City Island: Centers ’round a
prison guard correctional officer that secretly wants to become an actor, and many other secrets within his dysfunctional family. Despite being a family-based ‘comedy of errors’ (which should be boring by now) this totally works, mostly because of its brilliant little story, that remains interesting, and never loses the pace. It’s also funnier than a lot of all-out ‘comedies’, with a whole heap of scenes and jokes that range from observational to the absurd, to the cringey – peaking in a fantastic audition, and final 15 minutes. Although you usually watch actors trying play inexperienced actors through your fingers Garcia plays a total blinder here, going the full range and nailing every scene. Everyone else in the film is also great, nobody lets the side down. The only minor downer is the convenient-yet-convoluted plot – although the film needs it, and it does work itself out in the end. There’s also a bizarre feeder/BBW side story that isn’t 100% utilised or wrapped up. City Island will no doubt prove to be a sleeper DVD hit, as it’s an absolute stunner of an indie gem, that strikes a great balance between natural comedy and emotive moments.
Somewhere: A successful-but-despondant film star has to spend time with his estranged daughter, they hang out, we watch. This film makes driving a Ferrari boring; it makes Italy look boring; it makes having beautiful women swoon over you boring; worst of all it makes two kinky blonde twins, doing cheeky pole-dancing as nurses rocking to the Foo Fighters boring!! I know this is supposed to be the point but when a character appears to loathe that lifestyle, this reviewer feels no pitty. Sofia Coppola definitely has her own style; unfortunately, it makes me nod off – I genuinely fell asleep twice in the cinema during Lost in Translation, and was so close during this – other punters were more sensible and walked out (and if it hadn’t been the actual ending I’d have walked out after the last scene too). There’s far too many overlong boring shots of mundane non-events. We see some cooking, guitar hero, sunbathing eating, smoking, breathing, empty conversations… it’s essentially a mind numbingly boring fly-on-the-wall focusing on a rather unlikable person. Neither the story or emotions progress, but Dorff and Fanning Jr both do particularly well considering what they have to work with. To top it all off this was sickeningly smug and self-referential; harking back to previous films, echoing a misunderstood celebrity upbringing, and even Sofia’s iPod. This is the rich and famous complaining about being rich and famous. Totally inconsequential, bourgeois, middle class ridiculousness.
NB: If I was that famous I would be traveling the world and having as much fun with family and friends as possible – definitely wouldn’t be a miserable shit like Johnny Marco.