This week I have mostly been watching…

Mistress America

Cementing the fact that Noah Baumbach has found his muse with Greta Gerwig, the pair team up for a third time to produce a modern piece of screwball to rival anything from the classical Hollywood period. Gerwig’s delusionally optimistic go-getter Brooke thrusts herself into the life of her soon-to-be stepsister Tracy (Lola Kirke)-a lonely student/wannabe writer- with hilarious consequences.

It sounds exhausting, and in the best possible way, most of the movie is, as audience and characters try to keep up with Brooke’s life, watching her change career paths seemingly mid-sentence. Kirke provides the perfect foil as the low-key Tracy, who manages to be inspired by her while pitying her at the same time. When Brooke unwittingly inspires Tracy’s latest short story, the film raises some interesting questions on what right Tracy had to turn her life into a tragic comedy of errors. In this way it mirrors Baumbach’s previous film While We’re Young, which looked at the importance of honesty and ethics in documentary filmmaking. Despite these similarities, the film is closer in tone to the director’s 2012 offering, Frances Ha. Linking all three films so effortlessly is quite some achievement.

The two leads bounce off each other perfectly in the opening acts before the film switches to something more akin to a bedroom farce at the home of Brooke’s former best friend/nemesis, Mimi Claire (Heather Lind). It’s very easy to get farce wrong, the writing and comedic timing has to be spot on to really deliver. Thankfully Baumbach has proved himself over the years to be a sharp writing talent and a solid director. The outcome was never in doubt. Mistress America is a real treat.

Mistress America is in cinemas now.

MISTRESS-AMERICA-quad

Pixels

I’ve wasted enough words on this film. Needless to say it’s a tiresome vanity project in which Adam Sandler plays the greatest man who ever lived and his best friend is the President of the United States. Embarrassingly unfunny, horrendously self-indulgent and with an appalling attitude towards women. So pretty much the same as every other Sandler film from the last 10-15 years.

Click here for my full review.

Pixels is on major release now (but don’t waste your time).

Pixels

The Room

I finally got round to watching what is affectionately regarded as the worst film ever made. It works a lot better as a five minute Youtube highlight video than a feature length movie, it’s important to remember that in between every bizarre trip to the flower shop and declarations of being torn apart, there is a painfully dull, soap-opera style plot to sit through.

While it does drag by the end it is still great fun to marvel at all the bizarre filmmaking choices made throughout. It’s a shame no-one had the foresight to document the shoot, as a documentary on the making of The Room would be infinitely more interesting than the end product. That being said I did have a lot of fun, and will most definitely be attending a public screening the first chance I get.

It begs the question what happened to Tommy Wiseau that was so terrible that he felt the need to create such a remorselessly evil villain such as Lisa?

The room poster

Can’t Buy Me Love

It was fiancee’s choice for movie night, and she plumped for this high school comedy from the 1980’s. I tend to avoid Patrick Dempsey films as a general rule, viewing him as the cinematic equivalent of John Mayer, overly smug and insincere.

This is probably the best performance I’ve seen him deliver. He plays high school doofus Ronald, who pays the most popular girl at school to go out with him for a month. What sounds like the main premise of the film is actually over and done with after the first half an hour, with the remainder of the run time looking at how Ronald’s new found popularity changes him.

Dempsey is surprisingly convincing playing the nerd, but with his character acting like an obnoxious arse for two-thirds of the film, it’s hard to root for him. Amanda Peterson is definitely the star of the show. Rather than a two dimensional girl-next-door, it is a layered part that laments the shallowness existence that comes as the price of popularity. She almost single-handedly makes the film a perfectly watchable date movie.

Can’t Buy Me Love is available to stream on Netflix US.

Can't_Buy_Me_Love_Movie_Poster

Marshland (La isla minima)

Alfonso Rodriguez’s dark crime opus has been referred to as a Spanish True Detective, a somewhat lazy and superficial comparison. The plot does sound familiar, two ideologically different cops are sent to a remote and backwater community to investigate a series of grizzly murders. But while Woody Harrelson mainly got annoyed with Matthew McConaughey for is rambling, nihilistic monologues, here, when the beliefs of the idealistic young Pedro (Raul Arevalo) clash with that of his partner, old-timer Juan (Javier Gutierrez)- who may or may not have fascist leanings- their differences reflect the divide facing their homeland in the 1980’s.

The film opens with a series of spectacular aerial shots of the Guadalquivir Marshes where the film is set. Each shot is stunningly rendered in such fine detail to make the interlocking deltas and streams resemble the human brain, arteries and heart. It sets the scene for one of the finest shot neo-noirs ever, with the twists and turns of the narrative and the ferocious love-hate relationship between partners making this an electric watch.

Marshland is in cinemas now.

marshland poster

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