“The Kings of Summer” boasts the innocence and carefree nature of younger years right alongside the profundity of adulthood, resulting in an experience that functions both as an entertaining romp and tender tale of growing up.
Since the passing of his mother, Joe’s (Nick Robinson) relationship with his father, Frank (Nick Offerman), has been more strained than ever, the two not being able to see eye to eye on a single thing, even a game of Monopoly. Meanwhile, Joe’s best friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso) has parental problems of his own, but in a much different respect. His mother and father (Megan Mullally and Marc Evan Jackson) smother him, drowning him in juvenile affection and vegetable soup. Desperate to not become his father, Joe decides that their only shot at gaining a sense of independence and becoming the men they want to be is to get out from under their parents’ roofs and build their own. Joe, Patrick, and the school oddball, Biaggio (Moises Arias), take to the woods, find a clearing and build their very own home.
“The Kings of Summer” strikes a unique balance between coming-of-age charm, comedy, and honest drama, and it’s the constant give and take between all three that makes the film work particularly well as a whole. There are moments specifically rooted in humor and others aiming to earn weighty emotional arcs, but director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and writer Chris Galletta always keep all three elements in play, resulting in something that’s both pleasantly enchanting and rather poignant.
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Review: Super 8
After months of mysterious and intriguing promotions, forming preconceptions about Super 8 is inevitable. Now that it’s finally arrived, the question is, does it make due on those expectations? Yes and no and that ambiguity is what makes this film so special and effective. Writer, director and producer J.J. Abrams, knows how to build hype and has no trouble handling it thereafter. Super 8 is what we’ve hoped for, but also so much more.
It’s 1979 in the small town of Lillian, Ohio, and Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) and his friends are in the midst of a big production, a zombie film. With Joe on makeup duty, Carey (Ryan Lee) handling the fiery special effects, Preston (Zach Mills) stepping in as a background actor, Martin (Gabriel Basso) playing the detective and Charles (Riley Griffiths) behind the lens, all the boys are missing is their lead actress. That’s where Alice (Elle Fanning) steps in. The group hits the road and heads to the local train station where Charles sees an oncoming train as a timely “production value.” Well, that is until it crashes, kicking off a chain of events involving a complete army takeover of Lillian.
Joe’s dad, Jackson (Kyle Chandler), the town deputy, is forced to deal with the repercussions himself as the accident triggers a series of strange occurrences including missing dogs, appliances and people that send the town into a panic. With no valid explanation, Jackson must investigate himself all while dodging the intrusive and brutal tactics of Colonel Nelec (Noah Emmerich). Meanwhile, Joe and his friends attempt to finish their zombie film with the train crash site and army presence as yet another “production value.” However, those values ultimately lead them straight into an incredibly phenomenal and dangerous situation.
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