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andrew garfield

Review: Thor, Fast 5, The City of Your Final Destination and Mozart’s Sister

By Cinema and Reviews

There are two main­stream com­ic book pub­lish­ing houses, DC and Marvel, and choos­ing between them as a kid was a bit like choos­ing between The Beatles and the Stones. They had dif­fer­ent styles and sens­ib­il­it­ies (and philo­sophies) and after a little bit of exper­i­ment­a­tion you could find a fit with one or the other.

DC had Superman and Batman – big, bold and (dare I say it) one-dimensional char­ac­ters with lim­ited or opaque inner lives. When Stan Lee cre­ated Spider-Man, a teen­age pho­to­graph­er with powers he neither asked for nor appre­ci­ated, he cre­ated a soap opera – a soap opera with aspir­a­tions to high art. As you might be able to tell, I was a Marvel kid.

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Review: Blue Valentine, Never Let Me Go, Certified Copy and Rango

By Cinema and Reviews

For years I’ve been com­plain­ing about films that give audi­ences everything on a plate – they tell what you should be think­ing and feel­ing, leav­ing no room for us. This week I have noth­ing to com­plain about as three out of our four make you work for your rewards (although three tough emo­tioanl and intel­lec­tu­al workouts in one week­end turns out to be pretty draining).

Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine is a ter­rif­ic indie achieve­ment, brave and uncom­prom­ising, emo­tion­ally raw but intel­li­gent at the same time. A rela­tion­ship is born and a rela­tion­ship dies. Bookends of the same nar­rat­ive are clev­erly inter­cut to amp­li­fy the tragedy (and tragedy is a fair word to use – there’s a beau­ti­ful child get­ting hurt in the middle of all of this).

Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) meet and fall in love. He’s a dro­pout start­ing again in New York. She’s a med stu­dent with an unhappy home life and a douchebag boy­friend. Five or six years later she’s a nurse try­ing not to think about unful­filled poten­tial and he’s a house paint­er who drinks too much.

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Review: Two Lovers, My Sister’s Keeper, The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus and A Christmas Carol

By Cinema and Reviews

Two Lovers posterAt what point in a man’s life does he decide to become a dry clean­er? For Joaquin Phoenix’s char­ac­ter, Leonard Kraditor, in Two Lovers that day is nev­er and yet he still finds him­self to be one. He’s a sens­it­ive soul whose men­tal health issues have res­ul­ted in sev­er­al sui­cide attempts, a per­man­ent rela­tion­ship with med­ic­a­tion and a need to start again with his lov­ing par­ents in their small apart­ment in Brooklyn.

His fath­er intro­duces him to the daugh­ter of a busi­ness asso­ci­ate (Vinessa Shaw) in the hopes that a pos­it­ive rela­tion­ship might heal his son and also be a prof­it­able devel­op­ment for the dry clean­ing busi­ness. At the same time, Leonard meets and falls for the beau­ti­ful and mys­ter­i­ous upstairs neigh­bour, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, whose own rela­tion­ship with a wealthy mar­ried man is doing her no good.

Two Lovers is writ­ten and dir­ec­ted by James Gray, the icon­o­clast­ic and uncom­prom­ising inde­pend­ent film­maker respons­ible for the gritty New York dra­mas Little Odessa and last year’s We Own the Night , which also starred Phoenix. It’s a care­ful and sens­it­ive pic­ture about how so often love is about want­ing to heal and pro­tect someone – Shaw wants to heal Phoenix and he wants to heal Paltrow and none of them real­ise the extent to which they have to heal them­selves first.

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Review: The Hangover, Good, Elegy, Boy A, Land of the Lost and Forever Strong

By Cinema, Conflict of Interest and Reviews

The Hangover posterI can just ima­gine the Monday morn­ing when a devel­op­ment exec­ut­ive stumbled across the script of The Hangover. It wouldn’t have taken him long to real­ise that he’d dis­covered mod­ern Hollywood’s holy grail – a per­fectly real­ised men-behaving-badly movie, so well-written and clev­erly struc­tured that he wouldn’t need any big stars or a mar­quee dir­ect­or. By morn­ing tea he would have been gone for the day, safe in the know­ledge that his tar­gets for the year were going be met and (no doubt inspired by the script he’d just bought) he would be drop­ping a big bunch of cred­it card on hook­ers and blow. Probably.

The script is per­fect in its eleg­ant and stream­lined con­struc­tion (screenwriter-porn, no less): Four friends head to Vegas for a bach­el­or party. We leave them at the first Jägermeister shot, only to rejoin them at dawn as they emerge squint­ing into the light. They’ve gained a baby and tiger and lost a tooth – and a buddy. The film is all about put­ting the pieces of the night back togeth­er and it’s clev­er, filthy, loose and charm­ing. The Hangover is indeed the Citizen Kane of all getting-fucked-up-in-Vegas movies – so supremely pre-eminent that (let us hope) we nev­er have to watch anoth­er of its kind ever again. Of course, The Hangover 2 is already in pre-production.

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