Faxon and Rash, Kasdan, Lloyd, Lord and Miller, Snyder

Darling Companion (Lawrence Kasdan, 2012). I’ve got loads of residual affection for writer-director Lawrence Kasdan, but he sure doesn’t make it easy to be one of his defenders these days. Darling Companion was his first film in nearly decade, following the appallingly bad Stephen King adaptation Dreamcatcher. It doesn’t make an argument that he used his creative downtime wisely. As wispy of a film concept as anyone’s likely to come across, Kasdan’s story (co-written with his wife, Meg Kasdan) concerns an older couple who adopt a stray dog and then lose that new furry family member in the woods around … Continue reading Faxon and Rash, Kasdan, Lloyd, Lord and Miller, Snyder

Well can’t you see me standing here, I’ve got my back against the record machine

At some point, the meta magic of filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller is going to wear so thin it can’t hold up a flimsy excuse for a movie concept, but the inevitable erosion hasn’t happened yet. Mere months after their astonishing and daring subversion of the corporate synergy movie model turned The Lego Movie into the most unlikely critical hit in ages (the film’s commercial success, while more impressive than expected, wasn’t exactly in doubt) they’ve returned with a sequel to 2012’s television show adaptation 21 Jump Street, itself a headlong dive into the rabbit hole of mocking self-awareness. … Continue reading Well can’t you see me standing here, I’ve got my back against the record machine

Carax, Davies, Godard, Huston, Lord and Miller

21 Jump Street (Phil Lord and Chris Miller, 2012). This adaptation of the ludicrous nineteen-eighties television series about cops undercover in high school (one of the first hits for the Fox network) was met with surprising appreciation by the critical community when it was released last spring. I can certainly understand why its metafictional comedy may have been a welcome surprise, but it’s still more ragged and predictable than it is shrewd and effective. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum have nice interplay as the requisite mismatched cops working together, and there’s something refreshing about the inversion of stereotypes, with the … Continue reading Carax, Davies, Godard, Huston, Lord and Miller

Cummings, Hartley, Lord and Miller, Preminger, Truffaut

The Last Metro (Francois Truffaut, 1980). One of Truffaut’s last films, The Last Metro is set in a struggling theatre during World War II. The Germans occupy France, causing the acclaimed owner and director of the theatre to hide out in the basement relaying covert suggestions as the troupe upstairs mounts a production that needs to be a success to keep the business afloat. Catherine Deneuve plays his wife and muse, the person trying to keep both him and the theatre safe. Gerard Depardieu plays an actor cast in the latest production, though its his life away from the stage … Continue reading Cummings, Hartley, Lord and Miller, Preminger, Truffaut