“Digging for Fire” (Amazon Prime) — My full review is here. Writer-director Joe Swanberg assembled an all-star cast (Jake Johnson, Rosemary DeWitt, Sam Rockwell, and new Oscar winner Brie Larson) for this comedy about an L.A. couple who start digging into their marriage a little more deeply than they should, after the husband finds an antique gun buried on the property of the mansion they’re housesitting. The film has Swanberg’s loose, improv-heavy style, ending up becoming a generous and witty film about middle-aged ennui.
“Heaven Knows What” has its Madison premiere at the UW-Cinematheque, 4070 Vilas Hall, at 7 p.m. Friday. R, 1:34, three stars out of four. FREE!
Brothers Ben and Joshua Safdie make films about people that we wouldn’t really want to be around in real life, and keep us uncomfortably close to them, force us to really look at them, until we see them.
“Daddy Longlegs” was a drama about a harried divorced dad so bad at parenting that his neglect borders on abuse. In “Heaven Knows What,” we’re attached to the hip of a 19-year-old homeless junkie, Harley (Arielle Holmes), caught in an endless and vicious cycle of addiction. When the movie starts, she’s panhandling (“spanging” in street parlance) to get enough money to buy razor blades to slit her wrists. You don’t get much lower than that.