MIFF 2013 Review: Drinking Buddies (2013) — A Loosely Scripted but Massively Charming Bender

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Independent darling and micro-budget director extraordinaire Joe Swanberg has been a busy guy: he has over a dozen directing credits to his name in the past ten years, not to mention a large number of acting appearances and producing credits. A pioneer of the “mumblecore” movement has certainly been churning out the features, which have honestly not made any major waves outside of the festival circuit. The romantic comedy Drinking Buddies may be his mainstream breakthrough picture; a slightly higher budget has brought with it a more recognisable cast, which in turn should make it more attractive to a wider audience. The good thing is that Drinking Buddies does deserve a wider audience due to its charming leads and realistic take on modern romance.

This promo pic is phony: Jake Johnson has a beard throughout the movie.

This promo pic is phony: Jake Johnson has a beard throughout the movie.

The film follows Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson), workers at a Chicago brewery. They share an undeniable chemistry; they drink hard and they flirt hard. These feelings go unspoken due to both of them being in relationships with other people (Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick, respectively). Things come to a head when the two couples take a weekend vacation that rocks the foundations of both these partnerships, who then have to traverse rocky terrain filled with sexual tensions and relationship hurdles.

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MIFF 2013 Review: You’re Next (2013) — A Game-Changing New Twist on an Old Classic

You're Next

You’re Next has a pretty basic premise… on the surface: Erin (Australia’s Sharni Vinson) joins her boyfriend Crispian (AJ Bowen) as his somewhat dysfunctional family gathers together at a secluded house to celebrate his parents anniversary. Things go awry when strangers with sinister intentions pay the family a visit, although these trespassers may have underestimated one of their targets.

The only thing is You’re Next is far from a basic home-invasion picture, as all pre-conceived notions of how the narrative will play out are shattered by the second act: this is a film that creatively gives the horror genre a huge shot in the arm, as it takes some incredible risks creatively, and it’s astonishing to see the results successfully played out on screen.

You're Next

Point Break 2: Dead Kitties

You’re Next is the creative result of the collaborative effort of the new-wave of American horror film-makers; led in this instance by director Adam Wingard (V/H/S) and featuring fellow directors Joe Swanberg (dir. Drinking Buddies) and Ti West (dir. The Innkeepers) in acting roles. These young film-makers are revitalising the genre by acknowledging that current audiences are well aware of the generic horror tropes — in this case the clichés which are found in the home-invasion sub-genre — and go out of their way to subvert the audiences expectations, which makes for a surprising and enjoyable thrill-ride.

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