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Old 05-26-2014, 01:18 PM   #14141 (permalink)
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The Double

I decided, for the first time since moving to Fort Lee, NJ, to head into the city and see a movie. I tried picking a theater where I could see a double feature and settled on seeing “The Double” and Only Lovers Left Alive” at the Landmark Sunshine on East Houston street. I figured that since I live next to the most famous city in the world that just so happens to have a billion theaters showing films that show nowhere else around me, it might be a good idea to start venturing in and taking advantage. First up is “The Double”, directed by the extremely talented British quirk, Richard Ayoade.

His first film, “Submarine” is one that I have actually seen but remember nothing of. I must have been outside my head that day because even though I have tried, I can’t remember a single thing from that film. I stated he is talented because of his work on “The IT Crowd” and the fact that he was the only entertaining thing about “The Watch”. I’ve also heard him in a bunch of interviews and he seems like a very intelligent and unique person. All those qualities showed up in “The Double:, an adaption of a Fyodor Dostoevsky novel of the same. Jesse Eisenberg, who was brilliantly cast for this role, plays Simon, an employee at a data processing firm who can’t seem to catch a break or the recognition from his peers. In walks James, an identical looking/dressing Simon who is everything Simon is not, charismatic, funny, charming, and outgoing. He picks up women as he pleases and he wins the smiles of everyone he encounters. I remembered seeing the trailer when it was released and thinking that the film was going to be a trip because I had no idea what was going on. Having seen the film I’m still not quite sure. It’s going to take a second viewing to understand fully what happened but one thing the film was…impressive.

Besides the obvious science fiction elements, for example the fact that the film takes place in an obvious dystopian world not of our own, the film is a comedy. It’s a quick draw of wit around every corner and delivered perfectly by Eisenberg who secured an Oscar nomination for playing a character who is fast talking and witty. Ayoade did his homework. Eisenberg, who plays both main characters, played them both wonderfully. Simon is shy, neurotic, and miserable whereas James is outgoing, engaging, and seems to be the favorite person of every single employee and person in the city. Nobody mentions the fact that they both loo exactly alike which is the game played on the viewer. I was constantly trying to understand why nobody seemed to notice the similarity and why bad things continually seemed to follow Simon around. It’s only as the movie progresses that we start to accept the vagueness of the other characters and start to focus in on the similarities of James and Simon. The ending of the film was a bit disappointing as we are led to believe the mystery behind the two is a conclusion that we’ve seen in film countless times but for what the ending lacks in originality, the rest of the film thrives in being a type of comedy I’ve never seen before.

Oh, and the cameos by Paddy Considine and Chris O’Dowd were ****ing hilarious.

The film showed just how talented Ayoade is as a young filmmaker and I’m going to be looking forward ti what he does next because if it was anywhere as unique as “The Double” then he has a bright future ahead of him.

4/5
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Old 05-26-2014, 01:34 PM   #14142 (permalink)
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Really looking forward to see The Double....the review I heard the other day made it seem right up my alley in both comedy and style
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Old 05-26-2014, 02:44 PM   #14143 (permalink)
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Really looking forward to see The Double....the review I heard the other day made it seem right up my alley in both comedy and style
You'll like it if you like anything Terry Gilliam has ever done.



Only Lovers Left Alive

This is not a vampire film. This is a Jim Jarmusch film. These are the words spoken by one of the theater employees at the Landmark Sunshine. He was absolutely correct. It took me a couple weeks to finally get to see this, not because of a distaste of Jarmusch films, but rather a reluctance to see anything vampire related. Once again, I was wrong. The film ended up being about vampires, but only in the way that the two characters just so happened to be vampires. The rest of the film was a slow burning lesson in how to make and immersing hang out film. I loved it.

The film centers around the aptly named Adam and Eve, two vampires who have lived on the earth longer than most countries have around. The adhere to typical vampire myth/lore in which they can’t go out during the day, they are immortal, and they need blood to survive. The problem they face is getting the blood. This is not the same world that they used to live in. There is facebook, youtube, cameras, and police forces that can and will catch them in the act if they used their old way. They have to find their blood in more creative ways and this usually involves a lot of money, money acquired through means I’m not aware of. This seems like a very urgent conflict that would drive the film but it was really only a secondary plot line. The film ended up being a two how Jim Jarmusch dance of style, music, conversation, and light. It’s a complete atmosphere film that relies heavily on the soundtrack to help the painted scenery come alive. The film take place solely at night so every single shot is backed by dark and faded light sources. It perfectly fit the setting of an abandoned and desolate Detroit. I can’t explain enough how much I loved the aesthetic of this film. Jarmusch has always been a talent behind the camera but this may be his finest work yet.

The music, as I said, plays a huge role. Adam is an other worldly musician who has collected priceless items over the years of advancing his craft. He does so however by way of remaining completely recluse in his house so that nobody will catch on to the fact that he’s been alive so long. Anton Yelchin plays Adam’s close friend Ian and person whom he pays to fetch these instruments and whatever else he desires. He doesn’t know who Adam is but admires his genius. Tom Hiddleston was the first of two absolutely perfect casting choices for the leads. He may come off a bit like a hipsters dream of “**** the system” cynicism but he also is wise beyond any human counterpart and just leaks the kind of coolness only a depressed vampire can give. Usually I frown upon seeing these kind of characters but the way Hiddleston portrayed Adam hooked me in line and sinker just like Adam did with Ian. Tilda Swinton plays Eve, the wife of Adam who travels from her home in Tangier to see her lover. I don’t quite remember why they were apart. They may not have explained it. It may just be the fact that they were lovers for thousands of years and needed some time apart, just like human relationships. Swinton may just be the perfect female vampire. She has that accent to go along with the white face and long hair. I was just amazed by her performance as the older and wiser vampire that understands what her man is going through. John Hurt and Mia Wasikowska also play vampires although their roles are less prominent. Both played their roles beautifully even though I couldn’t stand Wasikowska’s character of Eva, the little sister to Eve.

