4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

A North Hollywood outside of time

Mikey Alfred’s distinctively captivating coming-of-age drama

North Hollywood:another Saturday night cruising the Big Boy's with Adolf (Aramis Hudson), Michael (Ryder McLaughlin), and Jay (Nico Hiraga).
North Hollywood:another Saturday night cruising the Big Boy's with Adolf (Aramis Hudson), Michael (Ryder McLaughlin), and Jay (Nico Hiraga).

North Hollywood arrives with the tagline: The first ever movie about becoming a pro skater. Sonja Henie and I, Tonya to the contrary, for the sake of argument the profession referred to in the catchphrase is that of a sk8er. Whether or not the slogan is accurate is beside the point. First time director Mikey Alfred’s distinctively captivating coming-of-age drama (with strong comedic leanings) is such that the thought of fact checking will be the furthest thing from your mind.

Michael (Ryder McLaughlin, a blonde Buscemi) will never be the son his dad Oliver (Vince Vaughn, never better) wants him to be, but left alone, the boy might just turn out to be a pretty cool, fully functioning contributor to society. We all have a family member like Oliver, a know-it-all whose mantra is, “You’re doing it wrong!” His knowledge extends to everything from tucking the shower curtain inside the bathtub to the horror of propping a skateboard up against the wall. (The wheels leave little black marks.) All Michael wants to prove is the possibility of becoming a fierce skater while attending college. That, and winning the heart of his high school crush, Rachel (Miranda Cosgrove). While serving as an altar boy, Michael finds it impossible to place the holy wafer in Rachel’s mouth. Michael is grossed out at Rachel taking a swig from his single-use plastic water bottle. His method of “waterfall” — tilting his head back while cascading the liquid into his mouth — is a quick fix. An inexperienced Michael will soon learn that nothing cures this strain of germophobia quicker than an open-mouthed kiss.

Like most recently graduated teenagers, Michael has a posse of his own to hang with. Jay (Nico Hiraga) is a charismatic nutjob who also sees the potential of mixing skating with studies. Practical Adolf (Aramis Hudson) finds no shame in leaving high school and his board behind to work construction. (After Hitler, didn’t the spelling of “Adolf” forever lose the ‘f’ in favor of a “ph?) At the outset, Jay’s lighthearted antics, most notably a stop at the Galleria to pinch a board, are given more screen time. It’s only after Michael begins questioning his friend’s devotion to street skating that his relationship with Adolf takes center stage. The feelings of abandonment Adolf experiences when Michael trades in their friendship for a chance to hang with local legends Noah (Bob Worrest) and Isiah (Tyshawn Jones) should act as a memory-rattling reminder of youth’s vulnerability and resilience.

No matter how dense (stoned?) they may be, Alfred instills in his secondary characters enough personality to make them standout. Take Walker, a NoHo burnout tight with Nolan and Isiah. Michael courts buddyhood looking to score an introduction even though he talks smack behind Walker’s back. The guy whom Michael describes as “a bum from the neighborhood” is the only one willing to bring the novice up to speed on the politics of skating. He sagaciously hints that many a man who tried to turn pro generally wound up working in a skate park pro-shop. Michael fears that his friends might embarrass him in front of his newfound mentors when in fact it’s Walker who accuses Michael of making him look bad.

The time is clearly present day, something Alfred’s seamless flair for blurring decades steadfastly refuses to acknowledge. The fashions scream, “Where were you in ‘62?” And are there still homes in North Hollywood in which the main form of communication with the outside world is via landline? Even the location work is a blast from the past. Rather than showing off NoHo’s spruced up art district, Alfed instead pays visits to such venerable neighborhood staples as Circus Liquors and Burbank’s Bob’s Big Boy. Perhaps the greatest example of his desire to imbue a touch of timelessness is through his unique choice of preexisting songs that embody his soundtrack. If the goal was to construct an American Graffiti (with a dash of Heaven Help Us) for his generation, Alfred did one hell of a job curating the incidental music.

