Tag: Adam Driver

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

The Meyerowitz Stories (New And Selected) is not a movie I was jumping in my car to see. I mean, just look at the title. You don’t have to know anything about it to realize how much of an indie movie it must be, and how many hipsters must have died to make the production.

But it is a new one coming to Netflix, so those are usually surprising to me in quality. I have seen a lot of stuff on there that I have hated and quickly loved while watching.

The other factor is the director, Noah Baumbach, king of the Hipsters himself. He has about a 50% success rate from my point of view, so I was ready to be wow’d or annoyed.

Family
The way they sit reminds me of an Olympic medal podium.

Harold Meyerowitz (Dustin Hoffman) is a slightly eccentric retired sculptor. He never really got famous from his work, but he feels famous in his heart. He worked as a professor at a college in NYC to pay the bills and get a decent living that way. He has had several wives and spawned three kids, but he does not love them equally, especially due to the fact that they never really seemed to inherit his artistic talent.

Or at least that is what Danny (Adam Sandler) thinks, his eldest. He has a daughter of his own (Grace Van Patten), about to go to college, and he is recently divorced and about to be homeless. He was a stay at home dad, he played the piano, but he again was never really famous. There is a sister too, Jean (Elizabeth Marvel) who is sarcastic and tries to not hang out with her parents too much.

And their youngest brother is Matthew (Ben Stiller), born of a different mother, and clearly the favorite kid. He was encouraged the most and constantly looked after unlike his older siblings, but he still didn’t become an artist. He went and got a real job, making real money, but a job that doesn’t really have much a soul behind it. He also moved far away to California.

Basically, this film is about the children dealing with their lives from their emotionally abusive father, always feeling like let downs in their eye, as he himself is getting older and thus about to leave this world.

Also starring Emma Thompson, Judd Hirsch, Rebecca Miller, and Adam Driver.

Dad
The movie increases the facial hair game of several of the actors.

Like a lot of Baumbach films, the acting is definitely top notch. I have rarely seen Sandler better. Marvel carried her own wait with a very unlikely character for her, and Hoffman is kicking a lot of ass in his old age. Stiller is one of the few roles that doesn’t feel like a lot of acting, and mostly just Stiller feeling like Stiller. If anything, this film is worth the watch for the acting.

The plot isn’t as good as the characters in the story. We have some nice dialogue, and a lot of backstory, but we don’t get to see a whole lot happen on the screen.

But really the reason it is just left in okayland is due to the ending. It just began to drag, going further and further into the aftermath portions of the film and it took awhile to just stop. That is how I will describe the end. It just stopped. It was not worth the wait of what felt like multiple good stopping points to get to the actual ending.

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) has an elitist title about a few people who most would consider to be in the elite class. It just fails to live up to the characters it created.

2 out of 4.

Logan Lucky

Steven Soderbergh is a sunuvabitch. And I mean that in a loving way. After finishing strong with Side Effects and Behind The Candelabra, he said he was retiring from directing, and the world was sad. Sure, he gave us some of The Knick, but it wasn’t the same.

And then I saw a trailer for Logan Lucky. Soderbergh. Was. Back. He didn’t last long in retirement, a project pulled him out, described as a sort of redneck Ocean’s Eleven.

I didn’t need to see the trailer multiple times. I didn’t have to look at the cast list with glee. They just had to tell me that SS was at the helm and I knew I would not be missing that film.

Speedway
Also, add in one of the greatest known actors to man, then you are just asking for Oscars.

In West Virginia, part of the Blue Ridge mountains, with the Shenandoah River, bunch of country roads that are basically heaven for the inhabitants, live the Logans. A family that some individuals think are cursed or unlucky. There is Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum), the one who was going to be a big football star, but got a leg injury leaving him with a limp before he could make it big. He also was fired recently as a construction worker in NC, so there is that. His brother is Clyde Logan (Adam Driver), soft spoken, ended up going to the Army after his brother’s accident, and in Iraq, he lost his hand and part of an arm. Now he is a bartender. Their extended family has some issues too, but their younger sister, Mellie Logan (Riley Keough), has been relatively unfazed and is a hairdresser.

