For a re­view of “In­grid GoesWest,:

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Early in “In­grid Goes West,” a young woman on her way to Los An­ge­les con­spic­u­ously reads from Joan Did­ion’s col­lected es­says on Cal­i­for­nia ti­tled “The White Al­bum.”

The book is fa­mous for the line: “We tell our­selves sto­ries in or­der to live.”

Today, we post these sto­ries on Ins tag ram or Face­book, be­com­ing the un­re­li­able nar­ra­tors of our own lives, cast­ing about for what Did­ion called “the im­po­si­tion of a nar­ra­tive line.”

“In­grid Goes West” is a sta­tus up­date of these themes. Di­rected by Matt Spicer, the movie is an in­ven­tive and shrewd satire of the­way so­cial me­dia can be used to de­scribe and dis­tort the lives of users.

It’s over­due. Given the dras­tic changes this tech­nol­ogy has wrought on cul­ture and on the be­hav­ior of in­di­vid­u­als, it’s a lit­tle weird that Hol­ly­wood hasn’t scru­ti­nized the sub­ject with­more vigor.

“The So­cial Net­work” found a sub­tle layer of foun­da­tional hos­til­ity in the Face­book ori­gins story, and there was an ill- fated adap­ta­tion of Dave Eg­gers’ “The Cir­cle” ear­lier this year, but for the most part Hol­ly­wood has taken a chummy view of smart phones and so­cial me­dia— most of­ten seen as trendy life­style ac­ces­sories for hip, fash­ion­able rom­com char­ac­ters.

The worm has turned re­cently, though.

Sil­i­con Val­ley ex- pats are giv­ing TED Talks on the­way Face­book uses slot- ma­chine psy­chol­ogy to feed click ad­dic­tions. Psy­chi­a­trists are not­ing the link be­tween in­creased so­cial- me­dia use and un­hap­pi­ness, even­men­tal- health prob­lems.

It’s a wrin­kle “In­grid Goes West” seems to have an­tic­i­pated. The­movie’s ti­tle character ( Aubrey Plaza) is a young­woman whose frag­ile men­tal health is es­tab­lished in the very first scene, crash­ing a wed­ding.

She is, to say the least, poorly equipped to main­tain suc­cess­ful real- life friend­ships. So she heads for L. A. and Hol­ly­wood, where the bound­aries of real life are more elas­tic, even­more so as lives have moved online ( the­movie has amus­ing in­sight of the lat­est it­er­a­tion so fL. A. cre­ative­class ma­te­ri­al­ism ).

In­grid be­comes en­chanted with In­sta­gram “in­flu­encer” Tay­lor Sloane ( El­iz­a­beth Olsen), fol­low­ing her on the web, and then just plain fol­low­ing her. The crafty, needy In­grid suc­cess­fully in­gra­ti­ates her­self with Tay­lor, via so­cial me­dia and through old­fash­ioned, ana­logue stalk­ing tech­niques.

The kicker: In­grid pur­sues this sim­u­la­tion of af­fec­tion even as the real thing turns up in her life. In­grid’s neigh­bor ( O’Shea Jack­son Jr.) has a crush on her, but In­grid can only think to use her grow­ing in­ti­macy with himto fur­ther her phony friend­ship with Tay­lor.

Jack­son, by the­way, is some­what of a rev­e­la­tion. He shows a con­fi­dent, re­laxed screen pres­ence 180 de­grees re­moved fromthe scowl­ing im­per­son­ator of his real- life dad, Ice Cube, thatwe sawin “Straight Outta Comp­ton.” Andhe has a knack for com­edy _ his character is a Bat­man fa­natic, and a scene de­tail­ing ac os play con­sum­ma­tion with In­grid is one of the year’s fun­ni­est.

As for Plaza, we al­ready know she’s funny fromher roles in “Parks and Re­cre­ation” and “Safety Not Guar­an­teed.” Here, she pushes bravely back against her im­age as the shrug­ging slacker who doesn’t care about any­thing. In­grid cares ob­ses­sively, com­pletely, de­struc­tively.

The reck­on­ing for all of this finds Plaza at her most hon­est and vul­ner­a­ble _ em­body­ing, as Did­ion once wrote of her­self, awoman who comes “to doubt the premises of all the sto­ries I had ever told my­self.”

That lady was a pretty good writer.

You’d think she’d have more fol­low­ers.

“In­grid Goes West,” a Neon re­lease, is rated R for lan­guage. Run­ning time: 97 min­utes. ★★★ 

“The Trip to Spain”

At one point in “The Trip to Spain,” Rob Bry­don, at a restau­rant ta­ble in Spain, im­i­tates Mick Jag­ger im­i­tat­ing Rob Bry­don im­i­tat­ing Michael Caine. ( I’ll pause for you to catch up with that sen­tence. All good now?) And then Steve Coogan jumps in, im­i­tat­ing Bry­don im­i­tat­ing Jag­ger im­i­tat­ing Bry­don im­i­tat­ing Caine, throw­ing in a head- jerk­ing, pea­cocky move and a puffed- out pen­guin chest and a weird lit­tle air­borne clap, and all you can think is, a) yes, that is ex­actly what Mick Jag­ger sounds like, and b) I wish Iwere at that ta­ble.

