Saturday, 22 October 2011

LFF 2011 Reviewdump #3:
Terri / Martha Marcy May Marlene /
The Artist / Bernie / Curling King

Social misfits and repressive cults are order of the day today, with a little bit of ABSOLUTELY AMAZING SILENT GENIUS thrown in for good measure. Prepare to be Reviewdumped on!

This borderline-delightful indie comedy about an overweight, resigned-to-loserdom school kid finding unlikely friends gets by on successfully non-irritating quirk, John C Reilly having hella fun again and genuine chuckles throughout. That is, until its vastly misjudged booze 'n' pills-based final act, which undoes everything that came before it and makes you wonder if the writers hadn't been at the same stuff while they were sloppily throwing the end of their film together. Sat 22

Martha Marcy May Marlene
With any luck twats like me will soon stop feeling unable to refer to Elizabeth Olsen without mentioning her appalling sisters The Olsen Twins™, because she really deserves to be accepted on her own terms as a terrific actress - especially after Martha Marcy May Marlene, a disturbing but compelling study of what it means to live by other people's rules.

Cutting between Martha's life inside an abusive cult and her attempt to adjust to living with her sister after escaping, the film edges a little too close to Obvious Juxtaposition territory on occasion but always manages to reign itself in without hitting you in the face with another "Look, life outside a cult is a bit like life inside a cult!"

Filling every washed out frame with simmering tension and sinister unease, Martha Marcy May Marlene has an insidious quality that doesn't let go till the audience-dividing final shot, and even then it maintains a pretty firm grip. Could do with a more reviewer-friendly title though, Jesus.
Sat 22, Mon 24

The Artist
You must be sick to the tits of people banging on about this by now, but the annoying thing is that they're all right. It's not perfect (a peculiar soundtrack choice towards the end will pull anyone half-way familiar with great movie scores right out of the story and into the car park), but it is an utterly charming, wonderful piece of cinema in its purest form. I can't claim to have seen everything at this year's LFF - well, actually I could, but nobody would believe me - but if this isn't the best thing showing then I'll eat my hat, your hat and Jude Law's hat from Contagion. I'm that srs. Sat 22

Richard Linklater's gently comedic true story, starring Jack Black as the titular assistant funeral director who becomes peculiarly close to a small town's resident cantankerous old bat, totally belies its director/star pedigree: School Of Rock 2 this is not.

While the real Bernie's story is quirkily fascinating, it doesn't work in this format. Linklater's style and the (mis)casting of Black make it easy to forget it's based on fact, and as a result you spend a long time waiting for something to happen that never does. It's pitched awkwardly between comedy and drama without featuring enough of either, and its chorus of talking heads made up of a combination of real people and actors doesn't help.

Bernie isn't bad, it just never gets out of first gear: it's structured as two halves, and when it threatens to really get going at the half way mark, it instead settles back into a drawn-out fifty minutes as languid as the first fifty. And to waste Shirley Maclaine like this must surely be punishable by thumbscrews or something. Sat 22, Sun 23

Curling King
As good as a Norwegian version of Dodgeball sounds, i.e. not at all. Sat 22, Sun 23

1 comment :

  1. The Artist is brilliant. It is up there on the nominations shelf without a doubt. It deserves to win many prizes. This is in the 'must see'category.