Monday, June 28, 2021

Zola Review: A Bizarre, Outlandish, and Entertaining Odyssey

Taylour Paige	Taylour Paige	...	Zola Riley Keough	Riley Keough	...	Stefani Nelcie Souffrant	Nelcie Souffrant	...	Gail Nasir Rahim	Nasir Rahim	...	Johnathan Amelia Rose Monteagudo	Amelia Rose Monteagudo	...	Stefani's Baby Ari'el Stachel	Ari'el Stachel	...	Sean Colman Domingo	Colman Domingo	...	X Nicholas Braun	Nicholas Braun	...	Derrek (as Nick Braun) Jason Mitchell	Jason Mitchell	...	Dion Ts Madison	Ts Madison	...	Hollywood Tommy Foxhill	Tommy Foxhill	...	Tommy Tony Ben Bladon	Ben Bladon	...	Kay Tony Demil	Tony Demil	...	Joe Ernest Emmanuel Peeples	Ernest Emmanuel Peeples	...	Hee Joseph Sanders	Joseph Sanders	...	Liquor Store Clerk Brett Chesebro	Brett Chesebro	...	Caller Carl Collanus	Carl Collanus	...	Caller Jay Dersahagian	Jay Dersahagian	...	Caller Rusty Domhoff	Rusty Domhoff	...	Caller Mark Fiedler	Mark Fiedler	...	Caller Alex Flash	Alex Flash	...	Caller Richard W. Lariviere	Richard W. Lariviere	...	Caller Bob Lawton	Bob Lawton	...	Caller Ernest Lee Wilson Jr.	Ernest Lee Wilson Jr.	...	Caller Josh Locy	Josh Locy	...	Caller Pedro Medina	Pedro Medina	...	Caller Thomas Nash	Thomas Nash	...	Caller Bill Pierce	Bill Pierce	...	Caller Michael Worden	Michael Worden	...	Caller Kyle Williams	Kyle Williams	...	Caller Andrew Romano	Andrew Romano	...	Hotel Waiter Sophie Hall	Sophie Hall	...	Baybe Angelo Diaz	Angelo Diaz	...	Juan Rico Paris	Rico Paris	...	Also Juan Michael Aceveda	Michael Aceveda	...	Juan Anibal Echeverria Bonet	Anibal Echeverria Bonet	...	Juan Max Guevara	Max Guevara	...	Juan Harold Hernandez	Harold Hernandez	...	Juan David Rodriguez	David Rodriguez	...	Juan Bernard Lyght	Bernard Lyght	...	Man Pulled Over Michael Opal	Michael Opal	...	Cop Eric Salas	Eric Salas	...	Also Cop Doug Walker	Doug Walker	...	Steel Drum Player Jarquale Stewart	Jarquale Stewart	...	CC Drew Rin Varick	Drew Rin Varick	...	Man at Pool Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Jim Abde	Jim Abde	...	(uncredited) Armand Alvarez	Armand Alvarez	...	(uncredited) Ken Anthony II	Ken Anthony II	...	(uncredited) Mikayla Arrington	Mikayla Arrington	...	(uncredited) Cameron Brumbelow	Cameron Brumbelow	...	(uncredited) Emilio Diaz	Emilio Diaz	...	(uncredited) Matt Harding	Matt Harding	...	Gentleman (uncredited) Megan Hayes	Megan Hayes	...	(uncredited) Steve Heinz	Steve Heinz	...	(uncredited) Samantha Kaye	Samantha Kaye	...	(uncredited) Shana-Anne Larson	Shana-Anne Larson	...	(uncredited) Renee Leone	Renee Leone	...	Restaurant patron (uncredited) Dennis Mallen	Dennis Mallen	...	(uncredited) Gustavo Perez	Gustavo Perez	...	(uncredited) Bill Pierce II	Bill Pierce II	...	Big Dick (uncredited) Youssef Shahout	Youssef Shahout	...	(uncredited) Erin Sheahan	Erin Sheahan	...	(uncredited) Ward G. Smith	Ward G. Smith	...	(uncredited) Pedro Tavarez Jr.	Pedro Tavarez Jr.	...	(uncredited) David Velez	David Velez	...	(uncredited) Dania Vizzi	Dania Vizzi	...	(uncredited) Steve Warren	Steve Warren	...	(uncredited) Ezell Willis	Ezell Willis	...	(uncredited)

