Austin Film Festival 2007 – Juno/Lars And The Real Girl/animated shorts
“THUNDERCATS ARE GO!!!!”
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Written by: Diablo Cody
I only missed this one two or three times at Telluride, so I was VERY happy to finally get to see it tonight. I had heard a lot about how great it was and how hot writer Diablo Cody was. And how she had the coolest name in the Festival.
Well, they were right on all three counts. The movie’s great, Diablo’s hot and she has an AWESOME name.
Juno (Ellen Page) is a normal teenager. That is to say, she’s not normal at all. She’s a walking encyclopedia of pop culture references and is a total smart-ass…in a good way, of course. She has a fairly normal home life. A dad (JK Simmons), step-mom (Allison Janney) and a little sister who even her mom says isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.
She also has a friend, Bleeker (Michael Cera). One night, they decided to have sex. Now Juno has to live with that for the next nine months.
She can’t quite bring herself to get an abortion, so she looks for a couple to give it to. Enter Mark and Vanessa (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner), the perfect yuppie couple. Vanessa may actually be a bit TOO perfect. She wants everything just right, but Mark is a bit more into the punk side of things…a bit more like Juno, actually.
Just about every line in this movie is hilarious. There was so much laughter that we sometimes lost the next line.
A lot of people will say that, just like movies like Reality Bites, it trades story for pop culture references. That’s totally not true. The characters were great. I loved Juno. She was a little brat, but totally lovable. Even Mark, who was kind of a douche, was awesome. And Bleeker was…well, he was Michael Cera. The kid is amazingly awkwardly funny.
Diablo Cody was a blogger who was lucky enough to have a fan in the biz. She wrote Juno in about two months and sold it not long after. And she managed to get her script into the hands of one of the best young directors in Hollywood, Jason Reitman.
But she’s awesome. I can’t wait to see her next movie.
By the way, there’s a part where JK Simmons says, “I’m not ready to be a PopPop.” Strangely enough, it WASN’T a reference to “Arrested Development.” She had never seen the show when she came up with that line. Oh, and one of her cats gets a shout-out. Her name is Douchepacker.
Directed by: Craig Gillespie
Written by: Nancy Oliver
Ryan Gosling was told that he was doing too many intense dramas, that he should do a light comedy.
This is what he chose.
Lars (Gosling) is a lonely man. He lives in the garage of his boyhood home where his brother, Gus (Paul Schneider), and his wife, Karin (Emily Mortimer) live. He’s the most introverted person ever. Not only does he not like to talk to anyone at work (including a girl who has a crush on him (Kelli Garner, who is much cuter than she is in this movie), but he doesn’t even want to have breakfast with his family. He would rather sit in his garage apartment by himself.
Until his office mate shows him a website where they sell Real Dolls.
And that’s where he gets his new girlfriend, Bianca.
If ever there was a way to make a Real Doll into an actual character that an audience cares about, writer Nancy Oliver (“Six Feet Under”) and director Craig Gillespie (the upcoming Mr. Woodcock) found it. The movie is laugh-out-loud funny, but very touching, too. And, somehow, even though I wanted Lars to get over his weird-ass delusion with Bianca, I almost wanted him to stay with her, too.
Great movie. Maybe not perfect, but definitely worth seeing. I loved it.
I always try to see the animated shorts program at any festival. They rarely ever disappoint. This time, though, they kind of ran out of steam towards the end…and I had already seen one of them!
Directed by: Peter Baynton
Written by: Peter Baynton
Three old ladies find out that their home has some creepy things going on in it. Things that…I actually have no clue what was going on. But the short was really funny. Seeing old ladies crawling around in an air conditioning shaft was pretty awesome. Definitely the funniest of the bunch.
Directed by: Nicole Mitchell
Written by: Nicole Mitchell
Mildly funny short about a zookeeper who wants his zoo to be perfect. He goes around arranging all of the animals, pissing them off as they go. As much as I hate to say it, because I’m so over penguins, they get the funniest bit. It was the only time that the entire audience laughed really loudly. Otherwise, it was alright.
Directed by: can’t find any info on this one…sorry
Kids from all over the (English-speaking) world interviewed about what they want to be when they grow up. A few adults are thrown in, too. Then it’s all animated by different animators. Some pretty funny stuff, but like Aardman’s Creature Comforts, it’s hit or miss. Not bad, though.
Directed by: Josh Raskin
Written by: Josh Raskin
This, to me (and to a few others), was the best of the bunch. In 1969, 14 year old Josh Rashkin met John Lennon and interviewed him. He asked him how people could make a difference and why the US was trying to get him kicked out.
At first, I thought it was going to be a John impersonator. But it was really him. Yoko is even thanked in the credits. It was amazing to me that John would actually take the time to talk to a 14 year old kid and give him real, thoughtful answers. The animation was pretty cool. It wasn’t just talking heads. Josh animated the things that John said in very interesting and intricate line drawings.
I loved this short. I kind of wish that there was a way that I could see it again.
THE DRIFT (2007)
Directed by: Kelly Sears
Written by: Kelly Sears
A spacecraft disappears for a while. The story is told in photographs, but it’s not nearly as interesting as La Jetee. In fact, I fell asleep for a little bit. Not a good sign for an 8-minute short.
Directed by: Dee Austin Robertson
Written by: Raymond Mansfield/Dee Austin Robertson/Ryan Scott Wick
A couple of octopi talk about the end of human civilization and what it means to them. Green politics are great. But not when they get involved in the world of entertainment and forget to be entertaining. Far too long for its own good.
Directed by: Nick Cross
Written by: Nick Cross
Three elves create a female elf. She gets kidnapped by the devil. The elves go to the President for help. Was it a mistake? Of course it was. We all saw the end coming a mile away. Same as above, but it’s even longer, so it’s even more boring.
Directed by: Tiina Treasure
Written by: Tiina Treasure
Based on book by:
Nuclear holocaust and a little girl don’t mix. She saves herself by hiding in a refrigerator and then walks…for 45 miles. And we see just about every mile of it. It’s just as entertaining as it sounds.
Directed by: Osbert Parker
Written by: Osbert Parker
This was actually shown closer to the beginning. It’s a collage of film noir clips joined together to tell the story of a femme fatale who kills Humphrey Bogart. It’s kind of disturbing…and I liked it. Maybe a bit long and confusing (I didn’t get a handle on the story until over half-way through), but still pretty damn cool.
THE PEARCE SISTERS–Saw it before. My opinion hasn’t changed.