LAFF 2011 Reviews: CHRISTOPHER AND HIS KIND, MAMITAS, and L!FE HAPPENS
So this comes a bit late, but since I enjoyed the movies so much I wanted to make sure to write about them. So here are some thoughts on three other films I saw at the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival.
Christopher and His Kind
Synopsis: In the 1930s, rising literary star Christopher Isherwood fled uptight England for the wilder shores of Berlin, and, as he famously wrote, “Berlin meant boys.” In Geoffrey Sax’s sumptuous, sexy and wonderfully cast adaptation of Isherwood’s landmark memoir, you’ll meet the future author of A Single Man (played by Doctor Who‘s Matt Smith); the young English singer who was the prototype for Cabaret’s Sally Bowles; the rent boys and reprobates who fed off Berlin’s decadent nightlife; and the working class boy he fell in love with and tried to save from the Nazis.
I had been aware of Christopher and His Kind for quite some time because it was part of the new BBC films to air this year in the UK, and so I had been keeping my out for it. Of course the main appeal was because Doctor Who‘s eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, starred in it and I was curious to see him in something different.
Christopher and His Kind is a character study film and while I usually enjoy those, there were some parts that dragged on a bit. It wasn’t a bad film at all, in fact the story was beautiful, the performances great, and I think it captured the essence of the time Christopher lived in and how ahead of his time her was.
I would recommend the film to anyone who enjoys a good biopic.
Favorite moment: When Christopher’s mom tells him something in the vein of “wouldn’t you rather be a Doctor!”, the Doctor Who geek in me freaked out for just a sec and went “but he is The Doctor!!!”
Synopsis: At school, Jordin is a cocky but charming Latino firebrand; at home he is a doting grandson who can’t seem to please his perpetually cranky father. On the day he’s suspended for insulting a teacher, Jordin meets Felipa, a bookish, no-nonsense New York girl who sees past the swaggering facade. The two immediately embark on an unlikely friendship that inspires Jordin to find out who he really is.
I decided to go see Mamitas after watching the trailer, because it looked like exactly the type of movie that I usually enjoy, and I was right. I loved Mamitas, one of the best films I saw at the festival. It’s a great coming of age story that really touched me.
But I think the best part were the performances, I was blown away by how wonderful the main two actors E.J. Bonilla and Veronica Diaz-Carranza were and they had great chemistry.
I also loved the feel of the film which was shot on 16mm, giving it a grainier look, which worked well with the story.
Synopsis: In Kat Coiro’s quick-witted and emotionally grounded comedy, L!FE HAPPENS, the social and career paths of impeccably-styled Silverlake scenesters are brought into sharp relief with the unplanned arrival of a baby. A breezy Kate Bosworth plays Deena, a sharply-mannered smart mouth writer in the style of Rosalind Russell, if Russell had a dirty mind and a recall of hip hop lyrics. Her best friend and roommate Kim, a retro beauty with a weakness for bad boys and a nowhere gig walking dogs, is portrayed by luminescent actress and co-writer Krysten Ritter. When Kim gets pregnant following a one-night stand, she and Deena resolve to maintain their carefree lifestyle, incorporating Kim’s adored baby as an adaptable accessory.
When I decided to put L!fe Happens in my schedule of films to see at the Festival, it was only because Krysten Ritter, Kate Bosworth, and Rachel Bilson were in the cast and it sounded like a sweet movie. I wasn’t able to see any clips, so I went in not knowing much. I am glad to say that the film lived up to what I was hoping it would be, it was a sweet and entertaining movie.
The friendship between the two main characters Kim (Ritter) and Deena (Bosworth) was at the core of the movie and it had a nice evolution throughout. Of course there were a lot of funny situations with Kim dealing with her baby.
I think this is one of my favorite performance by Kate Bosworth, she was fantastic and she absolutely stole the movie. I found myself looking forward to any scene she was in. She played the strong driven woman perfectly, I mean she’s pretty much my role model now, that’s how cool she was.
And even though Rachel Bilson’s character didn’t do much in the movie, every single scene she was in was memorable if only for her outfits, which became tinier and tinier every time. It was hilarious.
Overall, a sweet female driven comedy worth seeing.