Saturday, June 27, 2009

Away We Go

Sam Mendes doesn't direct a lot, but when he does the results are masterful. American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Jarhead, and Revolutionary Road were all so sharply envisioned and executed that in each instance I felt transported. I was transported by Mendes' latest film, too, but in a different way. I was not so much transported to another place, although that was accomplished. I was transported into a variety of different marital and parental realities.

Working from a script by neo-modernist author Dave Eggers and his wife, Vendela Vida, the film is a road trip with Verona (Maya Rudolph) and Bert (John Krasinski) , an unmarried couple anticipating the arrival of their first child.. They hit the road because Bert's thoughtlessly self-involved parents are moving to Belgium, even though Bert and Verona moved to be near them for the child's birth. Because they're in their 30s, Verona wonders if she and Bert are somehow underdeveloped, immature, not ready for parenthood They decide to visit friends and siblings to see how well they have done. The trip is often hilarious, but underneath the laughs are Verona's anxiety and Bert's perplexity and aching adoration of her, even though she refuses to marry him.

Both Krasinski and Rudolph are tremendous, but Rudolph's performance is especially wonderful.

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Queen & Slim

In the soon to be iconic photograph from Melina Matsoukas's distressing Queen & Slim, stars Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith...