November 20th, 2015
MOVIE: COOL APOCALYPSE
STARRING: CHELSEA DAVID; ADAM OVERBERG; KEVIN WEHBY; NINA GANET
DIRECTED BY: MICHAEL GLOVER SMITH
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS
If the end of the world was on its way, then I’d be alright with spending my time watching Michael Glover Smith’s debut film Cool Apocalypse. Filmed in Chicago and shot in a classy black and white, what makes this movie “cool”, is the laid back nature and charming cast. An independent film, it kindly portrays how relationships can have a beautiful beginning and a melancholy end. Cool Apocalypse also displays a view into what it’s like being a 20-something person, having engaging conversations, and lasting moments with friends, even if those moments are just for one night.
It all revolves around two couples living in Chicago. Paul (Kevin Wehby) is a bit of a shy guy, working at a used bookstore, while doing his own writing on the side. His days are filled with the hipster types, complaining to him about literature of the past. The outgoing Julie (played by the adorable Nina Ganet) works next door at the woman’s clinic and stops in to talk with Paul. They hit it off, decide to grab lunch, and enjoy the company so much, that Paul invites Julie to dinner later with his roommate, Claudio (Adam Overberg) and his ex-girlfriend, Tess (Chelsea David). They are both video journalists at different stages of their careers. Tess is successful; about to leave for a trip to Italy, while Claudio is still looking for work. They are both confused about the relationship the two of them once had, which certainly makes for an interesting dinner for four.
Cool Apocalypse exhibits a genuine appreciation for these specific characters, the dialogue they speak, and the city they inhabit. Smith’s direction allows us to get an idea of what their daily lives are like with specifically focused moments. We see it in scenes such as, Paul making his morning coffee, or Julie and Paul commuting on the CTA. Being a Chicago native, there is an authenticity to the “one summer night” approach, as they tour around the neighborhoods in my own backyard. As Claudio drives Tess around for some last minute errands before dinner, Smith makes the perfect selection of the Aliotta Haynes & Jeremiah song- “Lake Shore Drive”. Any Chicagoan has listened to that song as they drive on the highway along the lake. It made me crack a smile and think of times when my parents would drive up and down LSD, as I would put my hand out the window, catching the air.
The four of them come together for dinner, which plays like a moment plucked out of Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha or a Woody Allen film. Their friendships will blossom with help from vodka shots and warm vegetarian stew, Claudio makes his last efforts with Tess, while Paul and Julie grow closer. The performances from all four cast members are refreshing, and at an hour and seventeen minute runtime, it leaves you wishing that Cool Apocalypse had a higher budget and an additional scene or two.
Director Michael Glover Smith shows precision and promise in his first film. Cool Apocalypse makes the best of its abilities and represents the exciting attributes of what independent film is about. And although the film feels brief and lacks a big name actor, I was more than happy to witness the beginning of a director’s promising career. Cool Apocalypse is a fun movie that everyone will enjoy.
Written by: Leo Brady