I'd already started watching this before I realized that it was directed by 'the godfather of Mumblecore,' which might have stopped me from putting it on. But I like the cast (including Kevin Corrigan, Cobie Smulder, and Constance Zimmer), and the movie didn't annoy me too much with its directorial style. In fact, the blandly naturalistic tone was well suited to the story, which would've become much more obnoxious and possibly offensive if they tried to wring any broad laughs out of it. Instead you just watch these normal people behave awkwardly in this convoluted social situation, which I guess is supposed to be the appeal of these kind of movies. Smulders is pretty good in it, nice to see her demonstrate some range outside of "How I Met Your Mother." But it all felt unstructured and indifferent, Kevin Corrigan seems like the protagonist for the first half hour but by the end he's like a tertiary character in Smulders and Guy Pearce's storyline.
"Project Greenlight" turned out to be pretty compelling television this year, but the more interesting the show got, the more it seemed to turn you against the director, Jason Mann, and not want to give his movie, The Leisure Class, a fair shake. Airing the movie on HBO the night after the last episode of the show ended up really stacking the deck against it, even though I really liked that HBO did that, when previously the "Project Greenlight" movies got small theatrical releases and it was unlikely many people would get to see it anytime soon after the show aired. One of the only halfway well known actors in The Leisure Class is Ed Weeks, one of the perennially underused supporting players on "The Mindy Project," and it was kind of nice to see him carry a movie. He plays the straight man to Thom Bell, who also starred in the original short film version, and he really had such an odd unique energy that it was the right move to let him own that character. The first half hour or so actually worked pretty well, but it kinda came off the rails as the premise escalated. Not as good as Feast, the horror comedy that I didn't realize was a "Project Greenlight" movie until after I watched it, but not the total failure some people are making it out to be.
I enjoy a good con man movie, there's so much room for double crosses and uneasy alliances and last minute twists. And this one turned out to be a pretty good opportunity for Will Smith to flex that effortless charisma that he hasn't really used much in the last few years. The second half really picked up interestingly, there's one really cool scene involving a car that kinda comes out of nowhere, and then the ending wraps things up kind of neatly but worked for me.
Hollywood satirizing itself has become such a smug "Entourage" echo chamber of the cliches that show business isn't too uncomfortable exploiting for cameos and meta gags, so it's interesting to see David Cronenberg take it somewhere else that starts out nasty and witty and just gets darker from there. Evan Bird, who was like 13-14 when the movie was shot, has one of the most complex and disturbing roles I've ever seen an actor that young take on. In the end there was a lot going on in the movie and I didn't love all of it, but I'd probably watch it again to try to appreciate it better.
Ended up watching this when my wife had it on and it was fun, better than I expected. The score was really dramatic and pompous, deleting a lot of that symphonic shit from the audio would've helped the movie come off lighter, and really every Wachowski project could've and should've been punched up by a screenwriter with a sense of humor and an ear for dialogue before they filmed it (Matrix included, fight me), but it was alright.
It's a sci-fi movie with Bruce Willis that I never even heard of when it came out, possibly because Willis's role is so scant he could have filmed his scenes in a single afternoon (and probably did). Mostly the movie is about Thomas Jane in a ridiculous wig. The premise is kind of your garden variety dystopia with an escapist fantasy world populated by androids, really the one thing that stuck out to me is how the movie just lets the 'resort' world and the robots be visually indistinguishable from the real thing so that you really buy into it, where other movies would take pains to make it all seem off or fake. The movie just kinda devolved into an endless series of shootouts and got boring, though.
Bryan Cranston dresses up like Eric Church and plays a violent blind guy in this fairly pointless, gorey crime flick. The story kind of makes sense but kind of doesn't, and everything about the situation just constantly spirals from bad to worse until the flat, merciful resolution. One of the death scenes with a minor character towards the end is one of the better death scenes I've seen in recent memory, though.
I remember Ron Eldard as this clean cut actor that NBC briefly tried to make a star in the '90s, with an arc on "ER" and later on "Men Behaving Badly." But in this movie he has some truly awful hair and sideburns that make him pretty convincing as a washed up old band roadie. The movie is kind of uneventful, although Bobby Cannavale shows up and yells some of the same nonsense about the magic of rock'no'roll that he'll probably be saying in "Vinyl" in a couple months.