Tag Archives: Lou Taylor Pucci

New Moon

Moon Manor

by Tori Hanes

“I’ve always thought it was the dumbest thing… people miss the one party where everybody gets up and says how great they are.”

The debut film for directing pair Machete Bang Bang and Erin Granat, Moon Manor follows the extraordinary life and death of James “Jimmy” Carrozo (played by Carrozo himself).

Centering around his “FUN-eral,” the world orbits Jimmy on his last day alive before taking his life as a final solution to his progressing Alzheimers. Lamenting to bright-eyed reporter Andrew (Lou Taylor Pucci), caretaker Remy (Reshma Gajjar), and death doula Fritti (Debra Wilson), Jimmy recounts his warm and fantastical past in relation to his cold, calculated end.

Thanks to the co-directors’ keen interest in the uncomfortable, the journey takes an unflinching stance toward the absurdity of death. Relishing in disjunct emotions, the directors play between amusing and terrifying drug-inspired hallucinations.

Helming this voyage is Carozzo, with a heroic performance as a man thoroughly finished with life but unsure of death. Carozzo’s semi-autobiographical character subtly asks the audience to consider their own mortality and the morality surrounding it. Through a masterful blend of performance and directing expression, Jimmy’s reality becomes your own.

Within the first few moments, the film leaves no audience member unscathed. However, the interesting perspective gets lost to meandering. Too many tertiary acquaintances are given half-baked plots, which take away from the soul of the story. 

Ultimately, the piece finds its power by exploring the tangled emotions of the characters closest to the impending death. When the directors are able to shed the unnecessary weight, they find the beauty in Jimmy’s story and, in turn, his death. 

The film ends as most human experiences do: messily, with loose ends unevenly tied. But yet, we feel seen. Through the example of one man’s convoluted final journey, sorrow, joy, terror, humor, and absurdity find a place to flourish harmoniously. While you may not feel comfort by the answers Moon Manor offers, you will feel painfully human.

It Has Sprung


by Hope Madden

In 2012, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead made their filmmaking debut with the smashing Resolution – an intriguing rewrite of familiar “cabin in the woods” genre tropes. Surprising the audience even inside a well-worn genre by weaving into the story equal amounts of humdrum realism and bizarreness, the directorial duo offered a fresh and provocative flick. They took those same skills and showed off some new ones with their next effort, Spring.

Like Resolution, Spring looks and feels familiar but the filmmakers’ approach is anything but straightforward.

Evan (a spot-on Lou Taylor Pucci) has hit a rough patch. After nursing his ailing mother for two years, Evan finds himself in a bar fight just hours after her funeral. With grief dogging him and the cops looking to bring him in, he grabs his passport and heads to the first international location available: Italy.

It’s a wise set up, and an earnest Pucci delivers the tender, open performance the film requires. He’s matched by the mysterious Nadia Hilker as Louise, the beautiful stranger who captivates Evan.

The less said about the plot the better. Like Resolution, this film walks between two different genres, blending the two masterfully with a result that is not exactly horror. At its core, Spring is a love story that animates the fear of commitment in a way few others do.

On display here is a prowess behind the camera that Resolution did not predict. The look of the Mediterranean seaside is imposingly beautiful – appropriately enough. The film’s entire aesthetic animates the idea of the natural world’s overwhelming beauty and danger. It’s a vision that’s equally suited to a sweeping romance or a monster movie, and since you’ll have a hard time determining which of those labels best fits Spring, it’s a good look.

There are some missteps – a vulgar American tourist side plot rings very false after the authenticity of the balance of characters. Louise’s backstory sometimes feels slightly forced, and the film takes on an unusual comic flavor toward the end that doesn’t quite fit. But there is something so lovely about the way the filmmakers approach the dangerous but compelling glory of love and nature that sets this apart from other genre efforts and keeps you thinking.