Romy Shiller

Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category


In Comedy, Film, Romance on November 23, 2015 at 8:30 am


About: [from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia] Trainwreck is a 2015 American romantic comedy film directed by Judd Apatow and written by Amy Schumer. The film stars Schumer and Bill Hader along with an ensemble cast that includes Tilda Swinton, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, Vanessa Bayer, John Cena and LeBron James.

Plot: Gordon Townsend [Colin Quinn] is telling his two young daughters Amy (Devin Fabry) and Kim (Carly Oudin) that he and their mother are divorcing because monogamy isn’t realistic. Twenty-three years later, Amy [Amy Schumer] is a party girl who drinks too much, smokes weed and sleeps around while dating a gym-addict named Steven [John Cena]

Instead of Titanic you get Trainwreck. The film uses the comparison metaphorically and then throws it away in the recycling bin. I adore that this film opens on a ferry and not a ship. I adore that Schumer recreates Winslet’s “I’m flying” pose. I adore that our lead female reinvents herself and the romantic comedy genre. In a voice-over she says that she hopes the romantic montage is over soon and that it ends like Jonestown [suicide]. Judd Apatow’s involvement means that the tone will be irreverent – and it is.

Judd Apatow tells Variety that he discovered Amy Schumer on the Howard Stern show: I come at everything as a fan. I’m just like a kid who sat in his room and watched Merv Griffin all day long. So every once in a while I’ll hear something and say, “That’s my favorite comedian.”

I was in my car. I was not that familiar with Amy Schumer’s standup. She was talking to Howard Stern, and she was so engaging. She was talking about her dad having MS and what her relationship is like with him. It was very dark and sad, but also very sweet and hilarious and she clearly adores him. I thought, “This is a very unique personality and I’d like to see these stories in movies.”

So, Schumer plays a woman who has many one-night stands and is scared of intimacy. She meets a sports-doctor on a writing assignment and falls in love. She is very unconventional which does make this a unique rom-com.

I think that she resonates with many men and women. Love and intimacy are not perfect things. They’re far from a romantic montage and even if there is a desire for perfection there are, most often, issues to deal with.

Schumer has a difficult time just ‘trusting’ and most of her relationships follow her father’s older warning that ‘monogamy is unrealistic.’ Her initial love-interest played by John Cena leaves her cold and not emotionally attached. She is not monogamous and has many one-night stands. He learns of this and claims that he wanted to marry her. Her response to his distress is that she is too ‘high’ for this conversation. Her ‘reality’ is being high or absent from important moments. She does not live in the present in a way that involves her at all.

When she meets a man who calls after sex she assumes he is insane. He dashes her expectations of casual encounters. This might not be a ‘casual encounter’ after all.

TV World says: Three-time Emmy® nominee Amy Schumer (“Inside Amy Schumer”) stars as a commitment-phobic journalist in Trainwreck, the film Fandango calls “the funniest movie of the year.”

Schumer takes her undeniable talents to the big screen tossing aside rom-com conventions with a timely and outrageously funny portrait of an unapologetically independent career woman whose hard-partying personal life is turned upside down when she meets Mr. Might-Be-Right. Directed and produced by comedy guru Judd Apatow (Bridesmaids, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, “Girls”), Trainwreck UNRATED arrives on Blu-ray™ & DVD with even more hysterical moments, including deleted scenes, gag reel, line-o-rama & more!

I think that part of my fascination with this film is the tension between Schumer’s obvious dislike of the rom-com genre and her performance in a rom-com. She is contextualized but not constrained by the genre. Huh.

Also brilliant is a black and white film within this film. “The Dogwalker” starring Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei is playing at a movie theatre Schumer attends. It is hysterical, really.

The thing is, the film in theatres was more politically correct and less ‘offensive’ but well edited. The DVD may be closer to the script, but it is less good than the film was in theatres. It was too long and did feel like some stuff needed to be cut. I am truly sorry to say this.

Bill Hader tells Collider that it was hard to play the romantic lead:

You want to get the balance right. I couldn’t be funny, in the way that I am on SNL. You just can’t be that funny, in this movie. I have to see a side in her that she doesn’t even see in herself. I’m in love with her, and I’m accepting of her, in some ways, and not accepting in others. There’s this balance that you have to have. It’s very easy to try to put in a lot of jokes, but it would have ruined the relationship. I feel like, even on the set, Judd probably thought I was going to be funnier. He was like, “Don’t you want to try something?” and I was like, “No, I’m good with just that.”

