Monthly Archives: August 2015

Digging for Fire

MV5BOTIzODE1MTA0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjExMzkyNjE@._V1_SX214_AL_The discovery of a bone and a gun send a husband and wife on separate adventures over the course of a weekend. (IMDb)

This is the latest from director Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies). Something I really like about his style is the improvised dialogue in the scenes. It gives the whole movie a really casual, naturalistic feeling to it. And it comes off deceivingly simple. But this movie is really saying a lot. You learn about these characters’ past, the state of their marriage, raising a child, friendship, etc. And some of the characters, you don’t even know their names. Jake Johnson and Rosemarie Dewitt are wonderful as the main couple. They both go on their own separate, but strangely similar journeys throughout the course of one weekend. The list of people that come and go in their lives throughout the weekend is impressive. Anna Kendrick, Sam Rockwell, Orlando Bloom, Brie Larson, Mike Birbiglia, and Sam Elliott are a few. Chris Messina and Jenny Slate even pop up for a scene. It’s interestingly shot, well acted, kind of understated in general. Overall, I throughly enjoyed it.


Side Note: I saw this at The Music Box in Chicago, and afterwards they held a talkback with Joe Swanberg and Jake Johnson:

They were both really cool and they talked about the process of the movie mostly. How when it comes to improvising, they call the first take a “writing take” and the more takes they do, the more solid the dialogue becomes. So, it is improvised, but they get the chance to improve on that first spark of dialogue.

I think my favorite part they talked about was that this plotline basically happened to Jake Johnson. He and his wife were digging a garden at this rental house and they found a bone and a gun, among a lot of the other artifacts that they found in the movie. This was the jumping off point for the whole thing.

Cool right?

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Posted by on August 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Five Star

MV5BMTUzMzA1ODMxNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDE3OTU5NTE@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_A member of the notorious Bloods since he was 12 years old – both in the film and in real life – Primo takes John, the son of his slain mentor, under his wing, versing him in the code of the streets. Set in East New York, FIVE STAR blends documentary and fictional storytelling as director Keith Miller carefully avoids worn clichés of gang culture to offer a compelling portrait of two men forced to confront the question of what it really means to be a man. (IMDb)

The main draw for this one is the blend of documentary and storytelling. The actual plot is false, but Primo is an actual member of the Bloods and John Diaz is an actual kid from New York. That is the part of this movie that works. Instead of the cliched “coming of age in the ‘hood” thing we’ve seen over and over, we get a more true slice of life. We see Primo playing with his kids and talking to his wife about rent and security deposits. It’s actually quite interesting. In fact, the very opening monologue about the night his son was born is the most compelling part of the whole thing. Speaking of, that’s the area where this didn’t quite hit the mark for me. Yes, seeing the slice of life was interesting, but it wasn’t exactly compelling. I found myself half-watching almost the entire middle. But, I will say that slice of life isn’t my favorite, and I’m big on dialogue. And when there’s five whole minutes of John and his girlfriend mumbling to each other, it just doesn’t do it for me. But, this is still interesting, and is a refreshing departure from what we usually see in this genre.


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Posted by on August 20, 2015 in Uncategorized


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