Andrew Hates… TRAINWRECK

Dir: Judd Apatow, 2015

Since she was a child, Amy Townsend’s father dealt with his own failures as a husband by instilling into her the belief that “monogamy isn’t realistic”. Twenty-three years later, Amy is working as a writer for a seedy men’s magazine to fund her intemperate, promiscuous lifestyle. However, Amy soon finds herself questioning the gospel according to Pa when she starts falling for her latest subject – a sweet and successful sports doctor named Aaron Connors.

“They fuck you up, your mum and dad”, said Philip Larkin in his 1971 poem This Be the Verse. Even though Larkin’s father was an attendee of Nuremberg rallies twice over and decorated his office with Nazi regalia, when it comes daddy issues this poet got nothin’ on Amy. Saturday Night Live stand-up Colin Quinn is exceptional as Amy’s firebrand father who serves as the instigator for Schumer’s story. Taking his adolescent daughters aside and using dolls to explain their mother’s supposedly unfair marital expectations is by far one of the funniest opening scenes you’ll see this year.

Jumping ahead into Amy’s “adult” life, we find her in New York City living the very same fractured perception of human relationships while her sister Kim has gone the opposite route of marriage, children and a frank resentment of her father. From here on, we follow Amy on a journey of self-evaluation and social ineptitude as Schumer dissects traditional scopes of women in film without once patronising or lecturing her audience.

The director’s first film in which he didn’t pen the script, Judd Apatow (The 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up) clearly revels in the pith and spirit that Schumer brings to the table and for once doesn’t feel the need to wear out the film’s welcome with a protracted running time. Schumer’s screenplay brings the same satirical, sideways-glance at sex, family, relationships and gender politics that her Comedy Central sketch show Inside Amy Schumer excels at but leans further away from farce than most modern American comedies do.

As with Apatow’s previous productions, Trainwreck serves as a pleasant outlet for comics to dust off their dramatic skills and both Schumer and Bill Hader are as comprehensive a couple as this film could ever ask for. Even Apatow’s assembled circumference of thespians and sportspersons bring their comedy A-game in roles that round out the film’s performances instead of simply turning heads with fleeting cameos. Tilda Swinton gives us another transformative turn as Amy’s merciless editor and John Cena is hilarious as a roided-up closet case but it’s Lebron James’ incendiary performance as a penny-pinching version of himself that bags the most laughs of Apatow’s razor-sharp support cast.

If there is indeed a casualty within Trainwreck, it is Schumer’s attempts to grasp a fashionable foothold in the pop culture of today. A string of Johnny Depp jokes, Game of Thrones references and a film-within-a-film starring Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei fall flat enough to bring Trainwreck’s delirious trip to an excruciating halt. Fortunately these faults are few and far between and as soon as we’re back to Amy’s commitment catastrophes, the gags accelerate again.

As boorish as it is delightful, Trainwreck is a filthy specimen with a heart of absolute gold that many will find hard not to be won over by. Leading the charge as a witty and subversive tale of contemporary romance, Trainwreck powers full-throttle through the 21st century, with any luck, bringing Hollywood along for the ride.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Watch the trailer here.

Advertisements

Andrew Hates… MOONRISE KINGDOM

eow

Dir: Wes Anderson, 2012

1965: the summer of love for two twelve-year olds who elope to the woods of their New England island. And so begins a hectic chase led by the local sheriff, a boy scout master, worried parents and a squadron of unnaturally violent scouts.

Anderson’s five-year break from picturesque feature films that saw him depict a Roald Dahl classic via motion-capture has clearly sent the visionary artist into aesthetic withdrawal. Now, back on track, Anderson sets out to capture his most elegant and hearty feature yet.

Unfortunately, Wes Anderson’s desire to fool around with photography techniques stifles his stellar cast, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Harvey Keitel having very little to contribute. The two adolescents in love are the melting heart of the film, with Edward Norton in tow as the hilariously inept camp leader and Bruce Willis playing, well, Bruce Willis.

It’s no surprise that Moonrise Kingdom presents itself similar to a stage play on a projector screen so keep in mind, Wes Anderson’s films are for Wes Anderson fans. Those fair-weather filmgoers who view his pieces with a tepid sense of enthusiasm may be weary of his steady-cam panning shots and his dollhouse sets. However, those with a light sense of humour and a passion for beautiful landscapes will find Moonrise Kingdom an absolute delight.

One of the biggest disadvantages of Anderson’s cherubic tale of young love is it feels a little rushed. Clocking in at 93 minutes, Moonrise Kingdom’s second act is so short it’s almost non-existent. A little more time to dwell on the relationship between newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward would’ve cemented the narrative and kept the story where it needed to be most.

Moonrise Kingdom doesn’t have intriguing characters as of the families Tenenbaum or Zissou and the storyline may not be his most original but what may be scant in story is made up for with style. Ultimately an experiment in directorial flair, Moonrise Kingdom will dazzle some and jade others. Opinions aside, without a doubt Wes Anderson’s most Wes Anderson film.

Watch the trailer here