John C. Reilly

NYFF Review: The Lobster

Sep 30 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]219844:42633:0[/embed] The LobsterDirector: Yorgos LanthimosRating: n/aRelease Date: TBD In the world of The Lobster, single people are social pariahs. After the death of a spouse or a divorce, a single person is forced to check into a hotel filled with other single people. They have forty-five days to pair up and get married, otherwise they are killed and have their consciousness transferred to an animal. Lots of people choose dogs, but throughout the movie we also see horses, pigs, and peacocks. Our hero David (Colin Ferrell, with a slight gut) chooses a lobster; he brings his brother (who is now a dog) with him to the hotel. You can earn extra time to prevent metempsychosis by hunting down single people in the woods with a tranquilizer gun. The hotel operates with business-like efficiency, providing scheduled social activities like some bad singles cruise from hell. To reinforce the importance of relationships, the hotel staff puts on skits: A single man pantomimes eating a meal alone, he chokes, he dies; a man and his wife pantomime eating a meal together, he chokes, she administers the Heimlich maneuver, he lives--applause. To determine whom you can pair up with, you're asked whether you're straight or homosexual (the latter sounds so much like business-ese in the context of the film). David asks if there's a bi-sexual option and is shot down--you can only choose one or the other, not both. Paper or plastic, soup or salad, efficiency, efficiency, efficiency. And it's blackly hilarious. The international cast adds to the oddball appeal of The Lobster, and they deliver their lines in an intentionally stilted manner. Olivia Colman's hotel manager strikes just the right balance between clinical, supportive, and fascistic to make her moments memorable. As for the guests, at times they seem like awkward pre-teens going through the early stages of adolescence. David befriends men played by John C. Reilly (with a slight lisp) and Ben Wishaw (with a slight limp), but they act like boys in the schoolyard. In some scenes the lines are bumbled or devoid of actual human emotion, like they're reading a script or they're pod people acting like humans are supposed to act. Flirtation is no longer about attraction or fun but learned behaviors about how people are supposed to flirt, or the desperation of a ticking clock scenario; relationships are a form of mutually beneficial transaction (i.e., we get to remain humans) that's not necessarily satisfying. Some of the best moments in The Lobster come from Lanthimos' exploration of the various forces that urge people to get into relationships against their will. The time limit might be taken as a biological imperative to have kids, or even just a desire to get married by a certain age; the pressures of the hotel staff are the different cultural, familial, and religious expectations attached to marriage and relationships. Any time your relatives have nagged you about dating, marriage, or kids, you have occupied a room in Lanthimos' hotel. Lanthimos also pokes fun at the arbitrary ways we sometimes choose who we want to be with. Limping Wishaw is looking for a woman who also has a limp, because something in common (no matter how arbitrary) might mean greater compatibility. Sometimes shared interests or traits are an arbitrary reason to get into a relationship. Does he or she really need to like your favorite band? Is a 99% match on OK Cupid really a guarantee of compatibility? A number is just a number like a limp is just a limp, and what people share together isn't a matter of arithmetic or mere reflection; there's a kind of private language and grammar that develops between people who are really fond of one another, and these things can't be forced or imposed from the outside. Since The Lobster is rooted in binaries, we also get to learn about the harshness of single-life out in the woods. In the wild and the damp, we meet the leader of The Loners played by Lea Seydoux, who's both a kind of political revolutionary and a radicalized kook. She asserts her own absurd will over The Loners that is in stark contrast to the rules of the hotel--instead of relationships, it's all about forceful solitude. And yet like the hotel, her rules are equally arbitrary, equally absurd, and also blackly hilarious. It's no longer a case of "paper or plastic" among The Loners, but rather "with us or against us." Lanthimos is equally suspicious of these denials of attraction and the repression of our desire to connect with someone else; it's another imposition on human nature and individual choice. In the woods, animals who were single people wander through shots. They're probably better off. For all the absurd and anarchic humor throughout The Lobster, the movie loses momentum before it comes to an end. It's as if Lanthimos exhausted the possibilities of his conceit and didn't figure out the final pivot his story could take. (I mentioned Barthelme earlier, and his best stories often have a sort of pivot near the end, revealing an additional train of thought that's been operating, parallel or hidden, all along.) The Lobster can feel a little one-note at times, but I suppose it's really one note that's played by two opposing sides, a kind of tyranny of logic. During the New York Film Festival press conference after the screening, Lanthimos said his screenplay was very logical. The comment drew some giggles from the press, yet it's true. The Lobster adheres to the logic of its conceit, and maybe too much. But there's still enough to love.
Review: The Lobster photo
Love is strange
I still haven't gotten around to seeing Yorgos Lanthimos' Dogtooth, though I intend to. The blackly surreal 2009 film was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar and drew favorable comparisons to the work of Luis Bunuel ...


John C. Reilly confirmed for Guardians of the Galaxy

Playing the Rhomman Dey
Jun 14
// Matthew Razak
John C. Reilly has officially been announced as Rhomann Dey in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. Dey is the the leader of the Nova Corp and the one who comes to earth and gives Nova/Richard Rider, reaffirming that the Nov...

