Daily Archives: February 21, 2013
The Trip (2010)
The comedy in The Trip is a lot like every other form of humour, dividing and opinion driven. This film is not for everyone. The laughs are evenly spread throughout its hour and forty five minute runtime, with breathtaking views of northern England anchoring a surprisingly melancholic theme. Starring Steven Coogan (Tropic Thunder) and Rob Brydon (Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels) as themselves, the two create tons of electricity thriving off of one another’s constant bid to outperform the other. The Humour is subtle and intelligent in this Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People) directed dramatic comedy. You may or may not laugh out loud, but there is no denying the sorrow and artistic quality behind the hilarious back and fourths.
Steve Coogan accepts an offer from The Observer, a sunday newspaper, to tour northern England and review it’s top restaurants for their column. Coogan only takes this job on to impress his current girlfriend. However, when his girlfriend backs out, he is forced to invite his friend Rob Brydon along for the ride. As the journey begins, Brydon and Coogan start to partake in useless and hilarious competitions of creative feats. Throughout the trip, more and more personal details come to the forefront regarding Coogan and Brydon and we are allowed a glimpse into the tribulations of their lives.
Boasting a highlight reel of precise impressions and awkward banter, The Trip is as funny as it is endearing. As well as shots of immaculate northern England, The Trip uses wit and aura to create a unique cinematic experience. Steve Coogan, in my opinion is one of the most underrated actors in film today and his performance in The Trip verifies my claim. A snippet, no longer then a few minutes of Coogan imitating his travel colleague in a mirror is one of the most honest realizations captured on film. Brydon seizes the chance to strut his stuff and performs admirably alongside Coogan. Winterbottom captures these two comedic men at their best while encompassing human flaws and our strive to do right despite them.
The Trip: 8.5 out of 10.
Take Shelter (2011)
A modern poetic thriller centred around a family on the verge of collapsing. Take Shelter combines apocalyptic terror and mental illness to create a constantly shifting cinematic nightmare. Directed by Jeff Nichols (Shotgun Stories), who’s much anticipated release Mud, starring Matthew McConaughey is set for theatres later this year. Take Shelter’s two bright stars are oscar nominee Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) and co-star, also an oscar nominated heavyweight, Jessica Chastain (Tree of Life). With layer upon layer of spirit and dread, Take Shelter succeeds in adapting a believable tale of horror and the effect the absence of mental stability has on family, career, and upon one self.
Curtis (Shannon) is a hard working father and husband who starts experiencing hallucinations and vivid nightmares. Choosing not to confide in his wife Samantha (Chastain) what is happening, Curtis’s condition worsens. When Curtis begins to hallucinate an apocalyptic storm in the future, he begins to construct an expensive, time consuming storm shelter. When social and career altering decisions are being made without consulting Samantha, Curtis’s family begins to fall apart. As he tries to deal with his illness and building the shelter, Curtis now must repair his personal relationships.
From the moment Take Shelter begins, it sets it’s hooks in you with striking images of storms and cataclysmic occurrences. Beyond any doubt, Take Shelter holds Michael Shannon’s best performance to date and one of the best of 2011. Shannon’s portrayal of a man suffering from anxiety and paranoia is stunningly accurate. Shannon completely invests himself in the character and for two hours, you forget it is just a film. Chastain is perfect as always and once again makes her performance look effortless. As far as direction, Nichols uses the power of Shannon’s acting to drive the film in majority but adds the beauty and scariness of nature to compliment the spectrum in Shannon’s character. Take Shelter is literal, exact, ambient, and resplendent, the summit of what cinema should be.
Take Shelter: 9 out of 10.