That’s the plea­sure of the un­even but en­joy­able “Trip” movies, of which this is the third in­stall­ment: For bet­ter orw orse, it’s al­most like be­ing at that ta­ble.

Di­rected by Michael Win­ter­bot­tom (“In This World,” “Tris­tram Shandy,” “A Mighty Heart”), this trio is per­haps film­dom’s odd­est fran­chise: It’s based on a BBC se­ries in­which Bri­tish ac­tors Bry­don and Coogan — play­ing char­ac­ters who hap­pen to be Bri­tish ac­tors named Rob Bry­don and Steve Coogan— travel through Eng­land (“The Trip,” 2010), Italy (“The Trip to Italy,” 2014) and now Spain; they dine in lovely restau­rants, stay in beau­ti­ful ho­tels and, mostly, sit around do­ing im­pres­sions be­tween bites.

If this sounds like a rather weak hook to hang an en­tire movie on, well, I won’t ar­gue: The “Trip” movies, like the an­chovies Coogan and Bry­don hap­pily de­vour, aren’t to ev­ery­one’s taste. This in­stall­ment, de­spite a fair bit of bit­ter­sweet mus­ing about mid­dle age ( not­ing that they are now ripe fruit, one won­ders “Is it bet­ter to be plucked, or to drop?”) and some amus­ing al­lu­sions to “Don Quixote,” is as plot­less as ever, and the cook­ing/ food shots still seem like out­takes froma pro­mo­tional travel video.

But oh, those im­pres­sions, which this time in­clude Brando, John Hurt, Ian McKellen, Bog­art, Woody Allen, An­thony Hop­kins and a truly fab­u­lous “Stones do­ing Shake­speare” bit, in case you’ve ever won­dered what Mick Jag­ger’s Ham­let might sound like. I hadn’t; turns out, Iwas miss­ing some­thing.

“The Trip to Spain,” a Rev­o­lu­tion Films re­lease, is not rated but is for­ma­ture au­di­ences due to strong lan­guage. Run­ning time: 108 min­utes. ★★★

“Good Time”

There was a time when be­ing an inch from Robert Pat­tin­son’s face was the fer­vent dream of mil­lions world­wide.

In “Good Time,” it­was less en­thralling. The­movie, star­ring Pat­tin­son as a small- time hood, has some big- time close- ups. A non­stop 100 min­utes of them, whether zoom­ing in on Pat­tin­son’s fa­mous mug or pro­vid­ing a hand­held ac­count of a poor se­cu­rity guard get­ting beaten half to death in the ser­vice of the­movie’s sham­bling, “comic” nar­ra­tive.

“Good Time,” writ­ten and di­rected by low- bud­get in­die film­mak­ers Josh and Ben Safdie, bor­rows a synth score from John Car­pen­ter and nods in the di­rec­tion of “Dog Day Af­ter­noon” _ there is the odor of losers in­volved in a doomed en­ter­prise.

“Good Time” be­gins with brothers Con­nie and Nick Nikas ( Pat­tin­son and Ben Safdie) rob­bing a bank and flee­ing po­lice, then piv­ots to be­come a story of es­ca­lat­ing may­hem mov­ing in tan­dem with Con­nie’s de­clin­ing prospects of suc­cess. Con­nie is the by- de­fault brains of the out­fit, and he acts ( when not re­cruit­ing Nick to take part in a felony) to pro­tect his men­tally chal­lenged brother. The setup has faint echoes of “Of Mice and Men,” but the movie does not as­pire to that level of hu­man dig­nity, and in any event, the script sep­a­rates the two char­ac­ters in short or­der.

The bulk of the movie fol­lows Con­nie’s des­per­ate at­tempts to re­cover the money he’s stashed, un­fold­ing in what of­ten feels like real time. For this he ex­ploits any­one within arm’s length — his cred­u­lous pushover girl­friend ( Jennifer Ja­son Leigh, who’s had bet­ter roles), a parolee ( Buddy Duress) also dodg­ing the cops, a hap­less cab­bie, etc.

The­movie pitches Con­nie’s be­hav­ior as the spur- ofthe­mo­ment im­pro­vi­sa­tions of a hus­tler out to save his brother, of­ten played for laughs, but a ruth­less­ness shows through. This adds a toxic tone to scenes that in­volve im­mi­grants and mi­nori­ties, al­though this is prob­a­bly un­in­tended.

Con­nie is meant to be just an­other guy from the outer bor­oughs, in­dis­tin­guish­able from the other blue- col­lar denizens of Queens. The prob­lem is that he’s not just an­other guy. He’s Robert Pat­tin­son, and his stature gets in the­way of the story. The Safdies don’t help mat­ters by in­ject­ing a scene in­which op­por­tunis­tic Con­nie “charms” a teenage girl, surely a wink at au­di­ences who re­call Pat­tin­son from his vam­pire se­duc­tion days.

“Good Time,” an A24 Films re­lease, is rated R for drug use and vi­o­lence. Run­ning time: 100 min­utes. ★★  


Steve Coogan and Rob Bry­don star in “The Trip to Spain.”

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