Some Home Comforts

Blog by Ray Philp | 26 Jun 2009

Whatever your excuse for moving back in with your parents (“the credit crunch”, seems to cut it for just about anything anyway), there’s still a persistent finger-tap-on-the-shoulder pang of shame attached to it. You could always console yourself with the knowledge that you’ll be reacquainted with the taste of vitamins, but the indignity of the situation is otherwise unavoidable. Furthermore, any claim you once had to independence is hereby considered moot. If you’re lucky, your doting parents will merely pour fitful scorn on your lack of hygiene and outdoor attire. However, if your parents happen to be the neurotic, latte-cupping, Woody Allen caricaturing spawns of Satan, then your role in the household will be reduced to that of a cipher - fit only to be subjugated by a monstrous matriarch, and thereby reducing you to an equally archetypal thirtysomething who will henceforth be referred to by his peers as a “mummy’s boy”, or perhaps more aptly, a Momma’s Man. This also happens to be the name of a film screening at the Glasgow Film Theatre from today, which depicts a New Yawk family caught in the midst of a Freudian full-circle. Directed by Azazel Jacobs, Momma’s Man follows a young husband and father (Matt Boren) who stops off at his parent’s house in New York during a business trip.

Finding an inexplicable urge to remain at the house, our protagonist makes all sorts of credulity stretching excuses not to leave. Rudo & Cursi, in contrast, presents a perfectly reasonable opportunity for you to evade the family fortress for an evening. After a successful opening premiere at the EIFF, the holy trinity of director and screenwriter Carlos Cuaron, Diego Luna, and Gael Garcia Bernal reunite for the first time since the sex and tragedy hymn of international hit Y Tu Mama Tambien. Rudo and Cursi are two half brothers, whose simmering sibling tensions boil to the surface after they are both spotted playing football by a typically unscrupulous talent scout. The brothers’ respective naivety is exposed as they give in to the ever mounting temptations that befall them. Thankfully, Cuaron’s feature focuses less on the football and more on the to and fro of Luna and Bernal’s irrepressible screen chemistry.

“Fitbaw” is full of such morally skewed souls, but it’s far from the only sporting pursuit that brings out the dark side of human nature. You only have to take a trip to Dundee Contemporary Arts to realise as much, where James Toback’s documentary, Tyson, provides a rare insight into the titular enigma. Toback’s portrayal of Iron Mike, whilst not daring to make excuses for a chap so volatile and casually misogynistic that a televised threat to eat Lennox Lewis’ children became par for the course, also shows him in his more tender and eloquent moments, and becomes a textured, adeptly observed look at Mike Tyson’s polemic legacy to boxing.

The neanderthal theme continues in Harold Ramis’ Year One, albeit to decidedly more comedic effect. Michael Cera and Jack Black are the affable on-screen duo that trade heavily on biblical references to the Tree of Knowledge and Cain and Abel, as they find themselves banished from their hunter gatherer tribe and thrust outward to wander the Earth, with inevitably hilarious results. With a supporting cast that includes Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Paul Rudd, Bill Hader and Hank Azaria, this should prove to be decent fare.

Elsewhere on general release, Sunshine Cleaning is a quirky tale of a former high school cheerleader, whose popularity in her teens has since proven to be the apex of her achievements. Now a single mother, Rose’s (Amy Adams) story is one of diminishing returns, until her lover (Steve Zahn) suggests that she start a cleaning enterprise with a difference. Joined by her similarly underachieving sister Norah (Emily Blunt), they begin to offer a unique service whereby they clear up crime scenes, with the added pretext that doing so is part of the healing process innate to grieving. Christine Jeff’s whimsical comedy drama boasts an impressive cast that also features indie darling Alan Arkin, and should do just the trick for those looking for a pleasant, heart warming glow of sentiment.

Finally, a word about the EIFF – there’s still time to catch some excellent films before the festival’s conclusion on 28th June, including Fish Tank (28th June, Filmhouse), Andrea Arnold’s follow-up to her widely acclaimed feature Red Road. Also on at the tail end of the EIFF is Steven Soderbergh’s dark drama The Girlfriend Experience, screening tomorrow (27th June) at the Edinburgh Cineworld. The most intriguing aspect of Soderbergh’s feature is leading lady Sasha Grey, an adult film star of some repute who also turns in a nuanced, fragile performance as the high class New York call girl who faces an uncertain future as a result of her client’s dwindling fortunes.