Anyways, Jimmy has a family. Notably, a daughter, (Farrah Mackenzie) and an ex-wife (Katie Holmes), and he just wants to do right by them. But getting fired, not being rich, these are big problems. So he has had it. He wants to steal from a vault. He needs a giant payday, and from his construction, he knows how the money is moved at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. He has a big plan and everything to get the money and out without people knowing about it. Heck, he is even going to pick a small weekend where there is little security and not a big monetary loss to the company. They aren’t bad people, they are just…unlucky and in hard times.

They just need some help. And they want to enlist Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), a man from that area who is knowledgeable about getting into vaults. But he is also in jail. So they need to break him out, do a heist, and break him back into jail without knowing he was gone. Ah yes, good times.

And rednecks. Good times with rednecks.

Also starring Seth MacFarlane, Sebastian Stan, Brian Gleeson, David Denman, Jack Quaid, Jim O’Heir, Katherine Waterston, Hilary Swank, and Dwight Yoakam as the warden.

Incarcareted
No touching!

This film was very hard for me to review. Days later it still has resonated with me, one touching scene in particular. It has brought me closer to John Denver more so than any other film before it. You know how these movies work. Have a dad, have a relationship with his daughter, have touching moments, and you will have me there in the theater crying.

I love the cast. I love how into the characters everyone was, no matter how big or small. I loved how everyone played it straight. They weren’t mocking southerners, they were embracing the culture. Sure it was amusing, but it was still handled with a lot of class. They were just people trying to do something for their families and not trying to hurt anyone along the way. They were good people in somewhat extreme circumstances. And everyone was just so good at their roles. Even the people who were dicks.

Before I forget, this film also featured the BEST Game of Thrones reference ever in a film. It was something that made me cackle with glee. To be honest, the list of “films with Game of Thrones references” is probably pretty short, but no way could anything before have topped this one.

BUT YET THERE IS SOMETHING THAT IS HARD TO DESCRIBE. There are slower moments. There are things rushed. There is confusion at just how far away they live from Charlotte. I have to assume like 3-4 hours, which makes the timing of this film a bit awkward and harder to grasp. The later reveals of heist didn’t feel as extravagant as I had hoped. And the ending just sort of ending.

It isn’t the perfect film that my mind has made it out to be. I still can love it, I can accept its faults, but that makes me put an honest rating. You know, a brain rating and not just a rating in my heart.

If my heart was rating this film, it would maybe be a 5 out of 4.

3 out of 4.

Paterson

Paterson is a film that came out in 2016, near the end, a limited drama, that I totally missed. A few of my friends put it on their best of the year list. And I totally missed it. I feel so ashamed.

Ashamed specifically because it played in my city in advance with the director attending to do a Q&A.

But I am mostly ashamed because Adam Driver has been in some pretty solid “indie” films over the years, you know, the ones that aren’t Star Wars. In reverse order, he was in Silence, Midnight Special, What If, Inside Llewyn Davis, and of course Frances Ha!

I should be jumping out of my shoes to see an Adam Driver film. Jumping out of them really far. Super far. Way up there. You know where.

Man
In OUTER. SPACE.

Paterson (Adam Driver) is a bit of an odd man. One may even say he is a character worthy studying. He is named Paterson, and he happens to be born and raised in the city of Paterson, New Jersey. Hooray parents! Speaking of Paterson, there is an epic poem named Paterson, written by real life poet William Carlos Williams, also from that city.

That doesn’t seem relevant, but that is because I forgot to mention that Paterson, too, is a poet! He has a secret little poetry journal where he works on his craft. Occasionally he will tell his wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), one of these poems, but he is very secluded when it comes to the poems. You know, they are not ready yet.

You can’t make a lot of money as a poet, especially if no one sees your work. His actual day job is a bus driver, the master of his route, allowing him to overhear on many strangers’ conversations that can inspire his work. He talks to the same coworkers, and always stops by the same bar to talk drink and talk to the bartender, Doc (Barry Shabaka Henley).

Paterson has a very simple life. He is a quiet man, and this is about a week in his life.

