Film Review: THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK (USA 2017)

THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK.jpgAdrift in New York City, a recent college graduate’s life is upended by his father’s mistress.

Director: Marc Webb
Writer: Allan Loeb
Stars: Callum Turner, Kate Beckinsale, Pierce Brosnan, Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Nixon, Kiersey Clemons, Tate Donovan, Wallace Shawn

Review by Gilbert Seah 

 It has been 5 years since the announcement of the making of this movie and its completion after many delays and re-casting. Surprisingly, THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK turns out not that bad, but it is a far cry from the director’s first and excellent debut, THE (500) DAYS OF SUMMER.

The lead young actor, Callum Turner of THE ONLY LIVING BIY IN NEW YORK appears to be a clone of Joseph-Gordon Levitt in SUMMER, not only in looks but in certain mannerisms. Turner is not bad, charming, while portraying both the strength of a budding writer and a vulnerable player in the artistic world. The casting director seems unable to resist the casting of Wallace Shawn as a talking artist in one of the family’s famous artist dinner parties.

The script by Allan Loeb feels at times like a Woody Allen one, with multiple relationships going on at one time. No one appears capable of keeping a monogamous less honest relationship without sleeping with another and then substantiating it as all right afterwards. Unlike an Allen film, the guilt comes more into play in this story with each lover trying to right a wrong.

When the film begins, a recent college graduate, Thomas Webb (Turner) is given the news that the girl whom he has been seeing and has fallen in love with, Mimi Pastori (Kiersey Clemons) is leaving him to go abroad. They still love each other as they profess, which really means nothing in a film that tries to be as smug as this one, from the very beginning. Thomas ends up sleeping with his dad, Ethan’s (Pierce Brosnan) mistress, Johanna (Kate Beckinsale), while the poor mother Judith (Cynthia Nixon) looks on. It turns out that mother is not that innocent after all, as will be revealed later on in the story (no spoiler to be revealed here.) In the process of all this, Thomas meets, though too coincidentally, a neighbour stranger named W.F. Gerald (Jeff Bridges) who turns out to be his mentor helping him out both in his love affairs and life.

THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK is a likeable film and director Webb (who also did the SPIDER-MAN movies) knows how to make a likeable film. Love triumphs in many ways and always does. Everyone in the script also ends up with his or her own little happy ending.

THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK, which turns out to be the title of the book a character writes, will be inevitably compared to a Woody Allen movie for its look on the New York art scene and relationships.

This is the difference between Loeb’s script, Webb’s direction and Woody Allen’s works. Life does not always turn out to be happy endings. Allen’s characters suffer more, for their cheating in their love affairs and in general in how things in life eventually turn out. Life is not all plain sailing that turn out well. That is the reason Allen’s films are more endearing and realistic. And Allen knows how to put in more humour and sarcasm into his works as well. This film ends up a too smug arty fairy tale.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkjhAeF3b1g

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

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Happy Birthday: Kate Beckinsale

katebeckinsale.jpgKate Beckinsale

Born: July 26, 1973 in Finsbury Park, London, England, UK

Married to: Len Wiseman (9 May 2004 – present)

 

 

 

 

movie posterCLICK
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UNDERWORLD 2003Underworld
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NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH 2008Nothing but the Truth
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EVERYBODY'S FINE Movie PosterEverybody’s Fine
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movie posterSERENDIPITY
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MOVIE POSTERUNDERWORLD AWAKENING
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MOVIE POSTERCONTRABAND
dir. Baltasar Kormákur
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MOVIE POSTERTOTAL RECALL
dir. Len Wiseman
Stars:
Colin Farrell
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100. LAUREL CANYONWatch lesbian sexy scene

