Today’s post is two movie reviews.
I love being associated with KCRW, whom I’ve blogged about in the past if you recall.
Being able to go to movie screenings is a great perk.
In the past two week’s they have treated me to 2 movies. So I’ll review them for your pleasure.
The first movie I saw was called Away We Go, starring John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, and co-starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jeff Daniels and Catherine O’Hara. Directed by Sam Mendes. Considering how much I didn’t like Sam Mendes last film, Revolutionary Road, I was really hoping that this one would redeem my opinion of him as a director.
Luckily for me, I really enjoyed this film. After the first 15 min of the film and me telling myself “this is not Jim, this is not Jim” (from the Office) I was ok. It’s a fun tale of a 30 something couple who finds themselves with child and now are forced to take stock of their lives and make sense of where they are headed. They embark on a cross country journey, seeking a new home and a new life, along the way they encounter old friends and gain glimpses into the personal and diverse family lives of those they encounter.
This movie was adapted from a book, and that clearly shows throughout the film. Yet Mendes makes it work, while you can pick out the chapters and segmentation of the story, you are still drawn to the characters and the over arching path that they are on. the performances are spot on. Maya Rudolph gives a refreshing performance that is both reflective and funny, she carries her character well. John Krasinski is a bit more one dimensional, yet he brings his trademark funny man humor to the party. He adds a necessary timing and lightness to the film in portions where it is appropriately needed.
Many of the supporting characters are a delight to watch, most of them uproariously funny. And ultimately these characters help our forlonged couple sort through a range of emotions, fears, hopes, and dreams as they search to find the right balance, self confidence, and understanding of themselves as they prepare to be parents.
Overall a great little film. I don’t see it winning any awards, or even being all that popular. There’s not real reason to see it in a theatre other than being able to see it now, instead of when it comes out on DVD. The soundtrack I think many will enjoy. For me personally it was a little monotonous, mainly due to my musical preferences. Alexi Murdoch, who is a great musician contributes his own music for the good majority of the film. It sets the perfect tone, only I am very familiar with his work, yet have become tired of it. So that, for me personally, detracted from the film, but I could see it adding a layer especially for those who aren’t as familiar or unfamiliar with his work.
I say if you have time and are looking for a solid film to go see this one while you can. You might have to track it down, but if you like movies that are character driven and fully of laughable moments then this one is for you.
The movie that I got to screen tonight was called Moon. 1st time director Duncan Jones (who happens to be Davie Bowie’s son, soo cool) turns his eye on the sci-fi genre, but not in the way you expect. In a desolate space station on the moon, we find a man, Sam, who is ending his 3 year contract, Sam must struggle to understand himself, his life and his family as the sole inhabitant of the station. Sam’s only companion is a computer named Gerty. Sam is played by Sam Rockwell ang Gerty is voiced by Kevin Spacey. Duncan pays homage to many of the classic sci-fi films of the late 70′s and the 80′s. On a shoestring budget of 5mil, Duncan is able to create an immersive story and breathtaking visuals. With inventive uses of both miniatures and CG overlays, Duncan captures the desolation of space. Without giving too much away, this movie is a great example of a classic sci-fi movie without the need for “monsters” or over the top suspension of reality. It’s very rooted in the mind and the understanding of human nature, set across a space backdrop. The soundtrack was phenomenal, scored by Clint Mansell who is responsible for many of the scores to Darren Aronofsky’s (a director who I love) films such as Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler. It sets a perfect tone for the film. We were lucky enough to have Duncan in the theatre with us and he was gracious to stick around for a Q&A; after the film. He’s a gracious guy was super eager to answer questions and relate to the crowd. For a first film it’s quite a piece of work. This film I could easily see making waves over this year. Possibly even come award season, Sam Rockwell’s performance is spectacular, especially considering what he had to do for the film, you’ll have to see it to know what I’m talking about. And I have even more respect for it, knowing what their shooting was like. This is a for sure go out of your way to see. It doesn’t come out until July, but mark it on your calendar. I appreciate this movie very much, for the scope, for the themes, for the acting, for the honesty, for the cinematography, and for it being a piece of art. Find it, see it, tell others.
That’s the movie wrap. Hope you enjoy these suggestions. Let me know what you think of these films if you see them.