Tuesday, September 25, 2007

September 25th Log

2005, Joe Swanberg, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

I liked Independent filmmaker Joe Swanberg’s recent film Hannah Takes the Stairs and decided to seek out his previous work. Kissing on the Mouth is somewhat of a disappointment. While some of what is so great about Hannah Takes the Stairs (or much more specifically the films of Andrew Bujalski) is evident again here, Kissing on the Mouth fails in comparison. To me the film leaves the viewer with a much less absorbing feeling and is ultimately sloppy and unfocused. I like these films, which are now being branded into a subgenre known as Mumblecore, and I applaud these filmmakers for making these films, but this one lacks the charm of something like Bujalski’s brilliant Funny Ha Ha. This film certainly captures and intimacy or reality and un-erotic sex and nudity, but at the same time it lacks that otherworldliness that I also love about the Mumblecore films. In the end, much of this just feels like nothing more the shock value reality cinema.

2007, Judd Apatow, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

Judd Apatow follow-up to his critically acclaimed debut 40 Year Old Virgin is another comedy which blends his trademark raunchy humor with a honest and touching emotion. The formula works to great effect once again, with the only flaw being perhaps that Apatow’s freedom avoids unnecessary scenes hitting the cutting room floor, because at nearly 2 and half hours this particular film could be trimmed down. Or perhaps Apatow is keeping with his roots, because the unneeded scenes are primarily those centered around the raunchy shenanigans of Ben Stone’s (played by Seth Rogen) friends. Otherwise this is a very generous and funny comedy. It is geared for a pop-culture mainstream audience, but this is as good as it can be. Most of all because it has heart, and that is where the wide appeal of the film comes. Of course that and the likable performances by the cast, most notably Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl in the leads. Knocked Up is funny and raunchy, but at it’s core it is a film that takes itself serious. Because of this the film is an endearing one.


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