau Behan , Patch Staff
This weekend, movies with generational themes and social commentaries dominate the big screen.
Care for a working-class neo-noir thriller? “Emily the Criminal,” which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, shines a spotlight on the world of student debt, starring Aubrey Plaza in the title role of a Millennial trying to make ends meet in a service gig economy.
If you’re looking for a Gen Z horror-comedy, look no further than “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” which expands nationwide this weekend. The film stars Pete Davidson, Amandla Stenberg, Chase Sui Wonders, Myha’la Herrold, Maria Bakalova, Rachel Sennott and Lee Pace as a group of friends suddenly propelled into a dangerous web of mistrusts.
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Here’s what to see and skip this weekend:
"Emily the Criminal" — Aubrey Plaza, Theo Rossi; directed by John Patton Ford
A Mounting debt. A Low-paying service gig. A stressful life. And then, there's Emily, a young woman struggling to make ends meet. As her life story unfolds right before our eyes, are we going to find her detestable or likable?
Undeniably, this is exactly what writer-director John Patton Ford prompts audiences in his first feature, a neo-noir thriller about a working-class Millenial saddled with student debt.
Aubrey Plaza plays the title character Emily, whose wild college days have finally caught up with her, making it difficult for the Jersey-born Los Angeles transplant to land a good-paying job. As it stands, she is drowning under $70,000 in student debt, and is supporting herself working for a food delivery service.
One day, her co-worker, Javier (Bernardo Badillo), sets her up for a lucrative side gig. Enter a strikingly charming man named Youcef (Theo Rossi), who runs a large operation involving stolen credit cards and fake ID's. How does it work? Emily will have to buy items under an assumed name, and in turn, she gets paid $200 an hour.
Initially, she wavers to take the illegal job, but ultimately, because of desperation, she capitulates. Is Emily about to cross a point of no return?
Plaza shines with an electrifying performance and superb dramatic gravitas in Patton Ford's well-crafted and deftly directed crime thriller.
“Bodies Bodies Bodies” — Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova; directed by Halina Reijn
Lies and rivalries abound in Dutch director Halina Reijn’s English-language debut, a slasher social satire with a murder whodunnit twist.
At the center of the film is a group of privileged friends who decide to gather for a house party in the wake of a menacing storm. Certainly, it is a good excuse for these rich kids to have all the fun in a remote family mansion, replete with dancing, singing and edibles.
Moments later, Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) and her new girlfriend Bee (Maria Bakalova) arrive at the lavish mansion, where they meet the rest of the gang. Enter Sophie’s best friend David (Pete Davidson) and his longtime girlfriend Emma (Chase Sui Wonders), who both seem excited to see her. Soon, Sophie and Bee also get to meet Jordan (Myha’la Herrold), Alice (Rachel Sennott) and her odd 40ish boyfriend Greg (Lee Pace), who are all lounging poolside.
As the violent storm begins to rage, so do the uncontrollable excessive indulgences. Then, the story segues into a murder mystery game that turns into a lurid and dangerous web of deception when a body suddenly turns up dead. Now, the whodunit question becomes real and terrifying as the dead body count begins to pile up.
Reijn’s film satirizes with a razor-sharp spin on the horror and dark comedy genre with an insanely entertaining murder mystery to behold.
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