Killing Them Softly is a film that benefits from multiple viewings. I've only just watched it for the first time and it didn't strike any immediate chords with me but upon a brief reflection there are a lot of things to think about. There is no question that every performer in this film acts their guts out. Richard Jenkins, James Ganolfini and Ben Mendelsohn are all fantastic and of course Brad Pitt is rock solid as always. I didn't connect with the story, though, and I attribute that to the cinematography. I got the impression they were trying to be clever with various slow motion shots and an assortment of experimental angles but it came off a bit wanky for my liking and the story would have resonated more with a more straight forward approach. Having said that, the story is simple for the genre and not hard to follow. Its about two thugs who rob an underground poker ring and find themselves with a contract on their heads. It feels like Scorsese meets Tarantino with a hint of Guy Ritchie thrown in for luck. I think it was too heavy on the QT side and should have leaned in favour of Scorsese. Throughout the entire film is a constant stream of political speeches from Bush and Obama... I guess this provides a running theme of empty promises and a social commentary on the state of America, but it's distracting and unnecessary. So I loved the performances and enjoyed the story but really didn't take to it's delivery... as I said at the beginning, Its going to need repeat viewings because i suspect it will grow on me. I'll be keen to hear more thoughts...
I got a bit nostalgic watching The Wedding Party. It took me back to movies like Don's Party the possess a uniquely Aussie sense of humour and celebrates the larrikin personality. There's nothing overtly special about the movie but it does work nicely. Josh Lawson plays a guy in financial trouble who agrees to marry a citizenship-seeking Russian woman for $25K. A family friend overhears their plans to marry and soon the entire family have planned an elaborate wedding. The film is nicely balanced with a moderate amount of drama and focuses on various other relationship dynamics amongst the family. Steve Bisley is fantastic as the over zealous father and other players like Adam Zwan, Nadine Gardner and Geoff Paine deliver great performances. There's nothing new here and it's basic formula but it's handled well and delivered sincerely. Its great to see Josh Lawson landing some decent lead roles too. He's really taking off and has been scoring several Hollywood roles (2 leads I believe). he's got the talent and he's likeable. The Wedding Party will give you a few LOLs and it offers one of the funniest moments I've seen in cinema in a very long time. Extra cred for that!
I was quite taken back by Your Sisters Sister. An independent film with a wide appeal it tells a simple story of grief. Unable to overcome the loss of his brother, Jack takes his best friends (Iris) advice and travels to a secluded lake house to be alone amongst nature. He arrives to find that his best friend's sister is already there, also escaping heartbreak. The two spend a drunken night together before Iris arrives the next morning with a surprise visit. The film is mostly dialogue (good dialogue) and 3 amazing performances. Mark Duplass and Emily Blunt are fantastic and deliver rock solid performances but it's Rosemarie DeWitt who shines the brightest. She's wonderful. If you love good drama without glamor or pretentiousness then you ought to watch this film. It unfolds like a play and could easily be adapted for the stage... i'd pay to see that. Very good!