Saw two movies today: a good independent British one and a great independent British one.
The good one was Following, Christopher Nolan's first feature film. It deals with a bored wannabe-writer who starts shadowing random people to see where they go on a daily basis. When one of his marks, a thief, discovers him, the young man is pulled into a more exciting world that is not quite what it seems. Shot in black and white and clocking in at a brisk 70 minutes, you can find it on Netflix Watch Instantly. Very low budget, but nice camera work and great twists. Now I've seen every feature that Nolan has done and I can say for sure that he's never made a bad movie.
The great one, and I mean great, was In The Loop, nominated last year for Best Adapted Screenplay. The film deals with the run up to a war in the Middle East as a minor British politician says something on the radio with no thought that leads to a flurry of spin from the British and American governments. There is some good acting, such as from James Gandolfini as a political American general, but the star of this one is the script. For me to use words to describe the brilliance of the script would be like someone describing Van Gogh by sketching one of his paintings. It is laugh-out-loud funny and very original, with tons of memorable lines. The cursing alone is so original that even David Mamet should take notes. Precious won the Oscar, but it probably wasn't as well written as this one or fellow nominees An Education or Up In The Air. In The Loop seriously has the best-written dialogue I have heard in years, if not since Pulp Fiction. See it now on Showtime On Demand (which is shocking, because their offerings generally stink).
Off to Los Angeles tomorrow morning for my first of two California trips over the next two weeks. I may actually blog a little from out there because I've never really spent much time out there and I'm sure it's quite the different atmosphere. Also, I'm hoping I run into Katy Perry or Lizzy Caplan, but just 'cause. I'll let y'all know.