A few more November/December releases get their short ‘n’ sweetness treatment below. The first two are still in cinemas but probably not for much longer so get on it! I’m not sure about the last but it’s not worth seeing anyway and the time for Christmas movies has come and gone.
Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford, 2016)
It’s really quite incredible how differently people can interpret a film. The internet is rife with outlandish theories about Nocturnal Animals, which almost made me wonder if I’m too simple-minded to really ‘get’ these types of films. But it would appear these theories don’t have much merit. For me, the overarching theme was fairly clear. Susan (Amy Adams) is sent a manuscript by her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) with disturbing content. Gyllenhaal appears in dual roles as both Edward and the book’s protagonist, Tony, and Susan recognises parallels between the story and her past relationship. Directed by fashion designer Tom Ford, the film is highly stylised in that cold, sleek, artist’s thriller kind of way, and has an arresting opening sequence. The film is hard to watch, because Tony’s work of fiction is not at all pleasant. The ending may frustrate, but think it over. Just don’t overthink it.
The Founder (John Lee Hancock, 2016)
Michael Keaton stars as the ‘founder’ of McDonald’s, Ray Kroc, although you’ll find that title is sorta a crock of shit and that he too was a shithead. Primarily a drama, the film has its comedic moments, particularly when Ray tries his first McDonald’s hamburger and states it’s probably the best burger he’s ever had – we’ve clearly come a long way in burger quality. Practically stealing the business out from under the original McDonald brothers (played by Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch), he confirms the generally accepted truth that successful business men are usually pricks. Viewers may simultaneously root for him as protagonist and curse him as antagonist. This ambivalent response leaves a funny taste, and it may be one satisfied by a cheeseburger (but not a Maccas one because we have standards).
Office Christmas Party (Josh Gordon & Will Speck, 2016)
Boring office workers have a piss-up to prove they’re not boring. They only half succeed. A fairly loose plot involves branch manager Clay (TJ Miller) and Chief Technical Officer Josh (Jason Bateman) being scared shitless when Clay’s bitchy CEO sister Carol (Jennifer Aniston) threatens lay-offs, bonus cuts, and general spite. Hoping to woo a big financial giant to their firm to prove themselves, they organise a huge office Christmas party with the help of Josh’s head of tech Tracey (Olivia Munn). Cocaine ends up in the fake snow blaster, a gun-wielding pimp gets involved, and all descends into madness. It will get a few laughs but ultimately it’s just not funny enough, even with Kate McKinnon in the cast.