Review – The Invention of Lying

55256256-1254725530-invention_of_lying_1The Invention of Lying

Ricky Gervais & Matthew Robinson

2009, USA

In an alternate universe where the human race is incapable of lying, a lonely writer stumbles upon the ability and quickly becomes the most powerful man alive.

A concept movie has two jobs: make the concept interesting and maintain the interest to the end. The first job is far easier than the second. I’m sure I could think off the top of my head a good concept for a film…

Henry VIII is deep into the business of executing his fifth wife when a time hole suddenly sucks him to the year 2145 where a sub species of humans are preparing to overthrow the British Royal Family, the last monarchy surviving in the war ravaged future. The royals have spent far too much time drinking tea and waving and have simply forgotten how to command anything other than extra portions at dessert, so it’s up to Uncle Henry to pull them together and defeat these mutant republicans using old school tactics.

I did it. The concept of my film (let’s call it ‘Tudor Vengeance’) is, I think, pretty wonderful, but would it stand up for at least 90 minutes like ‘Planet of The Apes’ or ‘Groundhog Day’ did? Probably (and sadly) not.

Such is the problem with ‘The Invention of Lying’. It catches your imagination but the scenario and the jokes don’t live up to the premise. It starts with a voice over of Ricky Gervais, not Mark Bellison the protagonist played by Ricky Gervais but Ricky Gervais himself, talking as only Ricky Gervais does. I thought it was the audio commentary until it stopped and I realised it was just a bad idea. The film is crammed full of cameos: everyone from Edward Norton as a police officer with a German porn star moustache to Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a simple minded bartender. What is the point of these cameos? The two reasons that they exist seem to be for the actors to say they like Ricky Gervais and to make the audience forget what they are watching isn’t very good. Louis C.K., one of the best and smartest comedians working today, is wasted in a dumb role. His main responsibility seems to be shrugging.

It’s not terrible. It has its fun moments: Jennifer Garner is extremely watchable: something about her admitting to just being interrupted while masturbating is quite endearing, and Gervais holds it together as best he can, but it’s  flimsy and shot incredibly badly. Here’s hoping ‘Tudor Vengeance’ fares better.

Review – Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson

2012

Set days before a giant storm destroys much of the surroundings, an orphaned Khaki Scout runs away from his troop with his love on an Island off New England, hoping to get to a cove they name ‘Moonrise Kingdom’. What proceeds is a search for the young lovers through the wilderness by the girl’s parents, a local police officer and the whole scout group.

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Review – The Bourne Legacy

The Bourne Legacy

Tony Gilroy

2012

A Soldier taken from the same military experiment as Jason Bourne finds himself on the run and in search of the medication he needs to keep him ship shape.

Jason Bourne is dead……well he might as well be. If you’re looking for Bourne in this film you’d be better of just reading the poster. What we have in the fourth instalment is Aaron Cross, played by Jeremy Renner, gristly and actually more believable as a CIA super soldier. What we actually see in this film is more of the same.  The director seems to follow the frenetic style set by Paul Greengrass in the previous two films but in narrative terms, the plot is muddled and confusing and the actors aren’t given enough time on screen to develop their characters which leaves you not particularly caring what happens to them. The film tries to ask some pretty important questions about the world we live in today, where it’s been and where it’s going. It’s doesn’t really succeed but I give it a B- for effort.