Tagged: Joe Swanberg

Mini-Review: You’re Next (2011) Shows Great Promise for “Mumble-gore”, Filmmaker Adam Wingard and His Buddies

Crispian (A. J. Bowen) and his girlfriend Erin (Sharni Vinson) are on their way to a family reunion. As they arrive at Crispian’s parents vacation home, they find that there might be an intruder. However Crispian and his dad Paul (Rob Moran) search the house and find no one. Aubrey, Crispian’s mom (Barbara Crampton), is still scared. The next day, Crispian’s two brothers and his sister and their respective partners arrive. Also, some uninvited folks with white animal masks and crossbows. Lucky for the Davisons, Erin is a skilled and badass surviver, ready to strike back.  Continue reading

‘Good’ Movies You Watched Last Week?

The good movies took up most of my viewing time this week: As it should be. I’m thankful for new discoveries, but I have a hard time picking a favorite, having to choose between consistently good quality filmmaking, but nothing sticking out in particular. I’ll do my best, for you.

Showgirls (1995)
– 8 (IMDb 4.3) – Drama, Comedy (USA)
Why does this film get the ‘disappointing re-watch’ label? Quite simply: I revisited Showgirls on monday and it wasn’t as good as I remembered it to be or built up in my mind. It’s still a misunderstood and underrated film I very much recommend, but it’s not the masterpiece I made it out to be. It’s flawed and has some problems. It still deserves to be called good, because it’s a campy/cheese triumph. A great success story and commentary on showbiz. What disappointed me a little bit was the character of Nomi (Elizabeth Berkley) who was a bit annoying and whiny, I remembered her to be totally badass and likable. Guess I was wrong. Still, crazy sex scenes and hilarious dialogue. Some of the cabaret scenes are a bit long, but other than that it’s good fun. Oh, and this is for my American readers: You think you’re pronouncing Versace right, but your not! No offense.

Drinking Buddies (2013) – 7 (IMDb 6.6) – Comedy, Drama, Romance (USA)
The mumblecore aesthetic might have been overly criticized and made fun of (part of it is envy), but Joe Swanberg really came around as a filmmaker and proved that he has got some real talent as a filmmaker. Drinking Buddies is a fun comedy with heart, embarrassing moments (as you’d expect from the sub-genre and the director) and even some genuinely original ideas. Olivia Wilde is the best part of the film in terms of performance, she really made me chance my mind about her: She’s more than a pretty face. Anna Kendrick is good and finally does something different in terms of acting. The boys (Jake Johnson, Ron Livingston) are good too. Horror director Ti West makes an appearance in this, believe it or not. The story follows two couples and their relationship problems. What I especially liked about this film was the ending, because after all the characters go through you’d expect a certain type of ending, but it’s completely different and funny and charming, leaving no questions open. I know, it’s hard to talk about a film without spoilers, but trust me: You’ll love and remember that ending.  Good script.

A Hole in My Heart (2004)
– 7 (IMDb 4.5) – Drama (Sweden)

A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy (1982) – 7 (IMDb 6.6) – Comedy, Romance, Fantasy
This week Woody Allen’s new film Blue Jasmine was released in the US, of course they’re still working on it here in Switzerland. Feeling in the mood for love some Woody, I decided to watch one of the films of his I hadn’t seen yet. “What? You make a top five of Woody Allen’s films and you haven’t even seen all of them?” Well, I’ve seen all of his masterpieces, except for Bananas.. Okay, come on, the guy has made almost fifty movies! So anyway, A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy is a charming, typically Woody Allen type of comedy. Great acting and actors, references to Shakespeare and Bergman, great pieces of music by Mendelssohn and some great nature shots. What more can I say? If you like Woody Allen, I’m pretty sure you’ll know what you’re going to get: Interesting reflections on life, smart and silly laughs and just a very honest, romantic, sweet film. 
Side note: Italian audiences will be familiar with the basic structure of this film, from the annual dose of cine-panettoni (Italian Christmas themed sex comedy) they drop on us every December. If you want to see where they shamelessly copied everything from, turning it into something vulgar and painfully unfunny, check out this film (and Woody Allen’s grandiose catalogue in general) instead. You won’t be sorry, I promise!

As you can see, I ended up giving the ‘Pick of the Week’ title to Lukas Moodysson’s A Hole in My Heart. I was tempted to give it to Woody Allen’s A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, but I had just given him that title last with Zelig. Furthermore, A Hole in My Heart is unfairly underrated (especially on IMDb) and so I wanted to give it some love. Drinking Buddies is a great new release, you should check it out, but it’s nothing really revolutionary and I have a feeling we haven’t seen the best of Joe Swanberg yet. While Showgirls has the highest rating on here, it was kind of a disappointment, but also I prefer to single out first time viewings, instead of re-watches. Enough self-indulgence. See you next week! Enjoy. Bye.