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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:25 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Since it's getting what's sure to be a very small theatrical release this month, I wanted to throw out a recommendation for the film Gemini, which is an amusingly twisty little indie neo-noir anchored by a great performance by Lola Kirke, who lends a great deal of humanity to material that would have been D.O.A. without it. It's also impeccably lensed by a relative upstart cinematographer, Andrew Reed, and if this film gets any kind of an audience it'll likely be the kickoff to a long and fruitful career for him. You MoviePass mongrels should absolutely leave the house and see it if it's going to be showing in your city.


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 Post subject: Re: The Films of 2018
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:43 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:24 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM
mfunk9786 wrote:
Since it's getting what's sure to be a very small theatrical release this month, I wanted to throw out a recommendation for the film Gemini, which is an amusingly twisty little indie neo-noir anchored by a great performance by Lola Kirke, who lends a great deal of humanity to material that would have been D.O.A. without it. It's also impeccably lensed by a relative upstart cinematographer, Andrew Reed, and if this film gets any kind of an audience it'll likely be the kickoff to a long and fruitful career for him. You MoviePass mongrels should absolutely leave the house and see it if it's going to be showing in your city.

Thanks for the recommendation; I'll second your praise of Reed and the film's production design in general for making this a great film to look at, and I also quite enjoyed regular indie film composer Keegan DeWitt's contributions. Kirke and Kravitz give solid performances as well, though I can't be as unequivocal about Kirke as you were; she carries the film capably enough for the majority of its runtime, but doesn't quite add enough to a character whose stoicism and aloofness is intriguing but ultimately less substantial than I would have liked. My main issue was that the script fell into the trap of relying too heavily on otherwise smart characters making bad decisions that conveniently complicate the plot and add drama where situations don't inherently demand them, and the proceedings are ultimately inconsequential enough (except for one character, I guess) that the film ultimately feels like an exercise in tone and mood and not much else.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
The eventual realization that Jill's lack of cooperation with the police is entirely unnecessary given that the whole thing would have been sorted out eventually anyway is deflating right when the audience should be most engaged, and the lack of exploration of Heather's reasons for inexplicably letting her friend believe she had been killed - and potentially take the blame for it - makes her and her girlfriend just seem irredeemably selfish. To have all of the portent and atmosphere of the first half-hour and the tension of the middle 45 minutes to be retroactively diminished by the last 10 was quite disappointing.

Outside of a handful of supporting actors who seem to be in over their heads, my disappointments with the film are almost all rooted in director Aaron Katz's script, but even that element shows off enough talent that I'm certainly interested in what he does next, and hopeful that the promise displayed in this ultimately minor film will be realized.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:57 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA
These are all reasonable criticisms. It strikes me as more of a "we're going to do this because we can do it" type of plot, the sort of thing that is less concerned with realism or the motivations of the characters than it is with coming up with a neat series of events, which feels to me to be fair game when doing this sort of noir pastiche. When you start digging around within the film's logic its intellectual dishonestly comes to the forefront, which makes it a minor work rather than a great one, but I think it's about as good as a movie like this can be - sort of reminded me of Rian Johnson's Brick in that respect, another noirish film limited by it's rather absurd conceit and small budget but that did more with those attributes than anyone could have expected it to.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:25 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2007 2:23 pm
I enjoyed this quite a bit though agree with DarkImbecile re: Jills's actions needlessly complicating her own situation that clearly would have been tied up had she waited it out. However I feel it's partially justified in that she's acting like a character in a detective film in a movie-obsessed LA where no one knows anything else. Nelson Franklin's character discusses who the killer would be had he written the scenario, and I'm pretty certain someone mentions Scream early in the film, really emphasizing the meta-universe of movie-logic. It's as if no one hows how to handle this situation in a way other than what they've seen in entertainment. While I like this as a comment on LA film/celebrity culture and find taking the self-aware Scream concept and transferring it to a noir-ish murder-mystery a novel idea, I don't think it's used well enough to to fully justify Jill's instant (and stupid given her circumstances) transformation into a private eye.

Even so, I still hope more people check this out in the theater as I continue to find Aaron Katz to be the most interesting director to emerge from the Mumblecore movement.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:24 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:24 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM
I think viewing it through the lens of pastiche or meta-commentary throughout on a second viewing would definitely improve my overall reaction to it. As I said, the table setting the film does in the opening act seems to promise both an exploration of these genre conventions and something more substantial from a plot/character development perspective, and I'd probably appreciate what we get of the former more without raised expectations for the latter.

Can anybody recommend any of Katz's earlier films, particularly Cold Weather, which seems from a thumbnail summary to be thematically closest to Gemini?


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