Inside Llewyin Davis: follows a struggling musician for one week in the 1960s New York folk music scene. This film drags. This film is boring. Nothing significant happens. The Main guy is a total ass-hat (stubborn, unlikeable). There’s around 35 minutes of full-song renditions – it’s like a huge folk-music shaped penis being rammed down your throat (and into your ears) around every 10 minutes. Some sections just didn’t know when to end – like the trip to Chicago; it feels like you are in the car with them, but for all the wrong reasons. There are a couple of jokes sympathetically flicked at you every 20 minutes or so to keep you interested, but they’re too few and far between. The only saving grace is that Oscar Isaac (literally comes out of nowhere) and puts every fiber of his lifeforce into the role, and you totally believe he’s there, slogging it out, blaming everyone else and living a groundhog week. From around 30 minutes in I felt like the cat in the movie’ trapped with a douchebag and looking to throw myself through a window at the first opportunity. My final line in the A Serious Man review was: “Very difficult to watch, unless you’re a diehard Coen fan or were Jewish in the 1960s.” – and I’m going to be a lazy toad and change that to “Very difficult to watch, unless you’re a diehard Coen fan or love 1960s folk music.” Talk about niche movies…
In Time: the currency in 2161 is time, and on your 25th birthday you stop ageing… but only have one year left unless you work, beg, steal, borrow or inherit more. Most importantly, this is a well-realised vision of the future, not too ridiculous or unbelievable (Cars, buildings, technology, even the cool designer clothes). The concept is also strong, and quite unsettling that everyone looks fairly young – although not always under 25! Casting’s very clever, JT is more than watchable, Seyfried makes a great damsel with attitude, Cillian‘s a naturally magnetic authority and Pettyfer and his goons make for good pantomime baddies. There’s an interesting parallel/undertone of the current financial crisis, but it’s never the main focus, and due to the subject, there’s also a lot of ‘ticking clock’ situations, which are always visceral. The only downside is that the film has two main settings; standard and turbo. Standard is the great concept/story being played out in quite a mechanical, baggy, and fairly obvious way, however, at least a third of the film is in Turbo mode; the big reveals, pivotal moments and action sequences are all on an air-punching level. Put it all together and you have a well-designed, well-planned, neat, powerful, original and immersive sci-fi film – that’s more than just an update of Logan’s Run!
Bad Teacher. Having seen the trailer, and there being not much else out at the time, a friend and I thought we’d chance a matinée showing to fill in a few hours between loutish drinking in our city’s lovely gardens and heading out in the evening. So the film starts, and it’s nothing but concentrated averageness. Diaz figures out JT has some money dawns some hot-pants & washes cars, keeps trying to woo him… then the credits start?
Turns out there was a lot more to the story, but I had fallen asleep after 25 minutes, only to be woken up by a sharp elbow to the ribs, end credits rolling, and the phrase “that was pretty bad”… I guess it could have been the effect of two Henry Weston ciders, but I believe it’s more likely to be my acute narcolepsy; which is triggered by watching terribly shit films (this has happened one other time).
Alternative plans: my subconscious had clearly decided that sleeping would be more productive than sitting through this. Pre-town powernap!!!
The Social Network: Pretty much everyone with an internet connection has a Facebook page, so here’s the story of how the site came around. The film starts off at 100mph – setting the scene at Harvard; the socialites and outcasts – but it gradually slows to a crawl throughout the remainder of the film, as it gets bogged down with cross-examinations, lawyer oneupmanship, and fairly boring intellectual property debates – in this area, I’ll take The Good Wife any day. Eduardo (Andrew Garfield) is totally standout here, giving a great performance and setting pretty high expectations for anything else he’ll do. The Winkelvii were well-played and brilliantly done (one guy CGI’d). Eisenberg‘s good at walking the tightrope between likeable and loathable, and Timberlake is more of an effeminate pansy cameo than anything else. The scripts pretty tight and razor-sharp for such a wordy affair; there’s also a lot of really deadpan/witty humour throughout – more than the film’s been given credit for. There’s some pretty good moral undertones about power, money, popularity and the whole ‘social networking’ aspect being carved out and placed online. While it is well done, and it contains classic story elements like betrayal, pathos and all the things that should make a story good – the subject matter just isn’t as gripping a story like Zodiac – there’s only so much drama you can pump into the story of Harvard guys arguing over the theft of an idea. Good film, but doesn’t really grab you by the balls.