REVIEW: 50/50

Directed by: Jonathan Levine
Written by: Will Reiser (screenplay)
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick and Anjelica Huston

As you may have guessed, 50/50 has a series of choices with two possible outcomes, the most prominent of which is whether the young cancer patient played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt will live or die.  The movie also presents a choice that is unexpected given the subject matter: will it lean more heavily on comedy or drama?

The latter choice is more interesting because an audience will have to grapple with it. Once you get to know Adam (Gordon-Levitt), you’ll want him to live, and Will Reiser’s screenplay assures that you will never have mixed feelings about that.  You will about the comedy, though.  Should a movie about this be funny?  Showtime’s The Big C has proven that it is indeed possible, as long as there is a distinct human element. Thanks to the well-cast ensemble, 50/50 is mostly successful at walking the tightrope.

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ARCHIVE REVIEW: The Royal Tenenbaums

The Royal Tenenbaums
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Written by: Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson (screenplay)
Starring: Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller and Gwyneth Paltrow

The idea that movies can have a literary quality to them is something that a director like Wes Anderson often takes to heart.  His movies operate on many basic storytelling conventions- the dysfunctional family, the adolescent emerging the cocoon- but within them is an entire world of his own creation.

The Anderson Aesthetic is one where his art and his life-view merge; where the clothes of the characters often meticulously match their surroundings.  It’s a style of filmmaking that can be divisive, which also means that it’s a style that is always interesting.

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