Film Review: Michael Cera, Gaby Hoffmann Anchor ‘Crystal Fairy’

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – It’s a sad day in modern American distribution when a film as highly praised and perversely intriguing as Sebastián Silva’s “Magic Magic” fails to acquire a theatrical release. The very notion of a Sundance darling co-lensed by Christopher Doyle getting unceremoniously dumped on DVD is too maddening to contemplate. At a time when Disney labels a formulaic misfire like “The Lone Ranger” as a “risk,” it’s depressing to see a company like Sony Pictures follow suit. Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

Anyone who’s seen Silva’s 2009 masterpiece, “The Maid,” is well aware that the director operates far outside the cozy constraints of genre, allowing his narratives to evolve as organically and unpredictably as his character do. What starts out as an unsettling dark comedy may end up as an endearingly bittersweet drama or vice versa. Without taking gambles on films that challenge the most obvious of expectations, Hollywood risks boring its audience into oblivion. Take this season’s handful of big-budget, low-risk flops as evidence of this principle.

StarRead Matt Fagerholm’s full review of “Crystal Fairy” in our reviews section.

Apart from its disastrous stabs at popcorn blockbusters, 2013 will also be remembered as the year Michael Cera proved without a shadow of a doubt that he has a range extending far beyond the deadpan utterances of sweet George Michael Bluth. He illustrated this not only on the fourth season of “Arrested Development” and in his uncharacteristically profane cameo in “This Is the End”—both deemed considerable hits—but on his YouTube channel JASH in shorts such as “Failure,” “Gregory Go Boom” and his own directorial debut, “Brazzaville Teen-Ager.” In each case, Cera has explored sides to his screen persona that many viewers had doubted ever existed. He’s still a neurotic tangle of nerve endings in most cases, but the innocence and charm that marked his earlier work has been replaced with vain self-absorption, nihilistic rage and nearly pathological angst. Instead of allowing his talent to be crushed by Hollywood’s soulless assembly line (a la Johnny Depp), Cera has wisely taken the road less traveled, committing himself entirely to the work of artists he respects. That’s why he spent three months living at Silva’s home to learn Spanish for “Magic Magic,” in which he reportedly plays the biggest creep of his career. In light of Cera’s earlier successes this year, Sony should be feeling foolish for not giving Silva’s film a fair shot with moviegoers.

‘Crystal Fairy’ stars Michael Cera, Gaby Hoffmann, Juan Andrés Silva, José Miguel Silva and Agustín Silva. It was written and directed by Sebastián Silva. It opens Friday, July 19th at the Music Box Theatre. It is not rated.

StarContinue reading for Matt Fagerholm’s full “Crystal Fairy” review.

Michael Cera and Gaby Hoffmann star in Sebastián Silva’s Crystal Fairy.
Michael Cera and Gaby Hoffmann star in Sebastián Silva’s Crystal Fairy.
Photo credit: Sofía Subercaseaux/Sundance Selects

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