Directed by Jay and Mark Duplass. Starring John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei, Catherine Keener, Matt Walsh.
THE PLOT: Reilly is the almost-suicidal John, still reeling from the fact that his wife (Keener) left him seven years ago when he bumps into Molly (Tomei) at a party and promptly falls in love. And lust. And, finally, life is sweet once again. Until John meets Cyrus (Hill), Molly’s 21-year old son, who’s still living at home, working on his music. Cyrus quickly proves to be as much Norman Bates as he is Norman Cook, John slowly realising that his beloved “sex angel” is in something approaching an open relationship with her son. For his part, Cyrus is determined to drive a wedge – and a U-Haul truck – between the happy loving couple, as he sets about sowing the seeds of non-love.
THE VERDICT: A comedy that’s as much the Farrelly brothers as it is the Dardenne brothers, Mark and Jay Duplass deliver a curious film about a curious love triangle. The brothers’ first two features – festival favourites The Puffy Chair (2005) and Baghead (’08) – cost $15,000 each to make. This cost $7million. Nonetheless, the duo stay true to their mumblecore roots, letting the actors improvise every scene, and then cutting together their film over many, many months. Dysfunction is hard to get right in comedy (don’t see: The Cable Guy,Observe And Report), but the results here manage to be funny, unsettling and touching. Think Will Ferrell directed by Lars von Trier. RATING: ****
Directed by Floria Sigismondi. Starring Kirsten Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Michael Shannon, Stella Maeve.
THE PLOT: Hollywood, 1975, and, like any hot-blooded young teen, Joan Marie Larkin (Stewart) reckons it’s time she changed her name (to Joan Jett), and started a band. So she approaches budding rock entrepreneur Kim Fowley (Shannon), who hooks Joan up with drummer Sandy West (Maeve), the two budding rock stars soon spotting blonde cutie Cherie Curie (Fanning) at a disco. Fowley takes the Colonel Tom Parker approach to band management, and is soon touting his young female rockers as mad, bad and dangerous-to-know jailbait (Cherie was only 15 when the band started). Which gets them a record contract, and a lot of publicity. But not a lot of hits. And so the fighting starts.
THE VERDICT: Perhaps handled by a stronger film company, this could have been one of the year’s biggest, and coolest, movies. Here you have two hot young actresses (Stewart and Fanning) playing the founders of a cartoon all-girl rock band that managed to rock a few joints and break a few hearts during the punk boom of the mid-1970s before imploding in acrimony, bad management and naff-all royalties. How could it fail? Check the distribution credits.
Director Floria Sigismondi lets the small details do the talking here, the Runaways story a fascinating flash in the pan that, even then, wasn’t so much about the music as the intoxicating, vulnerable, exploited girl power up on stage. The poster features a cherry suspended against a black background? Subtle. RATING: ***
Erin (Barrymore) lives in San Francisco. Garrett (Long) lives in New York. Nonetheless, they decide to give it a go. Being the hip young, wacky couple that they are. But it ain’t easy, when her sister-in-law (Applegate) is anal, and his best friends are, well, typical sidekick assholes.
There wouldn’t have been much research needed for former couple Barrymore and Long here, and there’s definitely an attempt here to do deeper and darker than your average romcom. So much so that, by the end, this feels like (500) Days Of Bummer. Overkooked, and undernourished. RATING: ***
Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. Starring Milla Jovovich, Shawn Roberts, Ali Larter, Kim Coates.
THE PLOT: Alice (Jovovich) is doing battle with the undead when, hey, she bumps into an old friend – her arch nemesis, the so-far elusive Albert Wesker (Roberts), to be more precise. Then there’s lots of running. And fighting. And zombies. And Alice looking hot and bothered. And then just hot. Which bothers me.
THE VERDICT: Paul W.S. Anderson and his missus, Milla Jovovich, reckon they can milk their old action horror franchise one more time here, thanks in part to the return of 3D. Given that these apocalyptic babe on the rampage outings have always played like B-movies, that the fourth and probably far-from-final outing should be in 3D seems fitting. Maybe Anderson can have the next one play only in grindhouses?
It’s as though Barbarella had been enslaved by Doctor Durand-Durand and forced to make mediocre horror outings for the rest of her life. Someone should try snapping their fingers when they get within earshot of Jovovich. RATING: *
THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHTER
Running until the 23rd, Fritz Lang’s mildly masterful Metropolis (Germany/IFI/150mins/*****) comes to us harder, better, stronger, faster, thanks to a major restoration that includes 25 minutes of footage not seen since the film’s premiere back in 1927.
The blueprint for many a later sci-fi classic, the IFI have been screening those films that owe just a tad to Lang’s pioneering outing, with Alex Proyas’ Dark City screening today at 1pm, followed by the Wachowski’s The Matrix on the 18th (at 1.20pm) and Terry Gilliam’sBrazil on the 19th (at 1pm). There’s also a Fritz Lang retrospective underway, and you should get yourself along to Woman In The Moontoday (1pm), The Testament Of Dr. Mabuse on the 18th (2pm), and, on the 19th, M (1pm) and The Thousand Eyes Of Dr. Mabuse (2pm). The fact that the latter two clash means someone in the IFI should be taken to a field and slapped across the back of the neck. Full details on ifi.ie.
TALKIN’ ‘BOUT A REVOLUTION
Running from the 25th to the 28th at the IFI, Before The Revolution is a season of films exploring the radicalism of the 1960s. Curated by critic, poet and director of IMMA Enrique Juncosa, this personal collection sets out to capture film’s contribution and response to the seismic shifts in society during the 1960s. Shifts that took about ten or twenty years to reach Ireland, of course.
The season includes Antonioni’s Blow Up, Godard’s Week-end, Eustache’s The Mother And The Whore, Anderson’s If…, Oshima’s Death By Hanging, and our own Rocky Road To Dublin. Full details on, yep, www.ifi.ie.
JUMPING BACK FLASH
Fans of the Rolling Stones may want to get their ya-yas out next Thursday for a one-night-only screening of Ladies And Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones, a concert film shot during the band’s 1972 North American tour. The film – upgraded from 16mm to Hi-Definition with a 5.1 audio track – now includes a never-before-seen Mick Jagger interview, and will be screened at select cinemas across the country – including Dublin’s Light House – on Sept 16th, at 6.30pm and 8.45pm.