In Your Queue — “Some Girl(s)” and “Europa Report”

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http://blogs.orlandoweekly.com/index.php/2013/07/in-your-queue-some-girls-and-europa-report/

Some Girl(s) – Daisy von Scherler Mayer

Adapted by Neil LaBute from his stage play, Some Girl(s) travels alongside with a newly successful writer (Adam Brody) as he crisscrosses the country, tracking down a series of lovers from his past before his impending marriage so he can right some of the wrongs from he old life. Or so he says, but not all of the girls are buying it. It’s well turned-over territory of course (what isn’t these days?), but LaBute’s reversals and wordplay never sag, and von Scherler Mayer coaxes standout performances from Jennifer Morrison, as the high school sweetheart he did wrong, and Zoe Kazan, as a friend’s little sister who crushed on him as a kid. Though the film barely suffers Brody’s generic charm much of the time, he does have his own moment in the Boston scene, opposite Emily Watson, that brings that brings the best out of him. As with any multi-story film, some threads are winners and some are losers, but Some Girl(s) wins more often than not.

****

Europa Report – Sebastián Cordero

Though Europa Report is another entry in the found footage genre, there is something slightly different about its use here. The footage — the film is told through a series of onboard monitors that catch everything — isn’t used a gimmick to mindfuck you, as it is in most films of the genre. Here, it’s a legitimate story telling tool, employed to tell the story of the first manned space expedition to Europa after something goes horribly wrong. Europa is the moon of Jupiter that is though to be the best chance for life outside of Earth because of its subsurface liquid water, and it’s exactly that chance of life that these explorers hope (and somewhat idly fear) they will find once they land on the moon’s icy surface — that is, if they can get there. Europa Report is not the hard science fiction that screenwriter Philip Gelatt wanted to make (you really have to turn your science brain off if you know anything about Europa) but it’s always been the soft science of movie logic that allows the suspense to really take shape and grip us with a sincere and exciting “what if…?”

A Hijacking – Tobias Lindholm (2013)

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When a Danish cargo ship is taken for ransom off of the coast of Somalia, the shipping company’s president, Peter (Søren Malling), begins a long, drawn out negotiation with the hijackers who are unimpressed when he lowballs their demands on the advice of a kidnapping expert. The film succeeds as an intense talking thriller, but it focuses on the negotiations and miscommunication so heavily that the larger stories of the sailors (spearheaded by Pilou Asbaek) and the kidnappers are never dipped into with any satisfaction. The high tension is enough to make the film worth your time, but there is little there to make you care about either the hostages or the hijackers, who we actually learn startlingly little about.