Twenty years ago Fight Club taught us the dangerous, contusion-filled consequences of toxic masculinity. Fifteen years ago, Napoleon Dynamite encouraged us to root for alienated dorks. Now the blackly comic indie film The Art of Self-Defense comes along to serve as the seemingly ill-conceived but somehow harmonious love child of those two cult favorites.
Recall, if you can, the moment in Robert Altman’s The Player when a bunch of crass movie studio executives sit around decrying the need for screenwriters when stories can simply be plucked out of the newspaper free of charge. First-time screenwriter Michael Diliberti has beat such corporate shortcutting to the punch with 30 Minutes or Less, a raunchy, rapid-fire action-comedy based ever-so-loosely on the unbelievable true story of a Pennsylvania pizza delivery guy who was killed after being forced to rob a bank with a bomb strapped around his neck. A gung-ho director and an able cast work some explosive laughs out of this touchy germ of an idea.
Mark Z. unfriends the world in funny, fascinating biopic
By Devin D. O’Leary
On paper, the story of how college nerd Mark Zuckerberg successfully programmed and marketed a more popular version of social networking websites such as MySpace doesn’t sound all that exciting. As envisioned by director David Fincher and writer Aaron Sorkin, however, the story has surprising vibrancy, entertainment value and timeliness. It’s like Citizen Kane for the Internet age. And that’s not just the hyperbole talking.