TOP 5: FOCUS, BLADE RUNNER 2, POWER RANGERS Short Film, PARKS AND RECREATION Finale, Oscars Recap

Now streaming on Netflix is director Lenny Abrahamson's beautifully strange music comedy/drama Frank. Inspired by co-writer Jon Ronson's time as the keyboardist for Frank Sidebottom's band, the film premiered at Sundance in 2014 (read Matt's review), received a limited U.S. theatrical release last August, and spurred this nifty live performance by its fictional band, The Soronprfbs, on The Colbert Report. The pic has enjoyed near universal acclaim but, like its subjects, has struggled to gain a foothold outside of its niche audience. I'll do my best to help rectify that below. Frank stars Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Scoot McNairy, and while the latter three give great performances, Fassbender steals the show as The Soronprfbs' enigmatic frontman. His face hidden behind a large papier-mâché mask, Fassbender is forced to convey Frank's emotions by way of line delivery and body language. For a lesser actor this challenge may have proven too tall a task. Not for Fassbender. His take on the titular character is so on point that you never doubt the proposition that he's a creative, musical genius coping with mental illness. Frank has plenty of worthwhile ideas (its positioning of social media as a hollow gauge of "success" will be relevant for years to come), but the one that stuck with me the most is its opposition to the thought that true talent and creativity can by manufactured if you add enough adversity to the mix. Abrahamson's film rejects the glorification of the suffering/troubled artist in this way and ...

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February 28, 2015