Preview This! Thursday’s LA Film Festival

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Mike has a degree in Film from The University of Texas at Austin. He...
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Mike Mike has a degree in Film from The University of Texas at Austin. He has worked in the entertainment industry for the past 25 years and sees two to four new movies in the theatre a week. Mike has a weekly movie blog where he reviews films both present and past at:

lastonetoleavethetheatre.blogspot.com

He can be followed on Twitter @lastonetoleave

Last night at the Los Angeles Film Festival I saw three films:

Robot & Frank (2012)

"Robot And Frank" Portraits - 2012 Sundance Film Festival

Actors James Marsden, Frank Langella, Liv Tyler and Jeremy Strong. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

This film, from Director Jake Schreier, is set in the near future where robots have started taking over tasks that humans normally do, such as caring for the elderly. Frank (Frank Langella) is a retired cat burglar who lives alone.  His only contact with his family are phone calls from his daughter (Liv Tyler), who is always traveling, and weekly visits from his son. Frank has started to show signs of dementia, so his son (James Marsden) brings a robot into the house to take care of Frank. Frank resists at first, as he is set in his ways, and continues taking his daily trips into town to visit the librarian, Jennifer (Susan Sarandon). He soon realizes, though, that the robot can aid him in pulling off one last heist. Langella is terrific as the crusty “second story man” who realizes that things are starting to change, but maybe he can recapture a little of his youth by planning and carrying out the caper.  The friendship that develops between the Robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) and Frank is touching and shows the need of everyone (even the crankiest person) for love and friendship. My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Robot & Frank IMDB website

Pincus (2012)

David Fenster and David Nordstrom

David Fenster and David Nordstrom (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Pincus (David Nordstrom) is not exactly a go-getter. He has taken over his father’s construction business but is constantly being fired for not completing projects. His right-hand man is Dietman (Dietman Francsch), a laborer who worked for his father in the past but is now happier getting high/drunk and reading books. Pincus’s father (Paul Fenster) is in the last stages of Parkinson’s which adds to the responsibilities and stress of Pincus. Pincus would rather avoid work, get high with his buddies and plot some way to get a local yoga teacher into bed than complete any job. Nordstrom does a admirable job of playing the part of a selfish jerk, and Fenster is the best part of this film, basically playing himself, since he actually does have the disease. The film shows the hardship and difficulties of dealing with the health care of the elderly. Ultimately, you don’t feel sorry for Pincus – you just feel disappointed that he can’t step up in any part of his life. My Rating: Cable Pincus IMDB website

Unforgivable (2012)

Andre Techine

Andre Techine (Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Set in Venice, this film from writer/director Andre Techine, is about a fiction writer (Andre Dussollier) who moves to Venice to write his next novel. He meets a real estate agent (Carole Bouquet) and instantly is attracted to the former model/antiquities dealer. The film jumps a year ahead, the two are married and still living in Venice. The writer’s daughter and granddaughter come to visit the couple; instantly the daughter takes a dislike to the new wife. In fact, the daughter disappears and sets off a series of events that could ultimately destroy the family. While this film is beautiful (hard to make an ugly film in Venice), it is too long, too slow moving, happy in lots of dialogue, but there is very little action. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Unforgivable IMDB website

Stay tuned, on Monday wraps up my LA Film Festival adventure. I will give you highlights of the films I saw and what to keep an eye out for in the coming months. LA Film Fest website

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