Hader’s efforts of being realistic pay off. He is a good foil to his wacky love-interest. His earnestness lends credibility to her putting ‘trust’ in him. We do want them to end up together and we root for her to overcome her issues because he is worthy.

Hader is excellent and Schumer witty. My nit picking about certain flaws should not keep you away from the DVD.

The Age of Adaline

In Film, review, Romance on May 14, 2015 at 6:28 pm


ABOUT: The Age of Adaline (also known as simply Adaline) is a 2015 American epic romance fantasy film directed by Lee Toland Krieger and written by J. Mills Goodloe and Salvdor Paskowitz. The film stars Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Kathy Baker, Amanda Crew, Harrison Ford, and Ellen Burstyn.

Synopsis: Adaline [Blake Lively] is a beautiful young woman who suffers an accident that changes her life forever. She has remained 29 years old for nearly 8 decades. She lives her life running away, not letting anyone get too close to her or know her secret, not letting herself fall in love.

The Guardian comments, Age of Adalineyou should know: this is Harrison Ford’s best performance in 22 years. You have to go all the way back to The Fugitive to find a film that made better use of one of cinema’s bigger icons. That really wasn’t what I was expecting when I went into this mid-budget, gushy fantasy-romance flick. Vulture says, Ford is better than he’s been in ages, and it’s nice to have him back; it’s nice to see him smile again.

Vanity Fair comments, Huisman doesn’t really register beyond being a handsome plot device, but Ford, so improbably turning up in this movie at all, does some of the best work we’ve seen from him in a long while. He approaches his emotional scenes with a rigor usually reserved for his physical acting.

Actually, Harrison Ford was so much better than the rest of the cast, which shows us that really good acting can help a film. I mean the film was sweet, straightforward and nice. The voice-over made me want to strangle someone but apart from that, no violence here. If the film was innovative in any way, I might have liked it. It wasn’t horrible – just bland. Ford had a gravitas and sincerity about him. He was textured and layered. His subtleties revealed so much about his character. Really excellent performance.

Pop Sugar says; Harrison Ford plays an old friend of Adaline’s, and when we flash back to the younger version of his character, William, meeting Adaline, you’ll swear it’s really Harrison Ford 40 years ago. But it’s not — it’s up-and-coming star Anthony Ingruber, who looks and sounds so much like Ford it’s mind-boggling. Turns out, Ingruber has been doing impressions of celebrities on YouTube for years, not limited to just Ford.

Anthony Ingruber is good and probably worth a look-see on Youtube.

The L.A. Times says, Lively has not always received positive notices for her acting. “Gossip Girl” wasn’t exactly a critical darling, and some of the movies she’s been best in — small indies like “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee” and “Hick” — weren’t widely seen. But she would like to be taken seriously as an actress — an ambition that became clear with her small role as a Boston hooker opposite Ben Affleck in 2010’s “The Town.”

Unfortunately, I cannot imagine that this film will help her image. She lacked depth, complexity and nuance in this film. After noting Ford’s exquisite performance I kept thinking that another actress might have been a wiser casting choice. Lively is nice to look at but lacks acting chops.

Director Lee Toland Krieger, whose previous films The Vicious Kind and Celeste & Jesse Forever displayed both an elegant sense of atmosphere and focused performances, has fun jumping among the decades, and he does a solid job keeping the tone just playful enough that we don’t ask too many questions of the silly premise.

Collider says about director Lee Toland Krieg; There’s a determined quality to the shot selection, an almost arm’s length remove to the emotional beats of the picture that lends itself to combating its more saccharine impulses.

Yes, the shots are very clean and standard. They mirror the film…very straightforward, nothing controversial or different. While the premise of the film is interesting – no aging – the film itself is not unique at all. The premise of ‘no aging’ is familiar and popular in Vampire and Zombie flicks. There is certainly a precedent for this premise, which is manifest well or not.

I might have wanted an edgier film. Lose the voice over. Show, don’t tell. Make alternate casting choices. See this film if you do not want to be challenged. Actually, you might want to check out Harrison Ford.

