Elizabeth Olsen Weekend – Liberal Arts (2012)

Director: Josh Radnor

Writer: Josh Radnor (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, Elizabeth Reaser, John Magaro, Kate Burton

 

Plot: When 30-something Jesse returns to his alma mater for a professor’s retirement party, he falls for Zibby, a college student, and is faced with a powerful attraction that springs up between them.


Tagline – Sometimes students make the best teachers.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly High-Brow

 

Story: Liberal Arts starts when 30-something Jesse Fisher (Radnor) gets invited back to his college by his retiring professor Peter Hoberg (Jenkins) party. While returning he loved going down memory lane and gets to meet student Zibby (Olsen) who strikes up a friendship with him, before he returns home to New York.

When the two stay in contact a romance starts to blossom between the two, however difficult Jesse feels about the age difference between the two.

 

Thoughts on Liberal Arts

 

Characters – Jesse Fisher is a 30-something living in New York, reading his way through life, he gets invited back to his college for a retirement party, where he meets Zibby falling for her, seeing a future he couldn’t have in his current life, though he also sees a chance to help a brilliant student who is struggling through college. Zibby is a student in at the college studying drama, she sees something different in Jesse, a mature man in her life away from the usual college student, she likes to let things be and let them unfold. Professor Peter Hoberg is the retiring professor that invites Jesse back, only he doesn’t want to go through with his retirement. The rest of the character include the professors Jesse once studied under and the students he sees his own troubles in.

PerformancesJosh Radnor takes up a few roles in this film, director, writer and his performance is solid enough for the leading role, even though he is might be the weakest performer from his own hit sitcom, this performance feels like what Zach Braff did with Garden State. Elizabeth Olsen is good in her role, while Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney are going to give strength to the supporting roles.

StoryThe story here follows a former college student return to his old college where he gets caught up in wondering why the students don’t understand what life will bring them, be it love and understand underachieving. Now this should be an interesting story, Jesse is a character that tries to explain how life can change in the future and not wanting to waste it, only this is what he is doing himself. The problems mount up as we don’t address the problems strongly enough, where Jesse does get involved, only he doesn’t show any signs of knowing what is going on, we never learn what he does for a living which doesn’t help certain thought processes he could come up with. The story also feels like it is trying to look down on people in places.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy mostly doesn’t get many laughs, the light toned seriousness behind the story doesn’t come off clear enough which also disappoints. The romance is mostly looking at how love can be strange for all those involved in it

SettingsThe film does use two main settings with one being New York, well that is where all Americans seem to want to live, and the college which brings back memories for Jesse.


Scene of the Movie –
Helping Dean.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not giving the Dean side of the story enough focus.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story that tries to take things too seriously which sucks most of the comedy out of the film. The film has a lot to say only to skip over too much of the importance in the messages being talked about.

 

Overall: Frustrating overly intelligent movie.

Rating

 

 

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Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

ouijaDirector: Mike Flanagan

Writer: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard (Screenplay)

Starring: Annalise Basso, Elizabeth Reaser, Lulu Wilson, Henry Thomas, Parker Mack, Halle Charlton

 

Plot: In 1965 Los Angeles, a widowed mother and her two daughters add a new stunt to bolster their seance scam business and unwittingly invite authentic evil into their home. When the youngest daughter is overtaken by a merciless spirit, the family confronts unthinkable fears to save her and send her possessor back to the other side.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Huge Improvement

 

Story: Ouija: Origin of Evil starts as we see séance scam artists Alice (Reaser) and her daughters Lina (Basso) and Doris (Wilson) showing off all their skills at getting the most out of their clients. We see how Lina the elder sister is getting tired of the scam and wants to add in a new trick to their scam, introduce the Ouija board and of course we get the rules told to us in case we missed the first film.

Once the Ouija board is bought into the house Doris starts acting strange like she has become possessed by a spirit summoned by the Ouija board and the family start to have their own money issues solved before we get to see the real motives behind the spirit taking over Doris’ body.

Ouija: Origin of Evil is the prequel to the largely disappointing horror film from last year. So naturally I was going in with little to no expectation on this film. I liked how this horror kicked out the pointless slasher side to the story and made the family come off so desperate for the money they would believe anything that could offer them. The film only feels connected by the title and could easily by a stand-alone horror film. The film comes off very creepy without hitting to mindless horror moments which is a big plus.

The performances from the small cast all works with Lulu Wilson shining as the creepy child while the rest all go great jobs during the story unfolding. This really is a huge improvement on the first film take the story in the direction it should have always been going.

 

Overall: Major improvement on the first film, creepy and horror ridden throughout.

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