Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Nick Thune, Meera Rohit Kumbhani, Kirsten Vangsness, Stephanie Allynne, James Urbaniak, Scott Krinsky, Adam Busch, John Hennigan, Frank Caeti, Tim Nordwind, Scott Narver, Rick Overton, Drew Knigga, Kamilla Alnes
Written by: Steven Sears, Bill Watterson
Directed by: Bill Watterson
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 80
Date: 08/11/2017
IMDB

Dave Made a Maze (2017)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Boxcatcher

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

As screenwriters, Quentin Tarantino has influenced far more filmmakers than Charlie Kaufman has, but that's probably because Kaufman is much harder to emulate. Now comes Dave Made a Maze, which feels inspired heavily by Kaufman's bizarre, whimsical world, but has its own funky, slacker rhythms.

The title says it all. Annie (Meera Rohit Kumbhani) arrives home from a business trip to find her boyfriend Dave (Nick Thune) lost inside a cardboard maze he has built in their living room. From the outside, it doesn't look like much, but inside, it's enormous, and contains booby traps. It can't be torn down or cut through, so Annie and a group of Dave's friends head inside to find him. To make matters more complicated, a cardboard minotaur is running around, and the maze itself seems to be expanding.

The rules of the maze are endless, and seemingly anything can happen, so long as it's connected to cardboard or paper products. The production designers have gone wild with their imaginations, creating astoundingly beautiful and jaw-dropping patterns and rooms. The characters follow along, keeping all possibilities open. They rarely seem like they're in any real danger, though apparently characters actually die inside the maze. One character (James Urbaniak) is a documentary filmmaker who is far more concerned with interviewing folks and setting the scene than he is with surviving the maze.

Director Bill Watterson (no apparent connection to the creator of Calvin and Hobbes) keeps the tone light and speedy and decidedly weird, and — mostly through the likable Annie and Dave characters — keeps an emotional throughline going. Even if a few of its jokes or plot threads lead to dead ends, it's a wonderfully oddball film that could achieve cult status, or, at the very least, be worth a second viewing.

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