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  1.  

    James Gray is held up by French (and European critics at large) as the second coming of Francis Ford Coppola. His films Little Odessa, The Yards, We Own The Night & Two Lovers are held up in Europe as a return to the classic movie-making of the 1970s. However, in the good ol' US of A he completely ignored, his films are seen as poor generic exercises. His films have no critical respect, and little audience.

    I have not seen any of his movies all the way through.

    Should I bother myself to purchase any of his work? Or check out Two Lovers in cinema?

    Any fans or any major detractors out there?

    • CommentAuthorMikeDawson
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2009
     
    Can't say I've watched any of his works - Two Lovers is on the list but We Own the Night got awful reviews here as well - The Wire Diet Coke they say....
    •  
      CommentAuthorAlec
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2009
     

    The Yards is well worth watching - really good performances, very understated and moody.  We Own the Night is also good, though not quite as strong.  Neither really have anything in common with The Wire beyond belonging to the crime genre and no single movie is ever going to get under the surface of things the way a 12-13 hour opus is so the comparison is a little unfair.

    The worst thing that can be said of both films is that they don't really do anything that hasn't been done before (though there is a car chase in We Own the Night that is extremely well shot).  However, if you're in the frame of mind for old-fashioned, intelligent character-driven crime drama populated by am ensemble of really fine actors, both represent good value.  I can see why European critics like them because they are historically very fond of American genre cinema (especially crime and film noir) and at a time when studio filmmaking is running away from genre staples to a large degree (unless it happens to feature a cape and super-powers) there is something both refreshing and familiar about Gray's work that is very easy to warm to.

    I'm not that aware of Two Lovers or early word on whether it's any good - haven't even seen a trailer - but I'd be curious to check it out.

    •  
      CommentAuthorAlec
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2009
     

    I've just watched the trailer and looked at the consensus on Rotten Tomatoes and it looks promising - am going to try and see it I think.

    It looks very similar to his previous films in terms of style - it even includes a nightclub scene which must be something of a Gray trademark as both The Yards and We Own the Night both featured particularly memorable sequences set amongst New York's nightlife.  One of the key elements of Gray's work is New York which is very much a character in in his films and not just a backdrop.  That's been done before too but, again, in comparison to the glossy Friends-style depictions of New York which we are usually served up these days, a return to the darker textures captured by early Friedkin, Scorsese and Lumet is most welcome and just as seductive as ever.

  2.  
    Posted by: Alec

    I'm not that aware of Two Lovers or early word on whether it's any good - haven't even seen a trailer - but I'd be curious to check it out.

     Word on Two Lovers is that it is pretty good, though Joaquin Phoenix stunt mockumentary thing seems to be wrecking the whole affair and it bombed massively in America.

    •  
      CommentAuthorAlec
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2009
     
    Posted by: DanceDanceDance
    Posted by: Alec

    I'm not that aware of Two Lovers or early word on whether it's any good - haven't even seen a trailer - but I'd be curious to check it out.

     Word on Two Lovers is that it is pretty good, though Joaquin Phoenix stunt mockumentary thing seems to be wrecking the whole affair and it bombed massively in America.

     

    Yeah, he's a bit of a strange one - but a very good actor who impresses me more with each new role.  He's very good in both the earlier films he's made for Gray and his work in Two Lovers would appear to build on those performances further.  Am really looking forward to this now.

    • CommentAuthorFran
    • CommentTimeMar 29th 2009
     

    I have seen We Own The Night and thought it was bar an excellent car chase, shockingly poor predictable Cinema complete with dictative music.

  3.  

    I just watched The Yards, I was thoroughly impressed by the film. It is not going to be to everyone's taste, as it does little new with the genre it is steeped in, but to my eyes I thought it subverted the more usual cliches nicely and turned a few things on its head so I was unsure exactly what was coming. I can now vividly see the Copolla comparisons - events happen around the Dinner table with James Caan (a Copolla regular) as the patriarch. Most impressively the film feels heavily influenced by the 1970s cinema conventions, little here is said outright and much happens beneath the surface. The film is very moody, it is dour, it is shot in shadows, it very dark, it has dark themes, little humour. The performances are pretty good - Phoenix and James Caan in particular are great. Mark Wahlberg less so, but he carries the film manfully if not inspired. The scene at the club is brilliantly caught, however the best scene in the film is the Wahlberg and Phoenix fight - it is one the most realistic fights I have ever seen in cinema, completely natural.

