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THE COMPANY YOU KEEP

Based on a novel of the same name by Neil Gordon, The Company You Keep centers on Jim Grant (played by Robert Redford), a former member of the Weather Underground who has been hiding from the authorities for 30 years under the guise of a lawyer. When a young and ambitious reporter (Shia LaBeouf) exposes his identity, Grant goes on the run, although not to escape but to clear his name. Written by Haywire scribe Lem Dobbs and also directed by Robert Redford, the film boasts quite a cast of characters, including Terrence Howard, Susan Sarandon, Anna Kendrick, Julie Christie, Stanley Tucci, Brendan Gleeson, Richard Jenkins, Sam Elliott, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper and Brit Marling, just to name a few. The Company You Keep will be on limited release in US theaters on April 2013.

Summit Entertainment wanted a kiss between Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Kathryn (Anna Kendrick) at the end of 50/50. However, the actors and crew agreed that it wouldn’t feel right since they felt the movie was about the main character’s journey with cancer rather than a love story. They almost filmed the scene to appease the studio, but Levitt pointed out that “if they gave the studio the option, they would use it”, so they just refused to film it (x). 

50/50 (2011)
I was given free screening passes to see this film tonight and it was well worth it. I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and 50/50 was a job well done for him and the rest of the tremendous cast, which included Anjelica Huston, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick and Bryce Dallas Howard. Although I would say the film was heavily marketed as a comedy, it really isn’t just that. Sure, there were definitely some laughs to be had (I even laughed at Seth Rogen’s jokes, and normally I’m a little lukewarm on them), but this film was also pretty dramatic when it needed to be. I can tell you that Yours Truly definitely had to dab her eyes a few times during the film, and the woman next to me was bawling into her popcorn.
50/50 centers around Adam Lerner, a 27-year-old guy who works for a radio station with his best friend Kyle (played by Rogen). He lives with his girlfriend, Rachel (played by Howard), who is an aspiring painter. Adam also tries to avoid all contact with his domineering mother (played by Huston). This is all until he finds out that he has some sort of spinal cancer. The film is about Adam and his struggles with this illness, but it’s really also about the people in his life reacting to the state that he is in. I really liked the way this movie showed the different layers at which the people around Adam could react to something as life-changing as cancer. 
The film starts off a bit hesitantly, giving viewers a glimpse of what Adam is like pre-cancer. He’s the kind of guy who will wait for the pedestrian sign to light up before crossing the road, even though there aren’t any cars around. He’s good to his girlfriend and really puts in effort at his work. Personally I would have liked to have seen more of Adam pre-cancer, just so the impact of the cancer revelation would have been a little bit more pronounced. However, I can understand only devoting little screen time to this, because really the focus isn’t on just Adam, but on how everyone around him reacts to this illness.
Gordon-Levitt is a tremendous actor, and if you’ve seen him in Mysterious Skin and Brick and The Lookout, you know he can deliver gripping performances. I felt like this film was perfect for him. He was able to interact really well with the different characters in the film, as well as show off a goofy, spunky side. What really stood out to me, though, was how he performed during the emotional scenes. I felt like he did them brilliantly. He wasn’t over the top, his scenes came at just the right moments, and yes, goddammit, he made this stone-cold heart weep for just a few minutes.
It would be egregious of me not to mention his supporting characters, who were equally as moving. Anjelica Huston was pitch-perfect, as per usual. She was so funny and touching at the same time as Adam’s mom. Similarly, Anna Kendrick has that same charm that Huston has whenever she’s on screen. You just can’t help but like her and want to be her best friend. Her character Catherine was quirky and awkward, and sometimes says her lines like Kristin Wiig does during SNL sketches, which is pretty cute. She was so endearing and had pretty good chemistry with Gordon-Levitt. Another honorable mention is Bryce Dallas-Howard, who was so good, she elicited some gasps and furious fist-shaking from the audience. And then there’s Rogen, who I’m not usually enthusiastic about, but who I really appreciated in this film. His pop culture references were welcome and his seemingly obsessive desire to get his best friend laid actually grew on me. His character’s friendship with Adam seemed genuine and not at all contrived. I believed that these two guys were good friends and that they had each other’s best interests at heart. Despite the comedy that ensued when these two were together, it didn’t feel out of place in the drama of what was going on.
Overall, I’d say see this movie if you like The Squid and the Whale, 500 Days of Summer or Imaginary Heroes. If you’re looking for comedy, it’s a funny movie, but it’s no Hangover, if that’s what you’re expecting. It’s just the right combination of comedic and emotional. It tugs at your heartstrings without being overly sappy.

