2 items from 2017
There are plenty of characters and there is plenty of New York City in writer/director Dustin Guy Defa‘s Person To Person, but the whole thing meanders all over without ever really settling somewhere that matters. Amongst the pack, we’ve got rag newspaper reporter Phil (Michael Cera) and temp Claire (Abbi Jacobson) awkwardly getting to know each other while they follow up on a potential murder case, involving a rich widow (a criminally-wasted Michaela Watkins).
Meanwhile, a couple of old-timers (including Isiah Whitlock Jr.) hang out at a timepiece repair shop owned by Jimmy (Philip Baker Hall, understated and wonderful); a man named Bene (Bene Coopersmith) hunts down a rare Charlie Parker album while worrying about his new shirt while his best friend Ray (George Sample III) hides out at his apartment after posting nude photos online of his ex-girlfriend (Marsha Stephanie Blake); a quartet of teenagers (Tavi Gevinson, »
- Dan Mecca
In the 1960s and ’70s, a fair number of now little-remembered American independent films were cute seriocomedies about the “little people” of the big city (usually the Big Apple). Descended from the populist writings of William Saroyan and Herb Gardner, they were full of moderately eccentric (and/or “ethnic”) behavior, humorous yelling, and the occasional windy speech celebrating the funny-sad struggles of being a yooman beink. You might think nobody misses these movies — certainly no one revives them — but apparently Dustin Guy Defa does. He must: He’s gone to the trouble of making a new one, even shooting on 16mm for extra retro ambiance.
“Person to Person” seems to be set in the here and now. It would clearly prefer otherwise, however, given the lengths gone to ensure that characters barely seem to know how the internet works, or center their lives around attaining rare vintage LPs. Nostalgia is one thing, »
- Dennis Harvey
2 items from 2017
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