The film glides along at its own pace. The boldness comes from Alfred’s skill at cherry-picking life’s telling moments, stripping away the boring parts, and creating characters and situations humbly drawn from life. Available on Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, etc. ★★★★

—Scott Marks

Video on Demand New Release Roundup

Riders of Justice — Mads. It’s not only our star Mr. Mikkelsen’s first name, but a perfect description of what his character Markus is left with a mean case of after a trio of math geeks — statistical engineer Otto (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), expert computer hacker Lennart (Lars Brygmann), and Emmenthaler (Nicolas Bro), the 400 lb guy sitting on his bed that Trump prophesied — show up at his door with shocking news. It wasn’t the fault of fate that caused the accident. The passenger train crash his wife and daughter were involved in that claimed the latter’s life was staged to take out a member of the titular motorcycle gang en route to turn state’s evidence. Why seek the services of a crisis psychologist as teenage daughter Mathilde (Andrea Heick Gadeberg) pleads when Markus, a soldier with a passion for violence, can manage his volatile temper by taking it out on everyone he comes across? If none of the above sounds even vaguely amusing give it a reel and you’ll be convulsed with laughter. That’s precisely the joy of this movie: at any given moment you never know in what direction the plot’s bound to twist. Even more gratifying is how much we begin to feel for these characters even as the bodies mount. The one major coincidence arrives well into the picture. By that time, we are so invested in the characters and writer-director Anders Thomas Jensen’s ability to keep us guessing that it doesn’t matter. At a cost of $5 million, this Danish indie puts its American counterparts to shame. 2020. ★★★★ S.M. (Now playing at the Angelika Film Center and Landmark Hillcrest.)

SAS: Red Notice — Psychopaths are incapable of love, so says William Lewis (Tom Wilkison), madman and father to a pair of likewise pernicious offspring: Grace (Ruby Rose, achieving cool clarity as daddy’s little two-legged slaughterhouse) and her unpolished, but nonetheless inhuman brother Oliver (Owain Yeoman). Together they’re the Black Swans, a family owned and operated military company recognized for a string of crimes against humanity committed in the Republic of Georgia. Wilkinson lends name recognition in exchange for a short work schedule and juicy death scene at the hands of military contract killer, George Clements (Andy Serkis). On the side of good stands Sam Heughan (Tom Buckingham), a Special Forces operative who loves to kill more than he does Dr. Sophie Hart (Hannah John-Kamen), the woman he’s about to propose to once the train deposits the couple in Paris. That is until the Black Swans board the EuroStar. Next stop: an action-packed hijacking that’s surprisingly steeped in drollery. (“Be famous, not dead” is the advice given to hostages; those willing to play along will have a grand story to shop around.) One could have done without the cliche-toned score and wouldn’t it be nice if just once, the bad guys were astute enough to go about their nefarious business without the aid of a slick-fashioned inside man, make that inside men, to bring an element of foreseen surprise. Halfway through, visions of two diverse, yet thoroughly valid endings began to bubble: either the psychopaths find love together or Tom finds the psychopath in Sophie. Without giving anything away, I was close. But nothing that came before it prepared me for the remarkable closing credit shot. Bravo to director Magnus Martens! 2021. S.M. ★★★ (Available on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Vudu, Apple TV, etc.)

Here Today — Set course for schmaltz when Billy Crystal puts his mind to dementia. They say inside every comedian is a serious dramatic performance bursting to get out. Lucille Ball (Stone Pillow), Jerry Lewis (The Jazz Singer), and Kevin James (Becky) all set out to prove their dramatic skill and instead rewarded audiences with a trio of inadvertently hilarious performances. Crystal’s Charlie Burnz turns up D.O.A. Charlie worked so hard building a career in comedy that in the time he spent racking up accolades he failed miserably as a parent. A widowed father of two, even his children can’t stand him. Fearing that they’ll turn their backs on him, Charlie keeps his onset illness a secret. Emma (Tiffany Haddish) got custody of the lunch date her ex-boyfriend won at a celebrity auction and before long that patient and caregiver are living together in a sexless romance. (Haddish buffs Emma with such benign polish it’s no wonder she’s poised to replace Ellen Degeneres.) Dementia is not the only disease Charlie is stricken with. Everything that passes his lips is a punchline and he’s not the only one. Crystal co-wrote the script with SNL alum Alan Zweibel and damn if every character doesn’t speak with the same voice. Even Charlie’s Asian granddaughter delivers her Bat Mitzvah speech in fluent schticklach. (The event both sparks and reinforces stereotypes by serving unorthodox spare ribs to a black guest who can’t get her fill.) Crystal’s tragedy with a laugh track is eminently skippable. 2021. ● (In Wide Release)

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

San Diego new county counsel Lonnie Eldridge from Reagan country

Mani Brothers and lawyers Finch, Thornton & Baird cough up for Faulconer
North Hollywood:another Saturday night cruising the Big Boy's with Adolf (Aramis Hudson), Michael (Ryder McLaughlin), and Jay (Nico Hiraga).
North Hollywood:another Saturday night cruising the Big Boy's with Adolf (Aramis Hudson), Michael (Ryder McLaughlin), and Jay (Nico Hiraga).