Release date: June 30, 2021
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed By: Janicza Bravo 
Written By: Janicza Bravo and Jeremy O. Harris 
Starring: Taylour Paige, Riley Keough, Nicholas Braun, Ari'el Stachel, Colman Domingo 

"Y’all wanna hear a story about why me & this bitch here fell out? It’s kind of long but full of suspense."  Thus began the odyssey of one A’Ziah King, aka ZOLA.  Zola's stranger than fiction saga, which she first told in a now iconic series of viral, uproarious tweets, comes to dazzling cinematic life. 

Kara Baker	...	producer (produced by) Allison Rose Carter	...	co-producer Dave Franco	...	producer (produced by) Elizabeth Haggard	...	producer (produced by) David Hinojosa	...	producer (produced by) Vince Jolivette	...	producer (produced by) A'Ziah King	...	executive producer Jennifer Konawal	...	executive producer David Kushner	...	executive producer Christine Vachon	...	producer (produced by) Gia Walsh	...	producer (produced by)
Zola is a wild story, one that is so much stranger than fiction it seems like it can't be real.  But it  apparently did happen and what a story it was.  The film translates these series of tweets and the later article that was written about the story into a cinematic odyssey that blends technological influences with classic 60s and 70s style effects.  It is something that has to be seen to understand, but it is definitely worth the experience.  The film comes to life through the performances of Taylour Paige and Riley Keough.  They take on very different personas but together they tell a compelling, engaging story.  Zola (Paige) is a confident, smart unintentional hustler who gets in over her head after making some questionable decisions.  And Stefani (Keough) is equally compelling as the strange, opinionated, and confident friend who gets them into this bizarre odyssey.  The rest of the cast all add to the overall feel of the film, with Domingo's volatile yet confident character guiding them through this experience and Braun's loveable but sad persona adding some emotion and humor to the movie.  Overall the cast is enjoyable and make for a compelling experience.  

But what will really catch your attention about Zola, other than the pure insanity of the story, is the style.  It has a classic 60s or 70s style film look which evokes a different, time and a very different environment.  But the film also interjects a constant cacophony of tweets and technology sounds to make sure you are never comfortable during this ordeal.  It is a smart move as this whole experience was told over twitter, so the constant tweet sounds really make you remember where this came from.  The film also smartly uses excerpts from Reddit and other parts of the story tell other aspects.  These allow for quick cutaways for more exposition and to keep the viewer informed.  And they fit perfectly with the overall style and pace of the film.  It is a fast paced experience, and the technology sounds and cuts to Reddit really add to this.  

What is also quite interesting about this movie is the balance between comedy and thriller that it manages to keep.  The film has a darkly comedic tone to it but also will just as quickly switch to a tense standoff.  it is full of characters that seem like they are out of a horror film, with their quirks and strange mannerisms, but they also do some very humorous things in the pursuit of this crazy trip.  And the film has monologues and other touches that help to communicate a comedic style to help break up what was probably a very tense situation.  If there is a negative about this film, it is that the story is one sided.  Maybe that is actually what happened, but it also could be that Zola is telling the story in her best light.  But hey, it's her story and a crazy one at that, so maybe this is jsut how insane it was.  

Zola is something that has to be experienced to truly understand, and the combination of bizarre characters, amazing style, and some intense performances make this film something to like and retweet. 

Watch it.

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Zola is in theaters on June 30, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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