I had managed to miss nearly all the hype and publicity surrounding Garden State apart from hearing that it was supposedly very good and being told it was the "sort of film you'd like" by a friend. I ordered this last weekend along with Napoleon Dynamite (which has yet to arrive) and Super Size Me. I didn't realise it had Natalie Portman in it, nor that it was written, directed and starred Zach Braff (better known as JD from Scrubs). I now hold Mr Braff in much higher regard than I did 24 hours ago even though I'd started really appreciating Scrubs over the last few weeks as I finally seem to have been catching it on Sky.
Anyway, Garden State is about Andrew Largeman, an actor living out of LA who returns home after nine years to attend his mothers funeral. He'd had relationship problems with his mother and his overbearing father (Ian Holm) who was also his psychiartrist so the homecoming is less than emotional. Whilst home he bumps into some of his old schoolfriends and ends up partying with them and rediscovering parts of himself. He then meets up with Sam (Natalie Portman) who he forms an instant, albeit odd, connection with. The film is very funny in more of a sarcastic/black humour sense than many American comedies. I'd reccommend this anyone who likes slightly oddball and left-of-centre movies. School Report: A-
Good Bye Lenin
This German language film was both a critical and commercial success a couple of years ago when it was released. In the UK it was the biggest grossing German-lanuage film of all time, a feat only just surpassed within the last few weeks by Downfall, a story portraying Hitler based upon memoirs of his personal secretary. Anyway, Goodbye Lenin starts off in the late 70's showing the life of an East Berlin family and building the history and sense of character for the rest of the film. The film then forwards to 1989 with restlessness stirring in East Germany for freedoms denied. The mother, a staunch supporter of socialism whose efforts have be recognised by the State suffers a heart attack when she sees her son participating, and being arrested, in an anti-State rally . The heart attack leaves her in a coma for the following eight months. During this time historic events change the face of East and West Germany. The Wall is brought down and the countries are united as one in part of the winds of change that start spreading across all of the Soviet states.
Ales (the son) and Ariane (the daughter) are informed by a doctor that their mother, once she awakes, could suffer a sceond fatal attack if she experiences any shocks. Being that the fall of Communism would fall under that heading the siblings decide that they have to hide the fact from their mother. To do this they enlist the help of friends and former collegues of their mothers, even to the extent of producing fake news reels about current events . The film is very emotional but also very humourous of the 'situation' humour variety. The script and plot are pretty faultless and it makes a great nights viewing. I won;t tell you what happens but rest assurred this is one film that is worth every minute. School Report: A