Also starring William Jackson Harper, Chasten Harmon, Rizwan Manji, and Masatoshi Nagase.

Woman
Here you are slaving over poems, and your wife has shit on her face. Your home life is a wreck!

This film is definitely a character study, like I was told and warned. I was a bit afraid that the film would end in some way showing that his whole week is some strange loop that he is stuck in, because yay sci-fi. But no, it was just a week in his life. I was worried as the days went by that something terrible and drastic would happen to him. A death, a break up, a new baby, an accident, just something. But most people don’t have major events happen all the time in his life, so it is realistic in nature.

And sure, technically a major event does happen, but not one you would expect at all. A smaller tragedy, and one Paterson handles exactly as you would expect his character to after being with him over the previous 90 minutes.

Paterson is realistic. It is well acted and Paterson is clearly a character not Adam Driver just hanging out. His wife is an interesting character as well, and the side stories he overhears and interacts with are interesting blurbs about characters we will never see again. I thought the ending was a cute moment as well.

But overall, I never really fell in love with the movie. It never really drew me in. I was always an outside observer and didn’t have a lot of personal attachment to the story. Oh well Adam Driver, you had to have an okay review at some point from me.

2 out of 4.

Silence

What’s that? Do you hear that? Shhh, listen!

That’s right, that is the sound of Silence, blistering in the wind.

It is also the sound of Martin Scorsese, old and still not giving a fuck. He is making movies that he wants to make and he is making him epic. When his last film came out, The Wolf of Wall Street, it was hacked down to 3 hours from a much larger length. And the same was true for Silence.

It ended up around 2:41, making it just a few minutes shorter than American Honey, and thankfully the only two films to be pretty darn long this year. But on average, the movie lengths have still probably gone up. You know, thanks to the behemoth that is O.J.: Made In America.

Priests
And this is just a sign of the behemoth that Garfield’s hair will become.

In the mid-1600’s, we meet a couple of priests, Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Garrpe (Adam Driver). They are young and have strong hearts for Jesus in their Monastery in Portugal. From another Father (Ciaran Hinds), they find out that Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson), their former mentor and teacher, was still alive in Japan.

But he was no longer there to try and and convert a nation. He apparently has actually denounced his faith and is living there a Buddhist now. Shocking rumors, for sure, but his last letter was from a long time ago, and about Christians being tortured and killed.

Strong in their faith, the two priests decide to head to Japan, a very anti-Christian nation. Not only to find the missing priest, but to see what became of his life, try their best to not get killed, and also maybe restore Christianity to the nation that was flourishing with followers just decades ago.

Including a major role from YĆ“suke Kubozuka as Kichijiro, a secret Christian with a weak mind, Issei Ogata as the main Inquisitor, and also Tadanobu Asano, Shin’ya Tsukamoto, and Yoshi Oida.

Guy
Speak softly, confess frequently, and carry a regular sized stick.

Silence, despite its gargantuan length, starts captivating very early on. You don’t get bogged down in Portugal. After two quick scenes and Ferreira’s letter, our boys are in China, meeting a guide to the island. And once there, they are basically smugglers, only able to come out at night, not sure who they can trust.

It is just a very tense film where it feels like anything can happen. Loosely based off of a real individual, the story is very personal and it made me start to feel like I was there with the priests. By having the point of view specifically with Garfield’s character, all of the fears and mysteries are revealed when he finds out the truth. The truth about Ferreira, about any of his friends when they are away, about who to trust, just everything. It is a great journey, even with large swaths of it involve him hiding up in some cave or shack or building.

The film also features some incredible shots of jungles, mountains, and seas. It is fully immersive in 1600’s Japan and creates a wonderful experience regardless of the story.

And yes, it is a film about Christianity and how right or wrong religion is at certain parts of the world. And no, it is never a problem. This year was a great comeback for “Religious films”. Yes, we had God’s Not Dead 2 and I’m Not Ashamed, the normal cheesy crap. But Miracles From Heaven ended up really average, which is something positive. And along with Silence we of course had Hacksaw Ridge.

