One thing I’ve missed about living in a city is having an art house
cinema nearby. When I was at university I was less than 100 yards
from the Hyde Park
Picturehouse. So I was quite pleased when this
weekend I had chance to see two films at my new local arthouse, The
Duke Of York. I was watching the local news on Friday evening when
they had their “What’s On” section at 18:50 and mentioned that
was opening at the Duke
Of York. I checked the
showing times only to discover it started at 18:45. I did notice,
however, that the next day they were showing Garden State before
Garden State is the first film written and directed by Zach Braff (he of J.D.
in Scrubs fame). It tells the story of Andrew “Large” Largeman (Braff), a reasonably successful actor
in L.A. who returns to his roots in New Jersey when his mother dies.
Large takes this chance to take a break from the lithium pills he’s
taken since he was ten. While he’s at home he catches up with old
friends and meets Sam (Natalie Portman).
Garden State is a visually beautiful film and highly stylish, but you
get the feeling Braff is trying too hard on occasions, with moments
like the slow motion in the hotel lobby or the lingering shots of
Large’s hands on the girl’s thigh during the game of spin-the-bottle.
Natalie Portman redeems herself after the abysmal acting in Attack of
the Clones, but I still don’t think she was outstanding. The film was
funny and had a superb soundtrack. If you enjoyed Donnie
Darko, but want a film that is more amusing and makes more sense then
I think you you’ll enjoy this film.
Napoleon Dynamite is an unfashionable kid, dealing with the double
heartache of being unpopular at school and living with his 32 year
old brother who cruises internet chatrooms for women and his uncle,
a failed american football player. When his new best friend, Pedro,
stands against the popular girl, Summer, for class president, they
have to work hard to win.
This is a strange film. Deeply funny at points, annoyingly
cringeworthy at others. The film seems set in the 80s yet there are
numerous references to the Internet. There were way too many
instances of boom in shot for it be by accident and that just annoyed
me. It didn’t add anything to the film. I never felt massively
connected with the main character and I think I cared more about
Pedro than I did for Napoleon. Despite these faults I enjoyed the
film. I laughed so much at points to make up for the films
shortcomings. I would definiately recommend it, although I suspect I
prefered Garden State.