Tuesday, 30 November 2010

A Man Who Doesn't Seem To Be Very Fun.

The Coen Brothers' last production, released around this time last year for awards season. Leading up to their next release, True Grit, I thought it'd be an appropriate time to review this. This being, of course, A Serious Man.

At the end of the credits, the film claims, 'No Jews were harmed in the making of this motion picture.' Could have fooled me. A black comedy focused on the life of Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) as he goes through the more difficult times of his life. Divorce, teenage kids, a brother prone to gambling, court cases, lawyer's bills, land feuds and job problems involving bribes and complaints. Not a lot is going well for Larry. In more detail, His wife Judy (Sari Lennick) wants to leave Larry for her lover, Sy. (Fred Melamed) At work, a Korean student is bribing Larry to change a grade and complaints about Larry are flowing into the complaints box. On top of all this he has to deal with his law breaking brother and his teenage kids who steal money from him and just want him around to fix the television ariel. And that is pretty much the movie. There a few side plots: Larry's son Danny (Aaron Wolff) has issues with pot and bullies, Larry's daughter Sarah (Jessica McManus) wants a nose job and the next door neighbour.. well lets just say she has no problem tanning in clear view.
Sometimes, all you need is a hug.

Depending on your sense of humour, you'll either love this movie or hate it. Personally, I found it hilarious. It's so clever, so intelligent, so funny. There's all kinds of humour. There's visual comedy, intelligent jokes, religious humour and just plain funny reactions. The script is so well written but best of all: it's real. The issues that plague Larry are the same things that you or I may face. Okay, perhaps my son won't get high at his bar-mitzvah but it could happen. It's believable. The acting, particularly from Stuhlbarg, is just so good. It makes everything work. The reactions are funny yet real etc.

Direction, like always from this pair, is spot on. The Coen brothers are two of the best directors around at the moment and while this is no Big Lebowski or No Country For Old Men, it is still a brilliant movie. The camera work is so well worked, especially with comedy moments. In fact, the camera shots often make the scene even funnier... In a really good way.
'Teach, you can't be serious!'
'Oh, I'm serious. I'm a serious man.'

And a quick note on the ending, (Fear not, I avoid spoilers if I can... But this will cut it pretty close... No film ruining facts... but if you don't want to know anything about the end, look away,) the claims that the ending of this film isn't any good are completely unfair. The story that the Coens are telling the viewer is over. Like reality, when one story ends, another begins but it is a different story. And, in this case, the end is based on real events. Go use google if you wanna know what happens next.

Oh just go watch it. Stop reading this and go watch it. If intellectual comedy or religious humour isn't your cup of tea, it may not be your thing. But otherwise go watch it.

Best bit? I'm going to pick two. Cheeky I know.
1) Larry's explanation of Schrodinger's cat - with equation and all. (See second picture)
2) When Larry bids Arthur and his canoe goodbye, only to get a horrid shock.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Making Movies Is Easy, Eh?

If you're wondering what film I shall be writing about today, go back and read the title again until you hear the movie name. Can't get it? Okay, it's Easy A.

You fell in love with her as the mysterious but ever so sexy Wichita in Zombieland (review coming soon) and now you'll want to marry her; yes, even if you're female. I'm talking, of course, of the gorgeous Emma Stone. I actually saw this movie before Zombieland. It was her that convinced me to watch Zombieland. She's just that good. More about her later.
The family and their most-certainly-not-adopted son.
The premise of the movie is one that brings the 80's rom-com to a modern audience. Olive (Stone) lies to her best friend about losing her virginity and starts a crazy stream of rumours. Everyone believes her to be a whore so she complies by dressing as one and allowing the rumours to flow. All she really wanted however, is to have a romance just like the ones in 80's rom-coms. Nice post-modern touches here and there on that last point. With a family so adorable you'll want to adopt them and smart jokes in such plentiful supply, the pace never drops and sucked into the movie you shall be.

All round brilliant performances. In particular, Olive's family, who I've already mentioned, where most certainly the highlight of the film, (bar Olive herself.) They had some brilliant moments. A huge congrats to Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci. If they were on screen, you knew something funny was going to happen; you'll be quoting them for weeks. But the absolute best thing about the whole film is Emma Stone. She has unique comic timing, a brilliant wit and and such variety in her performance. Oh, and she's bloody hot. She's one of the most lovable characters in film history and I can guarantee you will be very fond of her by the end of the movie.

I'll tell you, if this was how teachers gave me an A, I would try a lot harder in school.

Direction from Will Gluck is suburb and the soundtrack is fairly good. In terms of technical aspects, it's pretty average. But the script is brilliant. It is so very witty, chucked full of sarcasm and bad puns. "Is there an Olive her?" "Sure, there's a whole jar in the fridge." Oh and who could forget, "There is a higher power that'll judge you for your indecency." "Tom Cruise?" Very well written, Bert V. Royal

I'm running out of things to say. Did I say that Emma Stone is wonderful? I would suggest that you watch this movie. It's brilliantly light and fun. Think Mean Girls... But with Emma Stone instead of a crack whore... Lindsay Lohan... Sorry. Oh, and you'll leave with Pocket Full Of Sunshine stuck in your head.. I've got a pocket, gotta pocket full of sunshine....


Best Bit? Olive's sexy musical number. Every male will be drooling, every female will be jealous they don't have the same effect.