Thursday, February 11, 2010

Closer


Jude Law and Natalie Portman in a scene from the film

I watched this film a couple of weeks ago and have been trying to think of what to say about it ever since but I literally have no words. To quote Seinfeld, "I'm speechless. I have no speech."
I guess all I can say is watch this film and be amazed!

Rating: 4.5/5

The King



Gael Garcia Bernal chilling in the church

Well whenever you watch a film containing incest themes, it's bound to be fucked. It's also kind of funny that after watching Junebug I happened to fall upon this film as it also features a white-christian-american family who are in denial about reality. Like Junebug, someone comes into the family and mixes things up a bit but in this case it's Gael Garcia Bernal as the character Elvis.

Elvis is the long lost son of the Father of the family who is actually a Pastor of one of those churches where they love to sing Christian rock songs and praise Jesus. Just think of the film 'Saved' and you're there. So of course Pastor David is very unwelcoming of Elvis and warns his family not to speak to the young man fresh from the navy. But David's daughter Malerie ends up seeing Elvis behind her father's back and forms a relationship with him not realising that he is in actual fact her half brother (yeah there's the incest theme!)

I didn't quite buy this film. I mean Malorie is all about loving God and the christian faith but then after not knowing this Elvis guy for very long she already starts having sex with him and without no explantation as to why they just get straight into it and continue to do so. Barnel's character isn't quite believable and there just wasn't enough character development for all characters. Sure there's always something suss about the Pastor's long lost son but he does go about things rather oddly.

I don't really know what to make of this film. It did have me drawn in and I wasn't all that convinced by the story or the characters. I think also seeing Barnel play an oddball is just too strange, I couldn't help but think of him as the adorable St├ęphane in 'Science of Sleep.' It isn't really everyones cup of tea and not really mine.

Rating 2.5/5

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Junebug


Amy Adams in a scene from the film

I discovered this film at work one day. Every now and again when it gets quiet I like to browse the shelves and discover a hidden treasure. When I saw this one I was immediately drawn by the title and the pictures on the cover, "Could this be Miss Honey from my favourite childhood movie, Matilda?" Sure enough it was, except in real life she goes by the name of Embeth Davidtz. That night after my shift had finished I decided to watch the trailer for the film on YouTube and was so intrigued that I bought it the very next day.

Junebug is utterly moving. All actors in the film are completely engrossing playing rather unique but honest characters. The film is set in North Carolina where a typical small-town, American family live and are about to meet their son's wife (Davidtz). Davidtz has grown up all over the world and works as an art dealer; very far from what the family are used to. Their other son played by Ben McKenzie is very quiet and often keeps to himself, whilst his highschool sweetheart, (Amy Adams) gets easily excited by anything and always has a smile on her face. Adams is the star of the film, her performance is outstanding as the character who is the glue of the family, trying to keep it all together.

Despite the setting of Junebug being one that you can easily set up stereotypes for, it pulls out these realistic, believable characters that you don't usually get out of a small-town film. Sure they praise Jesus and are very closed-minded about things but they are just very real. There's something somewhat depressing about their small-town lives, and when Madeleine, the daughter-in-law comes to visit their inadequacies are slowly revealed.

I loved the realness of this film and the choice to show two parallel worlds that come together. It had its share of quirky moments and often saddening scenes and overall I felt very humbled by the film.

Rating: 4/5