A TALE OF TWO DIRECTORIAL DEBUTS
Director/Writer: Diablo Cody
Release date: October 18
A directorial debut for infamous arm-canvas Diablo Cody, Paradise does not stray far from the stripper-turned-author’s strong suit. Anointing the trials and tribulations of a disillusioned young woman, Paradise, also known as Lamb of God, finds good-girl Lamb (Julianne Hough) on the lam from a decidedly uninspiring reality. The former portrait of virtue is thrown into a tailspin after a traumatic accident that leaves her irreversibly scarred inside and out. Railing against her evangelistic roots, Lamb makes her way to Cody’s PG-13 version of Las Vegas in the hopes of experiencing worldly pleasures, if not a spiritual epiphany. Enter dream-bartender William (Russell Brand) and sage lounge singer Loray (Octavia Spencer), who help the Clueless Lamb fulfill her naughty “Napkin of Sin” to-do list and find love in the casino at the end of the universe.
In an interesting twist, this title will premiere via video-on-demand to DirecTV subscribers two-months prior to its theatrical release under film distributor Image Entertainment. Although Cody has stated that she has no say in the non-traditional marketing of her $5-million directorial debut, she is also wise to the “much bigger stigma attached to opening on too many screens and tanking.”
Director/Writer: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Release date: September 27
Palmade Lothario Jon Martello (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) pulls more tail than a slow kid at a petting zoo. Jumping into the role of writer, director and actor, the studly star of Looper once again finds himself trapped in a modern causality cycle of his own making. Completely hung up on physicality, “Don” Jon’s daily ablutions take the Jersey Shores’ gym-tan-laundry ritual to new levels of refinement. GTL becomes BPRFCBGP as the litany of body-pad-ride-family-church-my boys-my girls-and-porn forms the nexus of the main character’s existence. Subconsciously dissatisfied, he finds himself drawn to the luscious Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), who has a great time accessorizing her urban-princess mystique with bubblegum and hoop earrings. Their budding romance reaches an impasse when Barbara busts Donny jerking it to Internet porn. Don is embarrassed and dismayed that his favourite escape is so repugnant to his chick-flick adoring lover. Taking counsel from an older woman named Esther (Julianne Moore), Don struggles to step outside of his insular comfort-zone in order to connect with his flesh-and-blood partner in real time.
Much is made of the disparity between popular romantic movies and straight-up porn in this film. What Barbara considers fantasy-worthy is certainly a far cry from what titillates Don. He can’t relate to the overblown sentiment and presumptive finality of box-office love. Instead, like many – including a fair share of women – he seeks the familiar intensity of digital sex. His BPRFCBGP world lacks only one thing and thus, he is perpetually doomed to chase the dragon of romantic love. Controversial for its graphic content, Don Jon breaks ground by broaching, and poking fun at, one of the most significant social issues of the day. Meanwhile the Barbaras in the audience will wonder: “If a guy was really dating Scarlett Johansson would he still watch that filth?” And the answer is: “Yes. Yes, he would.”
As for Diablo Cody’s heroine de le temps, Lamb, and her perfectly quirky yet predictable Paradise in Russell Brand’s hairy arms? It’s a safe bet that once she discovers WILDMILFS.com in his browser history she’ll be running back to the church and voting Republican again in no time.
By Christine Leonard-Cripps