At the moment there are few greater clichés in the media than the freaking out single woman on the cusp of 30. Of course clichés are clichés for a reason worth exploring even through the lens of just one or two women as in Lola Versus. Unfortunately while the intention behind Lola Versus isn't that we should all be happily married by the age of 30 it still fits into the same rubric of all those "Why You're Not Married" books.
Lola (Greta Gerwig) has a gorgeous fiancé Luke (Joel Kinnaman) and they live in a giant loft together the kind of dreamy NYC real estate that seems to exist primarily in the movies. Just as they're planning their gluten-free wedding cake with a non-GMO rice milk-based frosting Luke dumps her. It's cruelly sudden — although Luke isn't a cruel man. Lola finds little comfort in the acerbic wit of her best friend the eternally single Alice (Zoe Lister-Jones) who is probably delighted to see her perfectly blonde best friend taken down a peg and into the murky world of New York coupling. Lola and Luke share a best friend Henry (Hamish Linklater) a messy-haired rumpled sweetheart who is kind and safe and the inevitable shelter for Lola's fallout. Her parents well-meaning and well-to-do hippie types feed her kombucha and try to figure out their iPads and give her irrelevant advice.
Lola Versus is slippery. Its tone careens between broad TV comedy and earnest dramedy almost as if Alice is in charge of the dirty zingers and Lola's job is to make supposedly introspective statements. Alice's vulgar non-sequiturs are tossed off without much relish and Lola's dialogue comes off too often as expository and plaintive. We don't need Lola to tell Henry "I'm vulnerable I'm not myself I'm easily persuaded" or "I'm slutty but I'm a good person!" (Which is by the way an asinine statement to make. One might even say she's not even that "slutty " she's just making dumb decisions that hurt those around her just as much as she's hurting herself.)
We know that she's a mess — that's the point of the story! It's not so much that a particularly acerbic woman wouldn't say to her best friend "Find your spirit animal and ride it until its d**k falls off " but that she wouldn't say it in the context of this movie. It's from some other movie over there one where everyone is as snarky and bitter as Alice. You can't have your black-hearted comedy and your introspective yoga classes. Is it really a stride forward for feminism that the clueless single woman has taken the place of the stoner man-child in media today? When Lola tells Luke "I'm taken by myself. I've gotta just do me for a while " it's true. But it doesn't sound true and it doesn't feel true.
In one scene Lola stumbles on the sidewalk and falls to the ground. No one asks her if she's okay or needs help; she simply gets up on her own and goes on her way. It's a moment that has happened to so many people. It's humiliating and so very public but of course you just gotta pick yourself up and get where you're going. In this movie it's a head-smackingly obvious metaphor. In one of the biggest missteps of the movie Jay Pharoah plays a bartender that makes the occasional joke while Lola is waiting tables at her mom's restaurant. His big line at the end is "And I'm your friend who's black!" It would have been better to leave his entire character on the cutting room floor than attempt such a half-hearted wink at the audience.
Lister-Jones and director Daryl Wein co-wrote the screenplay for Lola Versus as they did with 2009's Breaking Upwards. Both films deal with the ins and outs of their own romantic relationship in one way or another. Breaking Upwards a micro-budget indie about a rough patch in their relationship was much more successful in tone and direction. Lola Versus has its seeds in Lister-Jones' experience as a single woman in New York and is a little bit farther removed from their experiences. Lola Versus feels like a wasted opportunity. Relatively speaking there are so few movies getting made with a female writer or co-writer that it almost feels like a betrayal to see such a tone-deaf portrayal of women onscreen. What makes it even more disappointing is how smart and likable everyone involved is and knowing that they could have made a better movie.
At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.
A crowd of about 10,000 fans, music professionals and relatives filled the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., to bid farewell to TLC member Lisa Lopes. Reuters reported that before the service, the TLC hit song "Waterfalls" played softly in the background while images of Lopes played on two monitors. Among those in attendance were singers Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Keith Sweat, producer Kenneth "Baby Face" Edmonds and Marion "Suge" Knight, founder of Death Row Records.
Teen People magazine announced its 25 hottest stars under 25. Those who made the cut include those Attack of the Clones lovebirds Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen, Spider-Man's Kirsten Dunst, songster Alicia Keys, cutie boys Josh Hartnett and Orlando Bloom, and martial arts butt-kicker Zhang Ziyi.
Britney Spears smokes! NewYorkPost.com reported the pop princess was caught by a cameraman with an offending butt in her hand as she sat on the balcony of her hotel room in Sydney, Australia. Now you might ask, who the heck cares? Well, two years ago she told the Knoxville, Tenn., News-Sentinel that she doesn't believe in drugs or even smoking. Only God. Ah, the hypocrisy of it all.
Sometimes it doesn't pay to get your face on television. Joseph Bakley, the brother of Robert Blake's slain wife, learned that the hard way when the state of Florida came after him for probation violation after seeing him on ABC's 20/20, talking about his sister's death. D'oh!
Angel's David Boreanaz and his wife, actress Jaime Bergman, welcomed their first child on May 1, boy Jaden Rayne Boreanaz, weighing in at 8 lbs., 9 oz. Mother and baby are doing fine.
Daily Variety's columnist Army Archerd reported the final scene being shot for Mike Myers' new Austin Powers film, Austin Powers in Goldmember, is set in the home of Ozzy Osbourne. Myers and director Jay Roach are big fans of the MTV show about the Osbourne family. Myers told Archerd that it will be only one of the "many surprises" in the movie.
Will Smith may enter back into the television arena. His company Overbrook Entertainment is looking to develop a syndicated half-hour newsmagazine pilot, Good News, to roll out in fall 2003. It will focus on inspirational individuals, including celebrities, public figures and everyday heroes.
Fox's Dark Angel may be no more. Series creator James Cameron told the New York Daily News that the show is on the verge of cancellation, but Fox will announce its final decision in the next two weeks. The finale of season two will air this Friday night, marking Cameron's TV directing debut.
Legendary rockers The Rolling Stones plan to announce their first tour in three years Tuesday in New York. The tour will coincide with the band's 40th anniversary of its first public appearance. They just don't know when to quit, do they?
Eminem donned a turban and played Osama bin Laden in his latest music video, for his single "Without Me." He also parodies the Survivor TV show, Elvis Presley and singer Moby. It premiered Wednesday on MTV's Making the Video.
Don't confuse the shock rock group Slipknot with the knitters' quarterly journal Slipknot. Apparently, irate fans of the American group sent threatening e-mails to the British knitters' Web site, telling the club not to call its publication Slipknot because it made their idols look bad.
Audrey Hepburn will be honored with a sculpture outside the UNICEF headquarters in New York. Called "Spirit of Audrey," the artwork of a tall, slender woman holding a child will commemorate Hepburn's years of tireless support of the children's organization before she died in 1993.
John Nathan-Turner, a producer of the British cult show Dr. Who, died in England at the Brighton's Hove Hospital on Wednesday following a short illness. He was 54.