Review: Wreck-It Ralph

Nov 01 // Alex Katz
[embed]213488:39061[/embed] Wreck-It Ralph Director: Rich Moore Rating: PG Release Date: November 2nd, 2012 Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) is the Donkey Kong-esque villain of Fix-It Felix Jr., where he wrecks an apartment building that was built after bulldozing his house to the ground. Multiple times a day, for thirty years, Ralph is bested by Fix-It Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer), thrown into the mud, and sent to his home in the dump. Tired of being ignored for his years of hard work and yearning to be seen as something other than a bad guy, Ralph escapes his game and heads to Game Central Station, where all the arcade characters mix and mingle between games. Also, it's the horribly-unsafe power strip where literally every game in the arcade is plugged in. Seeking a medal to show that he can be a hero too, he jumps into Hero's Duty, a modern light fun/FPS featuring the tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch), and eventually finds his way to an anime-inspired kart racer, Sugar Rush, where he has to enlist the help of glItched character Vanellope Von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) to figure out just how to be happy with who he is. Throughout the film, you can't go more than five seconds without a cameo or reference to some video game character or meme (Final Fantasy fans in particular should keep a close eye on the graffiti in Game Central Station), and as such, Wreck-It Ralph is glittering, awesome candy for gamers. In the span of thirty seconds, anything from Street Fighter to Tapper to the infamous LEEEROOOOY JEENKINSSSSS gets referenced in some way or another. Further than that, there's all kinds of neat little physical nods to various game conventions. The little citizens of Ralph's native Niceland, as they're little characters with limited animation in game, move with jerky, early arcade-esque movements. After all, they weren't programmed with that much animation, unlike Felix and Ralph! Small touches like that appear throughout the film, and they're all a lot of fun. Taken purely as a series of fan service moments for lifelong gamers, Wreck-It Ralph is more than worth the ticket price. Unfortunately, the narrative and characters are pretty lacking for a film so clearly meant for older viewers. Ralph's internal dilemma is a nice message (how do you deal with being who you are if you don't like who you are?), and John C. Reilly is pitch-perfect as the grumpy bad guy with a secret heart of gold. Unfortunately, his is the only conflict in the story that really feels strong or interesting. The film doesn't even pick up any kind of central antagonist or external conflict until well into the film, and it's a fairly weak one at that. There's a vague threat that if Ralph doesn't make it back to his game, it'll be unplugged and taken away forever, leaving the citizens of the game homeless in Game Central Station, but this never really feels like more than an inconvenience or the standard, "look at what your reckless actions that we drove you to have wrought!" message for the hero. Ultimately, Ralph plays things pretty safe. There's the standard rise, fall, and rise again character arc for Ralph. He gets brought together with others, pushes them away for selfish reasons, before becoming the hero for realsies. It's cute, and it's watchable, and it's occasionally very funny, but nothing every really reaches further than a better-than-average kid's movie. There we get back into that weird dissonance between who this movie is actually meant for. The whole premise of the film is built around the nostalgia for early videogames and arcades, and though it's an original story, most moments do quite a lot to reference past videogames. For that sort of target audience, the writing's just not up to snuff, but for younger kids, who won't get easily sixty percent of what's being referenced, it's more than good enough. All you Dtoiders out there especially are going to be seeing Wreck-It Ralph regardless of reviews, just for all the vidja gamez, and I can definitely recommend that, but if you're looking for a higher-quality animated movie, Brave's out on Blu-ray in a couple weeks. Also, sorry about the idiotic subtitle.
Is Disney's love letter to arcades worthy of a high score or a game over?
Almost immediately, there's a weird dissonance in Wreck-it Ralph, Disney's love-letter to the 80s/90s age of arcades. From frame one, where the film begins at the arcade that is home to all the characters and games we're abou...


Trailer: Wreck-It Ralph

Oct 04
// Nick Valdez
Fair warning before you watch the international trailer for Wreck-It Ralph, one of our most anticipated films of the upcoming months. If you wanted to go in blind (and not know any of the plot details), then you shouldn't wa...


Trailer: Wreck-It Ralph

Sep 12
// Alex Katz
Here's a brand new trailer for Disney's Wreck-It Ralph! I swear, this movie is looking more and more fun with every trailer they release for it. This one goes into Ralph's world and his travels in more detail than previous t...

Play the videogame Fix-It Felix Jr. from Wreck-It Ralph

Jun 11
// Hubert Vigilla
Last week the trailer for Wreck-It Ralph debuted, and the film looks like a lot of fun -- kinda like Videogame Story, if you will. Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is the villain of a fictional arcade game called Fix-It Felix...

Trailer: Wreck-It Ralph

Jun 06 // Alex Katz

The first trailer for Disney's Wreck-It Ralph is here! This is probably my second most anticipated animated release of the year, other than Brave of course, and this first teaser doesn't disappoint. We're going to ...


Images from Wreck-It Ralph are charming, full of cameos

Jun 05
// Alex Katz
This is especially fitting, given that today is the "official" start of E3, which our big brothers at Destructoid are covering all day. In these new screens for the upcoming Wreck-It Ralph, we get a look at some of the film's...

Trailer: We Need to Talk About Kevin

Aug 09
// Jenika Katz
John C. Reilly and Tilda Swinton play the parents of sociopathic teenager Kevin, played by Ezra Miller. Kevin and his mother have never had a close relationship, and when Kevin does something "heinous," his mother must deal ...

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