Picks of the Week
(R, 93 minutes, Cinedigm): You know Rachel (Kathryn Hahn), or someone like her. At school, shes the busy mother volunteering for social committees and fundraisers. At home, this loyal wife oversees the tidy schedules of son Logan (Sawyer Ever) and husband, Jeff (Josh Radnor). When no ones looking, shes happy to sneak a cigarette or dish about her dormant sex life with her frank-talking girlfriends.
But writer-director Jill Soloways complicated indie dramedy hides a corrosive underbelly that threatens to shift the story in unexpected directions. Lurking beneath the surface is an emotional discontent thats threatening to swallow Rachels staid existence whole. Shes dismayed by the superficial minutiae her peers on mommy blogs have embraced. The thought of intercourse with her shlubby spouse sends her into a panic. Shes unfulfilled and isnt fully able to express why.
Afternoon Delight puts the typical suburban mothers lifestyle under an uncomfortably honest microscope, then documents the sporadically funny and occasionally sad results. The movie is cut from the same basic material that spawned the forthright and sexually explicit Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
But it has a darker, and more sympathetic view because of Soloways feminine perspective.
Contains strong sexual content, language and some drug use. Extras: commentary with Soloway and Hahn; a making-of short; six featurettes.
(Unrated, 105 minutes, in Hebrew, Arabic and English with subtitles, Strand Releasing): A road movie pairing enemies who must help each other in order to survive, Zaytoun again finds Israeli filmmaker Eran Riklis (The Syrian Bride, The Lemon Tree) dramatizing political conflicts in the Middle East and spreading blame for the strife around freely.
Stephen Dorff, better known for American indies and the occasional action flick, plays Yoni, an Israeli fighter pilot whose plane is shot down over Beirut in 1982. A group of Palestinian refugees capture him, locking him in a makeshift jail sometimes guarded by a group of kids.
Among them is Fahed (Abdallah El Akal), whose father died recently as a result of Israeli bombing. Fahed never openly accuses Yoni of killing his father, but the idea is clearly on his mind. The buddy movie begins when Fahed realizes Yoni could, if freed, help him sneak across the border to his familial home in Palestine.
Even when the films plot grows a little unlikely, its tone is never sappy. Thats partly due to El Akals performance, which keeps humor in check and is informed by too much real-world loss to ever be cute.
Contains violence and some strong language. Extras: making-of featurette.