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Movie Review: Disorienting and Uneven Themes in ‘Buster’s Mal Heart’

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Buster's Mal Heart Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

What’s going on in Buster’s Mal Heart? No idea. Read our movie review as we attempt to figure it out:

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]ew films leave me perplexed on the fence as much as Buster’s Mal Heart. There are three tones to this picture. The first is the vague and esoteric allusion to the inversion of one’s own being and the divide they form in dire straights. The second is the relatable nature in how one man feels powerless in his desire to be free and happy. The third is the odd and quirky humor of the protagonist pooping in a pot and leaving cryptic symbols that law enforcement compare to butt holes.

Maintaining a trifecta, there are three stories at play in this non-linear story of Buster, played by Rami Malek with massive bags under his eyes. In the beginning, he’s a family man struggling to acquire his own land to no longer live off the government, but finds this a nearly impossible task working his dead-end job as a hotel night clerk. In the middle, he’s a bearded man on the run from authorities, taking refuge in empty vacation homes while making phone calls to radio stations about “the inversion.” Somewhere towards the end, we see him bearded once more, but in a boat on the ocean.

Buster's Mal Heart Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Lookin’ good, Rami.

Phasing in and out of each story, the movie attempts to shift our perspective and make us wonder what is real and what is a hallucination of Buster’s warped mind. He spends most of his work breaks watching a conspiracy theory show about the universe and chatting with a conspiracy theorist/computer programmer (DJ Qualls) who warns him of the coming Y2K epidemic. Is there truth to these babblings or is it all in Buster’s head? Given the film’s unfocused themes and surrealism, it’s ripe for film theorists to overanalyze for eternity.

Related: Movie Review: ‘The Promise’ Muddily Mixes Melodrama with Genocide

Though slightly unnerving for striving to be so weird and existential, I’m at least grateful that writer/director Sarah Adina Smith provided more mystery to balance out her blunt anti-establishment rants. Her previous script – Goodbye, World – proved that she has all the subtlety of a mad conspiracy theorist with a matching level of storytelling. Sarah’s writing has a loud voice for speaking out against a flawed society that has grown dependent on technology and destroying the environment, but is lacking in the words and actions to make coherent commentary.

Moments where Buster explodes at his wife with bitterness for not being able to escape the daily grind are embarrassingly blunt. Buster’s wife fires back about how he can do little more than shout and can’t find a solution as he doesn’t know the first thing about being self-sufficient. So I guess they’ll both just shout about such topics rather than explore them.

Buster's Mal Heart Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Buster’s Mal Heart is full of mysteries.

It’s for the best that those scenes are few and between. The film works far better for its mysteries of murders and the universe than any commentary the script hopes to have on society. Rami does a fantastic job playing a man that can appear as a burnt out weirdo in one scene and a timidly loving father the next. The music is perfectly moody and atmospheric for a man doomed to a night job of dark and lonely halls, slowly losing his sanity over how he views his uncertain future. He’s even semi-relatable in his crazy drifter phase as a lonely man who finds himself antisocial and distant from nearly everyone. There is a modicum of sense to his disorientation with the world, even if his acts of defecation and dialing up phone sex lines seem random. Again, a feast for movie theorists.

Read more for the rest of the Buster’s Mal Heart movie review:

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Izzy

Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman

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Robert DeNiro de-agedHave you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. ????

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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