All Good Things (2010) Review

20131231-111313 am.jpg
All Good Things (2010)

Directed by Andrew Jarecki

Starring:
Ryan Gosling
Kirsten Dunst
Frank Langella
Kristen Wiig
Philip Baker Hall
Diane Venora
Lily Rabe

Running time: 101 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Inspired by the life of accused murderer Robert Durst, the film chronicles the life of the wealthy son of a New York real estate tycoon, and a series of murders linked to him, as well as his volatile relationship with his wife and her subsequent unsolved disappearance.

20131231-111507 am.jpg
My Opinion:

Earlier in the year, I decided to start a Ryan Gosling Project where I’d watch all his films. But then… I don’t know, I just sort of fell out of love with him. So I haven’t continued that project but I guess I can add All Good Things to the list HERE.

20131231-111908 am.jpg
I thought this was a decent “based on a true story” (suspected) murder mystery movie. It’s not a genre I really go for but occasionally I’m in the mood for this kind of thing. I have to admit that I sometimes miss those (horrible) true story made for TV Lifetime movies in America. All Good Things is that exact sort of thing – It’s a Lifetime movie with a bigger budget & better actors. Okay, those Lifetime movies do get played in the UK but I just don’t have time for those (horrible) wonderful movies anymore. I miss Nancy McKeon, though – is she still doing that type of stuff?? And Valerie Bertinelli! And Meredith Baxter-Birney!

20131231-112214 am.jpg
So, anyway – this film is based on the story of wealthy Robert Durst, whose wife went missing in 1982. The case remains unsolved but Durst is suspected of two other murders 20 years later (and was tried for one, in which he claimed self-defense). Gosling plays Durst (but with the character name changed to David Marks) and Kirsten Dunst plays his wife Katie.

20131231-112247 am.jpg
I’ve never really liked Kirsten Dunst but I have to say she really did a very good job in this film. She was the highlight of the movie for me & I thought her performance was even better than Gosling’s. Obviously, it’s not a spoiler to say she disappears & we never see her again but, luckily, the film spends the majority of the time focusing on the marriage so she’s in the film a lot. After she disappears, the film goes through the next 20 years or so very quickly (maybe a little too quickly considering that this is when things got REALLY interesting & f%*ked up!).

20131231-112317 am.jpg
Ryan Gosling also does a good job but I kind of feel like we’ve seen too many similar performances from him before. He plays the character as a quiet, deeply troubled man (the type of role he plays so often). He plays it very subtle & it’s nice not seeing some over-the-top psycho but, again, we’ve seen this from him before. My very favorite Gosling movie is Lars And The Real Girl – he plays the role of Marks the same sort of way as he played Lars (but with a crazy anger underneath the surface – Lars was crazy but just sweet). He was great as Lars – if I hadn’t already seen that film, I’d probably be more blown away by his performance in this one. He is good in this – I’m not saying he isn’t. I just thought that Dunst felt like the true star in this one.

20131231-112348 am.jpg
Summary:

All Good Things is a very intriguing mystery based on the real life 1982 disappearance of the wife of a wealthy businessman. Gosling & especially Dunst give very good performances and a lot of time is spent exploring their characters & their relationship. Then she disappears & things get REALLY odd. I liked this movie quite a bit considering it’s not my favorite sort of genre. It really is an interesting case so I can see why they made a film out of it. I recommend this if you like “true crime” dramas.

My Rating: 6.5/10

20131231-112415 am.jpg

Robot & Frank (2012) Review

20130316-035032 PM.jpg
Synopsis from Wikipedia:

Robot & Frank is a 2012 American film directed by Jake Schreier and written by Christopher Ford. Set in the near future, it focuses on Frank, an aging jewel thief played by Frank Langella, whose son buys him a domestic robot. Resistant at first, Frank warms up to the robot when he realizes he can use it to restart his career as a cat burglar.

I was lucky enough to catch this one this week – it’s only JUST come out in cinemas in the UK (I think it was last autumn in America?) and it looks like it has already disappeared from cinemas. Have to make way for crappy blockbusters, I guess! I’m still pissed off at missing Stoker as it also ran for only one week. But I’m sure I’ll be able to watch Identity Thief as much as I want – I’m sure that will run for months! Okay – I’m ranting & sounding snobby… I’ll move on!

20130316-035202 PM.jpg
Robot & Frank is a very “me” movie. I go more for the indie types of films (Is this indie? I don’t know – the definition of indie seems complicated these days. I know many movies have an indie FEEL but aren’t actually indie). But I digress! I love indie, quirky, sci-fi, and simple uplifting “human” films. Robot & Frank ticks all these boxes, even the sci-fi bit. Guess the last one that managed all these things was Wall-E. I can’t even begin to find the words to describe just how much I love Wall-E. And I’m not going to try since this is a Robot & Frank review. 🙂

20130316-035252 PM.jpg
I don’t tend to go into a movie’s plot much in my reviews because I like to remain spoiler free but I’m not giving anything away that’s not already pretty well known by saying that Frank is slowly losing his memory. That’s what this film is about – ageing, feeling helpless, love & family, and the loss of loved ones not through death but through dementia.

20130316-035350 PM.jpg
This is a simple & heartwarming film that, thankfully, doesn’t go the full-on screaming, wailing, overly-dramatic route when it comes to the failing mental health of the central character. I don’t like when films are overly-dramatic – I don’t think real life is like that. These felt like real people and Frank Langella is absolutely fantastic as Frank.

Susan Sarandon is also very good as the local librarian that Frank has a crush on. The library where she works is being converted, the librarians are being replaced by robots, and they’re getting rid of all the actual physical books as there is no longer enough of an interest in printed books. So it represents replacing the old things that society no longer feels it has a use for – paralleling Frank’s ageing & feeling of being a burden to his children who have very busy lives but have to take care of him as his memory fails because he lives on his own & refuses to go into a home. See what I did there?! I almost feel clever. :-p His children are played by James Marsden & Liv Tyler – they’re fine in their roles but they don’t have TOO much to do and they aren’t really the focus of the movie.

20130316-035435 PM.jpg
This is one of those movies that I knew I liked while walking out of the cinema but ended up liking even more after thinking about it for a few days so I’m glad I waited a while to do the review. (Actually, it’s even gone up further in my estimation just while typing this review out). I often find I like movies a little less after thinking about them for a few days so it’s great when it’s the other way around. I highly recommend this film if you’re into the elements that I mentioned above (indie, quirky, sci-fi, and simple uplifting “human” films). To be honest, you don’t even have to like the sci-fi element – that’s not important. It was just a very original way to tell a story about ageing & memory loss, becoming even more clear with the role Frank’s robot plays at the end of the film. If you’re expecting any sort of action because of Frank using the robot to re-start his heist career – don’t. I’m sorry – there’s very little action in this film. But what you get out of Robot & Frank is so much better than what you’d get out of an action movie.

My Rating: 8/10

20130316-035522 PM.jpg
(And I’m too lazy to go back & change “ageing” to “aging” in this review because this American girl has a British phone that keeps “correcting” her American spelling!) 😉