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Tuesday October 24th 2017

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“Baby Driver” & “The Big Sick”

(l to r) Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza Gonzalez), Baby (Ansel Elgort) and Bats (JAMIE FOXX) discuss the next heist in TriStar Pictures’ BABY DRIVER.

By Howard McQuitter II

“Baby Driver”(2017)

**** out of five

Action/Comedy/Drama/Music Rated R

Director Edgar Wright’s (I met him back when he directed “Shaun of the Dead”) “Baby Driver” is worth the ticket while lounging in a comfortable chair in a theater (or at home) on a summer day. The beauty of “Baby Driver” is the movie feels fresh, electrifying and humorous. For lack of a better word, the cast is cool.

Baby is the title character played by Ansel Elgort, a twenty-something, white guy who walks around with earphones listening to pop music, such as from “Queen”. Back-ground  music from old school R&B tunes Martha Reeves & The Vandellas “Nowhere to Hide” and Brenda Holloway’s “Every Little Bit Hurts” fill the air instead of what audiences may expect rap or hip hop music.

He is the getaway driver working for heist boss Doc (Kevin Spacey) along with three other lively characters Bats (Jamie Foxx), Griff (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza Gonzalez).All the action takes place in Atlanta, Georgia.

From the first time Bats meets Baby he doesn’t trust him and always finds a way to criticize him. All this is thrilling to Baby in spite of his foster father’s did-approval of the stolen money and the robberies. Then Baby meets a waitress Debora (Lily James) who he starts to fall for in turn the cool man with the earphones rethinks about his job description. After all, Doc wants Baby to go on the biggest heist thus far in their scheme. Yes, there is a dilemma for the young man: go ahead and do the job and risk being killed or get out altogether and pursue the girl.

Does “Baby Driver’s”  Edgar Wright takes a page out of Quentin Tarantino’s playbook? Adrenaline-driven, good car chases, looking for ways to escape should be what you’re looking for in Wright’s high-octane film.

Cast: Ansel Elgort (Baby), Jon Hamm (Griff), Eizaa Gonzalez (Darling), Kevin Spacey (Doc), Jamie Foxx (Bats), Lily James (Debora). Running time: 113 minutes. Director: Edgar Wright.

“The Big Sick”(2017)

*****

Comedy/Romance/Drama Rated R

It’s a delightful thing when chemistry, believable characters, and humor can be melted together in a romantic comedy. The risk for so many romantic comedies is a cross over to schmaltz or risqué or flat out frivolousness. “The Big Sick” is just one of those relatively few romantic comedies that embraces all three elements: chemistry, believable characters, and humor par excellence.

Kumail (Kumail Nanjiam) works the stand-up comedy circuits in Chicago along with two other stand-up comedians Bo Burnham and Kurt Braunohler. Kumail is Pakistani and his family live comfortably in a house in Chicago. His mother (Zenobia Shroff) and father (Anupan Kher) believe in arranged marriages as in Pakistani Muslim tradition. The mother invites potential Pakistani women to the house hoping her son will choose one of them. He doesn’t.

Kumail meets an American white woman, studying to be a therapist, initially their relationship looks like a one- night stand or a few sexual encounters, then split. The woman, Emily (Zoe Kazan), has far less camera time than Kumail has but, nonetheless, the chemistry is not lost in the fray. She has to be hospitalized for an unknown virus. When he shows up at the hospital her parents are there where he’s met with a cold shoulder, especially from her mother, Beth (Holly Hunter). And to think this, Emily, ordinary looking compared to the beautiful Pakistani women he rejected,,is someone he really loves.

(“The Big Sick” is based on a true story; Zoe looks similar to the real Emily.) Cast: Kumail Nanjiani (Kumail), Zoe Kazan (Emily), Holly Hunter (Beth), Ray Romano (Terry), Zenobia Shroff Sharmeen), Anupam Kher (Azmat), Adeel Akhtar (Naveed). Running time: 119 minutes. Director: Micheal Showalter.

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