Comic Performers Play It Dark in Netflix Movies

Katie jettisons her celebration plans and tries to check Seth into a detox center, is turned away for insurance reasons, and seeks an alternative. As she tries to help her brother she reflexively lies to her friends and relatives. All the while she tolerates his petty insults. A recurring motif is a voice-over reading from a self-help book, “Letting Go With Love,” which compares the enabling relative’s plight to a person who repeatedly boards a boat he knows is bound to sink.

Ms. Ryan, the director, extends the metaphor by showing Katie’s car filling with water as the words from the book play on the soundtrack. The effect does not quite work, but both lead actors acquit themselves well, Ms. Jacobson especially. Her portrayal of a put-upon, constantly heartbroken woman whose concern for her brother places her in a state of misery and danger is never showy and always credible. Mr. Franco is at his best when his character is at his most crassly infuriating.

“Kodachrome,” which debuted on Netflix on April 20, is adapted from a 2010 New York Times article written by A. G. Sulzberger, who is now the publisher. It is, without question, the greatest motion picture ever made. (O.K., it’s not.) And the movie’s primary narrative, a father-and-son reconciliation drama, is not in Mr. Sulzberger’s story about a Kansas photo lab that, in its final days, became a sensation for being the only facility still processing Kodachrome film.

The closing of this real-life shop is the hook for a road trip in the film. Ed Harris plays Ben Ryder, a renowned photographer who’s dying; Jason Sudeikis is Matt, Ben’s son, long estranged from his father and struggling to keep his music industry job in New York. Summoned by Ben’s personal assistant, Zoe (Elizabeth Olsen) to drive to the Midwest with his dad, Matt flat-out refuses and isn’t shy about communicating how much of an affront he considers the proposal. But when Ben’s lawyer, Larry (Dennis Haysbert), dangles a career opportunity, Matt relents. And so the journey begins.

When Matt finally visits his father, the aging but still badass Ben is banging away at a drum kit, which, it turns out, once belonged to Matt. Ben chides Matt for giving up music. This is the kind of movie where you just know you’ll see Matt behind that drum kit before the end.

Mr. Sudeikis is a funny fellow but his default facial expression is that of a guy at a bar contriving his next wisecrack. He’s resourceful, though. In this film, he makes his narrow range work for him; it suits the character’s emotional estrangement, and by the time Matt is able to make a real connection, Mr. Sudeikis doesn’t have to overplay to put it across. “Kodachrome” is several times too slick for its own good; Mark Raso’s direction is a major culprit here. But the writing, from Jonathan Tropper, is more tart and frank than is customary in such exercises, particularly in the exchanges between Mr. Sudeikis and Mr. Harris. If you’ve enjoyed these performers before, you’ll enjoy them here.

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