Reviewed byHellmantVote: 9/10/10
'LANDLINE': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
The new comedy-drama that reteams filmmaker Gillian Robespierre withactress Jenny Slate; they last teamed together in 2014's 'OBVIOUSCHILD'. The film tells the story of two sisters, in 1995 Manhattan,that suspect their dad is cheating on their mom. Robespierre directedand co-wrote the movie, with Elisabeth Holm and Tom Bean, and Slateplays the elder sister Dana. It also costars Abby Quinn (as the youngersister Ali), Edie Falco (as their mom), John Turturro (as their dad)and Jay Duplass (as Dana's fiancé). The film has received mostlypositive reviews from critics (although not as good as 'OBVIOUSCHILD'), and it's now playing in indie theaters. The film is hard towatch at times, but it's very well made and moving.
The story takes place in Manhattan (in 1995), where teenager Ali(Quinn) lives with her parents, Alan (Turturro) and Pat (Falco). Herolder sister, Dana (Slate), is (seemingly) happily engaged to Ben(Duplass). Then Dana runs into an old lover (Finn Wittrock), and herloyalty to Ben is tested. Ali also learns that her father has probablybeen cheating on her mother. The two sisters try to deal with theseproblems together.
The film is definitely not as upbeat and sweet as 'OBVIOUS CHILD'(which was one of my favorite movies of 2014), but it is just asemotional, in a somewhat darker way though. It's hard to watch attimes, but it seems very true to life. The performances are all good init, and Robespierre is definitely turning into a very impressivefilmmaker to watch for. I highly recommend it.
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Reviewed byDave McClain (email@example.com)Vote: 7/10/10
"Whatever happened do Jenny Slate?" (It would be understandable to askthat question before 2016-2017.) "Isn't she the girl who accidentallydropped the f-bomb in her first appearance on Saturday Night Live andthen got fired at the end of the season?" (Yes and yes.) "Has she evendone anything since?" (Yes!) Slate was a stand-up comedian when shestarted appearing on TV shows in 2005. After her productive butill-fated season on SNL (2009-2010), she really came out of her shell.Slate and film director and editor Dean Fleischer- Camp (to whom shewas married from 2012 to 2016) created the "Marcel the Shell with ShoesOn" books and short films, with Slate voicing the title character. Shethen appeared in several TV shows (some at the same time), including"House of Lies", "Parks and Recreation", "Kroll Show" and "Married".She then voiced more animated characters in "Alvin and the Chipmunks:Chipwrecked" (2011) and "The Lorax" (2012). Slate started reallyshowing her talent as a feature film actress in 2014's "Obvious Child"and then 2016-2017 happened. In 2016-17, she voiced major charactersin the high-profile animated features "Zootopia", "The Secret Life ofPets" and "The LEGO Batman Movie". Later in 2017, she continued stakingher claim to a prestigious film career in movies like "Gifted" and, thesubject of this review, the comedy-drama "Landline" (R, 1:37).
Slate plays Dana Jacobs, a young NYC woman who finds herself at acrossroads. She's newly engaged to a kind, but milquetoast guy namedBen (Jay Duplass), but she reconnects with Nate (Finn Wittrock), an oldflame from college, and she feels like she needs some time to figureout what she really wants. She leaves the apartment that she shareswith Ben and moves back home, using the excuse that her younger sister,Ali (Abby Quinn), needs her. Ali is trying hard to be a hip chick anddeciding where she's going to go to college, but what concerns her themost at the moment is her parents. She has come across some indicationthat her playwright father (John Turturro) is cheating on her mother(Edie Falco). As the two sisters try to get to the bottom of what theirfather is up to, they begin bonding as never before and Ali is able tohelp her older sister decide how to move forward in her life. Sincethis story takes place in 1995, a lot of the conversations take placeover telephones mounted on walls, hence the film's title.
"Landline" is a heartfelt and humorous examination of life choiceswithin the context of one family. (It is, however not to be confusedwith another 2017 movie with the same title and starring Matthew Aaron,Khalid Abour and Tom Arnold.) The later (and more widely distributed)"Landline" is well-written by Elizabeth Holm and well- directed byGillian Robespierre (both of whom also did the same jobs andcollaborated with Slate on "Obvious Child"). They give us a story thatis well-paced, relatable, engaging and funny at just the right moments.The acting is excellent, especially by Slate who has maintained herexcellent comic timing while emerging as a fine actress. Although theplot seems slight at times, it's strong on insight into issues ofromance and family relations and makes for quality entertainment. "B+"
Reviewed byPaul AllaerVote: 7/10/10
"Landline" (2017 release; 93 min.) brings the story of the Jacobsfamily. As the movie opens, we are reminded that it is "Labor Day,1995". The family (husband Alan, wife Pat, grown-up daughter Dana andher fiancé Ben, and HS senior Ali) are driving back to New York Cityfrom their country estate. Everyone settles back in: Dana works are anindie newspaper, and Ali is supposed to start her last year of highschool but has drugs on her mind more than books. It's not long thatAli finds out that dad (Alan) may be having an affair, much to thehorror of Ali and Dana. Meanwhile, Dana bumps into an ex-boyfriend at aparty she is attending with Ben. At this point we're not even 15 min.into the movie. What will become of all these characters? To tell youmore of the plot would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just haveto see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this movie marks the reunion of writer-directorGillian Robespierre and producer-actress Jenny Slate, who previouslycollaborated on "Obvious Child" (Slate's break-out role). Here theybring another movie that is billed as a comedy, but in reality is justas much a relationships drama. And there is plenty of drama (biting mylip--mustn't spoil!). Of course there are plenty of lighter momentstoo. One can't help but smile when we see Dana check her voice mail bycalling from a public phone, and many other such 90s-specific things.Jenny Slater once again shines in this movie, and it is her characterthat seems most authentic--in contrast to her sister Ali, who issupposed to be a HS senior, but comes across much older. John Turturro(as Alan) and Jay DuPlass (as Ben) are in fine form as well. Bottomline, this movie kept my attention from start to finish, and I wasn'tquite ready to say goodbye to these characters when the end titlesstarted rolling, the surest sign that I enjoyed this movie quite a bit.
"Landline" premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival to positivebuzz. The movie finally opened this weekend at my local art-housetheater here in Cincinnati, and I couldn't wait to see it. The Saturdaymatinée screening where I saw this at was attended okay but not great(about 10 people). Hopefully this movie will benefit from positiveword-of-mouth as well as wider exposure on VOD, and eventually onDVD/Blu-ray. "Landline" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Set in Manhattan in 1995, LANDLINE follows three women in one family having lots of sex, drugs, and Japanese food. Navigating monogamy, honesty, and a long-lost New York, the Jacobs family lives in the last days when people still didn't have cell phones and still did smoke inside. Teenage Ali discovers her dad's affair, her older sister Dana uncovers her own wild side, and their mother Pat grapples with the truth that she can't have it all, but her family still has each other. For a generation raised on divorce and wall-to-wall carpeting, LANDLINE is an honest comedy about what happens when sisters become friends and parents become humans.