    Pleasant surprise from American mainstream. It shows that intelligent, moody dramas can still be made.

    8/10

  4.  
  5.  

    I have only seen We Own The Night which is OK, with a good performance as ever by Joaquin Pheonix. It is however fairly generic and you can see every important plot point miles in advance.  I also has a severe lack of credibility doing ridiculous things at points, leaving me to shout 'That is ridiculous' on more than one occasion at the screen. While this lack of believeability is OK in a dumb action film, in a movie trying to be dark, gritty and realistic this jars and ruins the film.

  6.  

    We Own The Night

    I thoroughly enjoyed this film, no it is not perfect but to begin with the performance from Joaquin Phoenix is excellent. I have never been a particularly big Phoenix fan, but this was something quite special. It is performance which can easily be measured against the best acting from De Niro or Pacino, it has the necessary style that they would bring to a similar role but adds a nice undercurrent of vulnerability. Mark Wahlberg is solid in this film, he is given less to do than I thought before seeing it, but he has definitely improved in the 7 years since The Yards - he screen presence is much better and he is not blown away by the heavyweights. Robert Duvall and Eva Mendes give good support as the father and girlfriend respectively. But make no mistake this is the Phoenix show. And very much better for it. As has been mentioned the car chase scene is amazing, the lack of score during the scene is bold and brilliant, it not a Greengrass style fast cut up but has more in style with Friedkin's The French Connection, the use of the rain just emphasisng the directorial brilliance of the shot. However the whole film is packed with beautiful visuals - the fire and smoke near the end, the club scene - and brilliantly tense moments and great set-pieces. Also, the score for this film is mesmeric, used and not used with wonderful precision, the score is by Wojciech Kilar - who also did a score for Kieslowski's Blind Chance.

    But as I said the film is not perfect, it has an incredibly contrived and frankly unbelievable twist with about 40 minutes to go. It is remarkably silly and very cliched. Though I would argue that it is no more cliched than Seven, The Usual Suspects, Cop Land or Gone Baby Gone, or many other police thrillers down the years. I do understand that this would be a major impediment for people to enjoy this film, especially on this board where cliches are about as popular as paedophiles, but I think the film is good enough to survive this mis-step. This film is a better film than Gray's previous effort solely by making a better actor the lead.

    I look forward to Two Lovers, knowing that while many do not seem to appreciate Gray - I and the French - seem to be among the few who do. This film in my opinion is one of the most underrated mainstream Hollywood films in the last 10 years. A comparison to Michael Mann's Miami Vice is not out of the ballpark, while I do not think it is good as that film, I do think it is very much unfairly maligned. In fact comparing James Gray to Michael Mann could well the best comparison for him, while he does not quite have Mann storytelling ability, he very much has the Mann's Heat-era directorial skill.

    8.5/10

    If the film had no gone with last forty minutes, this would have been higher. The motivation was perfectly acceptable, but the plotting could have been subtly altered so it did not seem quite so cheesy.

    •  
      CommentAuthorAlec
    • CommentTimeJun 18th 2009 edited
     

    Finally had the chance to see Two Lovers last week and thought it was well worth seeing.

    It's an unusual film - hard to pin down even as you're watching it, which in and of itself makes it something of a rarity. Ostensibly, it would have to be classified as a drama and though it doesn't ultimately deliver a great deal of surprises or do anything that hasn't been done before, its propensity to zig when you expect it to zag makes for an oddly compelling experience that manages to genuinely retain a sense of uncertainty that keeps viewers off-balance right until the last frame.

    One thing's for sure, it would be a real crime if Joaquin Pheonix did retire prematurely from acting. He's been an interesting actor since he turned up around the mid-90s in off-beat supporting roles such as his turn in Gus Van Sant's To Die For but he has really taken a step forward in the last few years, maturing as a performer and developing a strong, enigmatic screen presence. He plays 'damaged' as well as anyone around and knows how to evoke a deep current of emotional turbulence without overplaying his hand. Leonard Kraditor is a character tailor-made for his abilities, torn between two women that offer a way out of the hole life has dumped him in.

    The love-triangle is as tired a narrative convention as any, but what's interesting here is the way he bounces from one to the other (played respectively by Gwyneth Paltrow and Vinessa Shaw) - neither is pitched as the obvious 'right choice' that the audience should root for and both are equally appealing in their own way. There's a naturalism about the attraction Leonard feels for both that comes across authentically without sexing up either situation in the typical fashion, added to which is a quickly-established need or co-dependency that goes beyond the sickly depiction of so many screen romances that rarely burrow beneath the surface.

