Saturday, April 17, 2010

Greenberg - Movie Review

Greenberg (R) 107 minutes B+
Embracing life you never expected

Starring Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, Chris Messina, Rhys Ifans, Brie Larson, Juno Temple, Mark Duplass and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

"Hurt people hurt people." That's one of several things I took from Noah Baumbach's infectious new dramatic comedy, Greenberg. An awkward and painful portrait of Roger Greenberg- a former musician turned carpenter whose fresh out of a mental institution (nervous breakdown). He travels to Los Angeles via New York to house sit for his wealthy brother, his plan is to,"try and do nothing for awhile."

The 40 year-old Greenberg hopes to re-group and restart his life, he begins by trying to mend a few broken relationships from his past. Most notably he hopes to rekindle an old flame with an ex-girlfriend and reconnect with his former band mates who may or may not (still) resent him for breaking up the band in the 80's.

The film reminisces about the past, the present and embracing a life you never expected. Stiller is nearly flawless as the title character but better yet is Greta Gerwig as Florence- his brother's personal assistant and charming underachiever who possesses a stumbling politeness. Film critic Roger Ebert describes her as "reasonable and approachable; one you could look up and see walking dreamily through a bookstore" and I couldn't agree more.

I liked this this film a lot but I have to warn you that it's not for everyone. It definitely has a smart and edgy sensibility that will come off as weird, dry, depressing and pointless to some. But I found the tone very realistic and familiar. It's simultaneously funny and hard to watch at times (see the first sex scene between Greenberg and Florence), while making no apologies for misery and dysfunction because after all, such is life...
Bonus DVD Review
Bubble (R) 90 minutes C
To live and die in a small town

DVD Release Janurary 31, 2006
Starring Debbie Doebereiner, Dustin James Ashley, Misty Dawn Wilkins, Omar Cowan, Laurie Lee, David Hubbard, Kyle Smith and Decker Moody.

The first thing that struck me about this film is that the first 15 minutes or so evoked John Mellencamp's song Pink House to constantly repeat in my head. Secondly, the film starts very slow but gradually becomes more interesting.

After I watched this film I read that none of the actors and actresses were professionally trained and according to wikipedia the lead actress (Doebereiner) was discovered at a KFC Drive-thru window.

Nevertheless Steven Soderbergh proves once again why he is one of the most intriguing, innovative and gifted filmmakers around. Overall, I found the film simply "OK", but even Soderbergh's average material is more interesting than most.

No comments: