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Greenberg - 8/6/2010 7:13:44 AM   
Empire Admin

 

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Comedian does depressing = 4 stars! - 8/6/2010 7:13:44 AM   
The Voice of Fate


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This is a typical Empire review. This film looks so bleak, horrible and depressing that I can't imagine anyone wanting to spend their hard earned money and time just to let it get them down. Naturally, this is an automatic 4 stars for Empire. Boat that Rocked - funny, smart, heart warming - can't be any good can it...

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Comedian does depressing = 4 stars! - 8/6/2010 7:13:45 AM   
The Voice of Fate


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This is a typical Empire review. This film looks so bleak, horrible and depressing that I can't imagine anyone wanting to spend their hard earned money and time just to let it get them down. Naturally, this is an automatic 4 stars for Empire. Boat that Rocked - funny, smart, heart warming - can't be any good can it...

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RE: Greenberg - 8/6/2010 10:12:07 PM   
Indio


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I thoroughly enjoyed this, I'd rate it higher than Margot At The Wedding, maybe even putting it on a par with The Squid And The Whale. I certainly wouldn't call it 'depressing', without giving too much away the storyline skips round the edge of matters like nervous breakdowns and abortion, but while Greenberg obviously isn't playing with the full deck when it comes to his relationships with other people, Baumbach never steers the film into Bergman/'serious' Woody Allen territory, never allowing any of the characters to wallow in self pity and keeping a light hearted touch to proceedings.

While Stiller doesn't quite achieve the great leap acting wise some critics have proclaimed (e.g. the scene at the party near the end isn't a million miles from the disco scene from Starsky & Hutch), its a lot more restrained performance wise thanmost of his films in the last 10 years, absent from the mugging which had kind of got predictable recently, and proves he can act if given a decent script (maybe the fact its the first film in ages where he hasn't had a writing/directing credit and has no Frat Pack involvement has helped) But really the real revelation is Greta Gerwig, I hadn't heard of her before seeing the film (maybe because I've let the whole mumblecore scene pass me by), but the film is much about her as it is about Stiller, and she carries it off with ease.

Not one to go and see if you're expecting a Zoolander kind of film, but well worth checking out.

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- 9/6/2010 3:45:49 AM   
harlequin21

 

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Even though this film sounds interesting, hear here [the Voice of Fate]!

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- 10/6/2010 9:50:50 PM   
jefmac69


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Let's be clear, I wouldn't go to the cinema to watch this either, but I'll no doubt give it a watch at some point as although these type of genre films are fairly depressing (ala Synecdoche Newy York) , they are also very enlightening and uplifting... if they're done well, that is. It's unfair to automatically assume that it's the type of boring dross that's often on Channel 5.

So I'll give it the benefit of the doubt as it sounds like it could be quite interesting, and Ben Stiller is class... even though he's been a bit shit lately.

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Post #: 6
RE: - 11/6/2010 6:25:46 PM   
Ethanial


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Brilliant. Another cracker from Baumbach, the only problem I had was the ending, like others it's one of those sudden ones, but unlike others, the film didn't lead to it, so it felt slightly like a crutch Baumbach was clinging too as opposed to being a strong hit like The Squid And The Whale.
Still, damn funny, fantastic performances from Gerwig, Stiller and Ifans, and Baumbach's best looking film yet too, glad this was the one I got to see on the big screen, finally. Now, however, is the longest part of the lull between releases, roll on another brilliant film Noah!

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RE: Comedian does depressing = 4 stars! - 12/6/2010 7:37:40 PM   
Nimrods Son

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: The Voice of Fate

This is a typical Empire review. This film looks so bleak, horrible and depressing that I can't imagine anyone wanting to spend their hard earned money and time just to let it get them down. Naturally, this is an automatic 4 stars for Empire. Boat that Rocked - funny, smart, heart warming - can't be any good can it...


Just because something is depressing or sad doesn't mean it doesn't have any artistic worth or insight. Hell most drama is full of tragedy. Last time I checked, Hamlet wasn't a bag of laughs but people didn't instantly write that off because it was a downer. If you want to just see a movie that's uplifting and inspiring, that's cool but don't write off other things just because they have a different view on things or you don't have the stomach for it.
And how the hell do you know if it deserves its four stars or not if you haven't even seen the movie?

Sorry for the rant but assumptions like this just piss me off.