Can you believe it? In a span of a few months, Andrew Garfield starred in two extremely good religious films about Christianity and someone sticking to his faith and principals against incredible odds and struggles. What the hell are the chances there, that two films like that, could get 4 out of 4’s? This is the direciton the genre needs to go, and Scorsese and Gibson gave a giant push in that direction.

4 out of 4.

Midnight Special

Quick, it’s midnight, what do you do? I tell you what I do. I sleep.

But for some people midnight is something special. And yes this poor intro was just a way to say the title Midnight Special, but it isn’t going to well.

Before the film, I knew nothing about it outside of the director, who has recently directed Take Shelter and Mud. I loved Mud! That means I might like this one too!

Boy
How old do you have to be for this potential Halloween costume to come off as creepy?

Alton Meyer (Jaeden Lieberher) has gone missing in Texas. An Amber Alert has been issued statewide, strangely with no picture, but a good description and a picture of the man who probably took him. Roy (Michael Shannon)! Sure, Roy happens to be his father, but that is besides the point. That boy needs to be found and they will put a lot of resources into it.

Hell, even the FBI is involved. That’s how serious this is. The boy was taken from a place called The Ranch, which is a bit of a religious cult. They hold sermons at night, led by Calvin (Sam Shepard). They think the boy is their messiah and that judgement day is coming soon. He has glowing eyes and gives people emotional visions that make them think everything will be alright. They send a few people to find him (Bill Camp, Scott Haze), where the FBI has an NSA member (Adam Driver) conducting the search.

Roy has a childhood friend helping him, Lucas (Joel Edgerton), and along the way also running into Sarah (Kirsten Dunst), Alton’s mom. They believe their boy is sick and the only way to help him is to get him to a specific location and time, based mostly on a whim. They have to travel only at night, with a whole mess of people with guns trying to stop them.

Also featuring smaller roles for Paul Sparks and David Jensen.

Dad
Yes I did say travel only at night. This movie isn’t called Noon Special.

I have a staggering weak knowledge level about sci-fi movies from the 70’s-90’s unless they were aimed at kids. This is a film that feels like it is full of allusions and I understood probably none of them.

The good news is that I didn’t have to catch any allusions (because, there also might be none, fuck if I know) to enjoy the pants off of this film. By the end, I felt such sorrow and joy simultaneously, and there aren’t many films that can pull it off. It is just a beautiful film, from the acting, cinematography, to the arguably simple story. Parts of the film do feel like a mystery, but the point of the film isn’t to answer all your questions but to take the viewer on the ride with the boy and be amazed and full of wonder. Jeff Nichols, the writer/director, feels like an older and wiser Damon Lindelof despite being five years younger. The mysteries and secrets are important for the story, not just shocking viewers.

And really, when it comes down to it, his is a film about a father afraid to let his boy off into the world and become his own person. Their journey is very emotional and every line delivered from Shannon you can feel/se the pain and sorrow in his voice and eyes.

Midnight Special is probably this years Ex Machina. A beautiful sci-fi film that doesn’t get enough attention, although this one is a lot more broader in its scale and reach. I know for certain I might never look at a sunrise the same way.

4 out of 4.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Here is what I can tell you:

This review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be super unbiased. Why? Because I am not a hardcore fan boy of the series like most critics I know. I didn’t watch the original trilogy over and over as a kid, and didn’t even see them as an adult. Each film of the original trilogy I have only seen once, and honestly, I get why they were popular then, but think most of it is just nostalgia a la Tron love. Tron is technically terrible, it just did something no other film did before it, so it was a big deal and loved for that reason. If I saw Star Wars as a kid, I might be hooked as well.

I am not saying I hate Star Wars, as that would still be biased. I am just very neutral and ambivalent towards it. I liked KOTOR as a game, so that is one thing I enjoyed. And yes, Episode III might be my favorite Star Wars film, solely for the ending magma battle and shouting.

Here is one more thing I can tell you:

No, I don’t think this review will have a ton of spoilers. I didn’t watch any trailers myself to keep it completely fresh in my mind. I waited days after its released and walked through the internet like a minefield to keep my take on it fresh, despite the news stories of its success. I wanted to wait, so I could watch it in an enjoyable way with a small crowd to not sway my opinion one way or another. Will I reveal basic plot points? Of course, but if that is a spoiler, then fuck me, everything is a spoiler.

Run
This is how I be dodging spoilers on the internet.

Set 30 years after Return of the Jedi, shit has once again hit the fan. Remember Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill)? Yeah, he was a big deal. He has been missing for a long time now though and might just be the last Jedi. Turns out there are still bad people. They aren’t the Empire anymore, they are the First Order. And they are looking for him.

So are the Resistance, which is of course led by Leia (Carrie Fisher), a General now. You can’t really call yourself a Princess anymore when your only claim to royalty blew up in the first half of A New Hope.

Either way, she sends her best pilot down to Jakku on hearing that there is a clue to his whereabouts. You’re thinking Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbaccca (Peter Mayhew)? Hell no! We’re talkin’ Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac)! He is like the new Han Solo, I guess.

And that is the plot outline basically given to us by the rolling credits to start the film. Since I don’t want to freak anyone out. First Order bad. Luke is gone. And more question marks.

But there are still new characters! Rey (Daisy Ridley) is the new Luke and Finn (John Boyega) was a storm trooper, and also New Luke. I guess. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is new Darth Vader and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) is new Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin.

Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) is new Yoda, Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) is new Palpatine, and Anthony Daniels is still C3P0. Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) is a silver storm trooper commander, and I guess she is just a new thing completely. But she has almost no real reason to be in this film, to be honest.

Old
Princess Leia really let it all go for this film.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an entertaining film. It has likable characters. The new people seem to mostly be the focus, determined to tell their own story, and not let a bunch of old people steal their spotlight. What I might have loved the most was that it felt a lot more “realer” than the prequels. It didn’t feel like a giant CGI fest. It involved actors really running through sand. Real sand!

And sure, I liked Rey. This series will catapult Ridley into super stardom, I can feel it. I liked the Poe and Finn bromance. I really liked Poe. I liked Poe a lot more than I would imagine for someone who is just a pilot. Damn you irresistible Oscar Isaac. Even the new R2D2 was cool.

I didn’t like Kylo Ren when he took off the mask though. No offense to Adam Driver, who I tend to enjoy in his other films, but the look he had with the long hair made him just feel so un-intimidating. His characteristics, technically realistic, but not currently as BAMF as I had hoped. The storm troopers themselves were better. They had personalities, they could hit targets, they had various weapons, and obviously, one of them gained a conscious.

Bad guy
He does have the most sensical lightsaber at least.

But then. Then there are other things. Things not as good as those first things.

Of course a common complaint is this whole thing just feels like a rehash of events from the original trilogy. Some people would argue they are just a homage or mirror of events. Others will just call it lazy fan service / heavy winking. I am on the latter. This didn’t feel like a completely new movie. I mean, fuck, they already did two Death Stars. This time we have a really really really big Death Star, with similar dumb weak points with even more who gives a shitness.

Not everything is well acted. Some scenes are cringey, some seem forced. The worst scene for me to watch was unfortunately a scene between Fischer and Ford, talking about their old love. Neither seemed to be really into it at that moment (Fisher was unfortunately aloof for every one of her scenes), and it didn’t provide the power that it was striving for.

I think what I hated even more about this film is that it didn’t feel like a complete story. Yes, it is part of a trilogy. Yes, trilogies should have an over arcing plot and goal that is being worked towards. But each film in a trilogy needs to have its own beginning, middle, and end, and not leave us with almost literal cliffhangers. The ending to TFA reminded me of the ending of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, which pissed me off so much I still haven’t seen At World’s End. Will I see Episode VIII? I have to, it is my job, but I will go in on a slightly sour note.

In case I wasn’t clear, this film felt like it wanted to set up the trilogy and only hint at what is to come, instead of letting that come naturally through its own story.

TFA is an entertaining movie and one people can enjoy again and again, but it is not movie of the year material when it comes down to all of the bigger elements. I have hope for the future films.

