Writer-director Noah Baumbach once again taps into a specific point in life with astute observational skill, even if the plot feels oddly forced. The vividly defined characters continually surprise with their awkward honesty, although this comedy-drama suffers from the contrived plotting of Greenberg (2010) rather than the free-spirited joy of Frances Ha (2012). Still, people on the cusp of middle age will find it hilariously, and worryingly, resonant.
In their early 40s, Josh and Cornelia (Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts) feel like everyone is judging them for not having children. And Josh has the additional pressure that his filmmaking career has stalled: he has nothing to show for eight years spent on his latest documentary. Then they meet 25-year-old aspiring filmmaker Jamie (Adam Driver) and his wife Darby (Amanda Seyfried), who inspire them to recapture their youthful interests in art and culture. Even their sex life begins to perk up. And Jamie encourages Josh to make progress on his movie, just as Jamie gets his own project underway, consulting with Cornelia's well-established filmmaker dad (Charles Grodin). But is this trans-generational friendship appropriate?
The fact that they even wonder that gives away Baumbach's own perspective, especially as he fills the film with witty contrasts that work a little too hard to make the point. For example, Josh collects CDs and DVDs while Jamie collects LPs and VHS tapes. Continual touches like this add lots of clever observational humour, although they also make everything feel a bit cartoonish and over-constructed. Plus of course the nagging sense that there's a right and wrong way these kinds of things should play out. Thankfully the dialogue is fiendishly smart, delivered to perfection by the gifted cast. And it helps that each of the actors are willing to be fairly unlikeable in his or her role, although Stiller is sometimes sent over the top with Josh's inexplicably harsh reactions to everyone around him.
Continue reading: While We're Young Review
Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts) are a middle-aged married couple struggling to keep up with their quickly ageing bodies and still feeling like they're in their twenties. They're tired of pretending to be grown up and the thought of having children becomes an evermore difficult decision. Filmmaker Josh soon meets a 25-year-old couple named Darby (Amanda Seyfried) and Jamie (Adam Driver); a couple that still have their whole lives ahead of them and bathe Josh and Cornelia in a comforting wave of nostalgia. Cornelia has reservations about spending their time with people so much younger than them, but it soon becomes clear that their presence has given Josh a new lease of life and made them realise that they don't have act the age they're expected to act, and they are free to let go to; that is, at least, until Josh is diagnosed with arthritis.
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"All the world's a stage, and the men and women merely players". Or so thinks Simon Axler (Al Pacino), a washed up aged actor who struggles to distinguish real life from the stage. With no money and all but no dignity left, his agent is desperate to help him get a new job advertising. Then he meets Pegeen (Greta Gerwig), the daughter of a close friend. As his flirtation is returned, Simon is more than confused to discover that Pegeen is a lesbian. Through a web of hilarious deception, Simon is warned to stay away, yet his odd relationship with Pegeen blossoms into something both self-destructive and moving.
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New parents Tom (Zach Braff) and Sophia (Amanda Peet) are proverbially chewed up by New York City and spit out to Ohio where perennial job hopper Tom takes a position at his father-in-law's ad agency. While Sophia copes with being a stay-at-home mom, Tom finds friendly -- then fierce -- office competition with Chip (Jason Bateman), an account executive and former flame of Sophia's who earns sympathy from the world because he is confined to a wheelchair.
Continue reading: The Ex Review
Continue reading: It Runs In The Family (1994) Review
The film opens with amazing promise: Immediately dazzling us with a plethora of Hollywood in-jokes (the poking of fun begins with Kermit and Fozzie mocking the opening credits). A musical number ensures us of the myriad thrills and chills that will soon arrive.
Continue reading: The Great Muppet Caper Review
And so it did to Mike Nichols and Buck Henry, collaborators on The Graduate who conspired once again to make one of the greats of cinema. While Catch-22 has none of the cachet of other war movies (and we'll get to that...), it's by far one of the best out there, ranking with Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, and Apocalypse Now as one of the greats.
Continue reading: Catch-22 Review
The long-awaited fourth season of 'Peaky Blinders' debuts later this year, with Tom Hardy now confirmed to reprise his role as Alfie Solomons.
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Writer-director Noah Baumbach once again taps into a specific point in life with astute observational...
Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts) are a middle-aged married couple struggling to keep...
"All the world's a stage, and the men and women merely players". Or so thinks...
Jesse Peretz's stitched-together comedy The Ex casts funny actors and provides funny scenarios but rarely...