Thursday, June 4, 2009

Nog Meets the Brothers Bloom

I suppose Rian Johnson's first film, Brick, is better than his new one. There he takes a conceit that should be very silly (let's do a high-school flick using hard-boiled film noir dialogue) and makes it (mostly) work, capturing the sense of loneliness and desperation associated with noir.

For his follow-up, The Brothers Bloom, he's turned to another genre, the con artist/caper, flick. Bloom is altogether more light-hearted than Brick, although there's a serious undercurrent here too, with Adrien Brody turning in an affecting performance as Bloom, a man who feels his life has been entirely "written" by his older brother Stephen (Mark Ruffalo), the mastermind of the elaborate cons which usually center around Bloom. The film is about the brothers' attempt at conning an eccentric heiress ("I collect hobbies") out of her fortune, an attempt made difficult by Bloom's habit of falling in love with his con-ees (it's Rachel Weisz: who can blame him?). The film has been criticized a bit for feeling too much like a Wes Anderson flick, and it definitely has that jaunty but melancholy tone to it (the first half hour or so, especially, whizzes by, with the frames crammed full of intricate detail and occasional jokes sort of quietly playing out in the background). Like most films about cons, it culminates in a series of things-are-not-what-they-seem revelations which are never quite interesting enough to make this a con-artist classic like The Sting or Mamet's House of Games. But the four central performances are strong (Rinko Kikuchi plays Ruffalo's second-in-command, Bang Bang, almost entirely without dialogue, just an inventive series of hand and eye gestures...very funny).

This makes three worthy theatrical ventures in a row. The Hangover might make four. But Ferrell's Land of the Lost will almost surely be a large piece of dinosaur shit.

5 comments:

  1. Dude, I can't keep up with you, but I still enjoy reading these things. (Damn, I still haven't seen THE STING. . .I lose.)

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  2. I don't watch enough movies on DVD these days, so summer is all about the big-screen. But Hangover slowed the spree of very good films. It's...funny. Some of it.

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  3. Dr. X's Important TakeJune 7, 2009 at 2:32 PM

    I'm still pretty certain all of this discussion is irrelevant:

    Until Bad LT: Port of Call New Orleans is released, all other movies are insignificant and tiresome.

    --Didn't Werner Herzog also do Grizzly Man?

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  4. True enough. Until then, we can at least memorize the trailer of that sure-to-be masterpiece.

    (but don't forget Black Dynamite is slated to arrive in September...just in time for Nogglefest!).

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  5. Dr. X's Fucking ConundrumJune 8, 2009 at 5:54 PM

    Holy Dog Shit!

    That may be the most important news then... trumping even BL:POCNO.

    Fuck. I can't be expected to follow TWO very important movies in a busy year in cinema.

    --I may have to hire a sexy assistant.

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