Weekend film reviews: ‘The Quiet Girl,’ ‘Jesus Revolution,’ and more

Written by Danielle Chiriguayo and Amy Ta, produced by Sarah Sweeney

Cocaine Bear is story about a black bear that’s consumed a lot of cocaine, then goes on a rampage. Credit: Youtube

The latest movie releases include “Cocaine Bear,” “The Quiet Girl,” “Jesus Revolution,” “Die Hart: The Movie,” and “We Have a Ghost.” KCRW gets reviews from Christy Lemire, writer for RogerEbert.com and co-host of the YouTube channel "Breakfast All Day," as well as Witney Seibold, contributor to SlashFilm and co-host of “Critically Acclaimed.” 

“Cocaine Bear” 

This is based on a true story about a black bear that’s consumed a lot of cocaine, then goes on a rampage. It’s directed by Elizabeth Banks.

Lemire: “It is so much fun, from the costume design and just the pacing of it, and the use of 80s music. … When it's about the bear tearing people to pieces, it is so much fun. When it has to be about actual, like dramatic moments between family members or whatever, it drags a bit. It's very silly, very similar to ‘Snakes on a Plane.’”

Seibold: “The performance on the bear is actually really hilarious, when we see it lolling its tongue and rubbing its gums as it gets higher and higher on these casks of cocaine that are left out in the woods. … There's a few really notable sequences where the bear is chasing after an ambulance, or breaking into a ranger station, and just completely going wild on its poor victims. But I feel like there was more opportunities to be a little bit more creative, to be a little bit crazier. 

Elizabeth Banks is bringing what she can. The film was clearly shot on a pretty low budget. There's a lot of strange editing quirks where they're trying to cut around their limited shooting schedule, but it's not so noticeable that you're not going to have a great time.”

“The Quiet Girl”

Written and directed by Colm Bairéad, this is the first Irish-language Oscar-nominated film. It follows a young girl named Cáit, who is sent to a farm to live with distant relatives. 

Seibold: “Over the course of the film, she begins to come out of her shell a little bit. She is the quiet girl. … And when she comes into the care of her new foster parents, things are a little awkward at first, but they start sharing stories. They start warming up. The photography is really gorgeous. Everything is sunny and more beautiful here, and it's exhilarating to watch how gentle and quiet and glorious these little tiny emotional crests start to become in this little girl's life.”

Lemire: “It is almost too quiet actually. It's almost too understated. But it does reward your patience if you stick with it along the way, because the ultimate climactic conclusion is very emotional and very earned. It rewards your observational abilities because you're seeing it through her eyes.” 

“Jesus Revolution”

This movie tells the origin story of the 1970s Christianity movement that cropped up in Southern California among hippie youth. 

Lemire: “I am shocked at how good this is. I've seen so many faith-based films over the years, and I've always wondered what it would be like if one were made with actual craft and artistry, and that is what this is.”

“Die Hart: The Movie”

Kevin Hart plays a fictionalized version of himself who is tired of being the comedic sidekick and has aspirations of becoming a superhero. The film started as a short-lived Quibi series. 

Seibold: “​​It's curious how badly paced this is as a feature film – clearly somebody thought this would make a fun [film]. …. As a feature film. It really just falls apart. … You're not really sure what the message is supposed to be, what the climax is supposed to be.” 

“We Have a Ghost”

This comedy horror follows family members who become social media sensations after they document their haunted house. It features a star-studded ensemble, including Tig Notaro, Jennifer Coolidge, David Harbour, Anthony Mackie.

Lemire: “Once they get beyond that core idea of ‘let's exploit this to become famous and make money,’ it goes into all kinds of different directions, which are more dramatic, or at least trying to be more dramatic, more substantive.”

Seibold: “The plot gets really distracted with ‘who is the ghost and what was his past?’ And it turns into a road movie at some point. And then the young characters have a romance. There's three or four different ideas for movies all of a sudden. … It feels like they tried to shorten an entire miniseries into a feature film. So it’s slick, it looks really nice. I like the performances. Some of those nice ideas at the beginning play out very well, and they're very, very funny. But yeah, after a while, it's just way too much, and you just want to turn it off.”