AM I OK? is a touching Comedy and an ode to female friendship.
The Film follows inseparable Los Angeles best friends Lucy (Dakota Johnson) and Jane (Sonoya Mizuno). When Jane’s new promotion requires her to move to London, Lucy confesses her long-held secret: She likes women. In the lead up to their impending separation, we follow as Jane prepares for her big move and Lucy searches for her first sexual experience with a woman.
What sets AM I OK? apart is that it depicts the coming-of-age of two women in their 30s. Co-Directors Stephanie Allynne and TigNotaro along with Screenwriter LaurenPomerantz have created a brilliant Comedy that flawlessly captures friendship, love and self-discovery.
It’s refreshing to see a coming-out story for a 30-something. Lucy’s journey is endearing and Johnson knocks it out of the park. She approaches Lucy with a delicate fragility that guides her along in her sexual awakening. She shares a genuine chemistry in scenes with Kiersey Clemons, who plays her romantic interest and co-worker. Clemons gives a strong performance as the indecisive Brittany. And Mizuno gives a superb performance as the compassionate and headstrong Jane, who appears to have it all together, but is harbouring her anxieties within after she is given a opportunity to go overseas on a promotion.
The Screenplay gives us these two separate stories, while keeping Lucy and Jane‘s friendship at the forefront. This works because Johnson and Mizuno have such a palpable chemistry that feels entirely organic. Additionally, the Supporting Cast bring impactful comedic performances. Molly Gordon plays the outgoing Kat, a co-worker of Jane’s, who just irritates Lucy. And Notaro does double duty with a hilarious cameo.
AM I OK? screens virtually at Sundance: Premiere: Jan. 24 at 4PM EST
Second Screening: Jan. 26 at 10AM EST (available for 24hrs)
Following great success at Sundance earlier this year, Director Boots Riley brought his debut Feature SORRY TO BOTHER YOU to Toronto for a Canadian Premiere tonight.
Centering on a young man named Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) who is struggling to make ends meet. Decidedly, he takes on a Telemarketer job as a last ditch attempt before eviction from his uncle’s garage. Taking on a new persona or what he calls his “white voice”, Cassius finds himself excelling and climbing the corporate ranks much to the disagreement of his artist girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson) and friends at work who are plotting to bring on a union into the workplace. Things get increasingly complicated when he uncovers are horrific secret undertaking which one of his company’s biggest clients is plotting under influencial power player Steve Lift (Armie Hammer).
Despite it being Father’s Day, Sorry to Bother You brought-out a packed house at CineplexYonge & Dundas to see the buzzed Film first and hear Riley speak. Some of you may know the former Rapper from his work as Frontman of Hip-Hop act The Coup. Despite having filmmaking aspirations, Riley dropped-out Film School to pursue music only now to come full circle, better late than never. He also once worked as a Telemarketer too like the Film’s flawed hero, Cassius.
Riley tells the audience about the characters in this quirky, out-there journey of self-discovery, shot over 28 days at 61 locations, exploring at what costs one is willing to go against what they believe in truly. “I wrote things from a human place, writing every single character as if they were me. They all represent conflict going on in my head”. “I had to trust my views of the world and let them come out.”.
The Film’s breakout star is Lakeith Stanfield who plays Cassius. Riley tells us about his casting choice. “His manager was really persistent”, he says, met with laughter by the audience. “When I cast him, there had only been one episode of Atlanta and I only knew him from Short Term 12.”. “I went and met with him he had a full beard. I realized he was a much older soul than his years would let on. He also had the right element of crazy.”.
One key scene however was cut from the Film, reveals Riley. “There was a full frontal (non-sexual) nudity scene and I needed him to be the most vulnerable he can be. It was a deal breaker and he cut me off and said ‘I’ve been waiitng for a role like this!’.”. He adds, “I was able to cut it out. He (Stanfield) achieved what few great actors can achieve, this vulnerability – letting him experiece the feelings, never worrying what he looks like.”.
See the Trailer:
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Last but certainly not least of the Canadian network Upfronts this week is the Corus Upfront which took over Rebel Night Club at the city’s waterside today. Unveiled today were some of the media giant’s new programming offerings for their 2017/2018 line-up. New series to appear on the Corus family of television stations include: THE SINNER, ABSENTIA, MARVEL’S RUNAWAYS, MARVEL’S CLOAK AND DAGGER, VALOR, KNIGHTFALL, THE BOLD TYPE and college-ish.
After successful runs int he past, these following series also make a return: TRANSPARENT, MOZART IN THE JUNGLE, TRAVELERS, SUPERGIRL, MR. ROBOT, OUTLANDER and VIKINGS. This in addition to several additions to their lifestyle and kids’ slates including popular reality series like The Bachelor Canada and Top Chef Canada coming back, plus new and returning programs with loved and trusted stars Bryan Baeumler, Mike Holmes, Scott McGillivray, Sarah Richardson and the Scott Brothers.
See some of the names in-town to celebrate the Corus Upfront today including Shemar Moore (S.W.A.T.), LL Cool J (NCIS: Los Angeles), Lucas Till (MacGyver), Jermaine Fowler (Superior Donuts), Eric McCormack (Travelers), Mike Vogel (The Brave) and more!