I went on a bit of a film binge over the long weekend and gorged on four movies in one day. It was completely marvellous. From a foreign-film-oscar-nominee to a glossy Meyer rom com, with a British rollick and a Judd Apatow-crew effort for good measure, I truly ran the gamut. Just call me cinematically cultured and be done with it. Or don’t, because I’m clearly not. Anyway …
Whilst less palatable breakfast fare than, say, a chocolate croissant, this film was as brilliant as everyone promised it would be. A damning portrait of village life where everything festered beneath a surface no one wanted to scratch, Das Weisse Band is quietly intense and beautifully shot. Plenty of moments occur just off camera, so we’re allowed to imagine the devastation on a character’s face as he farewells his dead wife, or a child’s pain as they receive ten lashes for misbehaving. And our imagination, as Michael Hanneke so rightly understands, can often be a dark well to draw from.
2pm, clutching a cup of tea on the couch, under a blanket: Easy Virtue
I’ve seen this film so many times, courtesy of pay TV, and it never grows old. An adaptation of Noel Coward’s 1925 play of the same name, Colin Firth, Kirsten Scott Thomas and Ben Barnes join forces to form a suitably eccentric English family still struggling to recover from the emotional and fiscal ravages of war. Coward’s scathing wit and razor sharp social commentary makes it difficult for this film to lose, particularly when handed by Firth and Scott Thomas. The only thing I find myself continually niggled by (during my repeat viewings) is the casting of Jessica Biel as The American whose very existence offends everything old-money England stands for. Biel is competent and hugely watchable … but can’t seem to match the weight of the cast’s heavy hitters. I often mentally recast Rachel Weisz in the role, just for fun.
Merryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Nancy Meyer and California make for a polished, pretty, glossy rom com with substance. There was plenty here to recognise – as one of three children of parents the same age as Alec and Merryl’s characters (who also have three children) – and the family dynamics are well done, without tipping into the classic American over-sentimental territory. Plus the concept of older men leaving their wives for younger women, and those younger women wanting kids when the older men have done that dash, is explored quite deftly. Rather enjoyable.
Funny in most parts, gross (yet still funny) in others, Russel Brand’s accent and adlibbing combined with Jonah Hill’s facial expression and physicality make for two hours of senseless fun. Rose Byrne’s turn as a popstar is tremendous, I sort of wish there was more. P Diddy tried a touch too hard, made all the more evident by how little his cast mates had to try for comedic success – but, all in all, a lot of fun.