Saturday, August 25, 2007

August 25th Log

2007, Joe Swanberg, United States

1st Viewing, Theater

"The most massive tragedy is that nobody ever listens to each other. Everybody's in love with the wrong person and nobody hears what anybody else is saying ever... ever!" Hannah Takes the Stairs follows in the mold of a new American Independent filmmaking movement sparked by the brilliant two films by Andrew Bujalski (who co-stars in this film). Of course Bujalski's friend Joe Swanberg has also been a pioneer of this new Cassavetes-esque movement (or what is being referred to as ‘Mumblecore’) as Hannah Takes the Stairs marks his third feature. The film is a plotless character study that reflects on generation truths about love and communication, or more specifically miscommunication. The film centers around Hannah and her relationship struggles. After breaking up with her boyfriend (played by indie filmmaker Mark Duplass) she finds herself back into a similarly unloving relationship with her co-worker (Bujalski), and we realize she has a stronger connection with the other co-worker. As Hannah, Greta Gerwig is excellent. Her performance is simple and it completely rings true. We understand her, not because the film goes to great detail about the character, but because Gerwig's performance is so genuine. I would not put this on the level of Bujalski's films (Funny Ha Ha and Mutual Appreciation), but Hannah Takes the Stairs is similarly observant in the awkward situations and conversations of a generations complicated relationships, feelings, and communication.

2007, Joe Carnahan, United States, France, United Kingdom
1st Viewing, DVD

Smokin' Aces is so consumed with it's style and is a film that is not nearly as clever as it believes or strives to be. It simply is ineffective and comes across as nothing more then a third-rate Tarantino knockoff. Except for maybe a brief appearance by Jason Bateman, the ensemble cast is forgettable and the style is overbearing. I did not like this film.


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