    If there's a flaw here, it would have to be conceded that only in a movie would such a figure, practically verging on the hermetic and lacking in obvious social graces, suddenly have two gorgeous women virtually fall in his lap - but as with most dramatic contrivances, this needs to be overlooked, a task made much easier by the skill in which the overall film is developed.

    I really like James Gray as a director and I'm now thinking he may just be America's most underrated current filmmaker. Two Lovers is a departure from his previous work in that it stands outside the crime genre but it is very much of a piece with them; understated, thoughtful and character-centric. Coppola has been quoted as a regular reference point, for both Gray and those analysing his work, but a more apt comparison could probably be drawn with Elia Kazan's working-class dramas. The cinematic world Gray works in is the flipside of what American cinema mostly chooses to display - the forgotten, disappointed and decaying inner-city communities inhabited by those who rarely leave them and know better than to expect they ever will. It's a world as wholly realised and immersive as the intricately designed milieus of Wes Anderson's films, as real and all-consuming as the latter director's are stylised and flamboyant.

    In fact, I think Gray's films will likely work best when viewed in relation to one another, preferably in one long marathon sitting. Though the characters may be different and the stories seperate, the world they are set in remains constant and the individual films are mere glimpses into that world - and collectively they may represent one of the finest modern cinematic depictions of New York since Scorsese or Allen were working at the top of their game in the 70s.

    Definitely recommended.

  7.  

    Two Lovers - I am a confirmed James Gray fan from checking out his middle two films earlier this year, these two films are very underrated in my opinion and you can see my somewhat glowing reviews above. Though, I am a fan I was still slightly trepidacious that he had moved his dark brooding dramas outwith his generic confines. His work within the crime genre and the 1970s inflections were the best of his generation and I was slightly concerned he would not have the weight of filmmaking without these tropes. However, all my fears were for nought, as Gray has crafted a modern classic with this dark, brooding drama of romance, treating relationships with the same seriousness he previously treated crime. Gray, though for all his movement of genres, actually keeps what is becoming his most important facet at the heart of his film, and that is family. Does anyone make better films about the oppressive nature of family ties than Gray? To keep in toe with this serious tone, Gray shoots the film in half darkness and prominent shadows, only confirming the visual brilliance which he eloquently put on screen with We Own the Night, he is not a flashy director but a moody one. His style is not a million miles away from the elegance of Clint Eastwood, with an equal amount of skill with screen darkness. Also, the scenes which occur on the building roof, with a glassy winter light surrounding the characters is tremendously handled.

    Another returning feature for Gray with Two Lovers is Joaquin Phoenix, who gives not only his best performance for Gray but also hands down his finest turn. It would be a huge loss to screen acting if Phoenix was never to return from his musical interlude (we get see some of his rapping in this film, at whose behest I wonder...?), Phoenix plays Leonard, who has a Bi-polar affliction, without any of the ridiculous overacting which almost anyone else would give it. He is by turns shy and funny, Phoenix always seems to holding something back and this works perfectly for the emotionally vulnerable Leonard. The way that he is unable to communicate, until he becomes comfortable is handled subtly and shows a real sensible handling of the character, and his condition. This is never overplayed and Leonard is never excused of his actions, nor does Gray talk down to the audience. Leonard is by turns callous and selfish, he shows a real lack of emotional intelligence, yet through the wintry film he remains sympathetic. I could buy the female attraction to Leonard because of the way Gray presented it, it simply understated. Paltrow and Shaw provide very able support. This is an adult romantic drama, which eskews most modern style of filmmaking and harkens back to time before.

    This film has none of the plot machination problems which afflicted We Own the Night, and it runs the course of its narrative in an understated yet defiant manner. It never quite goes as you expect, and I found the last sequence to be rather heart-breaking then profoundly disturbing. The darkness which Gray so smoothly has films steeped in definitely comes to a emotional climax in the final moments. Yet to put it like that you think of shouting and fireworks, nothing could be further from the that, Gray does not do big emotional moments, he works within small gestures.

    I like the fact that Gray makes his films in the twilight of America, not many filmmakers have captured this rich seam of material, which novelists and painters have been excavating for years. His tells stories and shoots films about the night in America, the lost America, stories which enthralled Arthur Miller or Richmond Fontaine or Raymond Carver.

