Monday, January 14, 2008
Too much Juno?
There's a lot to like about Juno, which I caught up with yesterday. The perhaps too-much-publicized screenwriter, Diablo Cody, has a genuine voice, which should be separated from the white noise generated from the blogosphere. Director Jason Reitman wisely lets her have her say, while concentrating on the performers; I didn't think the armor-plated Jennifer Garner would ever affect me, but affect me she did, and Jason Bateman, Allison Janney, J.K. Simmons, and best friend Olivia Thirlby give nuanced performances in what could have been an overly broad and obvious framework. Michael Cera is on the up and up and Ellen Page is a delight in the title role. The talent was there to do go deeper into what is a wrenching situation but the movie picked what it wanted to do, zeroed in on how to do it, and nailed it in 91 minutes. (The songtrack got on my nerves after about the fifth tune, but that may be middle age coming to rest in my eardrums.)
I hope its across-the-board grassroots success, the biggest in distributor Fox Searchlight's history, gets people to rent Reitman's more acidic Thank You for Smoking and seek out Page's stunning turn in Hard Candy, both from 2006. Here in Brooklyn, however, it may be too much of a good thing. The film is playing at the three theaters within walking distance from me, the BAM Rose Cinemas, the Cobble Hill Cinemas, and the UA Court Street multiplex. I've lived here since 2005 and that trifecta has never happened before; what's odd is that the latter two are just a few blocks from one another, and while they may be complementing one another it's hard to see how they're not cannibalizing each other, too.
The bigger problem is that having it at three nearby screens squeezes out other worthwhile pictures; I have to see Charlie Wilson's War, down to two daily shows, before it expires at Court Street, and the Golden Globe-winning Atonement isn't getting a fair shake on one screen at Cobble Hill. Juno herself would not approve of such Starbucksing, so, dude, leave some turf for the other guys to nurture.