Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Squid and the Whale

The Squid and the Whale is a riveting drama about a disasterous divorce and its effects on a small Brooklyn family. Written by Noah Baumbach, this diminutive drama only has a runtime of 81 minutes and this film seems even shorter because, well let's face it, Baumbach can seriously write a script.

The Berkman family has problems and Baumbach makes these high tension levels between the parents very apparent in his opening scene where the family is attempting at a nice game of tenis. However, this "nice" tenis game is short lived after the father, Bernard Berkman (played by Jeff Daniels), loses his cool and starts off on one of his many-to-come f-bombs and the mother, Joan Berkman (played by Laura Linney), is afraid that Bernard is setting a bad example for their two children: Frank, the youngest son (played by Owen Kline), and Walt, the eldest son (played by Jesse Eisenberg).

These characters created by Baumbach are brought to life exceptionally by all these wonderful actors. In this film Jeff Daniels plays the role of his lifetime. Daniels p lays a washed-up author who cannot seem to decide if he is happiest with his kids or sleeping with the students he invites into his house. Do not let this fool you, Daniels really does play a fascinating character with a viable dilema- his divorce; unfortunately, Daniels will probably be more remembered for his role as Harry Dunne in Dumb and Dumber.

Despite Daniles excellent preformance in this film, it really is the youngest actors in this film who really shine. Owen Kline and Jesse Eisenberg are the true stars of this film. Owen Kline plays the youngest son who has some, along with his older brother, fairly socially awkward moments and he does so with such magesty! Jesse Eisenberg plays the most static of the characters and is the one the audience will relate to the most. Even if an audience member has never had divorced parents, they will still be able to relate to Jesse's character in some other manor, such as a new girlfriend, and this is just some of the beauty of Baumbach's talent.

Baumbach is a very skilled artist in his profession and I believe he deserves more recognition. Maybe if he were to pare himself with some better known actors? I don't know, maybe like Ben Stiller? Oh wait, I do believe that's Greenberg, which I am excited to see now after seeing this film. The way Baumbach actually holds the camera, it shakes just enough to give this drama a much needed spice. Not only does the ever-so-shakey camera keep the audience's attention, it adds to the "shakey" circumstance the Berkman family is in. Baumbach is a master in his art and worked perfectly with this low budgest drama. I definitely reccommend this film for those of you who are into the whole "dramedy" thing.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Ghost Writer

Let me start this review off with a word of advice: for those of you who do not know what a ghost writer actually is, google it, I made the mistake of thinking that it was going to be about a ghost who actually writes books too.

Hands down, my favorite Roman Polanski film EVER (sorry Johnny Depp and The Ninth Gate)!This film stars Ewan McGregor, of Star Wars fame, and his unnamed ghost writer character. That's right, the main character goes this entire movie without ever being named! This adds to the overall mystery of the film and leaves us wondering "how well do we really know our main characters?".

McGregor plays his character with such precision, bringing enough charm and humor The Ghost without having him being too obnoxious. Ewan also exposes the sympathetic side of his character and lets the audience get attatched to him without "getting attatched" to him. McGregor's co-star, Pierce Brosnan, of 'Bond' fame, also shines in this movie. Brosnan does not talk a whole lot in this movie, in fact, you could argue that it is Olivia Williams who is indeed the co-star, not Brosnan. However, whenever Brosnan is on the screen he captures the audience's attention and draws all kinds of emotions from the audience: "do we trust him or do we not? is he a good guy or is he not?" These are the questions Pierce leaves us wondering all the way through the movie.

This film, also co-writen by Polanski, highlights Polanski's best attributes as a director, such as very small camera movements that seem so flawless that the audience probably does not even notice.

The Ghost Writer is a good movie and I definitely recommend this one to fans of the mystery genre.

The Beginning of Something Beautiful

I couldn't think of a catchy attention-grabber, so I'm just going to tell you why I'm doing this:

1. Inform readers about different films
2. Encourage people to see more movies
3. Encourage viewership and appreciation for indie films
4. Encourage viewership and appreciation for older films
5. To push for a greater appreciation for the art of movie making