CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
Film Review: Odd Thriller ‘ATM’ with Alice Eve, Brian Geraghty
CHICAGO – They have now officially run out of places in which to terrorize beautiful people on film with the release of the bizarre and unfulfilling “ATM,” a new thriller with three talented actors nonetheless caught in an ineffective film that stretches to meet its running time and then ends with a final act that destroys suspension of disbelief. There are brief glimpses here of the movie that could have worked but there’s a reason it’s only opening in limited release for now and playing On Demand through most of the rest of the country. It’s not a successful transaction.
The long set-up (designed mostly just to get the film to a 90-minute running time) sets up three of the film’s four principal characters, starting with co-workers and friends David (Brian Geraghty) and Corey (Josh Peck). David has long been interested in a third co-worker, Emily (Alice Eve), but she’s leaving the company and he may not get his chance to profess his unrequited love. Or will he? As Emily is leaving a party, David finally gets the liquid courage to offer to give her a ride home. Sadly, a boisterous Corey needs a ride too and tags along as the third wheel. Corey’s hungry too. He demands that David and Emily stop and get some late-night pizza. Uh oh. It’s cash-only. So, they stop off at, you guessed it, an “ATM.”
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “ATM” in our reviews section.|
First, naturally, Corey goes in alone to get some scratch. He waves and calls in David, who has parked bizarrely far away from the ATM in one of many decisions that wouldn’t happen in real life but need to in order for the story to work. In the same vein, Emily gets tired of waiting in the car in a dark parking lot while Corey and David are taking forever and so she too joins them in the dimly-lit booth. The transaction ends (Corey’s magnetic strip wasn’t working and so he needed David’s card) and the trio turns around to see a shadowy figure in the parking lot in a parka. He’s foreboding to say the least. But maybe he’s just waiting to use the ATM. When they open the door, he moves quickly towards them. They retreat. Then a guy comes by with his dog and his brain is introduced to the pavement. The guy outside the ATM is crazy and Corey, David, and Emily are trapped inside.
Photo credit: IFC Films