    I am convinced that this is modern classic, and I am off to hunt down a copy of Little Odessa to round my Gray collection. Yet even after only seeing three of his films, I am content to call him one of my favourite working filmmakers. Not to everyones taste to be sure, but he makes films exactly how I like them.

    9/10

    •  
      CommentAuthorAlec
    • CommentTimeOct 11th 2009
     

    I really want to see Little Odessa too - let us know what you think if you track it down.

    His next film is slated as being The Lost City of Z about adventurer Percy Fawcett who went missing on an expedition on Brazil in 1925 so I think it's safe to say Gray will be making his first majpr departure - and it will be very inbteresting to see how he handles a completely different setting and period, not to mention the greater scope.  Brad Pitt is set to star (how smart is this guy when it comes to aligning himself with directorial talent?) and is due out next year sometime.  Fingers crossed.

  8.  

    Watched Two Lovers this evening and loved it - it is definitely in my Top 10 of 2008. I'll post a writeup tommorow as there is a lot I want to say about the film.

  9.  
    Posted by: TheMadcapLaughs

    Watched Two Lovers this evening and loved it - it is definitely in my Top 10 of 2008. I'll post a writeup tommorow as there is a lot I want to say about the film.

     

    It makes the 2009 UK release date as well.

  10.  

    Two Lovers - 2008 - Directed by James Gray

    Leonard Kraditor struggles with people. He is awkward around them, struggling to say the right things and trying his hardest to be polite and get on with them. He has bipolar disorder which is mentioned early on and briefly hinted at throughout however it is never laboured over and its effects are never allowed to dominate the plot but instead it quietly influences his every action. It is simply something that is. Something he has to live with. He's just been let down by a fiance two years ago and he's damaged, confused, vulnerable and that is all we need to know.

    Leonard, played by Joaquin Phoenix, is in a love triangle. He wants to be with Michelle, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, whose life is full of problems not least of which are a relationship she is in with a married man, emotional issues and her drug usage. She doesn't judge Leonard and in a way they are on the same level and understand each other's problems, or at least more than anyone else can. She just wants to be friends with him, in the process piling all the issues on to him that her friends likely got bored of hearing about a long time ago, whilst he wants something more. Meanwhile there's Sandra Cohen, played by Vinessa Shaw, who wants to help Leonard and look after him. She wants to make him feel better and both the Kraditor and Cohen families want Sandra and Leonard to be together. So he goes along with it and ends up being her boyfriend - his interests lie more with Michelle but he decides to spend time with Sandra anyway and she falls for him. And so the relationships are set up with some interesting dynamics for the film.

    Phoenix really is great in this. He grounds the performance firmly in reality and manages to take a character who could seem creepy and makes him very easy to sympathise for in spite of his selfishness. The cinematography has a restrained beauty to it and the editing is equally restrained allowing you to take in the subtlety of the characters interactions rather than having the camera constantly jumping from face to face. I also really liked the attention to detail throughout the film - those few lines where something about the disorder is dropped in, set design including a 2001 poster in his room (says a lot about us Kubrick fans I'm sure) and in particular how in the opening scene Leonard is carrying a shirt which he loses when he tries to commit suicide (an extremely good way to begin the film) and over 30 minutes later in to the film when tasked with delivering some more shirts by his father for the family business his father tells Leonard not to lose these shirts like the last one: his father doesn't know about his son's suicide attempt but every action has ripples.

    I do have two very small complaints; the 20 seconds or so where Phoenix kisses Paltrow was very awkward, pretty confusing and just plain didn't work and personally I would have liked Vinessa's character to have a bit more screentime to help pad her out however with the movie already at over 100 minutes I can see why this wasn't done.

    The ending of the film was what completely sold me on it. Those last 15 minutes I had no idea quite where it was going to go and the story is resolved in a very human, mature manner where you completely buy everyone's choices even if they aren't for the best. In fact the emotions involved in this movie are deeply complex and so true to real life. We end up rooting for Leonard and Michelle to be together even though the relationship would be highly destructive and the ending leaves you wondering quite what you should be feeling. What happens is just so difficult to quantify in those normal terms of this is for the best or this is for the worst and in that way I found the film to be very intelligent and a huge success.

    It is a great film and definitely in my Top 10 films of 2008

    My Score = 8.5/10

  11.  

