STEALING CARS REVEALS A DETENTION CAMP FOR BOYS
Stealing CarsBased on actual events, teenager Billy Wyatt (played by Emory Cohen, the spitting image of a young Johnny Depp), steals a car, police chase him, and he ends up in Burnville Camp for Boys. He is roughed up over and over again up by a guard for no reason other than to humiliate him and cause bodily harm until he is “broken.” In class, he is asked to read from a book, so he complies but then closes the book and recites from memory; he is too bright for a reading class, in other words. Nevertheless, Sisyphusian labor does not frustrate him. Billy makes a pass at the camp nurse, who is cautious but obviously attracted. His mother visits him, but he does not want to see her. One day he responds to a boring building project by proposing that the camp should make a drive-in theater screen, and now he has taken leadership for something that everyone respects. He befriends a fellow inmate who has a chronic illness that ultimately brings him to the point of death after guards allow other inmates to beat him up, whereupon Billy engages in a dramatic rescue. Incident after incident passes, and filmviewers may wonder why Billy misbehaves when he obviously has a lot of talent, but a traumatic event in his life is revealed toward the end of the film. Director Bradley Caplan tries to make the same point as Coldwater (2014) about the amateurish way such detention camps are run but ends up instead offering a psychological profile of a “mixed up” boy.  MH

BOOZE IT UP BEFORE SEEING WHISKY TANGO FOXTROT
Whisky Tango FoxtrotThe pace of Whisky Tango Foxtrot is so fast that instead of an exposé of the perils of a female war correspondent, filmviewers witness how Kim Baker (played by Tina Fey) takes a break in a loud night club, is repeatedly seduced, loses her boyfriend, and in effect is more shaken up when off duty. So the film will be best enjoyed by taking a couple of drinks in the bar near the cinema to be on the same page as the film. Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa must have had fun making the film, but the film editors must have had even more by splicing out any respite from the madness.  MH

Aferim!
Eye in the Sky
Race
Risen
Son of Saul
Stealing Cars
A War
Where to Invade Next
Whisky Tango Foxtrot
The Witch



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