I’m trying not to go into too many plot details but honestly, there aren’t many details to talk about. It’s a total slow burn that is both captivating in terms of writing and mesmerizing in terms of aesthetics. It’s a film that may be boring to some but for people who love Jim Jarmusch’s films, it’s a pleasure film all the way. I can’t recommend it enough and while I’m not giving it a perfect rating, mostly due to my dislike of one of the characters, it’s probably Jarmusch’s best film to date and probably my favorite film of the year so far. Try to see it in theaters if you can.

4.5/5
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Old 05-26-2014, 03:00 PM   #14144 (permalink)
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Yeah....this easily my favorite movie of this year

everything about was just right.....from the Tesla obsession to the conversation about mushrooms (my favorite scene in the movie)

glad to see you thought of it as highly as I did

which character?
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Old 05-26-2014, 03:03 PM   #14145 (permalink)
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which character?
Which character did I like best?
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Old 05-26-2014, 03:04 PM   #14146 (permalink)
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Did you not like?
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Old 05-26-2014, 03:07 PM   #14147 (permalink)
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Oh, I was so annoyed by Eva. I mean, that wasn't so much a fault of Jim but I was just annoyed that a vampire who has been on the earth for that long could be so immature. Adam and Eve reaked of maturity and Eva was the exact opposite. She just rubbed me the wrong way. It really is a perfect film but I'm a snob and hate handing out perfect scores unless it's a masterpiece, which honestly, it's close to being.
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Old 05-26-2014, 03:11 PM   #14148 (permalink)
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Personly I felt she was the perfect contradiction to Adam and Eve.....and I loved the fact that he would show the other side of that....I was also under the impression that she had been turned much later then them
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Old 05-26-2014, 03:15 PM   #14149 (permalink)
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Personly I felt she was the perfect contradiction to Adam and Eve.....and I loved the fact that he would show the other side of that....I was also under the impression that she had been turned much later then them
Perhaps that's what Eve meant when she said that they were sisters. I didn't dislike the use of her character but just didn't enjoy her being on screen.
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Old 05-28-2014, 07:31 PM   #14150 (permalink)
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I've been watching a lot of movies with the cat this week, so here goes.

Watchmen: 5/10. This rating is probably harsher based on how excited I was to see this, but I wasn't very impressed. I think it was about 40 minutes too long, and I think the whole of the production could've stood to be darker than it was. It's a dark plotline that takes place in a dark world, and I think Snyder tried to represent that, but didn't accomplish it very well. I think the characters lacked depth, and his use of colour and costuming made it feel like X-Men was trying to be hardcore or something.

The ending was of course a great turn of events, however I'd had that spoiled for me before the film was even released back in 2006, and I think the impact of it would've been greater if they'd spent more time with Adrian Veidt. If they'd divided their time evenly between flashbacks to how it used to be between everyone, and the present state of oppression surrounding the murder, I think it would've been much more focused at the end, but there was a lot of meandering. Kind of a bummer, but Zack Snyder seems to do that in his films; (excepting 300) he takes a great idea and then stylizes it to death so that the story is lost in his cinematography. With him, the visuals come first.

Star Trek Into Darkness: 7.5/10. I have a nerd boner for the revamp. This wasn't too bad. I like that they gave Scotty quite a bit to do, because I love Simon Pegg. It was fast-paced and exciting the whole way through, though I lament that (and this was a problem with the previous Abrams film) their villains receive so little development. My understanding of Khan is that he's evil because he's just a power-hungry *******, and frankly, villains that are out for power are overused and frankly, not particularly interesting.

It's Kind of a Funny Story: 6/10. I watched this entire film once before at some point in my life, and I can't for the life of me figure out where. I had 0 recollection of it too, which is weird for me.

Anyways, it was kind of a cute coming-of-age story with kind of a cute idea, but its very Hollywood portrayal of mental health institutions and conditions was distracting. I should probably not watch psychologically-based films anymore.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home: 6.5/10. I liked the plot, the jokes, and most of the points it hit, but I felt again like the characters were a bit underdeveloped. Maybe I have this problem because my heart resides with screenwriting for television, but I wanted to feel more for Jeff and his mother than they ever really brought out of me. Pat was just a ****ing ******* though, nothing redeeming about that douchebag at all. Honestly, his resolution was not satisfying because he was so much of a dick the whole film.

Also, am I the only person who has trouble telling Ed Helms from Jason Sudekis? White people all look the same.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist: 7/10. Michael Cera being Michael Cera. It was actually a pretty funny, pretty cute little indie romcom, though I will probably always pick 500 Days of Summer instead when I want to watch such a thing.

The Way Way Back: 8/10. Jim Rash and Nat Faxon killed it with this. Rash is a genius, and I can't wait for more work from these guys. The characters were endearing, the writing was smart and adorable, and Sam Rockwell was hilarious. For fans of Dan in Real Life or Lars and the Real Girl. Fantastic cast as well.
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