WANK OR WATCH | Love & Other Drugs
It is incredibly rare that the lead actress goes topless in a romantic comedy. Unless you’re Charlize Theron or another serial boob-barer, ladies tend to keep their breasts in their shirt until they are in a role that people respect so that, by extension, they will be respected for getting naked. So, while Hathaway hasn’t been one to shy away from a topless scene, what possessed her to get naked repeatedly in Love & Other Drugs?
While this is a film about a guy falling for a girl, there is far more unexpected drama in this movie than most. Jamie (Gyllenhaal) is a drup rep who, while shadowing a doctor, meets Maggie (Hathaway) who has been diagnosed with an early on-set of Parkinson’s. This is not What Happens in Vegas! It is a peculiar piece and one that encouraged me to check out the trailer because how do you sell this movie to the masses? Ultimately, they opted to include scenes from almost every sequence that doesn’t involve her condition and then two that do, all the while never actually mentioning what she has. Reason why? Parkinson’s is not a good time.
As it is, Anne Hathaway delivers a strong, compelling performance that, while not Oscar-worthy, exceeds what would be expected in a movie of this sort. Did she need to get naked? I personally do not think so, but having as much sex in the movie without nudity might have been a little strange. Her nudity offers nothing to further the plot or emphasise anything at all with regard to her condition. Sadly, this feels a little bit like a TV special with a bigger budget and better acting, but a TV special nonetheless.
My Verdict: Wank
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MUMBLESPUNK STREAMER | The Pleasure of Being Robbed
Currently available via Lovefilm
This is one of those movies that you watch and instantly have to check the internet to see if other people hated it as much as you did. Within minutes I realised that I was not alone in thinking that this is an utter waste of your time with no redeeming elements and, when it comes in at under seventy minutes, that is some achievement.
Whether it be the kleptomaniac protagonist who is an opportunist in her stealing and so ends up with very little of interest, the way that she and her friends are painted in such individualistic fashion with her ‘playing table tennis when she is shit at table tennis’ and her friend ‘having his duvet suspended above his bed by a pulley for no reason at all’, the narrative that relies on the random theft moving it forward, which unsurprisingly, doesn’t work, or the dialogue being uninteresting, stunted pointlessness, this film seems to be the work of someone with absolutely fuck all to say. In fact, I’d argue that someone who relentlessly films a family holiday to Orlando could cut their footage into something more enjoyable to a wide audience.
When you then add in the irrelevant, dreamlike ending, the learning to drive in a matter of seconds, and cops who, amongst other irresponsible shit, leave their car doors open in the street when investigating something, this becomes a film that illuminates one of the major issues with the mumblecore movement. If anyone can get hold of a camera and make a film then ambitionless, talentless, worthless crap like this can get made and that is a real shame. Do not watch unless you have seen every other film out there.
My Verdict: Streamehhhhhhhhhhh
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MUMBLESPUNK STREAMER | Puffy Chair
Currently available via Netflix US
This was the feature debut of the Duplass brothers in every possible way. It was the first time that they had both written and produced a movie as well as the first time Jay had directed and Mark had acted in one. In this way it reminds me ever so slightly of Bottle Rocket, a film that launched the careers of Owen Wilson as an actor, Wes Anderson as a director and them both as writers. The films are comparable in other ways too, they both feel as though they are featuring lovable and yet slightly effected characters that the film-makers are not afraid to show everyone their flaws because they paint them with such affection. They both also have this energy, this excitement that even in the slower scenes somehow simmers below the surface. Basically, it is obvious that each set of film-makers have a desire and message that they want to convey in film and that pulsates through their respective movies.
That’s where the comparison ends. The Puffy Chair, in true mumblecore fashion, is weak on plot. Josh (Duplass) travels across the country with his tightly-wound girlfriend (Aselton) and his hippy brother (Wilkins) to pick up and deliver a chair that he bought from eBay to his dad for his birthday. The majority of the ‘action’ takes place in the town where they are meant to collect the chair from but this largely revolves around killing time and an unlikely romance. Where this movie differs from regular mumblecore is in the technical aspect. This feels like a properly plotted movie, with a higher level of either equipment or competence in the cinematography and direction, and far better acting. Duplass feels comfortable on screen and the film seems anchored by his performance, while Wilkins for me steals the show with his soft comic touch.
This reads like a glowing review and perhaps it doesn’t quite deserve the level of praise that I’m bestowing upon it, but this was my second viewing of this movie in the last three months and, unexpected to me, it actually managed to improve second time round. If you like Mark Duplass as an actor then I definitely think that this is worth your time.
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REVIEW | Magic Mike
Issues that blokes will have with this movie:
- It’s about dudes stripping.
- The cast has a bunch of fellas better known for rom-coms and chick movies.
That’s it, and neither of those are entirely fair.
This is a movie about strippers rather than stripping. Sure there’s a fair bit of gyrating willies, thonged arse-wobbles and oiled torsos, but this is a movie about the people rather than their jobs and Soderbergh, Reid and Tatum have nailed that. It’s not flashy, it’s not overtly pandering to hen party crowds and it would be as good a movie if it were about bartenders.
As for point two, McConaughey had the Lincoln Lawyer last year, has been in the controversially dark Killer Joe this year already and has The Paper Boy, a movie that shocked Cannes, still to come in 2012. He is definitely doing his best to erase Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past and Failure To Launch from our brains. Tatum has been in The Vow but he has also out-funnied Jonah Hill in 21 Jump Street and his four films this year have an average Rotten Tomatoes score of 68.25%. As for Pettyfer, he still cannot act but he does his best impression of an actor here. Regardless, Tatum and McConaughey are worth the admission price alone here.
This is a really fun, enjoyable flick that worked on an entertainment basis perfectly. The pacing is really good, the direction works perfectly and the whole piece seems very naturalistic. There was one flaw however, and that is how lightweight it feels. It never quite convinced in any facet of the film, whether it be characters, themes or plot, introducing certain elements and then never exploring them in a satisfying manner.
And fellas, if you’re still not sure if this movie is for you, you get to see more boobs than willy, including those of Olivia Munn. You can probably find those on the internet though, right?
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REVIEW | Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
There are not enough movies about regular people at the end of the world. Not sons of scientists (Day After Tomorrow) or amateur astronomers (Deep Impact), but everyday people who can have fuck all impact on the outcome. That’s what we get here when Dodge (Carell) and Penny (Knightley) decide to join forces to live out their final wishes. Unfortunately their relationship often descends into typical faux-indie romance territory and they rely on the audience to keep reminding themselves of the tragic backdrop to elevate it in any way. To reinforce the situation we are treated to an incredible supporting cast along the way and it is when it becomes the world’s last ever road movie that it is at its most entertaining. Whether it be Rob Corrdry and Patton Oswalt rejecting all social and sexual etiquette at a party, Derek Luke attempting to prepare for surviving the apocalypse in military fashion or the excellent TJ Miller and Gillian Jacobs exploring a hippy, free-love lifestyle at a roadside diner, these characters explore the concept of dealing with the end of the world in a far funnier but also realistic fashion.
And this is the movies major flaw, we are forced to stick with these two leads and their relationship when we really want to explore these additional characters and, to an even greater extent, the central concept of normal people reacting to their impending doom. It is telling that the shots of people holding lawn sales or mowing grass are more moving than almost anything that happens between the two leads with the exception of a phone call that Penny has at one point.
The premise of this movie far outweighs the final outcome but that’s not to say that this isn’t an above average movie, because it is. If ever a film deserved to be remade in a few years, this is it.
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