Jack Goes Boating marks the directorial debut of Philip Seymour Hoffman, a great American actor. It’s a romantic ‘indie’ about two shy, introverted people, meeting on a blind date and falling in love.
The characters all look interesting, with the couple who setup Jack and Connie (Amy Ryan) having their own relationship dilemmas, just as Jack and Connie’s relationship, begins to blossom. This is a film about relationships and their fragility, my only concern is that Amy Ryan’s character won’t be as fleshed-out as her male counterpart. Anyway, this could be the start of a new direction for Hoffman, as a director, which in itself is intriguing.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been six years since Miranda July’s stunning independent debut, Me and You and Everyone We Know. A film which is relatively unwatched by the general populace, but those who have bared witness to it, can’t help falling in love with its quirkiness. This was a quirky film before quirky became the convention of independent American cinema. It was surely the template for films like Little Miss Sunshine, but a thousand times better. Once again, July stars, directs and has written the script for The Future, but instead of jokes about poop, we get a feline narrator. When Sophie and Jason adopt a stray cat, their lives are dramatically altered, leading them to reappraise their lives altogether… and the very fabric of space and time, as you do. Did I mention it has a cat narrating the film, called Paw-paw? It’s no doubt one of those self indulgent bourgeois films, but who cares, it’ll be brilliant and as Sophie says, “I’ve been gearing-up to do something really incredible for the last fifteen years.” Haven’t we all.
Weekend isn’t to be confused with Jean-Luc Godard’s film of the same name. It’s from Andrew Haigh, whose last film was Greek Pete, an expose about the life of a London rent boy. The director is obviously keen to continue working within the gay market, but with his newest film he’s crafted something that deserves to find a broader audience. With the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw calling it a, “tremendously convincing account of contemporary gay life”, it should do just that, while also elevating the film’s British director. It is a film which will hang upon its central performances and both Tom Cullen and Chris New, look up to the challenge. However, it shouldn’t be marginalised to the gay market alone, this is a film about chance meetings and those rare sparks of romance, that have the potential to develop into something more, it’s about love blossoming from those unexpected places and meetings. It looks beautifully shot and it has the same realist CinÃ©ma vÃ©ritÃ©, which fills the films of Andrea Arnold. It marks the arrival of a new British talent, whose career should be followed attentively, hence forth. Clearly the film of the week.