North Hollywood arrives with the tagline: The first ever movie about becoming a pro skater. Sonja Henie and I, Tonya to the contrary, for the sake of argument the profession referred to in the catchphrase is that of a sk8er. Whether or not the slogan is accurate is beside the point. First time director Mikey Alfred’s distinctively captivating coming-of-age drama (with strong comedic leanings) is such that the thought of fact checking will be the furthest thing from your mind.

Michael (Ryder McLaughlin, a blonde Buscemi) will never be the son his dad Oliver (Vince Vaughn, never better) wants him to be, but left alone, the boy might just turn out to be a pretty cool, fully functioning contributor to society. We all have a family member like Oliver, a know-it-all whose mantra is, “You’re doing it wrong!” His knowledge extends to everything from tucking the shower curtain inside the bathtub to the horror of propping a skateboard up against the wall. (The wheels leave little black marks.) All Michael wants to prove is the possibility of becoming a fierce skater while attending college. That, and winning the heart of his high school crush, Rachel (Miranda Cosgrove). While serving as an altar boy, Michael finds it impossible to place the holy wafer in Rachel’s mouth. Michael is grossed out at Rachel taking a swig from his single-use plastic water bottle. His method of “waterfall” — tilting his head back while cascading the liquid into his mouth — is a quick fix. An inexperienced Michael will soon learn that nothing cures this strain of germophobia quicker than an open-mouthed kiss.

Like most recently graduated teenagers, Michael has a posse of his own to hang with. Jay (Nico Hiraga) is a charismatic nutjob who also sees the potential of mixing skating with studies. Practical Adolf (Aramis Hudson) finds no shame in leaving high school and his board behind to work construction. (After Hitler, didn’t the spelling of “Adolf” forever lose the ‘f’ in favor of a “ph?) At the outset, Jay’s lighthearted antics, most notably a stop at the Galleria to pinch a board, are given more screen time. It’s only after Michael begins questioning his friend’s devotion to street skating that his relationship with Adolf takes center stage. The feelings of abandonment Adolf experiences when Michael trades in their friendship for a chance to hang with local legends Noah (Bob Worrest) and Isiah (Tyshawn Jones) should act as a memory-rattling reminder of youth’s vulnerability and resilience.

No matter how dense (stoned?) they may be, Alfred instills in his secondary characters enough personality to make them standout. Take Walker, a NoHo burnout tight with Nolan and Isiah. Michael courts buddyhood looking to score an introduction even though he talks smack behind Walker’s back. The guy whom Michael describes as “a bum from the neighborhood” is the only one willing to bring the novice up to speed on the politics of skating. He sagaciously hints that many a man who tried to turn pro generally wound up working in a skate park pro-shop. Michael fears that his friends might embarrass him in front of his newfound mentors when in fact it’s Walker who accuses Michael of making him look bad.

The time is clearly present day, something Alfred’s seamless flair for blurring decades steadfastly refuses to acknowledge. The fashions scream, “Where were you in ‘62?” And are there still homes in North Hollywood in which the main form of communication with the outside world is via landline? Even the location work is a blast from the past. Rather than showing off NoHo’s spruced up art district, Alfed instead pays visits to such venerable neighborhood staples as Circus Liquors and Burbank’s Bob’s Big Boy. Perhaps the greatest example of his desire to imbue a touch of timelessness is through his unique choice of preexisting songs that embody his soundtrack. If the goal was to construct an American Graffiti (with a dash of Heaven Help Us) for his generation, Alfred did one hell of a job curating the incidental music.

