Billy Gray

Posts Tagged ‘Greenberg’

Cyrus

In Movie Reviews on July 1, 2010 at 3:54 pm

2010 is shaping up to be the year of two parallel, inverse cinematic developments: the fall of the blockbuster and the rise of mumblecore.

Traditional multiplex fare like Robin Hood, Sex and the City 2, Prince of Persia, The A-Team, Jonah Hex and Knight and Day bombed, some of them cataclysmically. Indie-minded and microscopically-budgeted movies like Greenberg and, now, Cyrus won’t make as much money in their entire runs as those big budget failures did in their opening weekends. Still, the healthy financial and solid critical successes of these little guys (starring some big names) denote mumblecore’s move from art house, or even IFC, screens and Film Comment pages to the major leagues.

Cyrus comes from writers-directors Jay and Mark Duplass, two of mumblecore’s earliest and most influential practitioners. (The regrettably named movement goes further than other indies in eschewing big studio gloss and genre tropes with movies so barebones and modest in scale, setting, plot and dialogue as to make prime Sundance-era material—from sex, lies and videotape to, gulp, Spitfire Grill—look like exercises in Heaven’s Gate-level bombast. Read the rest of this entry »

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Minor Baumbach

In Uncategorized on April 13, 2010 at 11:10 am

Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller) never wears scuba gear in Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg. No dense, well-meaning neighbor tells him to go into plastics. But Roger is like a 40-year old Ben Braddock. Marooned in a Los Angeles idyll, he’s selfish, self-destructive and dismissive of everyone around him. All he’s missing is Ben’s redeeming (if naïve) idealism and the undimmed potential of youth.

Greenberg doesn’t tiptoe around being an L.A. movie. And its depiction of the city is about as fresh as the smog that takes up the film’s opening wide shot of Los Angeles sprawl. Greenberg introduces Florence (Greta Gerwig) as she weaves her way through the town’s infamous gridlock—“Will this guy let me in?”

Florence is 26-years old (“It’s weird, I’ve been out of college for as long as I was in it”).  When she’s not singing in empty Silver Lake bars she daylights as Phil and Carol Greenberg’s assistant. They’re a fantastically bobo couple about to head off with the kids for a month in Vietnam. (These aren’t the Disney types.) While Phil’s away, his brother Roger will be crashing in his well-appointed home in the Hills. Florence’s employers give her vague, weary warnings about Roger, telling her he just got out of the hospital. “No, not that kind of hospital” Carol says when Florence asks if he was sick. Read the rest of this entry »