Pick of the week: “Happy Christmas” (Netflix Instant) — Joe Swanberg’s latest feels a little less baked than “Drinking Buddies,” although it mines the same territory of white Chicagoans trying to deal with each other. In this case, it’s Swanberg himself playing a filmmaker whose alcoholic younger sister (Anna Kendrick) moves in, disrupting the lives of him and his wife (Melanie Lynskey). It’s slender but charming and authentic, with a feel for how people really talk (and don’t talk) to each other.
“Palo Alto” opens Friday at Sundance Cinemas. R, 1:38, two and a half stars out of four.
In the opening scene of “Palo Alto,” two teenage boys sit in an idling car in a parking lot, getting drunk, talking about whatever. Then the driver hits the accelerator and drives the car into a wall. Just to see what would happen.