As a side note, I enjoyed a few other things. Like Fisher’s daughter having a small role, and you may recognize her from Scream Queens. It is hilarious that Isaac and Driver are both in this film, when they were last together they sung with Justin Timberlake about not wanting to go to Outer Space. I hope JT is given future consideration for a small role.

And finally, there was a mother fucking reference to Clerks. Clerks, which made many references to Star Wars. Randall was wrong. He said that the average storm trooper does not know how to install a toilet, and that they’d have to hire independent contractors to make the Death Star. But damn it. Those storm troopers do have jobs. (Spoiler)? Finn worked in fucking sanitation!

3 out of 4.

This Is Where I Leave You

This Is Where I Leave You is one of those movies that I really didn’t care about seeing right away. I knew I could wait for it, despite liking quite a few members of the cast.

What was my beef? I call it Jason Bateman fatigue. A lot of people in this movie, but his character gets to be the main character, and for the most part, his last several years of roles have been very very similar. The Switch, The Change-Up, Identity Thief, Bad Words, Horrible Bosses. He is generally an asshole character who likes to make fun of others and has bad things happen to him. Sure he is a dick, but people are usually bigger dicks, so his dick-ness is justified.

Either way, I am super tired of him because he always gets lead guy status, thanks to Arrested Development I guess (which is also the same character).

I am tired of what feels like him lazily acting on the screen. It was fine the first few times, but now I really don’t know why I expected anything other than the dead dove.

Punch
But we have female on male violence, so I guess it can’t be too bad.

Can we look at that image closer? I think I got a stunt double in here or something, because man, that looks nothing like Tina Fey or what I would imagine Tina Fey looks like mid punch.

Mort Altman is dead. He is survived by his wife (Jane Fonda) and four kids. He was an athiest, but apparently he wanted a Jewish ceremony at his death and have his family sit shiva. That is an older tradition where the family literally sits for a week (outside of food/sleep/etc) to talk and honor the dead. People are meant to visit them throughout the week as well, to allow the stories to be said in a more natural way and to pass on the legacy of the individual. I learned about it at first from Weeds.

So we have Judd (Bateman) who is about to get separated from his wife (Abigail Spencer) because he found her in bed with his boss (Dax Shepard). Wendy (Tina Fey) is upset over her husband (Aaron Lazar) for being too busy with work, not able to stay, but also having to deal with kids and former lovers. Paul (Corey Stoll), the oldest, who wants to take over the family business cannot seem to get his wife (Kathryn Hahn) pregnant. And Phillip (Adam Driver) is younger, reckless, and dating a much older woman, a psychiatrist (Connie Britton), who actually was inspired by their family to go into her field.

What? Oh yeah, their family was written about by their mother in a book, so people know all about their lives. In a way, this makes it very similar to Peep World, but no one watched Peep World.

And yeah. Shenanigans. Also with Ben Schwartz, Debra Monk, Rose Byrne and Timothy Olyphant.

Sit
Shenanigans I say!

Overall, This Is Where I Leave You is a typical dysfunctional family comedy film. Maybe with more physical punches between and from siblings, but nonetheless, a lot of this is pretty typical.

TIWILY does attempt to do some things differently. With Bateman’s story line, there are unexpected elements behind it and they were a bit refreshing. But Driver’s plot was incredibly standard, Fey’s seemed like filler, and Stoll’s was underdeveloped.

The best part of the film is actually Jane Fonda! Her character is hilarious and really helps mesh the whole movie together. If you needed a reason to check this movie out at some point, Jane would be your reason.

A lot of it is predictable, a lot of it is okay. Overall, it just feels like too much. None of it feels realistic, to have so many things happen this way in a week, so it is hard to relate to any of the characters, at least from my point of view.

Shh. Go away. Review is over~.

2 out of 4.

What If

What if I told you that sometimes movies are called different things in different countries. That wouldn’t surprise you in the slightest. You knew that.

After all, it is Gojira in Japan, and Godzilla in America. “Hey that doesn’t count, that is just another different language!”