Only Lovers Left Alive

In Drama, Fantasy, Film, review, Romance on May 6, 2014 at 10:50 am

Tilda Blood 

About: Only Lovers Left Alive is a 2013 British-German romantic drama vampire film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, starring Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, and Jeffrey Wright. It was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

Hmmm. I have seen pretty much every vampire-themed film and television show, My bible was ‘The Vampire Chronicle’ books by Anne Rice. So yeah, I’m kind of a vampire expert if I do say so. There is a darkness or alternative feel to most good vampire fiction. To me the Swedish vampire film ‘Let the Right One In’ (2008) was the best followed by ‘The Hunger (1983).’

This film is very good, there is a blending of art, beauty and music: Yes, another vampire movie. But Mr. Jarmusch is not Stephenie Meyer, Ms. Swinton is not Kristen Stewart, and, despite its title, ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ is less about sex than about art. Vampirism, in other words, serves in this film as a metaphor not for insatiable desire (as it has, to different effect, in the “Twilight” movies and the HBO series “True Blood”), but for passionate creativity. Mr. Jarmusch imagines the tribe of the blood-consuming undead as a kind of aesthetic aristocracy, counting in their ranks most of the world’s geniuses of painting, fiction, cinema and music. Byron and Shelley are name-checked, a careful selection of books (including “Don Quixote” and “Infinite Jest”) are packed into Eve’s suitcases, and Adam’s walls are hung with portraits of Buster Keaton, Mark Twain, Robert Johnson and others.

Plot: Set against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangier, an underground musician, deeply depressed by the direction of human activities, reunites with his resilient and enigmatic lover. Their love story has already endured several centuries at least, but their debauched idyll is soon disrupted by her wild and uncontrollable younger sister. Can these wise but fragile outsiders continue to survive as the modern world collapses around them?

Someone I saw the film with remarked upon the slow pace: When you live for hundreds of years without the inevitability of a natural end, there is no reason to hurry, and Mr. Jarmusch is a practiced hand at slow filmmaking. What sustains “Only Lovers Left Alive” is less a story than a sensibility, an attitude of nostalgic and somewhat cranky connoisseurship. Plots are for squares, which is not to say that nothing happens.

As I’ve said, the metaphors for the vampire are clear: Ideas such as eternal youth, beauty, strength and never ‘dying’ – in the sense of being gone forever are prominent. The vampire embodies the cultural desire for youth [creams, Botox, plastic surgery etc.] and strength [gyms] in addition to other things.

This film is chock full of metaphors and names borrowed from literary fiction and elsewhere: One of Eve’s passports has her name as Daisy Buchanan. The Great Gatsby reference is not lost on me. The literary allusions are plentiful. Watson is the name of a doctor. Adam calls himself Dr. Faust when obtaining a blood supply from a hospital. The actual Christopher Marlowe is a close friend of our leads and there is talk of Shakespeare. There are biblical references – our leads are called Adam and Eve… There are scientist references and Adam makes a Quantum Theory analogy, there are musician references etc.

Adam and Eve are not the type to go out and bite necks: They purchase their nutrition from medical professionals (including one played by Jeffrey Wright) and drink it from long-stemmed, shapely goblets. But the film does not hesitate to make another familiar metaphorical link — one between vampirism and addiction. After these vampires taste blood, their heads roll back and the room starts to spin. And when supplies dwindle, things grow desperate in a hurry. It is also clear that not everyone manages the habit as well as Adam and Eve, as demonstrated when Eve’s wild sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska), shows up for a visit.

The soundtrack is incredible. This is by far, the most original mixture of film music I have ever heard. Yes, EVER. We have goth, classic rock, middle-eastern music, classical, jazz etc:The brooding NYC rock outfit SQÜRL, (Jim Jarmusch, Carter Logan and Shane Stoneback) have created an epic score in collaboration with Dutch composer Jozef Van Wissem of stoner riffs, minimal orchestration and haunting vocals, courtesy of guest appearences from Zola Jesus, Yasmine Hamdan and Madeline Follin of Cults. It pulses with vigour and romance, much like Jarmusch’s film itself.

What’s wonderful here is a tapestry or aesthetic … a blend of high art, music, sensibility and fragility. Immortality is very uncertain here and an appreciation for beauty is like breath on a spider-web.