Short Takes: “Colossal,” “Bitch,” & “The Yellow Birds”



Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo’s experimental kaiju romantic dramedy COLOSSAL took its first bow at the Toronto International Festival to mixed reactions. Now it has landed stateside and after watching, the mixed reactions are valid. The story follows Gloria (Anne Hathaway), a New York party girl whose affection for alcohol-induced shenanigans has caused a rift between her and her boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens). She gets kicked out of her apartment and moves back to her hometown and runs into her childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) who has issues of their own. The two reconnect only to find out that their actions are connected to Godzilla-like monsters wreaking havoc in South Korea. The conceptual weirdness of it all should make for an interesting movie-going experience, but in the end, the film becomes a colossal bore that may have been better with non A-list names.

From the weird to the bizarre, BITCH plays as a conceptual take on the treatment of women and the use of the titular word that has become both a term of endearment and a misogynistic slur. Directed, written, and starring Marianna Palka, the centers on Jill, a housewife who is at her wit’s end as her corporate d-bag husband continues to be absent from her and her children’s life as he spends more time in the office and with his mistress. After reaching a boiling point, Jill breaks and, well, she turns into a dog. Not physically, but mentally. It makes for interesting cinema that will intrigue and serve up numerous WTF moments. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the commitment to the premise is appreciated.

The war film, THE YELLOW BIRDS brings us into the trenches of the war in Iraq via a friendship between Bartle (Alden Ehrenreich) and Murph (Tye Sheridan), two rookie soldiers under the command of quick-tempered Sergeant Sterling (Jack Huston). The film flashes back and forth between their volatile experiences during the war and the present where we find out that Murph disappeared while in Iraq and Bartle is struggling to deal with his missing friend and adapt to normal, everyday life. Adapted by R.F.I. Porto and favorite David Lowery from the novel by Iraq War veteran Kevin Powers, the film provides excellent performances from talented members of the new “young Hollywood” class Ehrenreich (a.k.a. the new Han Solo) and Sheridan (a.k.a. Cyclops). Adding more star power to Alexandre Moors’ directorial debut, are the always reliable Toni Colette who plays Bartle’s outspoken mother and another commendable dramatic turn for Jennifer Aniston, who steps into the shoes of Murph’s determined mother. The film works well as a war mystery, but unfolds with a delayed pace. The big reveal is crammed at the end making for an ending that doesn’t quite stick the landing.

Dino watches too much TV, enjoys reality singing competitions and laughs inappropriately during dramatic films. He’s a fan of comedy, podcasts, and comedy podcasts. He’s a reformed comic book geek and thinks “The Goonies” is the best movie of all time. When he isn’t stuffing his face with a burrito, he’s thinking about his next trip to Disneyland.
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 | Staff Writer

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