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Kitty Mammas | Review

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“Wait, you’re literally having your own cat’s baby!”

In documentaries, the point is to examine and present the truth. In mockumentaries, however, the unbelievably absurd is treated like the truth. In the instance of Kitty Mammas, a camera crew follows a literal mad scientist – Dr. Han (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) – as he leads a clinical trial in which four women give birth…to kittens.

Though slightly disgraced from previous endeavours, Dr. Han has been presented the opportunity of being a modern day Frankenstein of sorts. The experiment, made possible by financial backers and desperate participants, lasts over a three month period which sees the cat foetus grow to the size of a kitten with next to no visible bump. Plus, the participants even get to keep the kitten if successful! The diversity in the mothers-to-be ranges from the LGBTQ+ community, undergrad students, middle-aged mothers, and vloggers, but they all want one thing: to give birth to a kitten. This is a common goal like no other.

With the participants’ diverse range of backgrounds comes a diverse range of issues and obstacles which they must endure. The challenges they face range from financial inheritance, online backlash, and acceptance. Running parallel, Dr Kittenstein faces the annoying persistence of Darryl (Drew Nelson), a journalist desperate to expose the grotesque experiment, but also in pursuit of revenge. After the 90-day period, what will be of Sylvia (Janet Porter), Joan (Kathryn Kohut), Maria (Vienna Hehir) and Rose (Morgan Kohan)? New mothers? Human-cat hybrids? 

As a mockumentary, Kitty Mammas exists as both a surreal comedy and a drama which deals with serious issues too. The balance of both is certainly effective in its execution, though the mockumentary style is much more frequent and attempted when dealing with the surrealist nature of the clinical trial. Kitty Mammas almost feels like a hybrid of two movies, but with the same cast. A major issue, however, is that in the mockumentary, extraordinary and out-of-this-world characters and situations are depicted realistically, despite being completely unbelievable and unrealistic. The unbelievable is made believable. In Kitty Mammas, whilst the characters deal with such realistic, relevant, and hard-hitting issues outside of the clinical trial, there is an overwhelming ambiance of the film not feeling one bit real. Kitty Mammas doesn’t even feel like a documentary. 

Of course, there is an excruciating difficulty in making such a wild concept seem at all plausible. Humans giving birth to kittens is just mind boggling. The heart of Kitten Mammas really lies within the social issues explored outside of the medical practice. The four performances of the trialists are all terrific respectively, especially that of Vienna Hehir. Under the screenwriting of Katrina Nicholson, the characters – specifically the trialists – are empowered to really showcase both the power and vulnerability which they possess within. These are strong characters. Strongly written characters. 

Ultimately, from director Dennis Alexander Nicholson, Kitten Mammas can be read as a film with a hidden agenda… The kitten trial stuff is just for show. Essentially, the concept is just the overcoat covering a body which provides a commentary on social issues. This form of trickery is terrific in that it, to some degree, pays off because the issues explored are done really well. Probably the best aspect of the film overall. Though a great exploration of issues, one can’t imagine that much of Kitty Mammma’s audience will be coming for a class on sociology, but instead, they’ll be wanting to see something totally messed up, like the film initially suggests.  

Rating: 2/5

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Action

New Trailer For ‘Free Guy’ Starring Ryan Reynolds Arrives

A bank teller called Guy realizes he is a background character in an open world video game called Free City that will soon go offline.

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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Comedy

Release Date:

May 21, 2021

Director:

Shawn Levy

Cast:

Ryan Reynolds, Joe Keery, Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi, Channing Tatum, Lil Rel Howery

Plot Summary:

Free Guy is an action-comedy about a bank teller who discovers he is a background character in an open world video game called Free City that will soon go offline.

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Comedy

Together Together | Review

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In Together Together, the main character creates an app named Loner where users can view strangers’ photos without ever having to contact them or see them again. It’s an incisive commentary on how social media and dating apps have allowed us to engage with someone for as long as we want and just as easily move on to whoever is next. But what happens when you genuinely connect with someone even though you know the connection cannot be permanent? That’s what happens when two people meet via a gestational surrogacy arrangement. Together Together, Nicole Beckwith’s refreshing and touching dramedy breaks free from the trappings of the rom-com genre by focusing on the power of platonic relationships. 

