A Day in the Life of Gutsy “Den Mother” In Charge of Beleaguered Sports Bar
Double Whammies is an unremarkable watering hole located along a desolate strip of highway outside Austin, where truckers and regulars can slip in and out quietly without drawing much attention to themselves. The seedy sports bar, a la your typical Hooters, is known for its booze and finger food served by scantily-clad waitresses in cut-off jeans and low-cut tops.
The place is run with an iron fist by Lisa Conroy (Regina Hall), a very-protective den mother who takes seriously her mission to shield her employees from perverts inclined to cross a line to fraternize improperly. Though she shows her tough side to the clientele, the tenderhearted manager handles her staff with big kids’ gloves.
Lisa’s motley crew ranges from naive newcomers to hardened pros, and she’s blessed with a knack for knowing precisely what sort of support each needs. Unfortunately, she’s not appreciated by Double Whammies’ owner, Cubby (James Le Gros), probably because the club always seems to have a host of unresolved woes.
For example, at the moment, there’s a burglary in progress thanks to a hapless perp who got himself stuck in a ceiling vent. Lisa knows the show must go on, so instead of summoning the police, she has her own way of dealing with such a distraction which keeps the wheels turning but frustrates her skeptical boss. That’s just the way it goes at this quirky haunt.
Written and directed by Andrew Bujalski (Beeswax), the film features many of the hallmarks of the low-budget genre on which the Mumblecore maven built his career. The picture effectively paints a poignant portrait of a day in the life of a humble, dedicated, working-class heroine just trying to make a buck.
Remember how the indie-flick Paterson (2016) managed to elevate a lowly New Jersey poet/bus driver? Well, this tale of female empowerment pulls off a similar feat. Raw-edged cinema verite’ cut to the bone, if that’s your taste.
Very Good (3 stars) Rated R for profanity, sexual references and brief nudity Running time: 90 minutes Production Studios: Burn Later Productions / Houston King Productions Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
OPENING THIS WEEK Kam’s Kapsules Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun For movies opening August 31, 2018
Kin (PG-13 for violence, intense action, suggestive material, alcohol abuse, profanity and mature themes) Sci-fi thriller about a recently-paroled ex-con (Jack Reynor) who ends up on the run with his adopted teenage brother (Myles Truitt) from the feds, a vengeful criminal (James Franco) and a horde of otherworldly soldiers. Cast includes Carrie Coon, Zoe Kravitz and Dennis Quaid.
Operation Finale (PG-13 for mature themes, disturbing images and some profanity) Historical drama recreating the top-secret Israeli mission led by Mossad agent Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) to Argentina to capture Nazi fugitive Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley), the architect of the Holocaust. With Melanie Laurent, Nick Kroll and Joe Alwyn. (In English and Spanish with subtitles.)
Ya Veremos (PG-13 for suggestive content and some profanity) Coming-of-age drama, set in Mexico, about an adolescent (Emiliano Aramayo) already upset about his parents’ (Mauricio Ochmann and Fernanda Castillo) impending divorce who suddenly has to undergo an operation to save his eyesight. Supporting cast includes Erik Hayser, Paco Rueda and Ariel Levy. (In Spanish with subtitles.)
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN
Active Measures (PG-13 for violence, war images, crude sexual references and mature themes) Investigative documentary chronicling Vladimir Putin’s covert efforts to influence political campaigns all around the world via bribes, propaganda and cyberattacks, including the U.S.’s 2016 presidential election. Featuring commentary by Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Sheldon Whitehouse.
Big Brother (Unrated) Martial arts drama, set in Hong Kong, about a schoolteacher (Don Yen) with rusty academic skills but fists of steel whose unconventional approach to education comes in handy when his class is invaded by a motley gang of fighters. With Joe Chen, Kang Yu and Ye Fan. (In Cantonese and English with subtitles.)
Blood Fest (Unrated) Horror comedy about fright fans who flock to a scary movie festival only to discover that the show’s charismatic promoter (Owen Egerton) is a psycho with a grisly, hidden agenda. Co-starring Seychelle Gabriel, Robbie Kay and Jacob Batalon.
Destination Wedding (R for sexuality and pervasive profanity) Romantic comedy revolving around a couple of miserable wedding guests (Keanu Reeves and Winoa Ryder) who fall for each other at the reception. Cast includes Greg Lucey, Ted Dubost and D. Rosh Wright.
The Little Stranger (R for disturbing bloody images) Suspense thriller, set during the summer of 1948, about a country doctor (Domnhall Gleason) who encounters more than he bargained for when he makes a house call to a haunted Gothic mansion where his mother once worked as a maid. With Will Poulter, Charlotte Rampling and Ruth Wilson.
A Paris Education (Unrated) Coming-of-age drama about an aspiring, young filmmaker (Andranic Manet) who moves from Lyon to Paris to study cinema only to fall under the spell of a charismatic classmate (Corentin Fila). Featuring Diane Rouxel, Jenna Thiam and Sophie Verbeeck. (In French with subtitles.)
Reprisal (R for profanity and violence) Cat-and-mouse thriller about a bank manager (Frank Grillo) who teams up with an ex-cop (Bruce Willis) to apprehend the robber (Johnathon Schaech) who murdered his co-worker. Cast includes Olivia Culpo, Jesse Pruett and Natali Yura.