“In addition to fine acting, The New Twenty benefits from David Tumblety’s excellent cinematography. He uses color to expressive advantage and turns routine skyline footage (not another shot of a rooftop water tower!) into a vibrant cityscape. Ballads and incidental music add another pleasant layer without taking attention away from the characters. Johnson and co-writer Ishmael Chawla (his fellow Amherst College grad, as is producer Aina Abiodun) shine in a concise barroom scene during which Ben drunkenly holds forth on the nature of human suffering to an older gentleman (Larry Pine in a superb cameo), who sympathizes before gallantly asking, “Now, would you like a blow job from an old cowboy?”
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From Time Out New York
Chris Mason Johnson’s ensemble drama could’ve been just another earnest time capsule about friends in their late twenties; what saves it from devolving into mere mumblecore is a broader-than-average outlook. Life trajectories send the quintet in disparate directions, among them Ben (Fickes), who takes to his couch with a bottle of Lubriderm, and Andrew (Locke), who’s in an equally wankworthy situation at Morgan Stanley. Unlike this genre’s usual shtick, the film includes something rarely seen onscreen: close friendships between gay and straight men. And though the camera may be overly fond of pore-counting close-ups, cinematographer David Tumblety is smart enough to draw it back and show the bigger picture, too, with twinkly sunsets over East Village water towers.
Author: Anna King
Time Out New York Issue 703: March 19-25, 2009