Monday, November 5, 2007

Films of the Weekend

Movie name: Wristcutters, A Love Story
Year of release: 2006
Director: Goran Dukic
Stars: Patrick Fugit, Shannyn Sossamon, Shea Whigham, Tom Waits, Will Arnett, Leslie Bibb, Sarah Roemer, John Hawkes
Genre: Black Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

"Wristcutters" made a splash in the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for the Independent Spirit Awards in 2006, the year that saw "Little Miss Sunshine" dominate through and through, however this is a small gem worth investigating. Using a clever premise, a purgatory for people who commit suicide that is pretty much like our reality, only bleaker, this is a film filled with quirky moments that deliver good laughs. Though at times it feels under-developed, it nonetheless provides a different perspective on the love story that populates romantic comedies.

Movie name: Lars and the Real Girl
Year of release: 2007
Director: Craig Gillespie
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider, Kelli Garner, Patricia Clarkson, Nancy Beatty
Genre: Dramatic Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

After the debacle that was "Mr Woodcock", Graig Gillespie redeems himself with the wonderful "Lars and the Real Girl". Using a wonderful script by Nancy Oliver (whose previous experience includes the wonderful show "Six Feet Under"), Gillespie introduces us to a small community and in particular to Lars, a 27 year old that unable to cope with his feelings, buys a sex doll through the internet and introduces her as Bianca, his fiancee. The way this oddity is presented and the way everyone around Lars adapts to this situation, makes this one of the most interesting and intelligent films of this season.

Movie name: Control
Year of release: 2007
Director: Anton Corbijn
Stars: Sam Riley, Samantha Morton, Alexandra Maria Lara, Joe Anderson, James Anthony Pearson, Toby Kebbel
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

Anton Corbijn has made his name as a photographer of major rock stars in the last twenty years. Very associated with Depeche Mode (for whom he also directed most of their videos) and U2, "Control" marks his feature debut, focusing on another seminal band from the late 70's early 80's, Joy Division (and more specifically his main singer, Ian Curtis). Ian Curtis has been circled as subject matter for a biopic for a couple of years now (Jude Law was one of the names mentioned to play him), but Corbijn opted to cast Sam Riley in the main role. This has turned out to be a really great choice, since Riley does a terrific job in the role, making Ian Curtis a confused and sensitive man (with devastating epilepsy attacks) that really comes alive when performing with his band. Samantha Morton plays Deborah Curtis as a young woman trying to retain her sense of normalcy and creating a family, with a man that is just not there. A film most definitely worth checking out, with a great soundtrack and a beautiful photography by Martin Ruhe.