The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
The Walking Dead
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All Critics (14)
| Top Critics (3)
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It's a measure of the film's dramatic balance as well as its emotional integrity that both of these men will wind up eliciting the viewer's sympathy and scorn at different points.
Funny and modestly charming.
Unexpected and charming, Manson Family Vacation is one ride you'll want to catch.
Writer/director J. Davis plays his debut film for pathos. And he pulls it off like gangbusters.
The film is gently funny, if a bit too slow, but the bizarro story line takes it to unexpected places and doing something different in the film industry right now is a much needed thing.
It's rare that anything associated with Charles Manson can put a smile on your face but J. Davis' confident debut does just that, making for a surprisingly sweet and thought-provoking cinematic journey.
A delight and a surprise, well worth an addition to your Netflix queue.
It is hard to merge dark comedy and a brother re-bonding story and the filmmakers pull it off.
Manson Family Vacation isn't a buddy comedy or a road movie, though it has aspects of both. It's very funny, but unafraid of intense emotional catharsis.
All its disparate parts don't quite come together, but it's exactly the kind of oddball vision that might never get a major push from a brand name if not for the Duplasses.
The Manson subtext not only gives the film a darkly comic bent, but deepens its emotional context. This little film is both familiar yet not, marking the debut of a unique voice.
For a film about a holiday, it's notably lacking in a final destination.
We all have our different hobbies. Different tastes. Whether it's from books, to movies, to video games, comic books, even down to phones/tablets/computers, etc. That's what makes us all different, what we're into and how that relates to other people who may have completely different tastes to yours. As an example, when I was a teenager, for a little while at least, I was really into serial killers and true crime stuff. So I bought a shit-ton of books on serial killers, mass murderers, etc. I was completely fascinated by that world and I immersed myself in it. You gotta understand that I was, maybe, 15 or 16 when this was going on. And I predominantly listened to heavy metal. I still do, even to this day, even though my tastes have widened as I have gotten older. So you can imagine how my mother (and aunt) reacted. They were worried, of course, but I always assured them that it was a subject I was fascinated by and nothing that I ever intended on actually doing. I'm pretty much a pacifist, except when it comes to nazis (punch all the nazis), so I would be morally repulsed by it. But, the point is, that I can sort of understand Conrad's point of view in feeling that his brother is quite judgmental about his obsession and, need, to visit the Manson Family crime sites. Then again, I was never obsessed with actually going to the murder sites and being in awe at the horrible things that took place there. I think that's taking it one step too far, but to each their own. But this sets up the film's narrative that focuses on Conrad's, who's adopted, relationship with his brother, Nick. Conrad never felt like he belonged in his family. Conrad's adoptive mother and father were told they couldn't conceive. Later, surprise surprise, Nick was born. Conrad feels that the moment that Nick was born he was sort of thrown to the wayside and forgotten about, since now their mother and father had what they really wanted. So it explores that dynamic of Conrad feeling left out of the only family he has ever known. Which is what drives Conrad's journey to find this environmental group, who support Manson's ideas for the environment, because it is the only group where he truly feels like he'd be at home and where no one will judge him for his tastes. It sounds simple, but I feel that the chemistry between Linas Phillips and Jay Duplass gives the film its strength. They are excellent together and the script gives them more than enough to sink their teeth into. As short as the film may be, it runs barely 80 minutes (without credits), the character development is really strong. The film definitely hits some familiar notes with this type of indie-comedy, but I think it's a really damn good movie that sort of flew under everybody's radar. At least it flew by my radar for a while. I wanted to see it, but there's movies that I see pop up on Netflix (or Amazon) and I watch them the same night I discover them. This one's been on Netflix for quite a bit and I just never gave it a second thought. Until, of course, yesterday when I did watch it. I don't wanna say I'm ashamed it took me this long, but I should have definitely watched it sooner. It's one of those sleepers. It's not gonna change the world, or even come remotely close to it, but it does offer a strong, character-driven indie comedy with a focus on one of the darker periods of American history (we're going through one of those right now). It's not the funniest indie movie you will ever see, but it's one of those movies that doesn't really need to be hilarious to be enjoyable. Don't really have much else to say, this is an easy recommendation if you love these types of movies. If you're favorite movie is Grown Ups 2, then this won't do anything whatsoever for you. Strong characters, actors and narrative make this a very good movie.
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