Saturday, May 1, 2010

What I Think of: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Double Feature)

In the past few days, I've watched two, count them two, Joseph Gordon-Levitt films and here's my review of them below.

It first started with Uncertainty, the 2009 drama directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel that reminds me a bit of Sliding Doors with less romance and more thrill. The film opens on the Brooklyn Bridge where Kate (Lynn Collins) and Bobby (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are trying to make a decision. They toss a coin to make up their decision and once the decision is made, Kate runs to downtown Manhattan, and Bobby runs towards Brooklyn. Here the story splits--one follows the "green" version with Bobby running to Brooklyn, and the other a "yellow" version with Kate in Chinatown. The use of green and yellow by the directors was for the purpose of following two versions of the movie and not confusing the two. It was a cute idea but perhaps it could have been a bit more subtle, give the audience a little credit. And I say this because the two versions are quite different. The green storyline is more dramatic and somber focusing on Kate's family; the yellow storyline is a thriller that focuses on a found cellphone by Bobby and people hunting them down trying to retrieve it.

There's one somewhat connecting thread to both stories but I won't give that away. I'm not sure if it's even that vital since in the end you really don't know what happens and what decisions are being made. And speaking of the end, I almost felt that nothing happened. Ok, wait, a lot happened but nothing progressed except time. It was an interesting story and the way it was done was unique but I don't know if the crux of the story was strong enough for me.

Now onto the second film of the double feature, I watched the 2005 high school crime drama Brick. I've been wanting to see this film for a while and finally watched it on Netflix's Instant Watch. This film was directed by Rian Johnson (you may remember my review of Brothers Bloom--same guy) and you can tell he was influenced by the detective novels/films of the 1930s and 40s. Johnson updated the locale to modern day California high school, the detective and criminals are high school students. JGL plays Brendan Frye, a somewhat geeky kid obsessed with solving the murder of his ex-girlfriend Emily Kostich(Emilie de Ravin). His sidekick The Brain (Matt O'Leary) helps him navigate into the "upper crust" elite crowd, the rich kids with drug habits, and their dealers. The story twists and turns and you learn a little bit about the case and Emily. And like a true noir film, the mystery is solved at the end and JGL explains how it all went down.

I'll say that when I first watched it, I came in with high expectations because I heard so many good things about the movie. And I hate to say it but I think my expectations may have been cast too high and not to say that I didn't like the film, I was expecting something that blew me away. And this didn't do it. I think one thing that may have put me off was the way they spoke. It was a bit hard for me to follow the 'old-timey' speak of hardboiled detectives. I think you get used to it but I found myself re-winding a bit. Also with the twist and turns and the nicknames, it was a bit hard to follow for me, perhaps I needed to brush up on my noir films before watching this. However, I was ever so grateful for the recap at the end. :) And I will say for the young cast of actors, they did a great job.

Recap of JGL: He has been picking some really interesting roles that showcases his range and I love that he goes in there and just does it. True professional; very crush worthy.

And here are the trailers for our entertainment:

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