The film glides along at its own pace. The boldness comes from Alfred’s skill at cherry-picking life’s telling moments, stripping away the boring parts, and creating characters and situations humbly drawn from life. Available on Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, etc. ★★★★

—Scott Marks

Video on Demand New Release Roundup

Riders of Justice — Mads. It’s not only our star Mr. Mikkelsen’s first name, but a perfect description of what his character Markus is left with a mean case of after a trio of math geeks — statistical engineer Otto (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), expert computer hacker Lennart (Lars Brygmann), and Emmenthaler (Nicolas Bro), the 400 lb guy sitting on his bed that Trump prophesied — show up at his door with shocking news. It wasn’t the fault of fate that caused the accident. The passenger train crash his wife and daughter were involved in that claimed the latter’s life was staged to take out a member of the titular motorcycle gang en route to turn state’s evidence. Why seek the services of a crisis psychologist as teenage daughter Mathilde (Andrea Heick Gadeberg) pleads when Markus, a soldier with a passion for violence, can manage his volatile temper by taking it out on everyone he comes across? If none of the above sounds even vaguely amusing give it a reel and you’ll be convulsed with laughter. That’s precisely the joy of this movie: at any given moment you never know in what direction the plot’s bound to twist. Even more gratifying is how much we begin to feel for these characters even as the bodies mount. The one major coincidence arrives well into the picture. By that time, we are so invested in the characters and writer-director Anders Thomas Jensen’s ability to keep us guessing that it doesn’t matter. At a cost of $5 million, this Danish indie puts its American counterparts to shame. 2020. ★★★★ S.M. (Now playing at the Angelika Film Center and Landmark Hillcrest.)

SAS: Red Notice — Psychopaths are incapable of love, so says William Lewis (Tom Wilkison), madman and father to a pair of likewise pernicious offspring: Grace (Ruby Rose, achieving cool clarity as daddy’s little two-legged slaughterhouse) and her unpolished, but nonetheless inhuman brother Oliver (Owain Yeoman). Together they’re the Black Swans, a family owned and operated military company recognized for a string of crimes against humanity committed in the Republic of Georgia. Wilkinson lends name recognition in exchange for a short work schedule and juicy death scene at the hands of military contract killer, George Clements (Andy Serkis). On the side of good stands Sam Heughan (Tom Buckingham), a Special Forces operative who loves to kill more than he does Dr. Sophie Hart (Hannah John-Kamen), the woman he’s about to propose to once the train deposits the couple in Paris. That is until the Black Swans board the EuroStar. Next stop: an action-packed hijacking that’s surprisingly steeped in drollery. (“Be famous, not dead” is the advice given to hostages; those willing to play along will have a grand story to shop around.) One could have done without the cliche-toned score and wouldn’t it be nice if just once, the bad guys were astute enough to go about their nefarious business without the aid of a slick-fashioned inside man, make that inside men, to bring an element of foreseen surprise. Halfway through, visions of two diverse, yet thoroughly valid endings began to bubble: either the psychopaths find love together or Tom finds the psychopath in Sophie. Without giving anything away, I was close. But nothing that came before it prepared me for the remarkable closing credit shot. Bravo to director Magnus Martens! 2021. S.M. ★★★ (Available on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Vudu, Apple TV, etc.)

Here Today — Set course for schmaltz when Billy Crystal puts his mind to dementia. They say inside every comedian is a serious dramatic performance bursting to get out. Lucille Ball (Stone Pillow), Jerry Lewis (The Jazz Singer), and Kevin James (Becky) all set out to prove their dramatic skill and instead rewarded audiences with a trio of inadvertently hilarious performances. Crystal’s Charlie Burnz turns up D.O.A. Charlie worked so hard building a career in comedy that in the time he spent racking up accolades he failed miserably as a parent. A widowed father of two, even his children can’t stand him. Fearing that they’ll turn their backs on him, Charlie keeps his onset illness a secret. Emma (Tiffany Haddish) got custody of the lunch date her ex-boyfriend won at a celebrity auction and before long that patient and caregiver are living together in a sexless romance. (Haddish buffs Emma with such benign polish it’s no wonder she’s poised to replace Ellen Degeneres.) Dementia is not the only disease Charlie is stricken with. Everything that passes his lips is a punchline and he’s not the only one. Crystal co-wrote the script with SNL alum Alan Zweibel and damn if every character doesn’t speak with the same voice. Even Charlie’s Asian granddaughter delivers her Bat Mitzvah speech in fluent schticklach. (The event both sparks and reinforces stereotypes by serving unorthodox spare ribs to a black guest who can’t get her fill.) Crystal’s tragedy with a laugh track is eminently skippable. 2021. ● (In Wide Release)

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Queen Bees: TV triumphant for The Santa Clause’s Michael Lembeck

The Now Ready For Prime Time Players
Next Article

San Diego new county counsel Lonnie Eldridge from Reagan country

Mani Brothers and lawyers Finch, Thornton & Baird cough up for Faulconer
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close