by Adam Riske and Rob DiCristino
Adam: Welcome to Reserved Seating. I’m Adam Riske.
Rob: And I’m Rob DiCristino.
Adam: I’ll give that one a shot during October. It was released in December last year, and at that point I had too many Oscar and blockbuster-type movies to catch up on. Glad to hear you liked Anna and the Apocalypse.
Rob: I was disappointed to hear middling reviews on this one, but I’m still excited to see it. My next pick is Sarah Daggar-Nickson’s 2018 thriller, A Vigilante. Olivia Wilde plays a domestic abuse survivor who becomes a kind of Lisbeth Salander figure for other women and children suffering from violence and neglect at home. It doesn’t all work, and there are times when it feels unsure of exactly how to embrace its strengths (detouring into “traditional” narrative beats rather than leaning into its more thoughtful edge), but I thought it was incredibly well done. Between this and her work with Joe Swanberg, it’s becoming clear that Olivia Wilde is a uniquely instinctive and naturalistic actor who really knows how to take possession of a scene when she’s given the proper opportunity. There are so many moments in which the camera just lingers on her as she quietly lets a series of emotions pass over her face. She’s very, very good. I hope she gets more chances for this kind of work in the future.
Love and Mercy in terms of the best recent rock films.
Child’s Play (2019) and Shaft (2019) were more fun than I expected even if they’re not at all necessary. Shaft (2019) felt like a leftover New Line movie from Summer 2001.
Rob: This whole summer feels a bit like leftovers. I already wrote about a few of my early Junesploitation favorites, but other picks this month include House of Traps, Disco Godfather, Strip Nude for Your Killer, and, again, Midsommar.
Adam: I have a “funny” theater story to tell you about when I saw Shaft (2019). The theater was full last night (wasn’t this a box office bomb?) and full of families with little kids. When Samuel L. Jackson said “***ga what?” I heard a child laugh and repeat it to his seat neighbor. Then at the end, two different kids got up and started dancing in the front of the theater to the new Shaft (2019) theme song. It was clearly their new favorite movie. I’d say I weep for these children, but honestly it was so wrong it became kind of...ok no, I weep for these children.
Rob: It’s so interesting to see how a younger generation sees Samuel L. Jackson. He’s drifted in and out of self-parody at this point, but it was hilarious to show my film students Pulp Fiction and have them ask, “Holy crap, Nick Fury is such a badass!” It’s all relative, I guess. We all go through this.
Adam: I don’t understand movies anymore. Until next time…
Rob: These seats are reserved.