Tag Archives: dramedy

The Snapper

Stephen Frears directs this dramedy about a working-class Dublin family that’s thrown into chaos when they learn that daughter Sharon (Tina Kellegher) is pregnant. But by choosing not to reveal the identity of the father, Sharon becomes the target of rampant gossip. Colm Meaney co-stars in this adaptation of the book from Irish author Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown trilogy, which also includes The Commitments and The Van.

Rating: 6 out of 10

I randomly caught this one on Showtime, and I’m glad I did. It’s a charming film, loaded with Irish wit, humor and sentimentality.

The story is about a young girl who is pregnant out of wedlock in a small, working-class Irish town. Time hasn’t been too kind to this film, though. Young, pregnant girls aren’t exactly the most controversial topic nowadays — sadly. Sharon, the girl at the center of the story, is 20. So it’s not even like she’s that young.

But what does work is the genuine chemistry of the family. They live in a tiny little house, with a whole bunch of kids packed in like sardines. They have an authentic feel about them, the way they talk to each other, the way they play. It’s never corny. And the heart of the family is the father, played with great likability by Colm Meaney. The father and daughter move the picture well, even if the topic of the film doesn’t have a lot of impact.

Please Give

Life gets knotty when successful Manhattan couple Alex (Oliver Platt) and Kate (Catherine Keener) develop a relationship with the granddaughters of Andra (Ann Morgan Guilbert), the cantankerous elderly woman who owns the apartment next to theirs — and who must die so they can expand their home. The all-star cast includes Amanda Peet, Rebecca Hall and Lois Smith in this indie feature from writer-director Nicole Holofcener (Friends with Money).

Rating: 5 out of 10

“Please Give” feels like an off-Broadway play. It’s simple, with people and families, dialogue and atmosphere that feel real. It has interesting characters, humorous moments that add levity, but ultimately lacks drive.

We’re given a handful of interesting characters — a couple that buys furniture from the families of dead people to sell them in a high-end story. They have a bratty teenager who wants designer jeans and has low-self image because of acne. There’s a cranky old bitty who lives next door with her two grandchildren; one an unlikable lush who has an affair with the husband, the other a doe-eyed church mouse looking for love. The family bought the bitty’s apartment in advance and are just waiting for the woman to die so they can expand theirs.

This film has a great cast with realistic performances. The story works, and the characters revolved around it pretty smoothly. They try to develop them all, but because they do, the story is spread thin. It just never feels like it’s going anywhere. The lack of focus didn’t decrease the pleasure I had watching it, because I liked it. There was just something missing.

I’m Still Here

In 2008, Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix walked away from acting to pursue a rap career, an inexplicably bizarre detour captured in gritty detail in this “documentary” directed by Phoenix’s brother-in-law, Casey Affleck. Some speculated Phoenix’s behavior was part of a well-orchestrated hoax — or, even worse, a mental breakdown. But some of the film’s graphic footage suggests it could have been a little of both.

Rating:7 out of 10

I’ve been anticipating seeing this and was really excited when I found out it came out on Netflix instant. It would appear that Joaquin Phoenix completely lost himself in this role as ‘himself.’ Even though I went into watching this I knew it was a faux documentary (Affleck recently confirmed this), I was still debating if it was real or not because of Phoenix. As someone who has had problems with severe anxiety and depression, I really felt that Phoenix was actually experiencing all of these issues. The chain-smoking, babbling and going off on some of his closest friends are good examples.

“I’m Still Here” adequately captures the experiences and emotions of a person when they decide to make a big change in their life. It can be very confusing and frustrating making huge transitions for more emotionally fragile people. If the point of this faux documentary was to show how hard it is for celebrities to retire from the spotlight, it didn’t capture it quite well. Yes, there were a lot of celebrity cameos but most of them were in the film for, I kid you not, seconds. As I said, the film just captured the emotional distress of Phoenix, not his struggle to get away from the spotlight.

The film was also a bit humorous at parts, in a dark way. The things Phoenix did and was done to him by others (if you see it or have seen it, you’ll know) were quite shocking. If you have a twisted sense of humor like me, you’ll thoroughly enjoy it.

Funny People

Famous and wealthy funnyman George Simmons (Adam Sandler) doesn’t give much thought to how he treats people until a doctor (Torsten Voges) delivers stunning health news, forcing George to reevaluate his priorities with a little help from aspiring stand-up comic Ira (Seth Rogen). Judd Apatow (Knocked Up) writes and directs this moving comedy that also stars Leslie Mann, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman and Aubrey Plaza. Directed by Judd Apatow (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up).

Rating: 7 out of 10

As we mentioned briefly in our second episode of the podcast, there are good Apatow films and bad ones. The only trend that I notice is that the bad ones are usually the film he produces and not writes and/or directs. Luckily, we at The Movie Brothers categorize “Funny People” as a good Apatow film.

I really enjoyed this movie in that it included a very perfect blend of comedy and drama. Many people were disappointed in that this wasn’t a constant laugh-out-loud experience, which it isn’t but all of Apatow films aren’t going be like “The 40 Year Old Virgin” in that respect. Just because it isn’t 100% comedy doesn’t make it a bad film. I really liked the issues tackled in this film mainly because I haven’t seen them in other films; like the consequences of stardom, struggling with a career, relationship issues, the girl that got away, etc. Perhaps some of these issues are used in other films but this film just blends them together differently and in realistic manner.

Additionally, I was very pleased with Adam Sandler’s performance. I was briefly worried that this would be another unfunny Adam Sandler character of the last decade but as soon as I saw the trailer I knew he was going to be playing a different character. The only thing that that could have been changed would be the story and editing. Some of the subplots could have been removed or at least trimmed.