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Reviews for August 1st, 2014

Documentary Round-Up

      Rich Hill

4 Minute Mile

Directed by Charles-Olivier Michaud


Number of times I checked my watch: 3
Released by Gravitas Ventures.
Opens at AMC Empire.

The Almost Man

Directed by Martin Lund

      35-year-old Henrik (Henrik Rafaelsen) appears to be suffering from a form of arrested development. He has just started a new job and moved into a new apartment with his girlfriend, Tone (Janne Heltberg Haarseth), who's expecting a baby. His childish behavior can be noticed from the very beginning as he goofs off with Tone at supermarket while other customers, much like you, are probably wondering what's wrong with these people. Later on, he pees on a child's Peter Pan book, punches a coworker and has the nerve to ask a woman at a party if she remembers him for having a visible booger in his nose that last time they met. Clearly, Henrik has a lot of growing up to do.

      Writer/director Martin Lund has essentially created an engagingcharacter study that's grounded in realism. People like Henrik, sadly, do exist and will continue to so long as they have enablers. He's not a bad person or mean-spirited, just very immature. Tone realizes that about him eventually although it takes her longer to do so than you do. It's a testament to Lund's sensitive screenplay that Henrik never becomes a caricature or over-the-top in an annoying way. You actually want him to change mentally and want Tone to be there for him along the way without giving up on him. The film skirts the fine line between comedy and tragedy sans any signs of unevenness---after all, as ironic as it may sound, comedy is often rooted in tragedy (ask Charlie Chaplin).

      Its weakest moments, though, are when it comes to the root cause of Henrik's arrested development and to pat the solution of that problem. Lund at least shows you a glimpse of where his problem originates from: his overprotective mother. More scenes with her, or perhaps a heated confrontation between mother and son would have helped the film to go deeper and get to the crux of the matter instead of beating around the bush, especially if his mother a narcissist who babies her son; she probably had a mother who also didn't know how to be a good parent. Without resolving or fully addressing the unhealthy relationship between Henrik and his mother, the way that Lund has Henrik evolve as a character feels rather glib.

Number of times I checked my watch: 2
Released by Big World Pictures.
Opens at Village East Cinema.

Cabin Fever: Patient Zero

Directed by Kaare Andrews


Number of times I checked my watch: 5
Released by RLJ Entertainment.
Opens at AMC Empire.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Directed by James Gunn


Number of times I checked my watch: 3
Released by Walt Disney Pictures.
Opens nationwide.
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