Booksmart 🎓

Today's movie is streaming on Hulu

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Today’s recommendation is for Booksmart streaming on Hulu. This R-rated comedy, directed by actress Olivia Wilde in her directorial debut, has more than just a plot in common with Superbad. Beanie Feldstein — who co-leads the film with Kaitlyn Dever — is also Jonah Hill’s little sister. But don’t let the comparisons deter you. This movie stands all on its own.

Here’s what it’s about: Molly (Feldstein) and Amy (Dever) have been friends since childhood, but have never connected with their classmates who they have always seen as slack offs. However, on the eve of their high school graduation, they find out that those same “slack offs” have gotten into the same top universities as they did. Determined to not let high school go to waste, they have a hilariously debaucherous (and sometimes illegal) Grad night. [Trailer]

Why you should watch it: I don’t think I’ve laughed harder at a movie in theaters. There’s so much to admire about Booksmart, Feldstein and Dever’s charismatic performances, Wilde’s assured directorial style, the supporting cast, the rich themes around identity and coming-of-age, but what makes it a delight is the humor. Wilde brings a natural rhythm to the movie that makes each joke and gag land with impact. And refreshingly, it’s inoffensive and doesn’t rely on gross-out gags (what a concept!).

And like Game Night (🚨bonus recommendation), Booksmart lets its jokes gestate without going for an easy punchline — some take the entire movie to pay off. And while the goofs and gags are what keep it entertaining, there are some genuinely touching storylines, particularly with Dever’s Amy. She’s a groundbreaking queer character in broad comedy.

Directed by Olivia Wilde // Runtime 105 mins // Year 2019 // Genre Comedy

📺 Buy or rent: Prime Video | iTunes | YouTube

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In theaters

The Invisible Man 👕

This weekend, I saw director Leigh Whannell’s — whose movie Upgrade I recommended here (🚨 bonus recommendation) — adaptation of the 1933 Universal Classic Monsters movie of the same name based on the H.G. Wells horror novel of the same name (is anything original anymore?).

Here’s what it’s about: In the dead of the night, Cecilia (Elizabeth Moss) escapes the home of her abusive boyfriend scientist Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). When he commits suicide a couple of weeks later, she’s unconvinced that he’s really gone. As one weird occurrence turns into a terrifying pattern, she realizes he might have found a way to stalk her invisibly.

Why you should watch it: It would have been so easy for Whannell to go for cheap jump scares with a premise like The Invisible Man. Instead, he almost does the exact opposite and allows the movie to build to something. With every scene — and precise directorial style — he manipulates the frame to achieve maximum tension. The movie explores emotional manipulation. Whannell lets so much of the horror be motivated by it. He makes the audience feel like we are losing control by showing us more than the characters are seeing, achieving a feeling of dread.

Putting the sci-fi elements aside, Whannell focuses on a feeling that many women have expressed after experiencing trauma — including abusive relationships, assault and harassment. The lack of control that Cecilia had in the relationship has made her paranoid and unable to truly feel safe. In a stunning monologue, she explains that she lost control of every aspect of her life. And that’s more horrifying than anything.

Directed by Leigh Whannell // Year 2020 // Genre Horror

📺 In theaters now


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See you on Thursday!
Karl (@karl_delo)

📽 Looking for something to watch? You can see every movie I’ve ever recommended right here.
🍅 I’m also a Tomatometer-approved critic on Rotten Tomatoes! You can find all my reviews here.