50/50 (2011)

I was given free screening passes to see this film tonight and it was well worth it. I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and 50/50 was a job well done for him and the rest of the tremendous cast, which included Anjelica Huston, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick and Bryce Dallas Howard. Although I would say the film was heavily marketed as a comedy, it really isn’t just that. Sure, there were definitely some laughs to be had (I even laughed at Seth Rogen’s jokes, and normally I’m a little lukewarm on them), but this film was also pretty dramatic when it needed to be. I can tell you that Yours Truly definitely had to dab her eyes a few times during the film, and the woman next to me was bawling into her popcorn.

50/50 centers around Adam Lerner, a 27-year-old guy who works for a radio station with his best friend Kyle (played by Rogen). He lives with his girlfriend, Rachel (played by Howard), who is an aspiring painter. Adam also tries to avoid all contact with his domineering mother (played by Huston). This is all until he finds out that he has some sort of spinal cancer. The film is about Adam and his struggles with this illness, but it’s really also about the people in his life reacting to the state that he is in. I really liked the way this movie showed the different layers at which the people around Adam could react to something as life-changing as cancer. 

The film starts off a bit hesitantly, giving viewers a glimpse of what Adam is like pre-cancer. He’s the kind of guy who will wait for the pedestrian sign to light up before crossing the road, even though there aren’t any cars around. He’s good to his girlfriend and really puts in effort at his work. Personally I would have liked to have seen more of Adam pre-cancer, just so the impact of the cancer revelation would have been a little bit more pronounced. However, I can understand only devoting little screen time to this, because really the focus isn’t on just Adam, but on how everyone around him reacts to this illness.

Gordon-Levitt is a tremendous actor, and if you’ve seen him in Mysterious Skin and Brick and The Lookout, you know he can deliver gripping performances. I felt like this film was perfect for him. He was able to interact really well with the different characters in the film, as well as show off a goofy, spunky side. What really stood out to me, though, was how he performed during the emotional scenes. I felt like he did them brilliantly. He wasn’t over the top, his scenes came at just the right moments, and yes, goddammit, he made this stone-cold heart weep for just a few minutes.

It would be egregious of me not to mention his supporting characters, who were equally as moving. Anjelica Huston was pitch-perfect, as per usual. She was so funny and touching at the same time as Adam’s mom. Similarly, Anna Kendrick has that same charm that Huston has whenever she’s on screen. You just can’t help but like her and want to be her best friend. Her character Catherine was quirky and awkward, and sometimes says her lines like Kristin Wiig does during SNL sketches, which is pretty cute. She was so endearing and had pretty good chemistry with Gordon-Levitt. Another honorable mention is Bryce Dallas-Howard, who was so good, she elicited some gasps and furious fist-shaking from the audience. And then there’s Rogen, who I’m not usually enthusiastic about, but who I really appreciated in this film. His pop culture references were welcome and his seemingly obsessive desire to get his best friend laid actually grew on me. His character’s friendship with Adam seemed genuine and not at all contrived. I believed that these two guys were good friends and that they had each other’s best interests at heart. Despite the comedy that ensued when these two were together, it didn’t feel out of place in the drama of what was going on.

Overall, I’d say see this movie if you like The Squid and the Whale, 500 Days of Summer or Imaginary Heroes. If you’re looking for comedy, it’s a funny movie, but it’s no Hangover, if that’s what you’re expecting. It’s just the right combination of comedic and emotional. It tugs at your heartstrings without being overly sappy.