    Little Odessa (1994) - The much loved, by me, James Gray made this film, his first feature, when he was 25. What impresses even more than this simple fact is both how assured the direction was, and how good the film is. Set within the Russian-Jewish immigrants of Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, Little Odessa stars Tim Roth as a professional killer who has to return to his boyhood surroundings for a job. Within this community remains his brother (Edward Furlong), his father (Maximilian Schell), his dying mother (Vanessa Redgrave), a former girlfriend/friend (Moira Kelly) and a number of former associates who would gladly see Roth dead.

    The themes investigated in his first feature are themes which would reprise themself throughout his character. Gray focuses on crime and family within this film. A disintergrating family. This story maybe set amongst Russian immigrants but it is resolutely an American tale. A vehemently American film about fathers and sons, about family. This film is another Gray film which harkens back to classic movies, a more restrained story telling style, a great visual panache and a moody and bleak thriller. This is not a film that was influenced by Quentin Tarintino, that most famous of Crime movie makers in the early 1990s, but more by films like The French Connection or Bad Lieutenant. It is a serious film, a dour film even, with little to release the expertly crafted gloom. Shot in the a style reminiscent of Rocky with its cold streets and snowy climate, this film has a number of excellent scenes, not least a kidnap followed by execution which is simply one of the best sequences I have seen in a crime movie. Gray excels with the details of community, of the criminal world and of relationship between fathers and sons.

    Unfortunately the film is not perfect. Tim Roth, who is an actor I do not like which means I may be biased, gives another dull performance in a career of dull performances. His accent is okay, playing an American, but his performance does not elicit the empathy required. Edward Furlong, another actor who I do not like, struggles in a slightly thankless task as the younger brother. His role is the closest we come to cliche in this film, and Furlong struggles to breathe anything unique into the role. Maximillian Schell and Vanessa Redgrave on the other hand are excellent as the father and mother. Schell in particular gives a wonderous performance as the betrayed and crumpling family patriarch. Also, there is one use of a pop song which is hideously out of place, fortunately the rest of the music is handled much better.

    Despite these reservations, Little Odessa with its Dostoyevkian themes, it downbeat lyricism, great portrayal of community and exacting ending remains a great film. A moody crime thriller aimed at adults, with only a few concessions to either cliche or the mainstream. This film may get better with every watch.

    7.5/10

    My score is a 7.5/10 because I dislike Tim Roth, he is not particularly bad in the role, I simply just do not like him onscreen. For those who do not dislike Roth's brand of acting I expect that this film would rate higher.

    Definitely worth checking out for those who appreciate Gray's work.

    • CommentAuthorFran
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2009
     

    Posted by: DanceDanceDance

    Definitely worth checking out for those who appreciate Gray's work.

     

    I count two so far Yourself and Alec

  12.  

    Posted by: Fran

     

    Posted by: DanceDanceDance

    Definitely worth checking out for those who appreciate Gray's work.

    I count two so far Yourself and Alec

     

    Two Lovers was really great!

    I should be watching We Own the Night some time over the next couple weeks.

    •  
      CommentAuthorAlec
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2009
     

    Posted by: Fran

     

    Posted by: DanceDanceDance

    Definitely worth checking out for those who appreciate Gray's work.

     

    I count two so far Yourself and Alec

     

     

    And the French...

    •  
      CommentAuthorAlec
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2009
     

    Plus, Joaquin Pheonix has appeared in three of his four films so I assume he's something of a fan.

    And yes, I acknowledge that in this recommendation there may lack a certain stability between me, Dance, a now supposedly retired actor who appeared on Letterman stoned out of his head and the people of a country that produced a footballer that mused about seagulls and trawlers - but there you go.

    • CommentAuthorFran
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2009
     

    Posted by: Alec

    Plus, Joaquin Pheonix has appeared in three of his four films so I assume he's something of a fan.

    And yes, I acknowledge that in this recommendation there may lack a certain stability between me, Dance, a now supposedly retired actor who appeared on Letterman stoned out of his head and the people of a country that produced a footballer that mused about seagulls and trawlers - but there you go.

     

  13.  

     

    Posted by: Alec

    Plus, Joaquin Pheonix has appeared in three of his four films so I assume he's something of a fan.

    Little Odessa could have been something quite special if Phoenix had of played the Roth role. A much better fit.