Alright fucker. How about Frozen? We got the clever/unique title, while countries in Europe got stuck with the generic The Snow Queen, which the movie is “based upon” (aka, both have a woman with ice powers and…?). “Well, that one changed its name to appeal to different cultures where The Snow Queen story originated, to get more money!” Okay. Well, I don’t blame them for that I guess. I do blame them for saying it has anything to do with The Snow Queen, but I digress.

That leaves us with the movie for the day, What If. No question mark. It’s original title in Ireland/Canada was The F Word, and for whatever reason that title was found to be too risque or something for American audiences, so we get a much more romantic comedy-esque name to maybe get the ladies in? I don’t know. It is fucking stupid. If I hear it was the MPAA’s fault for alluding to maybe the word Fuck, I will be angry though.

Relationship
See, there isn’t even any fucking in this scene. That would be impossible for them in their positions.

Relationships are hard. Just ask Wallace (Daniel Radcliff), who is finally getting over his ex girlfriend Megan after like, 3 years. So he is going to Allan’s (Adam Driver) party, his best friend. That is where he meets Chantry (Zoe Kazan), Allan’s cousin. They have some intense conversations, both of them a bit awkward, but it is nice.

Also, Chantry has a long term boyfriend of course, Ben (Rafe Spall), which throws Wallace off guard. Normally that information is given earlier in a conversation. But he is fine with being friends. She believes a man and a woman can be friends with no hidden motives. And you know what? Wallace is fine with that too. Fuck it.

Basically, this is a retelling of The Wedding Singer. Chantry even has a sister (Megan Park) interested in Wallace. Wallace is heartbroken after a long relationship ended. Chantry things she is in a relationship forever, but one that might start having issues. And there is at least one wedding occurring, when Allan hits it off hard with Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis).

It just has a lot less music and singing and no Broadway musical adaption yet. I say yet, because we all know Mr. Radcliffe loves Broadway.

Diner
He also loves diners, if you look at every poster for this movie.

This isn’t your grandmothers romantic comedy. This is a a romantic comedy for a more realistic newly mature movie watching crowd. Wait. It is only PG-13? Hmm. I figured it was R, but now looking back, I guess no real cursing or other adult stuff happened.

I say realistic, but in the end, this is similar to a lot of other romantic comedies, just with slightly different approaches. After all, the F word in questions ends up either being “Friendship” or “Friendzone” depending on how you look at the movie. Friendzone is a rather ugly word now, because it is pretty sexist in most cases, and used by people who think that being nice to the sex they are attracted to should eventually lead to a relationship and of course sex. Because not every relationship starts with friendship, a lot start romantically first. Unless its the movies.

So should I punish the movie for going the technically same cliche route of friendship with the intention of friendship leading to something more? Or should I ignore it and enjoy the acting, the chemistry, the comedy, and the ridiculousness of it all?

I like the ridiculousness route. Woo romcoms! Woo What If! A bit of it seemed forced, but I loved how uncomfortable everyone acted when they were forced into slightly romantic situations. I literally live off of awkwardness, and this movie may have extended my life at least 4 days.

3 out of 4.

Inside Llewyn Davis

My main initial complaint with Inside Llewyn Davis is the name. I have seen the title online for months, but no one ever pronounced it for me by an official source. I had to wait til I saw the dang thing to know just how to pronounce Llewyn. And it is like Lue-Win.

Now we all know!

I still have problems spelling it too though, so that’s not going well either. I end up adding like, two extra e’s some how.

Clearly, I was not made for the folk scene.

Justin Timberlake
But clearly these guys were!

Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is a folk singer in 1961, and he is basically living couch to couch at his friends apartments in the Village in NYC. He used to be part of a duo, with a Mike, but now he is a solo artist and basically making no money at all. Sad times.

The movie basically examines a week in his life, trying to make ends meet, trying to not piss off all of his friends, and trying to get rediscovered as an artist to sign a new deal. He also performs at The Gaslight Cafe, which was famous in real life for folk stuff. He is good friends with the owner Pappi Corsicato (Max Casella), which gets him gigs all the time.

