Producers Bruce Cohen, Donna Gigliotti and Jonathan Gordon pose with the Best Feature award for 'Silver Linings Playbook' - Film Independent Spirit Awards Press Room at Tent on the Beach, Independent Spirit Awards - Santa Monica, CA, United States - Saturday 23rd February 2013
Writer-director David O. Russell's out-of-control filmmaking style is perfectly suited to a romantic-comedy involving mental illness, and he infuses the film with a sparky unpredictability that's echoed in the perfectly graded performances of the entire cast. Cleverly, even though most of the characters are clinically unhinged, they're all likeable and easy to identify with.
Cooper stars as Pat, who has spent eight months in a mental hospital before his mother (Weaver) comes to take him home early. His dad (De Niro) isn't so sure it's a good idea, but everyone's happy to have him home. And since he finally accepts that he's bipolar, Pat is ready to get on with life. But it's not so easy. He's prevented from reuniting with his wife because of a restraining order, so he visits mutual friends (Stiles and Ortiz) instead. And they set him up with Tiffany (Lawrence), who's psychologically damaged in her own way. Recognising similar needs, they agree to help each other.
Yes, the film has a clear rom-com premise, but the characters are so unpredictable that we are never quite sure what they'll say or do next. And it's not like Pat and Tiffany are the only unstable people here: they're just the only ones with official diagnoses. All of which gives the actors almost too much colourful material to work with. Cooper is a likeable, charming presence at the centre, eliciting our sympathy even when he does something stupid. And Lawrence delivers a full-on performance that often takes our breath away with its clever layering.
Continue reading: Silver Linings Playbook Review
In Boston, Kate (Parker) has a loving husband, Richard (Kinnear), and two adorable children. Everyone watches her in wonder as she juggles her responsibilities as a wife, mother and high-powered investment banker. But the constant business trips are taking their toll, especially when she's required to work regularly in New York with investor Jack (Brosnan). It's a struggle, but Kate keeps everything running. The question is whether anyone is actually happy with the situation.
Continue reading: I Don't Know How She Does It Review
In 1983 New Mexico, Owen (Smit-McPhee) lives with his absent mother (Buono) in a generic apartment complex. It's the dead of winter, and a new neighbour attracts Owen's interest: Abby (Moretz) is also 12 years old, "more or less".
Although she says they can't be friends, they clearly already are. And Owen needs a friend, since he's being horribly bullied at school by Kenny (Minnette) and his pals. But Abby has problems too: she needs human blood to survive and her guardian (Jenkins) is struggling to supply it.
Continue reading: Let Me In Review
And that's a genre we don't see too often anymore: romantic drama. Today's cinematic romances are usually steeped in light comedy (even decent ones like Definitely, Maybe) or predictable form posing as drama. But Two Lovers is hardcore drama, with desire at its center. Or more accurately, two desires.
Continue reading: Two Lovers Review
In The Good Night, Martin Freeman, in an interesting amalgam of Tim from The Office and the Arthur Dent of A Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy, plays Gary, an ex-rock musician, now toiling away in a dead-end job at a commercial jingle firm, working for his former bandmate Paul (Simon Pegg). One of Gary's problems is that he knows he is wallowing in banality but can do nothing about it; his boss exhorts him to "make it bad."
Continue reading: The Good Night Review
The clever premise follows one William Shakespeare (Fiennes), stuck with writer's block while trying to pen "Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter" and unable to get his own love life going to boot.
Continue reading: Shakespeare in Love Review
Too bad no one is going to pay to see the film. Most mainstream filmgoers would opt for root canal over having to sit through a 19th century social commentary piece. Take Ang Lee's Sense And Sensibility as an example. It earned seven Oscar nominations back in 1995, but only grossed $42 million in the States.
Continue reading: Vanity Fair Review