FYF Reviews ‘Annette,’ ‘Naked Singularity,’ and ‘John and the Hole’

We also discuss some of our favorite Val Kilmer films as the new documentary "Val" is now available on Prime Video.

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Another week of movie watching is complete, and over at Find Your Film we highly recommend Leos Carax’s latest feature Annette as well as the Prime Video documentary Val. Naked Singularity and John and the Hole are also covered!

Annette centers on Henry (Adam Driver), a stand-up comic who has a passionate romance with an opera singer named Ann (Marion Cotillard). Their union ultimately leads to the birth of Annette. What one would assume is domestic bliss turns into a nightmarish journey for the lovers, and this Los Angeles set musical is not even close to being sunshine and rainbows.

Annette – Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Written by and featuring music from The Sparks Brothers, this 140 minute epic wowed all three of us and it should be in each of our “best of” lists this year. Annette is now playing in theaters and hits Prime Video August 20.

The documentary Val delivers an insightful and evocative look at Val Kilmer’s life. Never before seen home footage from Kilmer is featured, so on a film geek level it’s great to see his recollection on some of his most popular films. His unabashed affection for his children Jack and Mercedes absolutely won me over as well; Val is recommended by all of us. 

During our Val segment, each of us pick two Kilmer films that we love. Eric’s choices are Spartan and At First Sight, Bruce chose MacGruber, and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. I chose The Birthday Cake (recently released on Blu-ray) and The Ghost and the Darkness.

Olivia Cooke and John Boyega in “Naked Singularity”

I loved Olivia Cooke and John Boyega in Naked Singularity, the story of an overworked defense attorney (Boyega) who gets embroiled in a drug heist that is being engineered by a former client (Cooke). Both Bruce and Eric give this film a mild recommend. If you are a Cooke and/or Boyega fan, I would also encourage checking it out. That said, the listless narrative kept me at arm’s length. Overall, for me, this movie is a mixed bag that left me underwhelmed. Naked Singularity comes out today in NY at the Village East. It has a wider theatrical release and will be available  On Demand next week August 13.

JOHN AND THE HOLE – Michael C. Hall, Taissa Farmiga, Jennifer Ehle (IFC Films)

That underwhelmed feeling carried me through most of John and the Hole, and ultimately Bruce and Eric did not enjoy the film. That said, this movie ultimately won me over as an insightful family drama about accountability. John (Charlie Shotwell) is a 13-year-old who drugs his rich parents (Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Ehle) and older sister (Taissa Farminga) and places them in an unfinished bunker.

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I was initially looking at John and the Hole as a thriller, but when I started viewing the story as more of a drama, everything fit into place. There is also an elliptical secondary story about a mother and her daughter that filmmaker  Pascual Sisto and writer Nicolas Giacobone that fits into the main narrative. 

Charlie Shotwell in JOHN AND THE HOLE (IFC Films)

The film’s ambiguous ending will frustrate many, but I’m glad that the filmmakers left viewers to interpret the meaning of it all. Shotwell is excellent as the sociopathic John. Plus, having such talented actors as Hall, Ehle and Farmiga round out the ensemble doesn’t hurt either. John and the Hole is now playing in theaters via IFC Films.

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