Friday, November 9th, 2007
"That's One Doodle That Can't Be Un-Did, Homeskillet"
So I caught a preview screening of Juno Wednesday night, the new film from Jason Reitman (Thank You For Smoking) and starring rising Canadian stars Ellen Page (X-Men 3) and Michael Cera (Superbad). A big hit at the Toronto International Film Festival back in September, it’s a totally charming little comedy about a teen who gets pregnant and opts to give the baby up for adoption to an uber-yuppie couple played by Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner (and no, before you ask, Bateman and Cera don’t have any scenes together but the phrase “pop-pop” is used, so that’s something).
While hilarity doesn’t really ensue, slapstick this ain’t, the film is quite hilarious thanks to Page’s performance as the terrifically sharp and sassy title character – people are already talking Oscar nod. Though second-billed in a remarkably strong cast, Cera doesn’t really get a lot to do besides… well, be Michael Cera. Someone cast this kid in an action flick or something. The language and dialogue in the film is absolutely golden, with plenty of intelligence, quirkiness and quotability but deftly avoiding sounding too precious or unnatural. The same goes for the direction, which has touches of Wes Anderson-ish surrealness but, again, Reitman doesn’t allow those flights of fancy to overpower things and the film’s feet stay firmly planted in reality or as much reality as Hollywood allows. While the story is a little thin at points and particularly towards the final acts – I wish I was able to get from confusion to clarity that easily when I was 16 – the warmth and overall likability of the whole thing more than compensates. One of the most straight-up enjoyable films I’ve seen in ages.
It gets a limited release on December 14 but there’s advance screenings all over Canada and the US before then, which you can see for free by RSVP-ing here. There had originally been a couple more Toronto screenings listed but they no longer appear to be on the list. Alas. I totally would have gone again (and maybe gotten another Dancing Elk Condors t-shirt).
So you thought that the 2007 concert calendar was all done? Not quite. The Fiery Furnaces have decided that week-long road trip in December sounds like a good idea and will be stopping in at the Phoenix on December 12. The new album is Widow City and Event Guide and The Washington Square News talk to Matt Friedberger about the record.
More interesting to me is what will almost certainly be the final show of the year on December 29 at the Drake Underground featuring the self-proclaimed “loudest band in New York”, A Place To Bury Strangers. I’ve heard more about them (Best New Music-ed, make their own guitar pedals, were shut down by the NYPD) than from them but the stuff on their MySpace sounds kind of like the Automatic-era Jesus & Mary Chain mashed up with the less pop side of New Order, maybe some Depeche Mode thrown in for flavour (“needs more dour”). I don’t doubt that they have intent to injure when it comes to volume so if you’re planning on checking this one out, ask Santa for earplugs.
And finally, The Dreseden Dolls are at the Phoenix on January 4.