99. PEARL HARBORWith Josh Harnett. Romantic and sexy scene.

98. SERENDIPITYLOVE ON THE ICE. Ending scene with John Cusask

97. VAN HELSINGDracula and Anna’s kissing scene. With Hugh Jackman

96. THE AVIATORAs Ava Gardner. With Leonardo DiCaprio

95. UNDERWORLDBest of action scenes from underworld

94. CLICKWith Adam Sandler. Kate Beckinsale is frozen

93. VACANCYIntense scene with Luke Wilson

92. WHITEOUTSexy shower scene in the 2009 action film.

91. GREATEST LOVE SCENEFrom Underworld Evolution. Top sex scene of the 2000s

90. BECKINSALE INTERVIEWOn David Letterman in March 2008

89. BECKINSALE ESQUIRE PHOTO SHOOTFrom the 2009 sexiest woman alive spread.

SEE TOP 100 KATE BECKINSALE PHOTOS
2011
2012
Abs
Allure
and Benicio Del Toro
and Daughter
and Dog
and Drew Barrymore
and Eva Longoria
and Family
and Hugh Jackman
and Husband
and Josh Hartnett
and Len Wiseman
and Michael Sheen
and Robert DeNiro
and Scott Speedman
and Victoria Beckham
as Alice
as Anna Valerious
as Ava Gardner
as Hero
as Selene
at Airport
at Cannes
at Comic Con
Back
Bangs
Beach
Beautiful
Before and After
Bikini
Black Dress
Blonde
Bob
Body
Boots
Breasts
Butt
Casual
Cleavage
Close Up
Corset
Curly Hair
Diet Coke
Earrings
Ears
Eyebrows
Eyes
Face
Fashion
Feet
Flower Dress
Gown
GQ
Green Dress
Hairstyle
Hat
Heels
Hot
in Aviator
in Click
in Much Ado About Nothing
in Pearl Harbor
in Serendipity
in Total Recall
in Underworld
in Van Helsing
Jeans
Jewelry
Leather Dress
Legs
Lips
Lipstick
Long Hair
Makeup
Mean Magazine
Measurements
Mini Dress
Mini Skirt
Model
Naked
Nose
On the Street
Oscar Dress
Outfits
Photo Shoot
Ponytail
Pose
Profile
Purple Dress
Red Carpet
Red Dress
Sexy Dress
Shopping
Shorts
Skinny
Smile
Stomach
Style
Sunglasses
Swimsuit
Teeth
Underwear
Updo
Vanity Fair
Vodka Ad
Wallpaper
White Dress
Yellow Dress

 

Movie Review: LOVE & FRIENDSHIP (Ireland/France/Netherlands 2015) ***1/2

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

love_and_friendship.jpgLOVE & FRIENDSHIP (Ireland/France/Netherlands 2015) ***1/2
Directed by Whit Stillman

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel, Emma Greenwell, Justin Edwards, Stephen Fry

Review by Gilbert Seah

Whit Stillman is a Harvard educated American writer/director famous for his trilogy METROPOLITAN (this one winning him an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay), BARCELONA and THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO. LOVE & FRIENDSHIP is his fifth film after DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, his favourite (and mine too). All films share the common theme of young adults embroiled in a social class structure. DISCO and DAMSELS featured female protagonists, the former with stars Kate Beckinsale and Chloë Sevigny. Stillman uses them again in LOVE & FRIENDSHIP.

LOVE & FRIENDSHIP is based on the Jane Austen epistolary (a series of documents such as letters, diary entries, and newspaper clippings) novel “Lady Susan”. So, most of film’s dialogue, really funny and written in the English spoken in the Austen novels is written by Stillman himself. He moulded the main character of Lady Susan with his star Beckinsale in mind, often writing into the early hours of the morning to suit the different actors in their roles.

Set in the 1790s, the widowed Lady Susan Vernon (Beckinsale) seeks refuge with her in-laws as rumours about her private life circulate through society. While staying at the estate in Churchill, Lady Susan decides to find herself and her daughter, Frederica (Morfydd Clark), a husband. As Lady Susan embarks on a controversial relationship with a married man, seduction, deception, broken hearts, and gossip all ensue. She also pursues a romance with handsome Reginald DeCourcy (Xavier Samuel) while pushing her daughter to marry the wealthy and extremely talkative Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett, stealing every scene he is in). Frederica is opposed as Sir Martin is (as in the words of the script) a bit of a rattle.

Stillman’s Lady Susan is a likeable one. Stillman does not judge her deeds but lets her manipulate those around her in a comedic fashion. Her victims are looked upon as weaker characters whose existence in life is primarily to be taken advantaged of. Even her pregnancy and husband stealing is given a light look, given the period of the story. The result is a light film which stresses a comedy of manners rather than a tale of morality.

The film contains a large number of characters, related, married or related by marriage They hold titles. To familiarize the audience quickly, each character is introduced, at the start of the film with a picture portrait followed by cute titles below such as: “he’s a bit of a rattle”, or “wealthy but not well liked”. The tactic works, and the audience is soon familiarized with all the story’s characters and their relations, though it requires a bit of attention.

As the film is an Austen period piece, the costumes, props and sets are important in setting the mood and atmosphere of the film. The film was stunningly shot in Ireland by Dutch cinematographer Richard Van Oosterhout. The costumes were designed by Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh in which her massive use of green (for example in the footmen uniforms) explains her Irish heritage. Lady Susan’s dresses can be seen morphing from black to purple to red as she changes moods from mourning her late husband to finding a new suitor.

LOVE & FRIENDSHIP will definitely delight Jane Austen fans who have seen their favourite Austen adaptations like PERSUASION, SENSE & SENSIBILITY, EMMA etc on the screen. LOVE & FRIENDSHIP is Austen with a naughtier, more mischievous female character, not a prim and proper one as in her famous novels, with the additional bonus of a Whit Stillman’s imprint.

 

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month:http://www.wildsoundfestival.com