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Bumper DVD Round-Up

May 29, 2011

A rather successful couple of weeks…


This was not at all what I expected.  I guess the presence of Jonah Hill swayed me into believing this would be a slightly amusing diversion, but ultimately a typical piece of Hollywood fluff.  I should have paid more attention, really.  If I had, I would have considered the presence of Catherine Keener, Marisa Tomei and John C. Reilly, all regulars on the indie scene.  If I had delved even deeper, I would have noticed it was directed by the Duplass Brothers, making their first studio film after a few breakout, low-budget indie hits.  Basically, I didn’t have a clue what I was about to watch, but that made it all the more pleasant.  This is a sweet, sometimes sad, poignant comedy about a lonely man who meets his ideal woman, but has to contend with her somewhat intense son…who has no intention of sharing his mother.  While never mindblowing, this is a film built around a simple conceit and some excellent performances.  Reilly and Hill bounce off eachother brilliantly and Tomei is just adorable, as per usual.  Definitely worth a watch.


Broken Embraces:

I can’t deny that I was a little disappointed with this, but then that’s only because I set such high standards when it comes to Almodovar films.  Of course it looks gorgeous, of course it’s quirky, of course the cast are brilliant (one day I will kidnap Penelope Cruz so I can just stare at her all day long).  But it runs far, far too long for such a simple, melodramatic plot.  Melodrama is great when done right, but drag it out too long and it just gets tiring.  If this has ended half an hour before it did, I would have adored it.

4/5 (it gets an extra mark for Penelope.  I’m shallow like that)

Paris Je T’aime:

It’s been seven years since my last trip to Paris, but I’ve never craved it as much as after watching this film.  Paris Je T’aime captures the essence of the city wonderfully.  Made up of 18 short films, something like this will always split people; everyone will have their favourites or ones they skip over.  Some didn’t hit the mark for me-I didn’t get Christopher Doyle’s ‘Parc de Choisy’ at all, and was surprised to find that the Coen’s ‘Tuileries’ left me quite cold too (despite Steve Buscemi’s best efforts).  However, those moments were few and far between.  The best moments were those with a hint of sadness: the beautiful Catalina Sandino Moreno was excellent in the heartrending ‘Loin du 16e’, Alexander Payne nails the tale of a lonely, middle-aged woman (Margo Martindale) falling in love with her dream city, and Miranda Richardson will break your heart in ‘Bastille’.


The Illusionist:

An animated film that defies the mainstream belief that cartoons are just for kids.  If you’ve seen Sylvain Chomet’s other feature, Belleville Rendezvous, you’ll know to expect exaggerated quirky comedy and stunning animation which leaves the viewer transfixed from start to finish.  The Illusionist combines this with an almost unbearably sad story, as a young girl leads an old man to despair with her unswerving belief in magic.  A lovely film which no animation fan should miss.


Baby Mama:

Finally, an out and out comedy which didn’t leave me on the verge of tears by the end!  Of course, we all know Tina Fey is brilliant.  You may not have heard of Amy Poehler, but she is also brilliant.  Combined, Fey and Poehler are a comedy dream team.  Baby Mama is cliched, but it’s also clever and very, very funny.  Sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and be entertained without having to think too much, and this succeeds in letting you do just that.


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