Monday, 19 March 2012

Casa De Mi Padre Review (2012)

Self aware and indulgent, Will Ferrell’s Spanish only speaking comedy (bar a few ‘American’ lines) Casa De Mi Padre is at risk of isolating the core Apatow demographic, which isn’t necessary a bad thing. Ferrell plays Armando Alvarez, a romantic Mexican ranger who’s younger brother Raul, (the brilliant Diego Luna) brings shame and corruption to his family. Enter a barrage of ridiculous Mexican archetypes: drug lords, corrupt cops (Nick Offerman is wasted in his borderline cameo role), shoot outs and excessive smoking.

Taken lightly Casa is thoroughly entertaining, if a little off centre to the lengths writer Andrew Steele will go to for a few laughs. There are obvious references to Grindhouse, but it’s unclear whether these are in jest or left unfinished as a poor attempt to hit the mark. A mark so easily scored in the Tarantino and Rodriguez double bill: Planet Terror/Death Proof, both of which were seriously underrated.

Verdict: One for the hardcore Farrell fans out there with added Jim Henson puppetry, Casa De Mi Padre it’s a cut above your average Adam McKay comedy and shows a real slice of Ferrell at his best. Now if only the rest of his comedy crew could keep up.

Goodbye, First Love – ‘Un amour de jeunesse’ Review (2012)

Everyone remembers their first love. Painfully so, with precise cringe-worthy detail how for that moment in time they were consumed entirely with this unbreakable bond, sure to last forever. Sadly (or not) for some, not every match is made in heaven, and that’s precisely the case for the young leads in Mia Hansen-Løve’s Goodbye, First Love.

Set predominantly in Paris, Goodbye centres on 15 year old Camille, an intense, demanding teen (relative newcomer Lola Créton) deeply in love with lothario Sullivan (Sebastian Urzendowsky, The Way Back). It’s obvious from both the title and the outset that there won’t be any wedding bells here.

This is no Hollywood rom-com, but a French drama that although set in the most romantic city in the world, location is downplayed and put into realistic context: there is a dank teenage bedroom (Sullivan’s) and obsessive attention is placed on objects when the two leads are separated (Camille). The supporting cast of each family does well to bring tone and depth to the stark surroundings.

Goodbye is a far departure from Love’s feature debut, the critically acclaimed drama Father Of My Children, a well received and brutal portrayal of a family torn apart by suicide. The film was based on the actions of producer Humbert Balsan, who took his own life in 2005.

In Goodbye, the two leads do well to bring an intense, claustrophobic and at times unbearable performance. The main draw is Camille, but her plight is neither that heartbreaking or unequivocally empowering. Her arc is however what keeps the narrative afloat, close attention paid to her physical changes with her emotional highs and lows. It’s a shame Sullivan was not given the same detail, but he is sadly both inconsequential and all encompassing, making a frustrating conclusion.

Verdict: A little long in the tooth, this self-aware romp into the lives of two adolescent’s is both charming and full-bodied, without the Hollywood saccharine overload.