EDIT: And I haven't seen the movie so I have no opinion on it either way, but it wasn't just Empire giving The Boat That Rocked mediocre reviews

< Message edited by Nimrods Son -- 12/6/2010 7:39:36 PM >


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RE: Comedian does depressing = 4 stars! - 12/6/2010 7:41:37 PM   
Nimrods Son

 

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Anyway, can't wait to see this. Squid And The Whale managed to be both very touching and also very funny, which most of these indie "comedies" usually fail to do.
And on a side-note, I can't wait to hear James Murphy's score for the film. The man's a musical genius.

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RE: Comedian does depressing = 4 stars! - 12/6/2010 11:31:11 PM   
adambatman82

 

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Saw the film this evening and really enjoyed it. I didn't find it depressing at all. Sure it deals with some hard issues, but it was a tale of hope more than anything.

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Post #: 10
Ben Stiller's Best - 13/6/2010 8:09:26 PM   
Edward Nygma

 

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Really liked Greenberg, Noah Baumbach really is proving himself to be the next Woody Allen at this rate.

Ben Stiller was excellent, really impressive performance. Not the friendliest character ever but he is made likeable despite his various flaws. Film itself wasn't depressing, it was full of painful awkwardness and tough emotional moments but it was also very funny, sweet and clever.

The Boat That Rocked lol That was complete and utter balls.


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RE: RE: - 14/6/2010 1:10:06 AM   
BOHEMIANBOB


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Ethanial

Brilliant. Another cracker from Baumbach, the only problem I had was the ending, like others it's one of those sudden ones, but unlike others, the film didn't lead to it, so it felt slightly like a crutch Baumbach was clinging too as opposed to being a strong hit like The Squid And The Whale.
Still, damn funny, fantastic performances from Gerwig, Stiller and Ifans, and Baumbach's best looking film yet too, glad this was the one I got to see on the big screen, finally. Now, however, is the longest part of the lull between releases, roll on another brilliant film Noah!

I would agree.
I seen this earlier today and was impressed.
If you like The Squid and The Whale,and Margot At The Wedding,this will be your cup of tea.
That said,it isn't to do a diservice to the 3 films,they are all quite unique in their own way,but share a common approach and style-ordinary people and their storys.
Stiller was excellent,but his character waned with the party scene,and the irony there is that it just didn't sit with how his character behaved in the film as a whole.Good from Stiller,i was pleasantly surprised-scene where he storms out of Gerwigs house after she tells him what she feels is a personal story is brilliant!
Gerwig-much lauded,but a faint criticism.Baumbach picks her obviously as she is a relatively unknown actress and is good at this type of film,but sometimes i thought that was her weakness,she can't carry a scene herself.
Ifans-bloody underused and again a surprise that he was so good.You feel a genuine warmth and sympathy for his one-way friendship with Stiller.Perhaps his story could have been expanded on?
Agree about the ending,rushed and detracts from the quality beforehand.
4 stars


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RE: Comedian does depressing = 4 stars! - 14/6/2010 1:13:42 AM   
BOHEMIANBOB


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This film isn't sad or depressing,and that is testament to the quality of it.
There are some very personal and indeed sad human issues dealt with,but it is done without reverting to Hollywood bullshit and maintains the dignity of the film and its characters.

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RE: Greenberg - 15/6/2010 7:31:53 PM   
R W

 

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Director/Screenwriter: Noah Baumbach
Starring: Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, Rhys Ifans, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Synopsis
With his brother’s family away on holiday to Vietnam, Roger Greenberg (Stiller) has been assigned to housesit the family's home and soon sparks a relationship with his brother’s assistant Florence (Gerwig).

Review
At some point in their careers, highly-profiled comedic actors who have spent their time doing pathetic slapstick comedy will eventually collaborate with an indie director and bring something new to audiences. For example, there was Will Ferrell in Stranger Than Fiction or better yet Jim Carrey doing his best performance in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (my favourite film of all time), and now Ben Stiller gets to work on Noah Baumbach’s third directorial feature.

I have not seen any of Baumbach’s previous work as director, but have seen the films he co-written with Wes Anderson which were The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Fantastic Mr. Fox. After seeing this, I now would like to watch his previous work. Based on a story by Baumbach and his wife/co-star Jennifer Jason Leigh, this is an authentic dramedy of a 40-year-old who spends his post-nervous breakdown life by doing nothing.

You’re probably thinking that this is not your cup of tea, also Ben Stiller here is a very moody individual. However, there’s something sweet about a reclusive who writes complaint letters to Starbucks, American Airlines, etc.; trying to bringing back a human connection by spending time with the flawed Florence. One might question Greenberg’s behaviour as he is a thorough damaged protagonist, it seems he cares only about himself and hurts the people around him.