    • CommentAuthorAquaman84
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2010
     

    Two Lovers (Gray, 2009)

    After the glowing reviews by a couple of people above I decided to put Two Lovers on my Lovefilm list. It arrived last week and I watched it on Saturday night. This is my first James Gray film, so I do not have experience of his previous style and themes to draw on; however I bought We Own the Night recently and will be watching it in the coming weeks.

    And so to the film: Leonard (Joaquin Phoenix) has a bi-polar disorder and has moved back in with his parents in the wake of a pretty serious breakdown. In an attempt to set him back on the straight and narrow, Leonard’s parents have got him working in their dry-cleaning store and are attempting to set him up with the daughter of a fellow dry-cleaner, Sandra (Vinessa Shaw). Sandra is a nice girl who is interested in Leonard and would seem to be a good companion. The trouble is that Leonard is also drawn to his parents neighbour, the drug-addled and emotional Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow).

    Gray handles this very clichéd love triangle plot with such intelligence and subtlety, with Leonard moving from one of the women to the other throughout, that (as Alec stated above) it really is not easy to know how the story will conclude. It is extremely difficult to know who you should want Leonard to end up with; both women are shown to have very different positives and negatives. There is a great sense of pressure placed on Leonard from both his own family and Sandra’s, however he only has himself to blame for that. She though, offers a stable relationship which may be exactly what Leonard is in need of. Michelle however - who Leonard has much stronger feelings towards – is in love with her boss (Elias Korteas) and is blind (or at least chooses to be) to Leonard’s growing affection. Both offer Leonard a way out of his current situation but neither is overwhelmingly positive.

    The fact that Leonard flits from one woman to other may reduce the sympathy for the character in other films, but to counter this problem Gray has an ace up his sleeve and that ace is Joaquin Phoenix. This is certainly the finest performance of his that I have seen and one of the best of last year. The subtlety with which he rises and falls emotionally (none of the giggling to tears over acting usually associated with a bi-polar disorder), his shy and vulnerable demeanour combined with his undoubted warmth and humour when he is comfortable enough with someone to open up.

    And finally, I loved the ending. Having read Peter Bradshaw’s review, it is clear he took something completely different from it than I did, which is something I really enjoy in films. I eagerly await We Own the Night.

    My score = 9/10
     

    • CommentAuthorFran
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2010
     
    oh christ there's another fan thats Phoenix, Dance, Alec, the French and now Aquaman :-)
    • CommentAuthorAquaman84
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2010
     

     

    Posted by: Franoh christ there's another fan thats Phoenix, Dance, Alec, the French and now Aquaman :-)

     

  14.  

     

    Posted by: Aquaman84

    I eagerly await We Own the Night.

    It is a very fine film but does suffer from an extreme form of 3rd Act Madness, which could almost kill the whole movie for you, but if you liked Two Lovers then I am confident that you will appreciate We Own the Night.

    • CommentAuthorFran
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2010
     

    Posted by: Aquaman84

     

    Posted by: Franoh christ there's another fan thats Phoenix, Dance, Alec, the French and now Aquaman :-)

     

     

    To be fair Two Lovers is a good film and certainly the better of the three I have seen.

    • CommentAuthorAquaman84
    • CommentTimeJan 21st 2010
     

    We Own The Night

    Hot off the back of really liking Two Lovers at the weekend (which I'm liking more and more the more I think about it), last night I decided to watch We Own The Night; pre-warned by Dance that there is a possible third act plot point that may ruin the film.

    I will start by saying that I saw the plot machination coming from early on and whilst it certainly conformed to cheesey plot stereotype, the fact I had prepared myself for it and Joaquin Phoenix's performance meant that it didn't kill the film for me.

    And so to the good. Joaquin Phoenix is once again outstanding in the lead role (James Gray clearly knows how to get the best out of him) as Bobby Green, a son rebelling against police officer father and brother by running a night club filled with drug dealers and addicts. As with Two Lovers I just found him mesmeric when he was on screen and I really do feel that it will be a crying shame if he was never to act again - perhaps Gray can tempt him back. Whilst this is definitely Phoenix's movie, he is perfectly supported by Mark Wahlberg, Robert Duvall and Eva Mendes. The Cinematogaphy is once again outstanding - especially the car chase scene which has been mentioned above - and I loved the scene with the lighter and the one with the smoke.

    Overall another fine film from James Gray  - so I can confirm I am a fan - and I am now keen to get hold of The Yards.

