The barrier between real and imaginary is permeable for sad sack Ben Layton (Thomas Middleditch), who slips between them without perceiving a difference. That’s a tricky state to capture, and director Jason James does so by creating a visual cocoon around Ben.
Holy Air isn’t entirely satirical, but the bone-dry wit is breathtaking. Pilgrims to Nazareth seek the lightness of spiritual transcendence, and Shady Srour contrasts them with residents weighed down by everyday catastrophes and paralyzing fears.
In their cozy remake, director Gillies Mackinnon and screenwriter Peter McDougall take a less screwball approach to the source material: Compton Mackenzie’s 1947 novel and the real wartime wreck that inspired it.
The exquisite discomfort of Donald Cried, Kris Avedisian’s bracing first feature, arises from the incompatibility of former best friends. Peter Latang (Jesse Wakeman) left Warwick, Rhode Island, for college. Donald Treebeck (Avedisian) stayed put, in mind as well as body.
While this unpleasant thriller isn’t about our annus horribilis, director Richard Bates Jr. captures two familiar states: the feeling of being trapped in a cycle of misery, and the growing dread that something worse is just around the corner.