Baumbach’s direction is very subtle as he primarily focuses on his characters and doesn’t try to push these people into preposterous plot points and lets them roam free in the story. However, I do think he should have explored more on the supportive characters other than Greenberg as the director seems to be too fascinated with his star.

As well as providing moments of funny, Ben Stiller is doing a remarkable performance, in which though he’s playing someone who is pretty unlikable, you do sympathise with the guy. This is probably his most dramatic acting since Empire of the Sun (in which he had a line or two). As there is much to like about Stiller, the best performance is by Greta Gerwig, who has such innocence in her role that you end up falling for her.

Verdict
As someone who has no familiarity with Baumbach’s previous work, Greenberg is a lovely, funny drama that has such strong authenticity, as well as two naturally great central performances.

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RE: Greenberg - 15/6/2010 11:05:52 PM   
BOHEMIANBOB


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I'd agree with the bones of your review.
But the ending???
Anyway,minor grumbles aside,it was good to see a decent film like this.
How could that ever be described as negative?

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RE: Greenberg - 16/6/2010 1:49:57 AM   
adambatman82

 

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What was wrong with the ending? I really liked it.

Oh, and R W, Greenberg is actually Naumbach's sixth directorial effort, not his third. He had a pretty successful debut with Kicking And Screaming in 1995, which he followed up with two pretty awful efforts in 1997, before relaunching his career with The Squid And The Whale eight years later. Kicking And Screaming is really
worth checking out if you get the chance.

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RE: Greenberg - 16/6/2010 8:19:33 AM   
BOHEMIANBOB


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quote:

ORIGINAL: adambatman82

What was wrong with the ending? I really liked it.

Oh, and R W, Greenberg is actually Naumbach's sixth directorial effort, not his third. He had a pretty successful debut with Kicking And Screaming in 1995, which he followed up with two pretty awful efforts in 1997, before relaunching his career with The Squid And The Whale eight years later. Kicking And Screaming is really
worth checking out if you get the chance.

It just ends abruptly-i hate that,although there probably wasn't an "ending" in the traditional sense.
Again,just a minor grumble.

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RE: Greenberg - 16/6/2010 12:38:51 PM   
adambatman82

 

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Personally I'm a big fan of ambiiguous endings, and fail to see how they could have ended this film in any other way, without disrespecting or contradicting what the film was about.

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RE: Greenberg - 16/6/2010 8:45:32 PM   
BOHEMIANBOB


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quote:

ORIGINAL: adambatman82

Personally I'm a big fan of ambiiguous endings, and fail to see how they could have ended this film in any other way, without disrespecting or contradicting what the film was about.

I'm not!It's a bit of a cop-out i think.

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RE: Greenberg - 21/6/2010 11:26:58 PM   
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I saw Greenberg tonight and really really wanted to like it. I think Ben Stiller's great and despite a lot of the criticisms up here I think his previous work actually does demonstrate a good range. Having said that I wasn't by any means expecting something fratpack-like, and was more hoping for something along the lines of a Sideways or Little Miss Sunshine - i.e. a flawed character's emotional journey to some sort of realisation with various touching and funny moments along the way.

As much as I wanted to like it, it just didn't work for me. At the end the Greenberg character didn't seem to be any more grown up or matured etc than at the start. He was still a self-obsessed guy who didn't know what he wanted to do with his life, and by that point to be honest my interest was definitely waning. I'm more than happy for a slightly ambigious ending, but it didn't feel like an ending at all. It felt like they'd run out of budget and just cut mid-scene and decided to release the film anyway. I know you don't always have to have a full resolution but nothing seemed to be resolved at all, or even to hint at what their resolution could be.

It's frustrating because with the ocassional nice touches and strong performances (agree with an earlier comment about Rhys Ifans being underused) it just felt like there was a better film trying to get out. Appreciate everyone's different opinions but for me it just felt like none of the characters - especially Greenberg himself - had actually learned anything over the course of the film. I also thought the party scene was a bit out of sync with the rest of it, and didn't really seem to fit with Greenberg's character, like it was just in there to make for 'an exciting incident'.

I wouldn't dissuade anyone from seeing it, as judging by a lot of the comments several people seemed to enjoy it, but it just didn't work for me as I wasn't sure what Noah was trying to say and there didn't seem to be any message, moral or general point to the whole thing.

