Showing posts with label Patricia Clarkson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Patricia Clarkson. Show all posts

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The East

I’ve been writing little film reviews on this blog for about eighteen months now. I’ve almost always written a review within twenty-four hours or so of watching a movie but I saw The East nearly a week ago. Whether due my brief illness, boredom of writing or lack of interest in the film I can’t say, though I think all three contributed. The trailer for The East was one of the best I’ve seen in recent months. It gave little away and felt edgy and interesting. The film however doesn’t live up to the trailer. I’m a big fan of Brit Marling and thought that her writing and acting in Another Earth were superb. Here she crafts a script which is full of intrigue and expectation but fails to get to the heart of the issues that she is focussing her attention on.

I won’t go into much detail about the plot as some of the characters differ significantly from what I was expecting. All I will say is that there is a group calling themselves The East. They’re environmental terrorists (or freedom fighters depending on your perspective) who use tactics which can be best described as being ‘morally grey’ to right the wrongs done by large corporations. Brit Marling plays a member of The East but begins to question the morals of both sides as she uncovers more about The East, the corporations and herself.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Lars and the Real Girl

Lars Lindstrom (Ryan Gosling) is a shy and retiring man living in the garage of his brother and sister-in-law’s house. He frequently tries to avoid contact with his friends, co-workers and family and when he does have to interact with others, conversation is stilted before Lars is able to escape. Despite the obvious interest of colleague Margo (Kelli Garner) Lars has no girlfriend so his brother Gus (Paul Schneider) and Sister-in-law Karin (Emily Mortimer) are shocked when one day Lars appears at their front door with the news that he has a house guest; a wheelchair bound, half Brazilian, half Danish missionary whom he met on the internet. Gus and Karin are initially overjoyed that Lars has met something but are soon startled to discover that ‘Bianca’ is in fact a Real Doll sex doll whom Lars is convinced is a real person. Worried about his mental health his family and friends all rally around Lars and attempt to welcome Bianca into the community while trying to get Lars the help that he so obviously needs.

The term rollercoaster ride of emotions is a little bit tacky and overused but it applies here. Every few seconds while watching this film I went from laugh out loud laughter to shock to sadness and back again. The film manages to be incredibly uplifting, sad and funny, often at the same time and features some great acting and an astonishing and original script.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Easy A

Someone sound the alarm! This film is quirky enough to be reading 8.3 on the Deschanel Scale. The film is the story of a smart but largely unknown high school student called Olive (Emma Stone) who lies about losing her virginity. The lie cascades and changes the way she is perceived at school eventually bringing about trouble in her life and those around her.

I have to say I was quite disappointed with the film. I’d heard very good things and although I probably fall outside its target demographic now at age 26, good teen comedies are still good no matter what age you are. The problem for me is that it isn’t anywhere near funny enough and although it is an interesting idea, it isn’t very interesting. I’m aware that I’m becoming increasingly cynical but a happy ever after ending was never in doubt so I just spent 90 minutes waiting for it. As I said though, it is an interesting idea. The idea that losing your virginity changes the way people see you, judge you and interact with you as well as the way you see yourself is one that merits looking at but the film lets the concept down.

Another problem is that all of the high school students look like they are in their mid twenties. After a quick Google search I discovered that Stone, 21 at the time of release was the youngest of the main High School cast by a couple of years. One of them is 29! Add this to the ridiculous ‘Hollywood’ High School that the characters are in and the backdrop to the story doesn’t feel very real. That being said, the characters are quite well written. There are obvious stereotypes as you’d expect in any teen movie (geeks, jocks, sluts, religious weirdoes) but they are well defined and well written. Olive’s nemesis in particular is a well written and well acted annoying Jesus-person. The acting on the whole is also good. Stone delivers a confident performance that gained the attention of critics and award’s judges and she is surrounded by a decent young cast and experienced older cast which includes Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson, Malcolm McDowell and Lisa Kudrow who takes the film past 8.5 on the Deschanel scale. Olive’s family is one of those open, liberal, funny families that could be really annoying but I quite liked them and found most of the film’s laughs in their company.

Part of the film is told with Olive (Stone) talking into her webcam. While blogging etc are obviously popular among young people, I didn’t like it and it felt like a bit of a cop out. It also increased the kooky factor which was already dangerously high. The reason became clear towards the end of the film but it just felt like the film was pandering to its audience. The film plays it safe with the message it delivers regarding sex. Both sides are fairly well presented with the case for abstinence and sex being discussed, but in the end the film plays it down the middle as you’d expect of a mainstream teen movie.

It’s a shame that the film is as dull as it is because there is an interesting story at the heart of it and features a worthy cast, acting admirably. There are just no where near enough laughs and the script is quite weak.