Tag Archives: Anna Kendrick

Eavesdropping at the Movies: 98 – A Simple Favor

“From the darker side of director Paul Feig”, as the ubiquitous advertising has it, and the film doesn’t disappoint. A Simple Favor pairs Anna Kendrick with Blake Lively as the least compatible friends you can imagine, friends with dark secrets and desires. We find Feig a complete master of tone, able to control the film’s descent into some very, very murky places without ever losing its ability to remain light and likeable. It’s a quite an achievement.

We discuss the way the film makes the female characters prominent and diminishes the role of men, eschewing the typical noir hero role for Kendrick’s Nancy Drew escapades, and the pleasure in seeing her character develop and assume control. The use of flashback is interesting and at some points quite brilliant, with important plot points being conveyed through subtle eyeline matches and just a few short shots recontextualising things we already know, or think we know. Mike finds the plot grows a little overcomplicated towards the end, and indeed predicted one or two developments – normally he prides himself on his gullibility – but these are nitpicks, at best, in a hugely entertaining film.

And it’s a film noir played for laughs! José can’t stress that enough.

The podcast can be listened to in the players above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

The Accountant (Gavin O’Connor, USA, 2016)

the acountant

Caught up on The Accountant, which I missed at the cinema and found great fun though not quite good. There’s something slightly sordid and underhanded about tying the support of people with autism to wanton destruction. Ben Affleck is very good as the accountant/killer who can’t express any emotion; one only gets to know how he feels about people by seeing whether he helps them pay less tax or shooting them some bullets, usually two, one in the head to make sure they’re properly offed. Jon Berthal is Afflec’s opposite: expressive, graceful in movement, sexy.  Just as deadly, a lot more expressive with it. I wonder if his performance here led to The Punisher? Anna Kendrick, J.K Simmons and John Lithgow are also in it, the latter excellent as a vainglorious philanthropist billionaire who gets the finale he deserves.

José Arroyo