Scott Marks noon, Jan. 11
To paraphrase Capote’s line about the author and his murderous subject growing up in the same house, with one walking out the front door and one out the back: Ethan Hawke and Winona Ryder starred in the same 1994 rom-com, Reality Bites, and it’s as if one day, he strolled off into Before Sunrise and 23 years later, she stumbled into this claustrophobic two-step with an extremely game Keanu Reeves. (Claustrophobic because, while it’s set during a wedding weekend in the sun-drenched hills of Paso Robles, no one else speaks a word throughout; this in keeping with the film’s subtitle: A Narcissist Can’t Die Because Then the Entire World Would End. Also in keeping with the feeling that writer-director Victor Levin is very much on display.) It may seem a little tardy, but that’s the partly the point: everything is wrong for these two. She’s a basket case still not over the groom five years after the fact, and he’s a train wreck down on love, humanity, and definitely her. But what’s that they say about shared misery and common enemies? It almost works: the steady barrage of banter is almost funny and/or insightful enough, the chemistry between the charming-despite-themselves stars almost fun enough, the arc of their relationship almost believable enough. For me, anyway; I needed it nastier at the outset and feistier in the middle. Your enjoyment may depend on how cheekily delightful you find it that they keep up the chatter even during a hillside hump: “Can we please stop talking about your mother?” “I’m killing time.” 2018.