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Margot at the Wedding

September 11, 2007


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As if I needed reminding about the nature of my misanthropic, corroded, husk of a soul.

Hai Bhagwaan, I hate everyone in this movie. Margot, the didactic bish; her son Claude, an amazing piece of Styrofoam, formed of freak amino acids; his estranged aunt Pauline, in all her moody and gutless splendour; and, her fiancé Malcolm, the resident buffoon. Any remaining characters don’t really matter, and serve only to further my disdain for all humanity as seen through Baumbach’s eyes.

Taking on unsavoury pasts and bitter sisters, the plot turns predictable but its specifics are humorous. In a particularly catchy first half, the two sisters are seen openly melting into cesspools of passive-aggression through varying stages of sobriety, aided wonderfully by the extended clan. Hooray for neuroses. I was never one to resist the charms of catty wenches.

Done-to-death family dysfunction works in this flick for two reasons: Acting and style. The casting is divine. Nicole Kidman is perfectly believable as a self-absorbed asshole. Jennifer Jason-Leigh can never harm, in my opinion. Jack Black, is, well, funny. Also, John Turturro needs to be in every film that is ever made. These players are complemented by wicked harsh shot-cuts. Chopping into the middle of dramatic crescendos, handheld shaking, dark autumn colours that made me shiver with thoughts of East-coast wind. All of this created a mighty tempo to push along a script that is happy to meander, albeit in interesting ways.

I was disappointed with the ending. It was probably trying to make some sort of mysterious, open-ended statement, about happiness or such, but I got none of that. It was left incomplete. I feel this way because the first half left me longing for more evil dialogue, more funnies, and more absurdity. As the film slipped into convention, I fell out of blind love and into affectionate “meh” territory. I mean that as a glitterati “meh”, which is to say that I quite enjoyed my viewing experience but have my head stuck too far up my own arse to make more of an effort with my adjectives.

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posted by Neha
5:18 PM

6 comments

Sad Vacation

September 10, 2007


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Blah, blah, Kenji lives an orphan's life. Performs odd jobs. Manages to saddle himself with his dead friend's delusional sister and a Chinese stowaway child. Finds the mother who abandoned him at an early age, and her new family, by chance. Mum is bat-shit loco. He struggles with vengeance issues.

I only started tuning into the plot about forty-five minutes in. And, really? With characters like these, fuck a plot. Also, this is the first Japanese movie I've seen in a cinema hall in many years, so I'm completely biased.

The first of two Japanese films on my ballot, Sad Vacation made me want to laugh and kill. But not at the same time. First, I wanted some blood. Not because of uncontrollable rage but due to insensitive annoyance on my part (Kenji's mother's neck needed a good wringing). Then, right after the kill, before the blood splatters turned cold, I wanted to laugh. Not due to dissociative identity disorder but because bubbles make me giggle. How else would plot resolution be possible in contemporary Japanese cinema if it wasn't for bubbles?

So, like, such as that, was, like, essentially, a good review.

And another thing. Meet my/your new favourite Japanese import: Tadanobu Asano. He has played "Kenji" in every one of the five flicks I've seen him in, but he's good at that sort of humorous brooding. Get thee to a Survive Style 5+ viewing, stat.

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posted by Neha
10:17 PM

2 comments

All in a T.I.F.F.y

September 09, 2007


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The Toronto International Film Festival is here. Five days. Five films. All is full of nub.

Let the nerdery begin.

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posted by Neha
10:09 AM

2 comments