London Film Festival 2013 Diary: Day 4

The Congress:

Film 2An aging, out-of-work actress (Robin Wright) accepts one last job, though the consequences of her decision affect her in ways she didn’t consider.

The Congress is unlike any film I have seen in a long time, and for that reason alone I’m still trying to wrap my mind round it. Because, it’s a very challenging to watch to fully understand where the story goes.

Ari Folman returns after his critically acclaimed ‘Waltz with Bashir’; which shamefully I’ve yet to see, with this incredibly ambitious, rich and satirical live-action/anime hybrid. In fact, the film is about 75% animation. Which, by the way looks absolutely breathtaking. It kind of reminded me of those Beatles Yellow Submarine animations.

As much as I admire it, and indeed like it to a certain extent, I simply cannot love it. Purely for the slightly muddled and confusing narrative when it reaches the second act within the anime world. But even still The Congress is very much a film you should seek out and watch.

★★★☆☆

Drinking Buddies:

Film 3Luke (Jake Johnson) and Kate (Olivia Wilde) are co-workers at a Chicago brewery, where they spend their days drinking and flirting. They’re perfect for each other, except that they’re both in relationships. Luke is in the midst of marriage talks with his girlfriend (Anna Kendrick) of six years, Kate is playing it cool with her music producer boyfriend Chris (Ron Livingston). But you know what makes the line between “friends” and “more than friends” really blurry? Beer.

Drinking Buddies is my first foray into Joe Swanberg, and from this  excellent effort I’ll make sure it’s not my last. Whats utterly great about Drinking buddies though is its naturalistic method to the story with improvised dialogue and responses. This gives the film a breezy and natural feel to the relationships between each character.

Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson are the main stars, and its their central relationship we concentrate on and it affects others in their lives. Wilde is terrific and easily her best role to date and has a great chemistry with Johnson. Ron Livingstone and Anna Kendrick are very much the secondary characters but again, when they are on-screen it feels very right.

The film has a satisfying ending that could easily have been a cop-out but I’m glad it was kept sweet. Drinking Buddies is a great indie drama comedy that I’m sure many will love.

★★★★☆

 

Mistaken For Strangers:

Film 3In 2010, the rock band The National released their fifth album, High Violet. After ten years as critical darlings, the band was finally enjoying wider recognition. As they were about to embark on the biggest tour of their career, lead singer Matt Berninger invited his younger brother, Tom, to be a part of their tour crew. A budding filmmaker and horror movie enthusiast, Tom brought along his camera to film the experience. 

Mistaken For Strangers is a relatively short semi-documentary on the indie rock band, The National. Filmed by the leader singers brother Tom. Though he was only on tour with the band as a roadie, which he wasn’t that great at, he wanted to make this documentary about them.

The film isn’t a great band documentary by any means but it is a pleasant story about two brothers and family. We see how they each feel about each other in an honest and genuine way. Often very funny, but we are laughing more at Tom than with him because of his buffoon nature.

Fans of The National will get more out of this as it doesn’t quite progress to next level of documentary making where the viewer can find something in a source material they either didn’t know or cared about.

★★★☆☆

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