Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Friday, May 23, 2014
Monday, May 19, 2014
here), it plays like the product of someone who dug hard on Jesus' Son and is trying to sort out how to use voice like Faulkner. It's a litany of "well, of course that would happen" and "well, of course they would say thats" that's precocious, sure. It's got potential, sure. But ultimately it's a kind of messy blend of abrupt sentences and navel gazing. The story falls flat, forces its epiphany, and reads like something we've read too many times before. Adapt it into a movie? Well, the problems don't just go away.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Neighbors presents an age old battle: those who wish to party must rage against those who wish the party to end. We've all been there at some point, and our role in the war is always in flux, a fluid mobius strip of self-righteousness and exhaustion. We've also, of course, seen this plot played out repeatedly in comedy after comedy, though often times the battle is one waged between obvious beacons of authority and a gang of likable rogues. If Neighbors is different it's because this time the party crushers are also party crashers, complicit in the action when they want to be, enraged when they don't. Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are a couple learning how to raise their newborn daughter in a house they've only recently sunk all their money into. They're struggling with the recent loss of their social lives and the sort of cabin fever that frequently seems to accompany being chained to the needs of an infant. When the house next door is sold to a fraternity from the nearby campus, Mac and Kelly don't know whether to befriend its tenants or slip into their newly acquired role as parental figures. They want to seem cool, young, but also want respect, quiet, and a full-night's sleep. When they throw the baby in a stroller and walk next door to appease the party gods with a marijuana offering, they meet the frat kings: Teddy (Zac Efron) and Pete (Dave Franco).
The vampires offered up in Only Lovers Left Alive are extensions of the concept as I've long imagined and understood them: they're beautiful jaded old rock stars, wise to the ways of the world and disheartened by its dull repetitions. Though the Twilight franchise may have bruised the reputation of the long-suffering monsters, they've long remained my favorite undead beasties on the supernatural spectrum. The vampire speaks to something more and less human than human, to our addictive natures, our desire to consume, to be forever young, to seek out the thrill of the new. We see this translated, time and again, into characters who thrillseek to break monotony or who love obsessively, repeatedly, consuming emotions just as readily as they drink blood. Jim Jarmusch picks up all the past strains of vampirism, scrapes off the detritus, and brings us back to the simple basics: vampires as lonely, as seductive, as pale, spindly things, as blood-thirsty, as surviving in shadow, as hermits cooped up with the remnants of past lives. If nothing else, we must thank Only Lovers Left Alive for resurrecting just that, for making the vampire cool again, and for reigniting that old flame: vampire + leather + rock and roll + a sick pair of sunglasses = love.