The trailer for Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is not a promo for the film that came out in theaters last week. It turns out, Ned Benson wrote and directed three films. The trailer uses pieces from all three. Which is odd because the idea stated in that 3-minute clip never actually comes to fruition in what is apparently titled "Them".
But now that I got that out of my system... this version of the movie was pretty good. Albeit, hard to watch. I really enjoyed how honest this story felt. These people and their decisions all make a sad sort of sense. And once everything is revealed and you really know why things went the way they did, there's a beautiful kind of tragedy within.
Friday, September 19, 2014
Frank is a weird movie.
...but still manages to be an alright movie.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Let's start with probably the most interesting aspect of this film. It's a drama (sort of) starring SNL's Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader. That alone is worth the price of a ticket... just the oddity that is these two making a film about such serious themes as suicide, pedophilia, and general promiscuity. But The Skeleton Twins manages to go beyond that.
It does have laughs. With these two actors, how could it not? But the laughs are grounded in the real world. They feel honest and completely unforced. And Wiig and Hader never let themselves slide too far from the darker aspects of their characters. It's actually very exciting to watch such comedic people walk this tightrope. It ain't a given that they'll reach the other side. So I really appreciate Mark Heyman and Craig Johnson for giving them a vehicle to experiment so within.
And that gets me to the writers. I was fortunate enough to catch them for a Q&A this last week and was very pleased to hear how important this movie was to both of them. It's not by any means a traditional Hollywood flick. And it took them ten years to get it made, so clearly they HAD to get this thing done. I really like how they managed to take so many ridiculous themes and make something endearing and recognizable out of them. Everyone in the audience I attended with seemed onboard and nothing seemed to stray too far beyond anyone's comprehension. It really goes to show that "Hollywood formulas" are not by any means the only way to go. Something that's obviously been proven many times before, but execs tend to ignore the evidence.
The most epic casting of the year comes here... in Love is Strange.
This is, in my opinion, a must see.
Someone stood up at a meeting somewhere and made that choice to cast Alfred Molina alongside John Lithgow as a loving couple. You get two actors of that caliber to state your case and everyone 's gotta be on board. Right?
And boy do they shine. Each of them gets their time to shine with some truly incredible albeit quite subtle moments. I was just sitting back in awe of their performances all movie long. And I'm grateful to have had this experience during what is often a very questionable month for film.
But let's step away from those two actors for just a moment. Love is Strange was just an interesting film to me in general. The message is an important one and the flick itself creates a seemingly level playing field for conversation to anyone willing to sit down in the theatre and watch. Because the message is simply: Love. And Love no matter the boundaries. That everyone can and should be allowed to experience it and not be condemned for that. Love is personal, and learning to love is quite hard. So to witness two people, no matter who they are, who have discovered the essence of that, is just a magical thing.
Love is Strange moves slowly, but in the best possible way. It allows the story to wash over you in a rather beautiful manner. And it doesn't hit you over the head with unnecessary editing. Rather, it plays to its strength... the actors.
This is, in my opinion, a must see.
...but I just couldn't get on board.
The thing is, I really like the people involved with this thing. And I don't necessarily think any of them did a bad job. Just, somehow, the basic premise was flawed from the start and nothing could really get going from there. At every turn it felt as though the script just copped out.
Relatively good performances by the three leads (Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, and Oscar Isaac), not terrible direction by Hossein Amini, and pretty good camera work seemed desperately overshadowed by a general lack of planning on the part of... well Hossein Amini sort of shot himself in the foot by writing this script for himself to direct. And his choice of locations generally felt unfulfilling and distracting to everything else in the story. I could never tell where the characters were at any given time. So maybe it does fall on direction...
And I suppose this is a more flawed film than I initially wanted to let on. But it's the little mistakes here and there that could easily have been fixed to make a solid Third Man type of flick. Unfortunately for everyone involved, it feels less like that wonderful piece of cinema, and more like a compilation of weird cellphone pictures from a rather disjointed vacation with a few celebrities in them.
Believe me, I would not have watched this movie if it wasn't one of the few options I had on a thirteen hour flight.
And sitting there, trying to keep my focus on the movie still managed to be tough because... well... it was really truly awful. Legit. Pompeii is a molten (pun absolutely intended) pile of steaming shit. Paul W.S. Anderson is still making movies somehow. And they are not ever going to get better. I think he's made that clear at this point.
The awkward thing is, this director (the guy responsible for Alien v Predator) still manages to get some interesting B and C list actors to join his projects. I love Game of Thrones, so of course I wanna see Kit Harrington succeed. But he certainly didn't do anything to warrant my affections here. Similarly, Emily Browning just didn't have any presence in this flick. I like the energy she's brought to other films, though I'm starting to wonder if I haven't been brainwashed by how much I enjoyed her in A Series of Unfortunate Events. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is another one of those guys I want to like, but every step of the way he seems to throw a wrench in it. Like when he quit Lost to go write, direct, and star in his own life story. How'd that work out for you dude? And then there's Kiefer Sutherland. Why did he do this movie? He certainly doesn't need the money. Yet he seemed rather content to put up one of the most abysmal performances of his entire career... for what?
Ugh. In my estimation, all of these actors are better than this. But that's just the power of a bad filmmaker. Paul W.S. Anderson needs to stop making movies. And I'd advise everyone to just not even go to the theatre when these things come out. It's not worth your money just because you may be a little curious.