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RE: Greenberg - 22/6/2010 12:35:32 AM   
BOHEMIANBOB


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quote:

ORIGINAL: michaelfoster

I saw Greenberg tonight and really really wanted to like it. I think Ben Stiller's great and despite a lot of the criticisms up here I think his previous work actually does demonstrate a good range. Having said that I wasn't by any means expecting something fratpack-like, and was more hoping for something along the lines of a Sideways or Little Miss Sunshine - i.e. a flawed character's emotional journey to some sort of realisation with various touching and funny moments along the way.

As much as I wanted to like it, it just didn't work for me. At the end the Greenberg character didn't seem to be any more grown up or matured etc than at the start. He was still a self-obsessed guy who didn't know what he wanted to do with his life, and by that point to be honest my interest was definitely waning. I'm more than happy for a slightly ambigious ending, but it didn't feel like an ending at all. It felt like they'd run out of budget and just cut mid-scene and decided to release the film anyway. I know you don't always have to have a full resolution but nothing seemed to be resolved at all, or even to hint at what their resolution could be.

It's frustrating because with the ocassional nice touches and strong performances (agree with an earlier comment about Rhys Ifans being underused) it just felt like there was a better film trying to get out. Appreciate everyone's different opinions but for me it just felt like none of the characters - especially Greenberg himself - had actually learned anything over the course of the film. I also thought the party scene was a bit out of sync with the rest of it, and didn't really seem to fit with Greenberg's character, like it was just in there to make for 'an exciting incident'.

I wouldn't dissuade anyone from seeing it, as judging by a lot of the comments several people seemed to enjoy it, but it just didn't work for me as I wasn't sure what Noah was trying to say and there didn't seem to be any message, moral or general point to the whole thing.

I'd agree with the core of your post.It has serious flaws,but isn't a bad movie.There was a great movie hiding in there though.
I suppose the key message about Greenberg,is there isn't any change-and it is sometimes not possible for us to change.
Therefore,those around us,and those we love,THEY must change and adapt,for our sakes.
And sometimes,they like and even love us for these flaws,ans if we did change,would they still like/love us athey do??

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RE: Greenberg - 30/6/2010 2:29:00 AM   
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Excuse me, but how does he keep it light hearted?  Theres nothing in Greenberg that suggests we should waste our time with him (or that Flourence should which is part of the problem), the film lacks the wit or insight of The Squid and the Whale which is looking more like a classic all the time.  Its not so much that the film is depressing, but than it is boring and cliched. And it didn't focus on any of other characters just Greenberg, as stated Ifans role was underwritten, and apart from her involvement with him we hardly find anything out about Florence.  This is by far Baumbachs worse so far.

Anyway I Will post a review soon, but just wanted to answer those points.

< Message edited by ElephantBoy -- 30/6/2010 2:36:16 AM >

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Post #: 22
RE: Greenberg - 30/6/2010 3:28:52 AM   
Edward Nygma

 

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Hm, I think some of you seem to be missing the point by comparing it with Squid and the Whale. That was a coming of age story in which Jesse Eisenberg's character changes and learns life lessons. Greenberg isn't a kid who learns to grow up, he's a jaded, temperamental, flawed middle aged guy who's so lost inside himself he can't even come to the realisation that he's in love with this girl who is obviously on a completely different wave length to him. The fact he actually cares about taking care of his brother's dog even though he gets no recognition for it shows he's not a completely lost cause and there's a heart in there somewhere. This is a (perhaps) doomed love story about two people who are just sleep walking through life and at the end...

SPOILERS

She is given the chance to take a peak into Greenberg's true feelings about her who are revealed through a drunken, truth telling moment of honesty (the phone message he leaves). The fact he doesn't stop her from listening to it is encouraging in that he wants her to know how he feels. That it took drugs and alcohol to reveal those feelings is perhaps not too encouraging lol So perhaps, as I said, it is a doomed relationship.

All this to say it's a very different story from Squid and the Whale. I liked it, it's almost as good as the latter, just different. And Ifans was good, his character was there just the right amount I felt.


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RE: Greenberg - 30/6/2010 9:14:06 AM   
BOHEMIANBOB


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ElephantBoy

Excuse me, but how does he keep it light hearted?  Theres nothing in Greenberg that suggests we should waste our time with him (or that Flourence should which is part of the problem), the film lacks the wit or insight of The Squid and the Whale which is looking more like a classic all the time.  Its not so much that the film is depressing, but than it is boring and cliched. And it didn't focus on any of other characters just Greenberg, as stated Ifans role was underwritten, and apart from her involvement with him we hardly find anything out about Florence.  This is by far Baumbachs worse so far.

