09th Dec2015

The Gift (Film)

by timbaros

UNTITLED JOEL EDGERTON PROJECTA friend from the past becomes a bit of a nuisance in the new horror film ‘The Gift.’

It’s gifts that one couple don’t want, or need. Young married couple Simon (Jason Bateman), a sales executive at a computer security firm, and his interior designer wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall), have just relocated from Chicago back to Simon’s hometown of Los Angeles for his new job. They have moved into a beautiful home, with floor to ceiling glass windows that look out onto the front yard. It’s a dream home any couple would want. One day while out shopping, a man starts looking at and following them. It turns out that this man, Gordon (Joel Edgerton), was an old school friend of Simon’s. They exchange numbers and agree to meet up. A dinner is arranged, but it turns out to be awkward as Simon doesn’t really remember Gordon from his school days, but Gordon seems to think him and Simon were friends back then. After the initial dinner, Simon and Robyn start finding gifts on their doorstep. First it’s a bottle of wine, and then it’s a school of goldfish in a newly-made pond that Gordon has created in their front yard. Then soon enough Gordon starts showing up at their house unannounced. But it becomes a bit too much for the couple, and they decide to invite themselves over for dinner at Gordon’s house to check him out. What they discover, or at least what it appears to be, is that Gordon is a successful businessman with a huge house whose wife has just left him which may or may not explain his odd behaviour. But Simon is still a little bit suspect about him, and he remembers that back in school Gordon was known as ‘Gordo the Weirdo,’ and in his mind nothing much has changed about him. As Gordon continues to stalk the couple, even after they call the police on him, it’s a matter of time before they start fighting for their survival, not just from Gordon but survival for their marriage as well, especially when Robyn learns the truth of what happened between Simon and Gordon all those years ago.

Edgerton (Black Mass) has given himself a plum role (he wrote and directed the film as well) as a man with a fatal attraction for the couple. It’s a creepy role, and Edgerton really ramps it up when he needs to. And Bateman and Hall are perfect in their roles as a fresh and doe-eyed couple who are trying to start a family and settle into their new lives. While the film doesn’t quite maintain the thrill and mystery that it starts out with, culminating in a silly finale, it’s a chilly and scary story that’s one hell of a ride.

The Gift is out now on Digital HD and Blu-ray and DVD

26th Oct2014

This is Where I Leave You – Film

by timbaros

images-274A dysfunctional family with a sexy matriarch is the premise of the new dramatic comedy This is Where I Leave You.

Jane Fonda stars as the outspoken Hillary Altman. Her husband has just passed away so all of her children come to the family home for the funeral, to live under the same roof, for seven days. The Altman children include Judd (Jason Bateman), a 40-something radio producer who catches his wife in bed with his star DJ Wade Beaufort (Dax Shepard); Tina Fey plays Wendy – she’s the sensible one, very close to Judd, with two children and a husband always on the phone making deals; Adam Driver is Phillip – he’s in his mid 30’s going on 25 but who is dating a woman almost double his age (played confidently by Connie Britton); and then there’s the oldest and responsible brother Paul (Corey Stoll), who works in the company business with their now deceased father but is having a hard time trying to have a baby with his wife him Annie (Kathryn Hahn).

In a film that has cute moments together with some awful moments, This is Where I Leave You is basically a film about a family that is just as dysfunctional and loopy as we’ve seen before on the screen. Awkward moments abound, especially as the father’s dying wish was to have all his children come home and spend seven days Sitting Shiva (a seven-day period of mourning in the Jewish religion). Hillary goes on to tell her children “For the next seven days you are all my children again. And you are all grounded.” The Altman family basically don’t know what to say to each other and the silence is louder than words. Other Awkward moments include Hillary’s breasts. They loom large when she’s making a bed for Judd and tell’s him “these are the same breasts you sucked on as a child,” and he tells her “Oh no they’re not.”

With the four adult children back in their hometown, past romantic liaisons come alive again. Rose Byrne plays Penny Moore, a hometown girl who’s always carried a torch for Judd, too bad for her that he unknowingly has sex with her daughter. And Paul’s wife Annie has always carried a torch for Judd and even asks him to impregnate her as it appears her husband Paul’s sperm is not doing the trick. And Wendy has to come face to face with a high school sweetheart (Timothy Olyphant) who was in a tragic accident and was incapable of being the man she wanted him to be so she moved on with her life.

This is Where I Leave You is recommended for it’s smart cast (they all do very well in light of a very weak script with some unfunny jokes) and direction that could’ve been tighter and more focused. And it could’ve finished with a different ending as I didn’t believe the  relationship Wendy is now in. Having said that, it’s a fun film that you will more than likely forget a couple hours after leaving the cinema.