Some of his friends include Jen (Carey Mulligan) and Jim (Justin Timberlake), also folk singers, but they are making better life choices and potentially getting really successful. He has a college professor friend (Ethan Phillips) and his hippie wife (Robin Bartlett) as sort of a last resort.

He meets other musicians, like Al Cody (Adam Driver), a deep voiced almost country singer, Troy Nelson (Stark Sands), a simple army man with a simple voice, and Roland Turner (John Goodman), a limping jazz star who wont shut up and his personal driver Johnny Five (Garrett Hedlund).

Basically, it is just a story of poor old Llewyn Davis trying to get by, to make money, to get signed, to be who he wants to be as an artist, and occasionally carry around someone else’s cat.

Cat man
Basically, a great movie for those who love kittens.

A professor of mine described the movie as sort of a O Brother, Where Art Thou? meets A Serious Man, and I’d have to agree. If you know those movies, you might be able to figure out what I mean. If you don’t, go fucking watch the first one right now. Then maybe watch the other one soon after. Eventually. That one is a bit weirder.

Because Inside Llewyn Davis is kind of weird. In a nice way. I liked its weirdness more than I liked A Serious Man.

The music though, was awesome. I already have the soundtrack. The songs are all very soulful and seem from the heart. Well, not the one “pop song” but at least that one is silly and fun to listen to. Huh. Like pop music.

Oscar Isaac really transformed himself for the role. I’ve seen him in a few movies, and I don’t think he has ever gone too deep into a character like this one. I am sure he received some votes for Best Actor.

Although it was an enjoyable film, and one I will definitely buy and watch again, I can’t help but want more. Which is part of the point of the movie. To not give you everything. To make you fill in your own theories with what they don’t tell you. I am not saying I would change anything either, I just didn’t super love it. Just regular like it.

3 out of 4.

Frances Ha

I almost saw Frances Ha two months ago. For real. I was going to drive an hour to see it and do some other things in the capital city.

It was the only movie at the indie theater that I hadn’t already seen, or knew I was going to see shortly after. It was all going according to plan.

Then I ran out of money and said nope. Also, the prospect of watching the movie didn’t appeal to me. I knew it had Greta Gerwig, who is in like, every indie movie now. But it was also in black and white. Ehhh, black and white…

Heyyy
Frances Hi!

Frances (Gerwig) is a 27 year old woman living life in the NYC! Yah! She lives with her best friend, Sophie (Mickey Sumner). They are basically the same person in different bodies and hair colors. Good times are had by them all. Until Frances has to leave her boyfriend and also can no longer live with Sophie.

Shit.

This movie takes place roughly over a year. It is her trying to survive in NYC, without her confidant, as they drift farther, and closer, and farther apart. No one likes losing a friend. But she is getting less work at the dance company, and times are tough.

She ends up finding a room with two men, Lev (Adam Driver), who tried to sleep with her and every other woman, and Benji (Michael Zegen), who would describe Frances as undate-able. She lives temporarily with a fellow dancer Rachel (Grace Gummer, currently on season 2 of The Newsroom). She also will have to move back to California, live in another country, and live in the woods and her old university before she gets back on her always dancing feet. Maybe.

At the same time, Sophie is getting very serious with her boyfriend Patch (Patrick Heusinger) who may be a good guy. Not really sure. We see everything from Frances’ point of view.

Lesbo
Frances Ho?

Fun fact. Greta Gerwig cast her parents as her parents! Ahh! What fun!

Description for the movie was hard. A woman in NYC. But the plot moved really fucking fast. The movie itself is under 90 minutes, so it has a short time frame, but it feels even shorter than that. It flies by so fucking fast.

Why is it fast? The way the movie was cut. Many short scenes, all spliced together to show a passing of time. That’s right. It is basically a shit ton of montages. Without the sports. Whether it be awkward dates, or awkward dinners, everything is quickly paced, and still conveys the appropriate emotions to the viewer.

You will feel awkward, uncomfortable, and sad. Which is great.

It didn’t end up being super artsy. The art direction and black and white was some sort of love song to Woody Allen probably. More importantly, I think that most people who watch this will find their time well spent.

3 out of 4.