Anyway I Will post a review soon, but just wanted to answer those points.

That's a bit unfair.
I think this film is honest in its look at a man's life,without being grim.
I think there IS hope of redemption for Greenberg,but not in the sugary Hollywood sense-he must learn to change and others must learn to adapt.This is a man who has lived a life,the Squid and The Whale(excellent though) are about a completely different subject matter.
For all we know,that character could have become Greenberg!
I thought it had genuine moments of humour,and there's nothing cliched about the naked frailty of the human condition.


< Message edited by BOHEMIANBOB -- 30/6/2010 9:15:20 AM >


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RE: Greenberg - 30/6/2010 2:02:26 PM   
superdan


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I actually found this rather difficult to watch, purely because Roger Greenberg is such a repellent little shit of a character. Nearly all the way through it I was just left wondering why Ifans' and Gerwig's characters would bother with him at all, especially during his childish, petulant tantrums. This would be more bearable if it wasn't for the fact that he is on screen for about 90% of the time. About the only positive thing you could say about him is that he seems to like dogs.

Having said that, I didn't hate the film. The performances are were very good, and the soundtrack is diverting enough. Very much doubt I'll bother watching it again though.

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Post #: 25
RE: Greenberg - 1/7/2010 12:38:34 AM   
ElephantBoy

 

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Bravo Superdan finally someone speaking sense!  Yes the performances are good, but because so much it is focused on Stiller (who is kind of doing his normal Ben Stiller stick, just more deadpan), the other two leads are not given enough of a chance to really impact on the film. 

Edward hit on one of the problems, clitches like trying to make greenberg seem more likeable, just because he takes pittie on a sick dog is really weak. 

SPOILOR ALERT!
And another time the film makers seemed to be losing the plot was when Florence gets pregnent towards the end, that is just the sort of thing these films bring in at the point they run out of ideas.

And theres lots of indie films that pan out this way, the whole mumble core back history follows a very simler patten.  This didn't feel fresh one bit.

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Post #: 26
RE: Greenberg - 1/7/2010 1:12:52 AM   
BOHEMIANBOB


Posts: 1884
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quote:

ORIGINAL: ElephantBoy

Bravo Superdan finally someone speaking sense!  Yes the performances are good, but because so much it is focused on Stiller (who is kind of doing his normal Ben Stiller stick, just more deadpan), the other two leads are not given enough of a chance to really impact on the film. 

Edward hit on one of the problems, clitches like trying to make greenberg seem more likeable, just because he takes pittie on a sick dog is really weak. 

SPOILOR ALERT!
And another time the film makers seemed to be losing the plot was when Florence gets pregnent towards the end, that is just the sort of thing these films bring in at the point they run out of ideas.

And theres lots of indie films that pan out this way, the whole mumble core back history follows a very simler patten.  This didn't feel fresh one bit.

So are the performances good or not??You've said they are while saying they aren't really.
The sick dog thing didn't alter my feelings towards Greenberg,in fact,you could argue the dog just represented another functional task he had to do,in his head.
Accept the pregnancy point-it didn't help the film at all.Still a good film.

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RE: Greenberg - 1/7/2010 2:12:47 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

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Didn't say anything bad about the performances just that Stiller was still kind of doing the same sort of performance he does in straght comedies, thats not the same as sayings he was poor.   Ifans and epsically Getwig are excellent, but as stated neither are given enough to do, and the fact that you had three very creditable leads, and the film still isn't better kind of highlights how much of a mess it is.

Some one else has come up with that explainion for the Dog scenes, we will just have to agree to differ as i think its the writters just trying to be quirky and make the character more likeable.

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Post #: 28
where's the fifth star? - 28/7/2010 12:03:14 AM   
hi charlie

 

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Greenberg in my humble opinion is a masterclass in character study every single scene holds true in that sense, it's good to see a film about and for truelly insecure adults these days rather than the usual teen dross that barely scratches the surface of the depth of this character, It's a brilliant film admitedly niche but if you like character driven films, or suffer from crushing anxiety and insecurity Greenberg is your'e man.

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Post #: 29
best supporting actress 2011 - 28/7/2010 8:42:05 PM   
bill the butcher

 

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greta gerwig is an amazing actress
not in any way hollywood type
sexy funny real lovable
watch it for her alone...

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