Cinema Clips: American Ultra

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Jesse Eisenberg, having himself a great summer with his career best performance in The End of the Tour, spreads his wings a bit as a stoner with a secret in this sporadically fun one from director Nima Nourizadeh (Project X) and writer Max Landis (Chronicle). While enjoying a fine cup of soup, convenience store clerk Mike Howell (Eisenberg) notices some dudes monkeying with his car. Seconds later, he’s killing people with a spoon. Mike’s girlfriend Phoebe (Kristen Stewart kicking mortal ass) is concerned about her beau, who has suddenly attained the ability to wipe out people with robot precision. I will not tell you why. You have to see the movie to find out why. The film has a great premise, and could’ve been a classic dark comedy. Unfortunately, it leans a little too heavy towards the dark side in its second half and goes light on the laughs. Eisenberg and Stewart rise above any of the tonal problems and story lags to make the movie something worth seeing. Stewart just gets better with every movie she shows up in. I think her Bella-Lag is wearing off for sure. Eisenberg plays his part like an ignorant, coiled rattlesnake, and he’s actually appropriately scary at times. Again, a fun film for most of its running time, but it could’ve been something really special.


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