Saturday, March 12, 2011

Recently Watched: Please Give

I'm a fan of both Nicole Holofcener and Catherine Keener as well as their past efforts "Lovely and Amazing" and "Walking and Talking." Holofcener writes parts for women that only a woman could write. In "Please Give" most of the main characters are women, and Keener takes the lead. She is a rich woman who has a vintage furniture business with her husband. As stated by her husband in the movie, "We buy furniture from dead people's children." Keener's character has a bit of a problem with this. Is it moral? To put her anxiety to rest she hands out money to nearly every homeless person on the street, and she won't buy her daughter overpriced jeans. In one scene Keener goes to hand a homeless man 20 dollars and her daughter grabs it and tells her to give him less. It's an interesting breakdown of an issue because who deserves the money more? Keeners character dresses well and obviously spends money on overpriced goods.. shouldn't her daughter live the same way? or should she spare 20 dollars to a homeless man?

The film deals with money, aging, consumerist culture, marriage.. it's a good mix of social issues. "Please Give," is both funny and sad, and it moves pretty fast.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Recently Watched: Fish Tank

"Fish Tank" is a slice of what it's like to live in Essex, England. All the kids are "street," listening to American hip hop, dancing in the street, swearing etc. A really young girl uses the "c" word frequently, but hey they are working class, riiiight!? Her older sister, who is played by Katie Jarvis takes the lead role. Jarvis was discovered by the director when she was having a fight with her boyfriend at a train station. I can see why she was chosen. She plays teenage aggression quite naturally.

The film is a coming of age story of sorts. Jarvis is living in a single parent home with her younger sister and within the first few minutes of the film it's understood that she has some behavior issues. Her mom isn't very supportive and talks down about her. Enter Michael Fassbender, her mothers new boyfriend. He takes interest in the kids and a bond starts to form. A series of kind of awkward sexual events occur (she hears/sees her mom and Fassbender together, he
spanks her when they are rough housing and she dances for him..) until it all builds up, blows up and falls apart. I think the relationships in the movie are pretty human, Fassbender is no good guy savior role... he comes in with his own problems and the turn out is surprising.