Tag Archives: Elizabeth Lail

Diane Keaton Makes Everything Better

Mack and Rita

by Isaiah Merritt

There are some rare talents with a unique set of skills that own a certain genre of film or character type. So much so that the mere mention of their name gives you a clear portrait of what is to be expected on the screen and an assurance that they are going to nail every bit of that role. Not to say they can’t play other roles well, but no one can play THEIR role the way they can.

Diane Keaton proves yet again that no one can play the manic-loveable woman in comedic crisis the way she can in Katie Aselton’s Mack and Rita – a comedy not so steeped in reality about remaining true to yourself during the social media age.

The film follows Mack (Elizabeth Lail), a 30-year-old woman with an old soul whose life changes forever when she transforms into her 70-year-old self “Rita” (Diane Keaton). This transformation prompts a quirky journey of self-discovery for our titular character(s) as she navigates love, friendship, and career woes. 

The beginning of this film has a rocky start. The tone is unclear, many of the comedic beats seem a bit forced, and the devices used to push the story forward are lazy. Then Diane arrives… and makes everything better. 

From the moment she appears on the screen the film is more interesting. The comedic moments seemingly designed for Keaton land much better. However, she is not the only player to save this film from its predictable and conventional plot. 

The ever-charismatic Taylour Paige and the stunning Loretta Devine are exquisite in their roles and are clear standouts in this star-studded cast that includes the likes of Wendie Malick, Lois Smith and Amy Hill – all of whom are delightful. 

Visually the film is also aided by fun costume pieces and a polished, somewhat campy aesthetic that fits the tone of the film perfectly. 

While the performances are a treat and the costumes pleasing to the eye, Mack and Rita doesn’t offer anything new or inventive. If you are looking for a quick, light-hearted popcorn film, Mack and Rita is the film for you.

It’s Not Your Phone That’s Dead


by George Wolf

Who takes the time to read all those terms and conditions, amirite?

Countdown knows we just agree without reading, and has a little fun with the notion that some of us could pay for that….WITH OUR LIVES!!

Smartphones have become such a crutch in everyday life that “our phones want to kill us” is an inevitable – and perfectly understandable – horror premise. For his first big screen feature, writer/director Justin Dec uses it as the basis for a rewrite of The Ring with an unexpected side trip into Conjuring territory.

TV vet Elizabeth Lail takes the Naomi Watts lead as Quinn, a rookie RN who’s still mourning her mother and trying to be a supportive big sis to the teenaged Jordan (Talitha Eliana Bateman).

The mysterious death of one of her patients leads Quinn to download the urban legendary Countdown app. The verdict? Less than three days to live, which means Quinn and the similarly-fated handsome dude she met at the phone store (Jordan Calloway) have to learn the origin of the video tape I mean phone app so they can figure out how to opt out without penalty.

Look, The Ring was great PG-13 horror (in fact, one of the best). While Countdown isn’t nearly as effective, it gives today’s high school horror crowd their own version, and some decent creeps and jump scares to spur date-clinging.

For the rest of us, the film benefits from the comic relief of one smug phone guy (Tom Segura) and a priest (P.J. Byrne) who’s eager to battle demons. And it’s when those demons are conjured that Countdown finds a fun groove to call its own, with Dec ultimately managing to write himself a clever enough way out of these deadly terms and conditions.

So read before signing, or you never know what’s next.

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