    My score = 8/10 and if it wasn't for the plot issues it may have pushed for a 9.

  15.  
    Posted by: Aquaman84

    We Own The Night

    Hot off the back of really liking Two Lovers at the weekend (which I'm liking more and more the more I think about it), last night I decided to watch We Own The Night; pre-warned by Dance that there is a possible third act plot point that may ruin the film.

    I will start by saying that I saw the plot machination coming from early on and whilst it certainly conformed to cheesey plot stereotype, the fact I had prepared myself for it and Joaquin Phoenix's performance meant that it didn't kill the film for me.

    And so to the good. Joaquin Phoenix is once again outstanding in the lead role (James Gray clearly knows how to get the best out of him) as Bobby Green, a son rebelling against police officer father and brother by running a night club filled with drug dealers and addicts. As with Two Lovers I just found him mesmeric when he was on screen and I really do feel that it will be a crying shame if he was never to act again - perhaps Gray can tempt him back. Whilst this is definitely Phoenix's movie, he is perfectly supported by Mark Wahlberg, Robert Duvall and Eva Mendes. The Cinematogaphy is once again outstanding - especially the car chase scene which has been mentioned above - and I loved the scene with the lighter and the one with the smoke.

    Overall another fine film from James Gray  - so I can confirm I am a fan - and I am now keen to get hold of The Yards.

    My score = 8/10 and if it wasn't for the plot issues it may have pushed for a 9.

     

    When you see The Yards look out for one of the most realistic fight scenes ever caught onscreen. It is a real stand-out moment.

  16.  
    Posted by: Franoh christ there's another fan thats Phoenix, Dance, Alec, the French and now Aquaman :-)

     

    I watched We Own The Night this evening and I may be another addition to the fan club.

    • CommentAuthorFran
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2010
     

    Posted by: CoheedandCambria
    Posted by: Franoh christ there's another fan thats Phoenix, Dance, Alec, the French and now Aquaman :-)

     

    I watched We Own The Night this evening and I may be another addition to the fan club.

     

    I am fast becoming the only James Gray naysayer in the world

  17.  
    Posted by: Fran

     

    Posted by: CoheedandCambria
    Posted by: Franoh christ there's another fan thats Phoenix, Dance, Alec, the French and now Aquaman :-)

     

    I watched We Own The Night this evening and I may be another addition to the fan club.

     

    I am fast becoming the only James Gray naysayer in the world

     

     

    At least a lot of us are in a minority on our own with a few films. Then it means we can understand what it feels like.

  18.  
  19.  
    Posted by: DanceDanceDance

    The formerly difficult to get Little Odessa is now available on DVD

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000RL3XPQ/ref=s9_qpick_gw_ir02?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=0JGAQDG67E8SKR2Q0ZPS&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=467198433&pf_rd_i=468294

     

    I will have to look into this (although I swear its being available exclusively from Amazon has been brought up before). I have a rental copy of The Yards from LoveFilm on my To-Watch pile, so I am very close to seeing all of James Gray's films.

    •  
      CommentAuthorozufan
    • CommentTimeApr 14th 2010
     
    Posted by: DanceDanceDance

    The formerly difficult to get Little Odessa is now available on DVD

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000RL3XPQ/ref=s9_qpick_gw_ir02?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=0JGAQDG67E8SKR2Q0ZPS&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=467198433&pf_rd_i=468294

     

    I've still got this in my unwatched pile from the Borders closing down sale. I just can't build up any enthusiasm for it at the moment. 

  20.  

    www.guardian.co.uk/film/2013/may/24/the-immigrant-cannes-2013-review 

    Disappointing review. I was looking forward to this.

    • CommentAuthorFran
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2013
     
    Posted by: DanceDanceDance

    www.guardian.co.uk/film/2013/may/24/the-immigrant-cannes-2013-review 

    Disappointing review. I was looking forward to this.

     lack of ideas and James Gray, exactl;y what I was expecting  

  21.  
    Posted by: Fran
    Posted by: DanceDanceDance

    www.guardian.co.uk/film/2013/may/24/the-immigrant-cannes-2013-review 

    Disappointing review. I was looking forward to this.

     lack of ideas and James Gray, exactl;y what I was expecting  

     

    Yes, very good!

    I maintain he is still one of my favourite American filmmakers. I have his four films sitting by the TV for a rewatch, looking forward to it. 

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