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Reviews for March 30th, 2018

All I Wish

Directed by Susan Walters


Number of times I checked my watch: 8
Released by Universal Pictures and Paladin.
Opens at Village East Cinema.


Directed by Dean Matthew Ronalds

      Tom (Bryan Greenberg) and his wife, Anna (Tammy Blanchard), host a brunch at their Brooklyn apartment with their friends, Joe (Dominic Fumusa) and his wife, Susan (Emanuela Galliussi). The brunch begins as a peaceful gathering, but it gradually becomes more intense as secrets and lies rise to the surface. Those secrets and lies, none of which will be spoiled here, threaten to unravel their friendships and marriages.

      Fourplay is the kind of drama, set in one apartment, that takes its time to get to the meat of its story, but when it finally arrives there with plenty of anger, yelling and surprises, it fully grabs your attention. In other words, the film's Spectacle, its conflicts, aren't palpable right away; you'll have to patiently through some potatoes to get to the story's meat. The characters who you might've thought were likable become less and less likable the more you get to know them. It's their flaws, ultimately, that make them all the more interesting and authentic as human beings rather than as mere caricatures. The first 30 minutes or so are dull compared to the rest of the film, but bear with it. The darker the film gets, the more compelling it becomes. Some of the revelations are foreshadowed in the beginning with some hairline cracks in both couples' marriage, though, so perceptive viewers will be rewarded the most. The hairline cracks eventually turn into larger cracks in the third act.

      Fourplay feels like an French marital drama with food, drinking, lots of talking and, eventually, fighting without any sex or nudity. Writer/director Dean Matthew Ronalds along with co-writers Emanuela Galliussi and Francesco Plazza opt for emotional nakedness instead. Fortunately, the actors have the acting to be convincingly natural in their emotionally candid roles. The filmmakers wisely avoid melodrama, schmaltz, flashbacks, and distracting subplots. Their decision to film it in black-and-white is bold and harkens back to some of the films from the Golden Age of Cinema like Cassavetes' Faces and Mike Nichols' Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? both of which would make for great double features. August, Osage County would also pair well with it, but if you're looking for a much lighter film, look no further than the French comedy classic The Dinner Game. At a lean 77 minutes, Fourplay is a well-acted slice-of-life that's increasingly compelling, dark and complex.

Number of times I checked my watch: 2
Released by Parade Deck Films.
Opens at SVA Theater.


Directed by Aaron Katz


Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by NEON.
Opens at Angelika Film Center and AMC/Loews Lincoln Square.
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