Matt is a forty-something, single man ready to become a father who enlists Anna, a 26-year-old barista, to be his surrogate. The pair make for an unlikely duo not just because of the age gap but also in their difference of temperament. Ed Helms’ Matt is a well-meaning but overbearing father-to-be, while Patti Harrison’s Anna is dry, witty, and a bit cold before opening up as their friendship develops. Throughout the pregnancy, they begin spending much of their time together during doctor appointments, dinners, and eventually, overnight stays. As the two grow close, audiences might expect to see romance blossom, but writer-director Nikole Beckwith seems to have no interest in the will-they-won’t-they story here.

There are certainly elements of a typical rom-com like witty banter and the sweet getting to know each other conversations. Still, Beckwith consciously chose to spotlight the rarely-portrayed platonic love between a man and woman rather than a romance. Anna and Matt are not only connected through surrogacy but also as people living life “alone.” In a poignant scene, Anna asks Matt why he is having a child alone, and he says he needs to move forward and it just so happens that he’s doing it by himself. He mentions a previous long-term girlfriend, but the film smartly does not delve into his failed relationship or the background of his decision to become a single father. Matt’s unconventional choice is shown to be a bold and earnest one rather than one of desperation.

Anna’s journey through surrogacy is also portrayed in unexpected ways. As a young woman who is not currently in contact with her family, she unwittingly finds herself growing attached to Matt even as he crosses the boundaries of a typical surrogacy arrangement. He drops by her work unexpectedly and questions her about her sex life. While Matt is open and excited to connect with the woman carrying his child, Anna is initially resistant and for a good reason. Anna’s friend and coworker Jules (played hilariously by Julio Torres) reminds her that this time is finite and whatever Anna and Matt are will have to change after she gives birth. Harrison adeptly plays Anna’s heartbreak of knowing this special time in her life will end soon while Matt’s has just begun.

Together Together’s clever and awkward humor and a deep bench of supporting comedic actors (Tig Notaro, Nora Dunn, Fred Melamed, Sufe Bradshaw) are what get the film going, but it’s the genuine tenderness between the protagonists that sustain it to the end. We see this in the film’s seemingly abrupt but fitting final scene. After intimately capturing Anna and Matt as partners in surrogacy, the camera focuses solely on Anna for the concluding shot as we see relief and sadness wash over her face. It’s a reminder that even the most meaningful relationships in our lives aren’t always meant to last forever. 

Together Together is now playing in limited U.S. theaters and will be available on VOD on May 11th.

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Comedy

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery Special Edition Blu-Ray Review

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Yeah, baby yeah! Austin Powers is back with Mike Myers’ brilliant cult comedy Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery getting a special edition Blu-ray and DVD release this April.

The Austin Powers films are all great fun and loved by so many people so why not go back to the start with this new special edition Blu-ray and watch the grooviest secret agent of all return after 30 years of being cryogenically frozen to defeat Dr Evil. After Dr Evil narrowly escapes from Powers in 1967, the two must return in the 90s and Evil plans to threaten the world once more and only the world’s greatest spy only Austin Powers can stop him.

Mike Myers is on top form here, not only did he write the film, but he also plays both Austin Powers and Dr Evil. It’s a brilliantly hilarious spy movie parody that gets you in stitched the whole way through. Dr Evil is a far superior villain than Blofeld or any of the Bond villains; none of them ever tried to kill the protagonist with ill-tempered mutated sea bass or sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads.

It perfectly spoofs spy films and the James Bond films in many of its characters and in many different ways, but it also works perfectly on its own as a comedy without having to be watched in the context of 007. At just 94 minutes long, the time flies by and it has you laughing out loud every few minutes, even if you’ve seen the film multiple times before.

The film came out in 1997 and it doesn’t really hold up in terms of cultural opinions. The film’s main character is a misogynist who spends the whole time talking about how randy he is. There’s even a character called Alotta Fagina. I doubt we’re going to ever see any more of Austin Powers just because of how politically incorrect the character is but that being said, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is still very funny. Even re-watching it in 2021, it still gets quite a lot of laughs and it’s still a very funny film.

In terms of the bonus features on this new special edition Blu-ray there isn’t really anything to get too excited about. It includes a featurette on the characters Austin and Vanessa as well as some B-roll footage, character soundbites, TV spots and clips as well as the funky music video for the credits song “BBC” by Ming Tea. None of these extras are particularly exciting which is a bit disappointing but nonetheless it’s exciting to have such a groovy film on a nice brand new Blu-ray.

Groovy baby!

★★★★☆

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is on special edition Blu-ray, DVD and Digital 19 April.

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