Out Now – 7th December 2012

Seven Psychopaths
Meta-comedy about a man writing a film about psychopaths of a surprisingly indeterminate number. As my friend Jon said, “It’s a dumb glossy action film with one-dimensional characters that ultimately lacks any heart or soul.”

The Man with the Iron Fists
“On the hunt for a fabled treasure of gold, a band of warriors, assassins, and a rogue British soldier descend upon a village in feudal China, where a humble blacksmith looks to defend himself and his fellow villagers.” Respect to any film with a crazy synopsis like this which uses the Oxford comma.

The Oranges
Gentle comedy about a man (Hugh Laurie) who starts to date his friend’s daughter (Leighton Meester). With the rest of the cast filled out by Catherine Keener, Adam Brody, Oliver Platt, Alia Shawkat, and Allison Janney there isn’t a dud in the box.

So Undercover
Miley Cyrus is a private eye hired by the FBI to pose as a college student. Imagine Veronica Mars but without anything good in it. Imagine Miley Cyrus trying to act. Imagine a “steet-smart” girl forced to join a sorority. Imagine hitting your face against a wall until you are no longer able to remember that this film exists. There, that’s better.

Celeste & Jesse Forever
Disarmingly charming non-romantic comedy about trying to stays friends with your ex and all the pain and struggles that can bring. Three Mild Concern writers accidentally saw this film at the same screening and we all loved it. So there.

I, Anna (limited release)
“A noir thriller told from the point of view of a femme fatale, who falls for the detective in charge of a murder case.” I quite liked it.

Confession of a Child of the Century (limited release)
Pete Doherty (oh yes, him) stars as Octave in 1830s Paris – a man who is betrayed by his mistress and falls in love with an elder widow (Charlotte Gainsbourg).Pete Doherty acting? Bloody hell.

When Santa Fell to Earth (limited release)
German children’s film in which Santa falls to Earth. Presumably. The full synopsis looks ridiculously complicated, is five paragraphs long, and contains phrases like “Goblynch also wants to force Santa Niklas Goodfellow, the last real Santa, to work for his commercialized Christmas company and forces him to do hard labour in the ordering department of the Christmas Palace.”

You Will Be My Son (limited release)
“An Oedipal tale set in a world of oenophiles.” I take my hat off to you anonymous Independent film critic.

Gremlins (limited release)
One of the best Christmas films ever ever ever is back in some cinemas. Go see it. NOW!

Life Just Is (limited release)
“Pete, Tom, Claire and Jay are university graduates having trouble making the move into adult life. Beneath the hanging out and the daily routines simmers Pete’s desire to find a spiritual answer to life’s meaning, Jay’s desperate need not to get hurt again, and Tom and Claire’s ever increasing mutual attraction.” It’s about me! I am a graduate struggling to make the move into adult life. I seek the meaning of life. I don’t want to get hurt. I have an increasing mutual attraction with myself.

Celeste & Jesse Forever – LFF Review

Celeste and Jesse Forever

I have long been both impressed and more than a bit suspicious of people who manage to stay friends with their exes. In my experience, many try and few succeed – and the two necessary ingredients to be one of the few is time and distance. Not that Celeste (Rashida Jones, who was also co-writer) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) were paying any attention to my sage advice when they decided to get divorced. Not least because they are fictional.

Celeste and Jesse’s relationship is established in the montage over the opening credits and they’ve broken up long before the first line of dialogue. They’re just not acting like it. Even if high-flying “trendspotter” Celeste had grown tired of artist Jesse’s apparent lack of motivation, they’re still best friends and happiest in each other’s company. Unsurprisingly, this isn’t conducive to moving on.

The breath of fresh air that blows through this rom-com (or should that be post-rom-com?) is that it does away with one of the big failings of the genre: the will they, won’t they? question, almost always answered with yes, of course they will, is neatly sidestepped. Here, Celeste and Jesse already have. The question that will keep you guessing right to the end, is will they again? And more importantly, should they? While I really wanted good things to happen to both Celeste and Jesse, I couldn’t decide whether a reconciliation was the good thing I wanted.

The film would have fallen flat without the brilliant chemistry that Jones and Samberg have onscreen but they have you rooting for them from scene one. They’re funny and charming, with dialogue that’s always pitch perfect and both are skilled physical comedians. While the supporting cast are all likeable, the central pair are definitely the stars, not even upstaged by Elijah Wood as Celeste’s business partner, who’s trying and failing to be her sassy gay friend. This should be a relief to Rashida Jones who was so fed up with always playing the best friend in films that she decided to write herself a lead role.

There are some flaws – the sideplot featuring Riley Banks, Celeste’s teen pop star client, is resolved in a bit too neat a fashion and their lifestyles are oh so glamorous all the time – but C+JF is both funny and romantic, which is what you want out of a romantic comedy and yet so rarely get.

Mild Concern vs BFI London Film Festival