Writer/director Noah Baumbach and his Greenberg star Greta Gerwig reunite in Frances Ha. Shot in beautiful black and white, the film follows Gerwig’s titular late-20s heroine as she pursues her dreams of dance and sorta kinda attempts to be an adult in New York City. Written by real-life couple Baumbach and Gerwig, co-stars include Adam Driver (Adam from Girls), relative newcomer Mickey Sumner, and Gerwig’s own parents, playing Mom and Dad for Frances. Based on Baumbach’s track record alone (I’m a big fan of The Squid and the Whale and Margot at the Wedding), the film was already near the top of the year’s To-See list. Generally positive reviews, including from my trusted fellow critics, have me even more excited for Friday…especially after last week’s drudgery.
The filmography of Louis Leterrier (The Transporter and its sequel; Clash of the Titans; The Incredible Hulk) isn’t impressive, but the cast he’s recruited for Now You See Me is. In it, Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, and Dave (brother of James) Franco play a team of illusionists known as The Four Horsemen. In their shows, they pull off a series of heists against corrupt business moguls (e.g. Michael Caine’s Arthur Tressler) and let the stolen dough rain down on their audience. Morgan Freeman factors in as a mysterious debunker while Mark Ruffalo’s FBI agent and Melanie Laurent’s Interpol detective team up to bring down the crooks. All told, it looks exciting, smart, and a good bet to cleanse the palate of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, but I’m going to go ahead and guess that Freeman is in on the con; maybe Caine, too.
In After Earth, Chris (Will Smith) and Christopher Gardner (Jaden Smith) from The Pursuit of Happyness are thawed from their cryogenic freeze 1,000 years in the future to…no, wait…my sources say those details are incorrect. The film does star Big Willie Style and his offspring and occurs in that distant setting, but as father/son soldiers who crash-land on our now uninhabited planet and struggle to survive the myriad dangers that await. Apparently Tom Cruise had his post-apocalyptic shot in Oblivion and now it’s Team Smith’s turn. Papa Will came up with the story and has dreams of building a multifaceted empire from it, but more interesting to me is how quiet the marketing has been about the film’s director, one M. Night Shyamalan. It’s been nearly 10 years since Mr. Sixth Sense had a hit, which is about the time Will Smith relinquished his “King of the Summer” crown. Will they be able to combine forces and part like it’s 2004?
Fleeing the Scene
The dopey Dark Skies is it. Paltry, I say! Paltry!
On Netflix Instant
The found-footage cop drama End of Watch caught flack for cheating on its approach early and often, but is still worth seeing for the rapport between Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. Another strong offering from last year is the sophisticated French buddy comedy The Intouchables, which should have been a Best Foreign Language nominee. Speaking of Oscars, blasting from the past is Leaving Las Vegas, featuring a Best Actor performance from none other than Nicolas Cage.
Cute but underwhelming film. It did have enough one-liner zingers to overcome the general lack of structure to the story.
Sad to say that I meet a lot of “Frances Ha” types in Asheville. I hope their stories tend to end as well as hers.
Being a fan on Baumbach you owe it to yourself to see Kicking and Screaming.
I’ve seen it and like it, just not as much as his more recent films.
I have not, however, seen Mr. Jealousy or Highball.