Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Momma always said: Best to be on time, but better late than never.

Instant Cassette
Where in the Reel Deal gives abridged reviews of movies and series recently released on DVD.

Today's episodes: Revolutionary Road, The Savages, and Fan Boys.

Revolutionary Road
I have said of the movie Closer, that it's most stunning quality is how well the break ups are written.  In truth the entire movie is a bad break up and exist as such so authentically (read brutally) that it almost makes you call your ex and apologize.  Such is the way of Revolutionary Road.  Anyone who's ever stayed in a relationship after it's gone sour will feel the arguments (and the silences) like a punch in the stomach.  And the scenes are so amazingly acted that it's hard to believe Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet don't really resent each other.  Even with all that heat, however, the movie plays in a very somber tone.  And something about those two features mixed together fits this tale of two people lost in a world of conformity perfectly.    
Every character in the movie is written in a way that simultaneously garners them disdain and sympathy from the audience at the same time- which adds even more to the realism of how the situations unfold.  The ease of relating is sometimes heartbreaking,  and the ending finds as much resolution as it can without breaking the mood of self imposed helplessness, and the sense that every home may have been as perfect on the outside and embroiled in turmoil on the inside as the Wheeler's.
In short:  This is not one of those times where all the buzz is just praise to the names on the poster.  Revolutionary Road is an exceedingly well done film.

Queue It or Don't Do It?
Well if that last sentence didn't bring it all together for you I'll lay it out there:  QUEUE IT.

The Savages
Though the main characters are a brother and sister well into their lives, this movie plays i like a coming of age film.  Especially for Laura Linney who plays the sister, and does an amazing job at it- as always.  I would also like to take this moment to mention that I have yet to EVER see Philip Seymour Hoffman give a bad performance, which is pretty amazing seeing as I've seen him play everything from the funny fat friend to one of the coldest, hardest villains this side of a certain wheezing sith lord who shall remain nameless.  This movie was written and directed by Tamara Jenkins, who also wrote and directed Slums of Beverly Hills, another movie with a well written, off beat family dynamic. 
This movie is the simplest kind of heart warming, which makes it feel so good to take in.  I picked it without any prior knowledge of it's existence.  I was simply browsing, saw those three names in the credits and thought: "Hmmm, can't be all bad."  It seems I was right.  The Savages comes out of the gate with no tricks up its sleeve,  if your looking for something flashy look elsewhere.  But if your looking for a film that delivers a poignant and personal story on nothing but the basics, you just found it.
Queue it,  most definitely queue it.

I had seen previews for Fan Boys before it came out and thought it would be at least worth a try, but when it's release was so limited that I didn't even know it had happened- I went on about my life and never gave it a second thought.  But even when the wonder that is On-Demand brought it back to my attention- I had second thoughts.  After picking movie after movie over it, Watcher X threw it on as a late night distraction... and we were utterly pleased.  
But really before anything else I wanna make it clear:  though it has moments that any general audience can enjoy, this movie was most obviously made for Star Wars fans, by Star Wars fans.  The more you enjoy and know about Star Wars, the funnier you'll think this move is.  And I guess this is the part where I mention that I thought it was HILARIOUS.
The main characters are played by young faces you'll most definitely know from somewhere else, and each one brings something needed to the ensemble.  But in the end, the best part of this movie is the story piece that got left out of all the previews.  Though it's an under laying piece of the entire adventure, it shines through the most in the last ten or fifteen minutes, and bumps the movie up from simply funny to truly enjoyable.
As if that weren't enough, expect cameo's through out the entire thing from Star Wars cast members, Hollywood's fans there of... and one more.  And as a strange aside, I'll mention that Seth Rogen randomly plays three different roles in this movie- I just thought you should know.   Queue it and be ready for more than you bargained for.

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