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Posts Tagged ‘influencers’


Tuesday, June 6th, 2023

INFLUENCER (2022) is an excellent horror/thriller that recently came to Shudder. A friend recommended it and I watched it blind, which was a good way to go. I’ll try to set the stage and then I’ll warn you when I’m going to get into specifics of the structure and plot that you might prefer to experience first hand.

It’s set in Thailand, but all the characters are westerners, most of them on vacation. The opening introduces us to Madison (Emily Tennant, SNIPER: ASSASSIN’S END), who narrates in the form of an Instagram video or social media post about her love of travel and adventure, of meeting new people and learning about new places. But we see she’s doing none of that – she’s almost entirely alone at a luxury resort, floating in the pool, getting a massage, lounging on scenic overlooks, occasionally smiling for selfies. (read the rest of this shit…)

Triangle of Sadness

Monday, February 20th, 2023

TRIANGLE OF SADNESS was the last 2023 best picture nominee I hadn’t seen, but I’d been planning to watch it anyway. It’s the latest from Swedish director Ruben Östlund, and his second in a row to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes. I haven’t seen the previous one (2017’s THE SQUARE), so my impression of him comes from FORCE MAJEURE (2014). Although I liked it I guess I didn’t review it, and I mostly just remember the A+ premise (a guy ruins his marriage in one moment because an avalanche seems to be headed for his family and he runs off without helping them).

The new one further explores the subject of flawed rich people on fateful luxury vacations. It begins with a young couple, Carl (Harris Dickinson, MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean, DEATH RACE 3: INFERNO). Carl is a seemingly pretty successful male model (the people at an audition say “It’s you!” in awe when they open his portfolio to a black and white ad for perfume or something) and Yaya is also a model but considers herself a professional influencer. The first chapter of the movie chronicles a passive aggressive comment about who pays for dessert escalating to a screaming near break-up public scene in a hotel elevator just because Carl doesn’t know how to let it go. The long, slow boil from him kind of having a point to making you want to throw him out a window for not moving on to a new topic is kind of a test to see if you’re gonna be able to stand the movie, which is not in a hurry to get anywhere. It’s just cruising. (read the rest of this shit…)

Ingrid Goes West

Monday, November 13th, 2017

INGRID GOES WEST is kind of like a KING OF COMEDY for the smart phone era. Instead of seeking fame by doing something on television our stalker wants to live a blandly glamorous life on Instagram. But this is not just an update of the ol’ “people will do anything for fame” trope we’ve seen in MAN BITES DOG, NATURAL BORN KILLERS, etc. Sure, Ingrid would love more likes and followers, but mostly she wants attention from one specific person who’s famous on Instagram. So, no big deal, she moves to L.A. to try to find her.

Aubrey Plaza (SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD) is outstanding as Ingrid, a multi-layered role that evokes uncomfortable laughs, creeped-out squirms and also some sympathy. She has comic timing, subtle expressions, pathos, and next-level physical comedy in the scene where she first encounters the famous Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen, OLD BOY) in a store and tries way too hard to browse casually. She’s not so much posing for social media as living life as if she’s inside social media. When she first gets to L.A. she rides around on a bike with a forced “say cheese” smile stuck on her face.

She’s a SINGLE WHITE FEMALE reading what Taylor likes so she can go to the places she goes, eat the things she eats, read (or at least hold) the books she recommends. We watch her struggle to construct the perfect inane one-sentence comment, an online activity soon to be repeated IRL when she finds Taylor and, you know, kidnaps her dog. Just as a way to meet her and start a friendship. It’s all cool, don’t worry about it. (read the rest of this shit…)