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Pedro Pascal Headlines Unbalanced Oakland Underdog Story

The problem with any anthology film, of course, is that the individual stories will inevitably vary in quality, and their weaknesses are thrown into sharp contrast as they are so closely linked with one another. “Freaky Tales” isn’t exempt from this issue, as some of the stories work better than others. “The Gilman Strikes Back” and “Don’t Fight the Feeling” feature slight narratives but never wear out their welcome, with sprightly performances from their young leading actors.

“Born to Mack” features arguably the film’s biggest star, Pedro Pascal, but though his character provides connective tissue for the other stories, his vignette is where “Freaky Tales” begins to drag. It doesn’t contribute anything new to the tired “one last job” trope and struggles to justify its own existence (note-perfect cameo from Bay Area native Tom Hanks as a mysterious video store clerk notwithstanding). His character might have been better off as a supporting figure in the other stories rather than a lead in his own.

The strongest piece in the production — by a country mile — is “The Legend of Sleepy Floyd,” where Jay Ellis plays the real-life basketball star on a quest for revenge in response to a botched home invasion. This is the most stylistically competent component of “Freaky Tales,” as it transforms effortlessly into an impossibly cool martial arts film.

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