Saturday, November 28

What I've Watched #5: Lady-centricity

Mistress America

Mistress America is the second collaboration between Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, the first being Frances Ha (which I adore). I have only seen one other film from each of them, neither of which I enjoyed (Kicking and Screaming - Baumbach and Damsels in Distress - Gerwig), so this is a plea for them to never again make another film without the other present.

I feel like I should be sick of these fast-talking, quirky, hip New York films, but somehow I'm not. Greta Gerwig herself should be annoying (I'm sure if I knew someone like her character, I'd find them insufferable), but I just find her endearing and charming, and believable as this odd caricature of a person. 

I think I'm also developing a similar love for Lola Kirke, although the whole time I was watching the film she reminded me of Elizabeth Olsen, for possibly no reason at all; I remember that whenever I watched my first Elizabeth Olsen film, I had the same feeling of wanting to watch her in every single film she made.

And the film itself is funny, surprisingly so; I was expecting the usual hipstery mildly amusing chuckles, but I actually laughed out loud. But then it's also sweet, in a similar way to Frances Ha - like she had a few bad things happen, and a few more bad things may happen again in the future, but at some point something would click and she would just figure her life out.

Gemma Bovery

The second adaptation of Posy Simmonds' graphic novels, and the second to feature Gemma Arterton. Gemma Bovery is a loose retelling of Flaubert's classic novel Madame Bovary - mostly set in the French countryside and told mostly in French (with English subtitles), Gemma Bovery is quite possibly the most English thing I've ever seen, which is neither an insult or a compliment. Regardless of all the Frenchness and raunchy sex scenes, it was also incredibly twee - as the image above suggests there's lots of staring into space (and out of windows) into the vast French countryside, whilst eating bread and drinking wine.

The story is not too dissimilar to Posy Simmonds other graphic novel, Tamara Drewe, which I also found a bit twee. To say she has a story telling 'style' is an understatement - amazingly beautiful, yet deeply unhappy woman moves to the countryside, all the menfolk fall madly and obsessively in in love, something a bit odd and dark happens, the end.

I don't know, it was fine, just like Tamara Drewe was fine - and of course nobody needs to convince me to fall madly in love with Gemma Arterton. It's just that it was a bit 'meh' - not as funny as (I think) it was intended to be and it wasn't really anything new.

Hot Pursuit

Just a world of no. I get what they were aiming for - I really loved The Heat and thought it was a lot better than most gave it credit for - but Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon are not Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock, they missed it by a mile. This is not a good film.

I'm not a huge Reese Witherspoon fan, but she's a decent actress and she does comedy well - mock me all you like, but Legally Blonde is a modern classic and Election is vastly underrated. She is however, not good in this. It actually made me question her recent commitment to creating roles for women in film; I haven't seen Wild but I have enjoyed the films that she's produced - Penelope and Gone Girl - what I don't understand is how you go from that, to this. It just doesn't make sense. Not to mention that the entire plot line rests on that tired trope of women being really into shoes.

And then there's Sofia Vergara. At what point in your career do you decide to not fall victim to racial stereotyping in the roles that you are cast, what is Sofia Vergara's limit on playing 'The Sexy Latina' in everything (granted the only things I've seen her in are this and Modern Family, but surely that's enough). Are these the only roles that she gets offered or are these the roles she chooses to accept? Because either way, that's a problem, no?

But then, even if Reese or Sofia tried, the film itself was so tired and obvious that it was just never going to work.


I've been so slow on films this year, I feel like I've hardly watched anythin at all, but I'm also really underwhelmed by films this year, I kind of don't care at the moment.

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