Monday, 22 October 2012

LFF 2012 Reviewdump #4: Celeste And Jesse Forever, Song For Marion

Here's The Incredible Suit's final (and frankly redundant, now the festival's over) Reviewdump of the 2012 London Film Festival. It's a bit shorter than the others because I bailed out of The Pervert's Guide To Ideology half way through, having not understood a single word of the first hour. That doesn't mean it's bad, just that I'm a bit thick. Still, at least I'm neither of the lead characters in...

Celeste & Jesse Forever
Two minutes into Celeste & Jesse Forever, two characters are already being so unbearably kooky, driving and singing along to Lily Allen (movie shorthand for "Guys, you are not gonna BELIEVE how unconventional THESE GUYS' relationship is!!!!!") that you'd be forgiven for hoping they crash their car and die in a horrible accident which allows the real leads to be introduced. Sadly, that doesn't happen. In the next scene they're so punchably irritating that you assume it's all part of the film's plan, and that eventually they'll learn not to be so fucking annoying. Sadly, that doesn't happen either.

Instead, they wander blindly through ninety minutes of self-obsessed smuggery masquerading as rom-dram-com, oblivious to the total lack of audience identification caused by moaning about how terrible their privileged lives are while they tinker with yet another Apple product, hang out with pop stars and carry on with their careers as "Trend Forecaster" and "Unemployed but still living better than most people who work 9 to 5 every day".

Painfully hip and unbelievably misjudged, Celeste & Jesse Forever nestles in the LFF's new "Laugh" strand despite only having about one small chuckle. The festival's new head of exhibition Clare Stewart would have won immediate points if she'd relocated it to a new strand of its own and called it "Twats".

Unfinished Song
First things first: if you've ever had a mum, dad, husband, wife, child or grandchild, be warned. This film will make you cry. It will make tears gush from your face like you've been smuggling Niagara Falls inside your skull and your eyes have popped under the pressure of billions of gallons of water. And frankly that's a good thing, because although watching Unfinished Song is like squeezing yourself through an emotional mangle, it's not actually all that good.

Their Royal Highnesses Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave, as two thinly-drawn OAPz, work wonders with an occasionally clunky script. Stamp is grumpy, Redgrave is full of life despite nearing death: so far, so EastEnders. But with this kind of British movie royalty front and centre, any Prince Harrys in the rest of the film can be forgiven. Gemma Arterton, for example, just about manages to hold her own in a supporting role, but can't hope to match her co-stars when she's required to be more than a plot device; meanwhile we're expected to accept some faintly ridiculous narrative leaps for the sake of expediency which even King Terence can't make up for.

Still, if being drained of all the liquid in your body via your tear ducts is your idea of a good time, then Unfinished Song achieves that without mercy. It's just that, short of offering the chance to see two giants of the acting profession embarrass everyone else around them, it doesn't do much else.

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