Saturday, October 16, 2010

Double Feature

This past Thursday evening two OMG'ers attended a screening of LaOD at the West 42nd Street Regal Cinema, and are sharing with us their impressions of the movie.

First Feature: Jake on Screen

Big Thanks to Destiny and ROMA.

First, I thought Jake looked really great in this movie, and beautiful in some scenes. I think it's the best he's looked in a movie since BBM. Anne is beautiful too. There are some shots in black and white, and I especially liked the way they looked in them.

I think they both give really good performances. Jake really got to turn on the charm, the charm we see in his best interviews, and sexy to boot. I thought he had really good chemistry with everyone in the movie, including Anne. They are very believable as a couple.
However, I wouldn't call either of the performances Oscar-caliber, in large part because I don't think the movie and the material even began to match the acting.

Jake and Anne were far better than the rather pedestrian, predictable material they were given to work with. They've real chemistry too, lucky for Zwick.

Jake was good throughout and his character, despite being underwritten, was not under-performed. The way he played the character he did have an arc.

I know there has been a lot of chatter about the nudity and sex, and hey, I'm not going to complain about seeing either one of them in various states of undress. I didn't think there was too much of it, and I thought it was in keeping with the movie and the characters.

-- and Jake and Anne's bodies are beauties.

I did like the rhythm built up with their fast and furious sex life though--they seemed to have real fun there. Those scenes of them romping did have a nice feeling to them. One can tell they trust each other as actors.

The other chatter about the movie has been some mixed feelings about the mixed nature of the film, and that I sadly have to agree with. At the end of it all, despite loving Jake and Anne and certain parts of it, I felt like it didn't entirely gel, and that it just isn't that good of a movie. I have never seen an Ed Zwick movie that didn't leave me feeling this way.

We never learn about Anne's back story nor her family life nor get to see her art very much--and losing her ability to create art would be devastating. That is the thing with Zwick--not matter the topic, and he has taken on many hard topics (war films etc.), he cannot seem to convey tragedy or trauma or devastation well. He has a "guazy" style.

The dramatic side and the romance, which I liked. I especially loved all the bits about the industry, and some of the early scenes in particular are strong.

When he did show Anne struggling with her disease those scenes did have sincerity and she was very good. We see little of her manifestation of her disease though; it is more spoken about than shown. I liked that scene of her in the Parkinson's Support Group but she'd have been directed to one of those by her doctor(s) in real life.

But then it kind of turns in part into another movie. I did not buy Josh Gad as his brother, I found some of the things with him creepy, and I felt like everything involving him was an effort to be like--and bring in the crowds who love--Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen and the type of comedies they are in.

The stock character of chubby funny sidekick should only be allowed to be Judd Apatow's territory. A sidekick as a wealthy brother who bore no resemblance to Jake at all was an odd and distracting addition to the film, which has some real problems to start with. The chubby rich brother's wife's role was simply a caricature. The brother for that matter is also a caricature. The actor was not memorable save for being a bit odd looking. Zwick in films cannot handle mixing observational comedy and drama as he did so brilliantly with Thirty Something--for some reason film eludes him. Unsure why this is exactly. He also has Oliver Platt as his long suffering "teacher" as a salesman. Jake is sandwiched between these two men throughout the film. A "highlight" is Jake comes home one night to find his brother masturbating to a home porn film he and Anne had made. It was just sort of gross -- not funny. Zwick's attempts at Animal House-like humor just did not make their marks.

It just did not work with the rest of the movie. A case of trying to please too many people, I think. Like a lot of movies, it got a great start out of the gate, and then kind of ran out of steam in the home stretch.

Ed, why oh why throw in that stupid 1970s-esque orgy party? It was all about as sexy as a rolaids ad. And looked like one too. Pathetic attempt at being cool and sexual--Jake again hold head high during such nonsense. That is it: too much nonsense.

The wonderful Judy Greer once again wasted as the comic relief sidekick. Add her to the list of "deserves better than this film"

I loved the music in the film, except for what I thought was a smary ballad by Vonda Shepperd towards the end of the film, used in an all too typical way.

I forgot the spoiling Vonda Shephard like end-of-the-film music. Totally distracting!! Most of the music was fun though

I think by trying to appeal to a wide audience, I am afraid they will not appeal to anyone. Based on the ages of the people at the screening, they seem to be pitching to a younger audience.

Our audience is the audience the film is geared to 20-30 somethings. They seemed embalmed. We laughed the most of anyone in attendance.

