-An unfinished comedy about economic struggles and a pretentious new crisis drama from Terrence Malick.

Get a Job was created during a time where a comedy about this subject material could really do wonders for an audience in their early 20s. It’s not a secret that the late teens to early 20s age-group is a big decider in how certain films perform monetarily, and with Get a Job, some of the most likable stars to people that age are present in the likes of Anna Kendrick, Miles Teller, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and even Bryan Cranston. Sadly, Get a Job is also one of a the few films every year with a great cast and idea that was never really finished, even with Kendrick stating years ago that she wasn’t sure whether this film would see the light of day. Despite the stars, it gets a limited release and direct-to-VOD platform to allow it to quickly wither and die after the project never really came together. After watching, the quality is quite indicative of that.

It’s a comedy about how college kids handle the job market after they graduate, starring Miles Teller as a video production design person who searches for a job, and eventually latches onto a company run by Marcia Gay Harden, doing visual resumes for job applicants. Meanwhile, his long-term girlfriend, Anna Kendrick, loses her job right in time for him to start really doing well for himself. He still lives with his college roommates, played by business major Brandon T. Jackson, app designer Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and middle school teacher/basketball coach Nicholas Braun. The other major subplot involves Teller’s Dad, played by Bryan Cranston, losing his job and trying to get back on his feet in a more digital age that may have left him behind.

We see this as both a slacker comedy, and a satire, but the unfinished nature of the production leaves many loose ends, and plot points/characters that don’t make a ton of sense in context. Occasionally, a character will appear with an important line that we have not seen before. It’s not really fair to criticize some of the satire when it’s so obvious that there wasn’t really a way for the actual production to be finished. So for that, I’d say just stay away from it because it should be allowed to suffer alone.

1 star

 

Knight of Cups is the newest experimental drama film from Terrence Malick, director of 90s classics The Thin Red Line and Badlands, but most recently heading to a more experimental, existential production design with films like The Tree of Life. Now, it’s worth noting that Malick is not for everyone, and this is no exception. If you weren’t into his films more like The Tree of Life, do not expect to be won over by all-narration, no action Knight of Cups, a story about a wealthy screenwriter in his early 40s living in Hollywood’s excess.

The screenwriter, Rick, is played by Christian Bale, clearly enjoying all that he gets from being the featured player in a Malick film. The sequences are linear excerpts of his life, each chapter named after a tarot card, detailing his relationship with someone close to him at that time. He struggles to find meaning in his life, despite attempting to fall in love, and learn to rediscover who he really is as a person. The opening, describing a knight who seeks an ancient pearl from the depths of the ocean, is the empowerment of the whole film, showcasing Rick around the ocean or famous people’s pools, always afraid to go in and search for this metaphorical ‘pearl,’ which represents the meaning/goal he seeks.

Each character attempts to move his quest forward, offering narration during their segments that relate to Rick or their relationship with him. Rick also frequently narrates, but the dialogue here is very improvised and minimalist, with Malick conveying his meaning through visual cues. A patient viewer will get a lot out of the themes and excellent cinematography from Emmanuel Lubezki (the film is just gorgeous), and also really enjoy the performances, some great, from actors like Natalie Portman, Teresa Palmer, Cate Blanchett, Wes Bentley and Brian Dennehy. If you like Malick, buy into this one. If you find his stuff to be pretentious and plodding, stay far away from this two-hours plus slog.

3 stars

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