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Subject: "Unicorn Store (Larson, 2017/19)" Previous topic | Next topic
Nodima
Member since Jul 30th 2008
14855 posts
Sun Apr-14-19 04:37 AM

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"Unicorn Store (Larson, 2017/19)"


  

          

You could watch the trailer and know what this movie would be, and I don't think this is an OKP thing at all BUT I couldn't sleep so I watched it twice and wrote a bit about it


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Turns out, I just like watching Brie Larson's face manipulate itself. I find her eyelids and lip corners, in particular, capable of evoking multiple emotions at the same time in a way that feels entirely intentional; it feels like the thing I saw in Meryl Streep's performance during Defending Your Life. I can't tell if she's trying to do it, but she is. I don't recall having that feeling during Room, but I definitely felt it over and over during Captain Marvel. The dialogue can be awkward, even essentially unfit for the scene in which it's delivered, but I find myself curious how Larson is going to approach it.

Her direction here is unremarkable in a good way - I could see her directing a good movie some day if this is where she's starting from. It's impossible not to think back on all the mumblecore religious texts - The Puffy Chair, Tiny Furniture, Beeswax, Baghead, Slacker if you're generous to history and Drinking Buddies if you're populist - and bemoan Larson's choices here. I will say, though, that the loudness of this movie is refreshing. For all it's determination to emulate a movement that always deserved a grand mockery, Unicorn Store in some ways is that movie that mocks what these slice-of-life films put out into the world. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is the film's point of view, and the fantastic dream is pure fantasy not because of a character's personal realization about their mental health but rather a character's acceptance of their reality, that they are attractive and creative and unique and it's silly for them to fixate on this one big idea. Pam Beesly with a time constraint.

In other words, I see why so many talented actors were attracted to this movie. There's a Big Idea here, however small, and they do their best to push it across. Unfortunately, all the small ideas are so broad that the viewer isn't left any opportunity to feel surprised, or shocked, or empathetic. Sure, I teared up at the emotional climax of the movie, but I'm a sap who often watches movies and thinks to himself, "I'd like to try my hand at acting." But if I could speak plainly to myself, I'd say to myself and understand myself explaining to me that this movie lacked focus, lacked any but the most basic character development and dialed in the whimsy to such a degree that the amount of time the film spends in a grounded world kind of undermines what this movie wants to say about fantasy and wonder. At times, it feels like I Heart Huckabees if David O. Russell had paraded around the set screaming, "we have to make fucking sense, you bastards!" all production long.

I laughed and cried while watching Unicorn Store, and what more do you really want from a movie? A good one? There's plenty. Here's a Diet Coke of a film, there for you whenever you need it, with Sam Jackson wearing glitter and it seems very unintentionally doing a parody of Jules Winnfield at one point because this is just not the kind of movie that gets itself. Chalk it up to first timer flimsiness or overconfidence, but it is what it is: a movie about an adult woman that wears glitter on the soles of her actual feet, can't read a workplace sexual predator in 2019 (or can and finds it funny) and has an impossible dream come true to the shock of, of course, everyone. You know how that goes.


2.5/5


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"This is the streets, and I am the trap." � Jay Bilas
http://www.popmatters.com/pm/archive/contributor/517
Hip Hop Handbook: http://tinyurl.com/ll4kzz

  

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