It’s one of those off kinds of weekends where the best new movie I can recommend is a gory (but kinda fun) workplace massacre thing. I can assure you that better stuff will be coming through pretty much the end of the year.
But if you’re an L.A. film lover, you might want to spend the next three days at the AFI Fest in Hollywood.
For what it’s worth, in descending order from how little to how much I disdain them, here are five new commercial releases to contemplate.
5. Mayhem There is a detectable coolness factor to director Joe Lynch’s arch, cutthroat corporatism allegory, but the sharp-wit-to-blunt-force ratio here is nonetheless about 10/90. Similar to “The Belko Experiment” from earlier this year, this one’s M.O. is to trap a bunch of white collar drones inside an office tower, then make them slaughter one another. “Mayhem” digs deeper into on-the-job competition, resentments and careerism, but its satire is as cartoonish as most of the film’s performances. That said, as the comparative “good guys” of the piece, “The Walking Dead’s” Steven Yeun and Samara Weaving of Netflix’s “The Babysitter” can be pretty charismatic with the nailguns. Lynch likes unusual camera angles and unique lacerations.
4. Gilbert Is it surprising to learn that vuvuzela-voiced comedian Gilbert Gottfried is far less obnoxious offstage than he is when he’s on? No, but it’s still nice to see him in this documentary being a good dad and loving husband, sad about his dead parents and cancer-stricken sister, wryly working the grind of touring the nation’s less-prestigious comedy clubs and unhappily surprised that his stupid tweets about the Japanese tsunami almost cost him his career. Some of this stuff crosses over into drab sentimentalism and the film could do without a lot of the talking colleague heads affirming Gottfried is a comic’s comic who cracks rude jokes to hide his sensitive soul. Fortunately, there are always brilliantly scathing…