But I don't think they'll be enticed by the 90s setting, music and styles, the social satire revolving around the pharma industry, or for what I would call, for a lack of a better word, those parts of the movie that put me in mind of the movies made in the 70s for a mature, adult audience. I loved that aspect of it, but again, it descended into too much slapstick and Apatow-like comedy as well, and I don't think that side of it, or the mish-mash of styles, is going to appeal to an older audience.

The best section was the social-satire of the Pfizer "Nuremberg Rally" drinking the kool-aid sequence--reminded me a bit of Michael Ritchie there. And that was IT for originality and being "grabbed" for me.

I watched it wanting to love this film--but I simply don't love it. Nor could I really recommend it to anyone I know. Had this been on television I may well have liked this more. Overall, I'd say it has some very good moments but they are not sustained.

I'm just really afraid it will get lost in the holiday movie glut. I hope I'm wrong about how the movie will do. Jake is great in it, and I would like to see him have a hit doing this kind of work, because it would be nice if it lead to his doing something similar, but this time with a good director and a better script.

Jake and Anne deserve, and have earned, far better!

Second Feature : Jake at School

Jake joined Edible Schoolyard founder, renowned chef, Alice Waters along with film producer John Lyons as they joined Brooklyn's Borough President, members of the borough council, Christiane Baker, executive director of the Edible Schoolyard New York project at P.S 216 on Friday for a dedication and kick off of the first (of hopefully many) Edible School New York project.

The goal is to create an experimental educational program to bring children closer to their food sources, to teach them about food, the environment, health, gardening and cooking. And to do so by planting, growing, harvesting and using the food they raise at their school. The first Edible Schoolyard program was established in 1995 in Berkeley, Calif., by chef Alice Waters of Chez Pannisse.

"At P.S. 216, there will be a fruit and vegetable garden, greenhouse and a kitchen." Curriculum for the program is being developed by Columbia University's Teachers College.

Construction for the whole project began in September at a cost $1.6 million project, and on Friday, kids got the chance to play and plant, the first of many foods. Lyons pledges $50,000 to the project and on Wednesday night he and Jake co-hosted a private dinner and auction that raised an additional $77,250.

Edible Schoolyard's goal is to at least 25 schools in New York City, and at least one in every borough participating in the program. Check out more about the project at their website.

Jake had down something similar in the past with Global Green initiative with LA public schools. It is great to see Jake being about to take his passion and interest in cooking and the environment and using it to help make a difference in future generations.

And that smile is great to see again.


destiny said...

Sorry to hear about Roy PG.

I've felt my own share of guilt over time not spent with people who were dying. But don't beat yourself up too much PG, I've known people who felt that way even when they were with someone practically night and day, and I think it is just a natural reaction to losing someone. What is important is that you were a part of their lives, and that they knew how you felt about them, and that is something everyone carries with them whether or not they are physically with you.

destiny said...

You did a great job with our comments Special.

Just so people know, we didn't get into too many plot details in our summaries, so it is only spoilerish to the degree you want to come blind to the movie so that everything is a surprise and/or don't like to know what other people think or read reviews before you see movies.

Nice Post said...

Thanks guys, I didn't find your impressions of LaOD spoilery at all - I realize that everyone will come away with their own impressions of a film. :)

Jake looks great at the ESY event, doesn't he? :)

What a beautiful tribute from Craig Ferguson to his Dad, MM. Thanks!

And a hug for ((((PG)))).

the real m said...

I'll say its great to see that smile. I was beginning to think it was lost forever. For whatever reason, a rarity for Jake these days. On the close ups on IHJ, I notice a lot of red hair in the beard.

I am thrilled for Destiny and Roma that they got to see LAOD early, even if it was not the best film. Good job on the review. Very thorough and interesting. I caught Zwick being interviewed about the film on a site last week. Can't recall where now, but he was defensive about the film and tried to tell the questioner that he saw something else. I do still plan to see this one in the theater when it comes out though. At least it looks better than his last film and Jake does look handsome in it.

I saw mention today that James Franco just signed on to play Richard Mapplethorpe in a film. That should be a doozy. He's certainly not afraid to play gay.

twitter said...

Think I just walked past Jake Gyllenhaal on a bench along Central Park West #manohmanthiscity didn't make sure tho bc I don't like to stare
40 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone from Central Park, New York elisabethbrevet

ROMA said...

