The Nice Guys Review

1461996759714Set in Los Angeles in 1977, The Nice Guys is part film noir, part murder mystery involving dead porn actresses, the head of the US Department of Justice, the car industry and a multitude of conspiracy theories.

Shane Black manages to make a plot that could be formulaic – slightly amoral detectives, bad guys and a mysterious young woman who holds the key to whole story – into a funny, visually pleasing film. This is in no small part due to cinematographer Philippe Rousselot, who captures the lurid, neon glow of LA at night, and the hazy glow of the city during the day – thanks to the increasing pollution of car fumes. The costumes too are brilliant, taking full advantage of some of the more questionable fashion choices of the 1970s and running with it. In one sequence set at the party of a questionable producer, the sleaziness and excess of the era is displayed in all its glory, with body paint, mermaids and the not-so great and good of the porn industry partying together.

Ryan Gosling (PI Howard Marsh) and Russell Crowe (Jackson Healy) bounce off each other, turning from rivals, to a grudging marriage of convenience, to friendship, with Marsh being the main source of common relief, with his permanent sarcasm and inability to take anything seriously. Angourie Rice (Holly Marsh) manages to play the role of the slightly precocious child without turning into a stereotyped annoyance, occasionally acting as a foil to the two leads, whilst also helping with the mystery.

While The Nice Guys is an entertaining comedy, there is more than a touch of David Lynch to the whole affair. I couldn’t help but be reminded of Mulholland Drive at various points, as memory, identity and an opening scene involving an violent car crash.

Overall a funny and enjoyable film. 4/5 stars.

Goodbye Lenin! Film Review

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Now that uni has finally finished for the summer, I decided to get round to making a dent in the 1001 Films to See Before You Die book. After watching the excellent Deutschland 83 TV series earlier in the year, Goodbye Lenin! (2003) seemed like it would be another interesting viewpoint on German Unification, especially seeing as I am doing a module in German Cinema since 1990 next year.

Set in Berlin in 1989/90, it follows the story of a family from East Berlin as they adapt to the changes brought by the unification of Germany, with one hitch. The mother, a staunch socialist, has been in a coma since before the wall came down, waking up several months after with no idea what has happened. To prevent the recurrence of her illness from the shock, Alex (Daniel Bruhl) decides the pretend that nothing has changed and the socialist state of East Germany is still going strong.

While the rest of the country drinks Coca Cola and eats at Burger King, their little flat becomes an outpost of socialist style, fashion and life. From fake news reports, to desperately trying to recover the old furniture that was thrown away, Alex tries his best to reassure his mother, as well as himself, that everything is going to be all right.

Daniel Bruhl is brilliantly sweet, moving and ever so slightly controlling as Alex, trying to keep his family together, while Katrin Sass is quietly dignified, yet overwhelming convinced of the success of East Germany until the end of the film.

Goodbye Lenin!  is one of those films that manages to be both funny and moving, without you really realising it was either until the climax. While the whole concept could, and is in some aspects, come across as really daft, the director and cast manage to make it believable and heart-warming. I’d definitely recommend it!

 

 

The Liebster Award

Apologies for not updating, it’s been a mad few weeks what with the end of uni, exams and starting a new job, but I’m going to try to update every week from now on, mostly on my days off.

First things first, an overdue thanks for kittypann for nominating me for the Liebster Award for new blogs. I met Kitty this year through uni and she writes about books, gaming and loads of other stuff, you should definitely check her out!

Now for the questions!

  1. What is the last book you read? How did you feel about it?
    Highrise by J.G. Ballard, and I loved it – review to come soon!
  2. What is your go-to comfort drink?
    I’m one of those people who doesn’t drink tea or coffee, so there’s nothing I’d automatically go for in terms of a comfort drink.
  3. Favourite animal to keep as a pet?
    I had a rabbit when I was younger, and a girl I live with has the cutest rabbits, so probably another rabbit.
  4. If you could have any miscellaneous item from a fictional world, what would it be? I don’t mean something huge, like the Elder Wand or a Piece of Eden or anything like that, just like… would you like a Weasley jumper? The Pig from The Raven Cycle? An Exy racquet?
    I want the sunrise jumper that Deacon wears in ‘What We Do in the Shadows’. Or a Weasley jumper, because I look really good in maroon.
  5. What is a goal you have for the next month?
    To finally get back into reading for fun, watch as many films as possible and get this blog running properly.

 

Thanks again to Kitty for the nomination!