Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Inherent Vice

Inherent Vice is a long, drug addled, shaggy dog story of an investigation by a Los Angeles PI, on behalf of his ex-girlfriend. While there is an almost constant female voice over the plot is not easy to follow and in fact I'm not convinced that it does make sense. Afterwards, given the ubiquitous drug use in the film, I wondered if the narrator was reliable.

The setting is the early 1970s (probably during Nixon's 1972 election campaign) and the film captures that time stylishly and makes it look very exotic when viewed from 2015.

There are a few (too few) well executed comic scenes linked together by a kaleidoscope of sub plots. In fact by the end it seems like the whole story is a series of almost unrelated sub plots linked together by one or two major characters. If there was a point, I missed it.

Some other reviewers suggest watching this film multiple times but I'm unlike to invest the time to verify this -- the trailer is worth seeing though (4 stars for that).

Ian's rating 2/5, Anne's rating 1/5

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Invitation

Have you ever been the only person in the group who can see what is blatantly obvious? They can't all be stupid, therefore they must be deliberately ignoring it - right?

Will and his new girlfriend attend a party given by his ex- and her new man. It is obvious to Will that this isn't just a dinner party, there is something sinister going on. Each time he raises his concerns they are casually refuted by the hosts or by subsequent events. Obviously Will hasn't fully recovered from collapse of his previous relationship. How will the hosts and other guests react to his increasingly erratic and irrational behaviour? Luckily this group of friends are keen to make this evening a success despite Will.

The Invitation takes place in one evening (supplemented by Will's flashbacks) and, apart from the opening scene, in one location. None of the cast are Hollywood A-listers but they largely play their parts well. My guess is that the budget for this film was low and mainly spent on script writing and rehearsing rather than special effects and exotic locations.

This is a simple and effective thriller with a long slow entree of red herrings, preceded by a little road kill. Just before we die of hunger waiting for it, the main course arrives. It is a hearty, simple dish with a Guyanese influence. Served with dash and full choice of weaponry to deal with it. Nothing subtle here. There is no dessert, just a quick coffee to follow and no left overs for dinner the next day.

Ian's rating 2.5/5

Saturday, August 01, 2015

The Misfits

The Misfits has all (or at least a lot) of the characteristics of a traditional Hollywood movie - made by one of the big studios (MGM), filmed not that far from Hollywood with some great western scenery, and featuring some very famous and good-looking stars. It has extra cachet because it's the last movie starring either Marilyn Monroe or Clarke Gable.

Viewed in the twenty-first century we can boggle at the drunk driving, the lingering shots on Marilyn's bottom, the animal cruelty and men who'll suggest a relationship shortly after meeting a woman for the first time. And yet the process of two people who are attracted to each other trying to work out how to assimilate and adapt to each other's opinions and lifestyle is a pretty timeless one, and it's what gives the movie its heart and makes it worth watching fifty years later. That, and the fact it's lovely to look at.

The Misfits is maybe a little too prosaic to be called romantic, but it is a love story nonetheless.

Anne's rating 3/5. Ian's rating 3/5.