Special, thank you so much for what you did with Destiny's and my comments on the film! Spoiler alert. To clarify one thing I wrote about is a scene involves Anne's character accidentally finding and attending a Parkinson's Disease Support Group. I found it strange the idea of a support group being available was portrayed as quite foreign to her. Reality is in the mid-1990s support groups were quite prevalent in cities and small towns and also via the internet. Another odd Zwick touch when the woman Hathway portrays seems wise beyond her years and pretty sophisticated.

destiny said...

Franco playing Mapplethorpe? Wow, he really is out to play every gay man in history that is the subject of a movie. And a really wild child this time around too.

M, it is worth seeing LAOD on the big screen just to look at Jake.

RIP Daddy said...

My father died early Friday morning. He was my best champion, my confidante and my best friend. But I found it impossible to watch him die (his cancer, which had been either in remission or suppressed for eight years, took a turn for the worse in August and he only had a short time left). To see this proud, dignified man reduced to a wreckage, a mere shell of what he once was (and I knowing he wouldn't want this), was beyond painful. When he died on Friday--even though we thought he might linger a little longer, I considered it a blessing because I knew he wouldn't have wanted to be in a vegetative state indefinitely. WHen your body is like that, you're nothing more than warehousing. There's no quality of life. Still, I miss him and when the funeral is under way tomorrow, I'll miss him even more. He was truly a bright light in my life, my constant pillar of support. And he would have been 80 in a month.

Special K said...

(((RIP))) So sorry for your loss, it is so hard to lose a parent no matter how long or short their time here with us is. It so touching to hear you describe what he was in your life, and that is a testament to the man he was. There is no greater compliment that a father can receive from his children, than they way you described him.

Sending you thoughts and prayers to comfort you, ease your burden, and bring you peace.

ihj said...

Jake arriving at LAX

Methodical Muser said...

Be strong, (((RIP))). It sounds like your father was a true force of nature who left a legacy of life and love in his wake. No creation or accomplishment could ever surpass that kind of artistry. My father died just one month short of 81. Even though you know you will never know such unconditional support and love again, at least, you know you were one of the fortunate to have been given that kind of gift for a large part of your journey through life. My father would have agreed with yours about clinging on in a vegetative state. Never forget that he lives within you and will continue to help you find your way.

Special K said...

Jake's beards is trimmed down even more, and it looks like he got a little trim on top too. All spiffed up and looking good.

Why his shirt made the word smock pop into my head, who knows. You can see the thin chain around his neck. But where's his ubiquitous backpack? Stranded and going round and round on the luggage carousel? Taking a separate flight so they won't get spotted together again?

And almost all summer east and just a small rolly suitcase? Is the rest of the luggage coming with your bestie, Mr.Backpack?

lilianvivisloon said...

Austin didn't have to film on Friday, you would think he would have flown to L.A. instead of hang in NC:

Tweets from 10/15:

samwaters5:And Brooke and Julian were just making out (one tree hill). Supposedly this is a big deal according to the girls I'm with?
about 12 hours ago via

Echofon .Just ran into Sophia bush at this bar in Wilmington. Smoking hot tamale.
about 12 hours ago via Echofon

MelinD1585: ran into @SophiaBush and @AUS10NICHOLS playing pool @ a bar in wilmington.definately wasnt a wasted trip, thank u guys, for being so nice..
about 8 hours ago via web

interesting said...

MelinD1585 went back to Charleston SC before she posted about about seeing them playing pool.


# ran into @SophiaBush and @AUS10NICHOLS playing pool @ a bar in wilmington.definately wasnt a wasted trip, thank u guys, for being so nice..

# party's over...back in charleston... had an amazing time in california and then wilmington... could live the past week over and over again.

# @HilarybeeC will you be signing anywhere in the carolinas??? 6:22 PM Oct 15th via web in reply to HilarybeeC

# heading out for my last night in wilmington tonight is #morefunthangossip 5:59 PM Oct 15th via web

lilianvivisloon said...

Yes I know SK, sounds like she ran into them on Friday. Why is it interesting?

Are you implying she tweeted about them after she went back to SC because perhaps she made it up?

Maybe samwaters5 made it up as well!!

Austin usually tweets when he flies anywhere,sounds like both he and Sophia decided to stay in NC for the weekend.

They are never in the same state at the same time it seems and no I don't think Austin flew to L.A., he had plenty of time to do that on Friday, he wasn't working.