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Rapid Reviews: Get Out and Table 19

As a fan of their sketch comedy show, it was reassuring to witness the everlasting humor from both Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele in 2016 titles such as Keanu and Don't Think Twice. And much like Key's satisfying dramatic transformation in the latter film, true artists make branching out of their comfort zone appear so effortless, Now it's Peele's turn, as the creative mastermind unveils his new horror release, Get Out.

Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his Caucasian girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) are planning to head to her parent's quaint middle-of-nowhere home for a proper introduction. But when Chris arrives and immediately notices that all of the other African-American friends of the family and house-workers are acting peculiar, he begins to wonder if a more sinister plot is brewing. Yet, addressing the issue could complicate things with the love of his life.

Jordan Peele shows off his second-level thinking with a heady screenplay that transitions fluidly between dark comedy and a creepy thriller. There are enough red-herrings and legitimate clues to keep the audience off their toes and guessing until the last possible minute. Peele's directorial debut also tackles fragile racial undertones that, on a superficial level, are supposed to camouflage as a metaphor to the film's deeper story. Furthermore, Get Out works so well in large part to Daniel Kaluuya's fine leading turn, one that's counter-balanced by exceptional work from savvy acting veterans Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener. Get Out dancing across a spectrum of emotions all before it explodes with a fantastic and unforgettable finale. Jordan  Peele puts his artistic prowess on full display and it proves to be one hell of a ride.

Stars: 3 stars out of 4

Grade: B+

Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass have made a successful career out of crafting personal stories filmed on minimalist budgets. The sibling writing duo hand over another hilarious, albeit flawed, script to Spellbound director Jeffrey Blitz. And with leading lady, Anna Kendrick, in tow, Table 19 satisfies all your comedy cravings while whiffing badly on its hard-pressed dramatics.

Eloise (Kendrick) is set to be the made-of-honor at her oldest friend's upcoming wedding. But days before the ceremony, she's dumped via text by the bride-to-be's brother, Teddy (Wyatt Russell). Consequently, Eloise is removed from her made-of-honor duties and relegated to table 19 with all of the other "random guests", after she surprisingly decides to attend the wedding anyway.

The latest indie dramedy from the minds of the Duplass brothers leaves such a bittersweet aftertaste. From a comedic standpoint, it may be their funniest screenplay yet. Filled with outrageously quirky characters and cleverly developed humor, Table 19 offers no shortage of laughs. In fact, former Hello Ladies star, Stephen Merchant, steals the show with an oddly over-the-top role that fits his goofy persona so well. However, the film falls apart quickly once Jeffrey Blitz and company force-feed an unforgivably bad attempt at a dramatic centerpiece. Table 19 struggles to find its proper tone and relies heavily on unrealistic character epiphanies to progress the plot. With a screenplay that's suffocated by miscues and a fruitless sentimental core, there's little else to support the film's sporadic moments of hilarity.

Stars: 2 stars out of 4

Grade: C+


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