Reviewed byRob Ervin (Obi_Bamm_Karaoke)Vote: 8/10/10
I have often said that we spend our twenties trying to figure it allout, and then when we hit our thirties we realize that all we have todo is just live our lives. However, getting through that third decadeof living to get there tends to be simply a roller-coaster of emotion.Between trying to break the mold of being seen as a child and trying tohave the respect of a living, working, independent adult that may notbe completely there yet is such fertile ground for storytelling thatHollywood sits in that pocket of life quite a bit. Marc Webb, famousmusic video director and the man who brought us "(500) Days of Summer"and both "The Amazing Spider-Man" films (both of which I enjoyed, sojudge me if you will) takes his crack at a slice of this life with hislatest film, "The Only Living Boy in New York".
With a title taken from a Simon & Garfunkel song, Callum Turner is thecentral character here playing Thomas, a twenty-two-year-old living onhis own on the Lower East Side as he is working toward being a writer.He also is dealing with a woman that he is mad for in Mimi (KierseyClemons), who may or may not feel the same way, a publisher father(Pierce Brosnan) who just wants him to have direction, and a mother(Cynthia Nixon) who is teetering on the edge of a breakdown. When hestumbles on the fact that his father is having an affair with one hisco-workers, Johanna (Kate Beckinsale), it throws everything he knowsinto a tailspin with the only real anchor in his life being amysterious old man who moves in across the hall from him (JeffBridges).
Looking at screenwriter Allan Loeb's body of work, this film could bekind of everything he has worked on put in the proverbial blender, andwhat comes out of it is nothing short of satisfying. This is a veryrich story told on multiple levels while keeping the main story movingin a way that all of the parts make the whole even better. Callum trulyembraces the millennial part of him here, with that sense ofentitlement as well as young adult angst that us old codgers wouldshake our fists at, but at the same time realizing that some of thesetraits may be a bit more universal than we choose to admit thus makingthe audience look at this time in their lives through a bit ofdifferent lenses. Beckinsale is as irresistible as ever in the role ofthe "other woman" who wants everyone to believe that she is simplyfootloose and fancy free but in her quiet moments is so much more, andthere is also a great performance by Clemons, whose Mimi is a characterthat too many of us can identify having an association with in ourlifetimes. Brosnan and Nixon, while having limited screen time, also doa serviceable job here to keep Thomas' path moving.
And then, there's Jeff Bridges. Seriously, The Dude is THE DUDE herewith all of his wisdom and just crushes it. I feel like everyone shouldhave someone in their lives like his character of W.F. Gerald, and ifthat person just happens to be Jeff Bridges, that is just all the moreawesome. This man is a master at owning his scenes while at the sametime knowing that give-and-take that makes his costars shine in a waythat is natural and absolutely a wonder to watch.
Visually, I was very impressed with the style employed by Webb, whichreminded me a lot of a '60s French film with a modern Americansensibility. There is a tinge of Hitchcock-ian suspense involved asThomas seeks to know more about the woman that has distracted hisfather's affections that really upped the cool vibe for me as I waswatching the film. The tone here is right on point for the story, andthe attention to detail shown by the crew translates beautifully.
"The Only Living Boy in New York" is a film that although has an indievibe is fully and totally aimed for a mass audience. There is somethinghere for all parts of the movie going spectrum from the casual filmgoer to the more seasoned and detailed film fan. "Well told,well-acted, and beautifully shot" should be enough to get you there, sogo!
Reviewed byray-fager01Vote: 8/10/10
First of all Simon and Garfunkel's song is one of my all timefavorites, love that song! I am also a huge Jeff Bridges fan, love theway he delivers a line. So, I went into this with high expectations andfor me, it did not disappoint. I thought the writing was very good andthe performances excellent with a nice little twist towards the end.Watch it and see what you think!
Reviewed byDavid Ferguson (email@example.com)Vote: 7/10/10
Greetings again from the darkness. When a movie borrows its title froma great Simon and Garfunkel song, and then utilizes the song toemphasize a point during the story, we can't help but have highexpectations. This is often true even if it appears we are likely to besubjected to yet another movie featuring the all too familiar ground ofNew York intellectuals brewing and stewing their own problems. DirectorMarc Webb (500 DAYS OF SUMMER, GIFTED) delivers the type of film thatcritics tend to rip, and audiences like to watch.
Much of the story seems familiar, but the excellent cast prevents theclichés from being overly distracting. Callum Turner stars as Thomas,an aimless writer-wannabe and recent college graduate with daddyissues. Thomas spends his time dreaming about what he might be andpining for the beautiful, intelligent girl with whom he hangs out. It'sunderstandable why Mimi (Kiersey Clemons) has friend-zoned him, sinceshe has ambitions and goals, while he mostly just talks and driftsthrough each day. One evening while enjoying their conversation overdrinks, Thomas spots his dad getting beyond "friendly" with a beautifulyoung woman in a corner booth. This is upsetting because Thomas'parents are still married, and his mother is at home working throughclinical depression.
Ethan (Pierce Brosnan) is a well-known publisher and Judith (CynthiaNixon) is an artist in a fragile state. As with most self-centeredtwenty-somethings, Thomas has just assumed the marriage was fine andtheir family fell into the "normal" range of dysfunction. It's aboutthis time when the movie assumes the tone of a Woody Allen movie.Thomas turns detective and begins following the mysterious beauty fromthe booth, and their first encounter is a bit awkward. He finds himselfmesmerized by Johanna (Kate Beckinsale). She's the stuff that dreams(and fantasies) are made of for both fathers and sons.
Johanna is really the second spell that Thomas has fallen under. Hisneighbor W.F. has been providing sage advice on love and writing. It'syet another terrific performance from Jeff Bridges, who plays thealcoholic mentor with secrets of his own. See, every character herecarries the weight and burden of their own secrets and plays games inevery relationship. In fact, much of the movie plays like group therapy two characters at a time.
No superheroes exist in this world. There are no car chases or guns,and the only knife is used to slice strawberries in the kitchen. Themovie could be described as a coming-of-age story; however, it's notjust Thomas that has growing up to do. A deeper message is on displayfor those who take notice. Every person and every family has secrets,and many people find an inability to be honest and open to be a muchsimpler way to go through life. We know that people aren't always good even when we really want them to be.
Of course, we do get the obligatory dinner party with a table full ofNew York intellectuals (including Wallace Shawn) reminiscing about whata great city it used to be. Actually, nostalgia is an underlying themethroughout. The dinner party does provide Thomas the opportunity todrop the best 'Philadelphia' line since W.C. Fields. The scriptprovides some other quality lines, and though it's certainly not at thelevel of Whit Stillman or Noah Baumbach, it marks a step up for writerAllan Loeb, who is renowned for such lackluster efforts as COLLATERALBEAUTY, THE SPACE BETWEEN US and JUST GO WITH IT. He likely owesdirector Webb and cast a debt of gratitude.
Thomas Webb, the son of a publisher and his artistic wife, has just graduated from college and is trying to find his place in the world. Moving from his parents' Upper West Side apartment to the Lower East Side, he befriends his neighbor W.F., a shambling alcoholic writer who dispenses worldly wisdom alongside healthy shots of whiskey. Thomas' world begins to shift when he discovers that his long-married father is having an affair with a seductive younger woman. Determined to break up the relationship, Thomas ends up sleeping with his father's mistress, launching a chain of events that will change everything he thinks he knows about himself and his family.