Tag Archives: justin theroux

Inland Empire – Review

11 Aug

Recreating nightmares and mental decay is not an easy task, but David Lynch has always stepped up to the challenge. EraserheadLost Highway, and Mulholland Drive all have the same nightmarish feeling, as if you might fall asleep later that night and have a dream that plays out exactly like these movies. Of all of Lynch’s films, I feel like Inland Empire encompasses his career perfectly and really makes you feel like you are part of a nightmare. That being said, this isn’t his best film, but it certainly can be said that this might be the strangest movie I have ever seen.

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Nikki Grace (Laura Dern) is an actor whose time in the spotlight has ended, so when she lands a roll that might restart her career, she is ecstatic. The film is called On High in Blue Tomorrows and is being directed by Kingsley Stewart (Jeremy Irons) and her costar is Devon Burke (Justin Theroux), a man with quite a conspicuous sex life. As she gets deeper and deeper into her character, and her relationship with her costar seems to be getting closer, Nikki starts losing track of what is happening first, now, and later. Soon she can’t even begin to tell her life from the character’s leading to a complete psychological breakdown.

I’ve been putting off this review for a little while because the thought of reviewing a David Lynch movie and really giving it justice is a little intimidating. Much like his other movies, Inland Empire has many different interpretations and themes to explore, and everyone’s view of the whole can be very different. The first time through, it may seem like this movie makes absolutely no sense, but in the days to come and you think about it more, or even watch it again, things in the movie start to piece together and an idea will begin to form. Like Eraserhead and Mulholland Drive, I found Inland Empire to be quite frustrating.

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All interpretation aside, I have to say that I have a newfound respect for Laura Dern as an actor. Her performance demands a lot, from screaming and crying to manic laughing and then to calmness, maybe all in one scene. I can imagine that David Lynch is not the easiest director to work with, being in his own head and all, and even Dern has said that she isn’t entirely sure what the movie is about. Justin Theroux has said the same thing. Imagine acting on a movie where you really don’t know what it is about. That’s a tricky thing to do but they both pull it off very well and pull you into the “story,” despite how difficult it is.

This is where the review might get a little spoiler-ish because I want to talk about things in the film. You have been warned. Ok. In my opinion, Inland Empire is the story of a woman who is struggling to find a character that she is unable to tap into. Much like in Black Swan, she gets so obsessed with finding the character, that she sees herself becoming the character. At first it starts with scenes where we don’t know it’s the movie within a movie until the end of the scene to the point where nothing is really decipherable. This leads to the nightmarish world of Nikki’s mind. There’s still a lot that I’m not sure about, like the woman watching the television and the rabbit sit-com that we keep seeing. This just means the I’m going to have to watch it again.

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I can’t really say if Inland Empire is good or bad. It’s sort of one of those movies that redefines your definition of a good or bad movie. I will say that Inland Empire is art, through and through, but saying it’s entertaining wouldn’t be doing it justice. This is a terribly uncomfortable experience that you can’t help but staying focused on it, no matter how difficult it is. Fans of David Lynch will love his deepest, darkest trip into the fractured human mind, but anyone looking for a narrative that makes perfect sense will find no happiness with Inland Empire.

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Your Highness – Review

25 Sep

I can honestly say that Pineapple Express is one of my favorite comedies. It’s a great blend of action and comedy, so when I saw the previews for Your Highness with Danny McBride’s, James Franco’s and David Gordon Green’s names attached to it, I thought it was going to be another classic. For all intents an purposes, it’s not. But, and this is a big but, I enjoyed it nonetheless.

When Prince Fabious (James Franco) returns home from a quest with a woman, Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel), his younger brother, Prince Thadeous (Danny McBride), becomes fully aware of how pathetic he is. Fabious is a skilled warrior who’s been on many quests, while Thadeous is a stoner who hasn’t gone on any. When Belladonna is kidnapped by the warlock Leezar (Justin Theroux), Thadeous is forced to join Fabious on his quest to get her back before she can be impregnated by the warlock and give birth to a dragon. Along the way, they run into a plethora of strange creatures and people, including the warrior Isabel (Natalie Portman), who joins them on their adventure.

Ultimately, this is a parody of those cheesy fantasy films from the 1980s. Warlocks, warriors, and magic are all mocked, but praised in a special nerdy way. This combination of jabs and admiration actually made me get into the storyline and the action, all the while laughing at the jokes. But, a lot of the jokes fall flat on their faces in an embarrassingly awful way.

Vulgar humor is funny to me, especially when it doesn’t hold back. Danny McBride and Ben Best have written a script that is certainly not afraid to hit below the belt when it comes to scatological and anatomical humor, and a lot of it was really funny. In fact there was one point towards the end of the film where I was in stitches from laughing. Then there were times when I heard another penis joke or another f-word and it felt forced. It would have been totally acceptable to take a break from the vulgarity and move onto something else. There were so many opportunities for some funny weed jokes, but they stopped coming by a half way into the movie. Instead we were forced to hear one sex joke too many.

The action is good and actually pretty exciting as far as a movie like this goes. There’s one particular scene that I was really impressed by the imagination of it all. The special effects, however, are a little bit cheesy. It sometimes looks like a really good special effects tv movie made for the SciFi channel, and that isn’t saying too much. If you can get past how crummy it looks sometimes, then there is a good deal of fun to have with the action. It was surprisingly bloody, too. Definitely a lot more than I expected.

 

Will Your Highness be a comedy that everyone’s going to be talking about in the years to come? Of course not. Is it a great comedy? No so much. Did I have an ok time with it? I sure did. I liked it better than a lot of the comedies that are released. It knows what it is, and it sets out to offend with it’s nonstop penis, sex, and poop jokes. Unfortunately, it gets to be a bit much, but the action makes up for some of the comedic failures. Give this one a try, but I’m not promising anything.