Win Win is all about the choices its characters make and how those choices affect their lives. It might seem simple but consider all the complications in which these characters find themselves. Mike (Paul Giamatti) is a struggling attorney and the coach of a struggling high school wrestling squad. He commits some minor fraud to help make ends meet and winds up with a runaway teenager named Kyle (Alex Shaffer) living with his family. We can anticipate it all falling down around Mike (There is plenty of foreshadowing with such things as a broken boiler and an old tree threatening to crash into his house), but it’s the way that writer/director Tom McCarthy keeps the focus on the characters’ decisions and reactions that keeps the film leveled in reality. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
A lot of people framed The Beaver as Mel Gibson’s attempt at reconciliation, and that sort of analysis, as usual, misses the point. Gibson is quite good here as a man named Walter suffering from intense depression who has a psychotic split after discovering a beaver puppet in a dumpster and attempting suicide. He takes on the persona of “the Beaver,” which is much more outgoing and confident, and his family mostly goes along with it. On one hand, there is some emotional logic behind their desire to see Walter healthy, but on the other, they are–and the movie is, as well–avoiding the real problem. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
An experiment without a hypothesis, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold explores the world of product placement. Morgan Spurlock, a provocateur in a good sense, sets out to make a movie about advertisement in movies (and in general) that is entirely funded by advertising products within the movie. The problem–beyond the fact that Spurlock doesn’t quite have a point beyond the meta gag–is that he is inherently handcuffed from taking stance. I don’t know how the experiment went, mostly because the movie didn’t motivate me enough to find out. You do get to see Spurlock sell consumer advocate Ralph Nader a pair of shoes, which is pretty damn funny. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.