Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. The East - Brit Marling is just divine. As writer, producer and star of two fantastic movies from 2011, Another Earth and Sound of My Voice, I wondered if it was just a fluke.  While I don't think The East is as strong as these previous movies, it definitely proves that Brit Marling is a force to be reckoned with.  She is so young and so confident in her talent; I think she is going to be one of the few female filmmakers to break into the major league's.  She partners again with Zal Batmanglij, as she did with Sound of My Voice, creating the same hauntingly creepy atmosphere that excelled Sound of My Voice. The East has similar themes of cults, personal identity, and religion, but focuses on a group of "anti-corporation terrorists", who call themselves "The East".  This group of people truly believe that what they are doing is "right", and embody an "eye for an eye" manifesto.  Marling is a former FBI agent, hired by a big corporation, to infiltrate this group and find out their plans.  Predictably, she connects with them in ways she doesn't expect and begins to question her own actions, the actions of "The East", and the actions of her employer.  There are parts of the movie that I found problematic; the convenient storytelling is my biggest issue, but I also have problems with the maturity level of the group (they play "spin the bottle"...) and something as tiny as the dying of her hair, causes my brain to hurt (does she have any idea how difficult it is to dye dark brown hair to blonde? It would take at least 4 processes).  Overall though, the movie has quite a few strong images, fantastic acting and the music is perfectly creepy. The story presents ideas that are thrilling and challenging, but need to be explored. I could see the idea expanded into a television or min-series idea.  Right now, the movie sits in my Top 10 list of the year, but it is towards the bottom, so I doubt it will still be there at the end of the year.

2. Antiviral - I was not expecting this to be as good as it is.  David Cronenberg is a genius when it comes to science-fiction filmmaking; I thought holding his son, Brandon, to such a high standard on his first film, would prove to be a disappointment, but I was wrong.  He sticks to his fathers roots and creates a really brilliant movie. And the main actor, Caleb Landry Jones, is absolutely mesmerizing (I can't believe that's the dorky kid from Friday Night Lights!). The stark white background of the movie made it feel clinical and impersonal but it's effective imagery.It's smart, simple and memorable. The plot is a really crazy sci-fi story about celebrity obsession that has gone too far. It actually makes a a strong, compelling statement (as opposed to The Bling Ring).  This obsession blows my mind.  I've never understood it. I mean, I am occasionally guilty of reading celebrity gossip, but I think it's more of a way to keep up with "pop-culture"; to be "in the know" about what everyone is talking about, which is pretty sad to think about. However, there are very few "celebrities" that I would actually care about meeting. Living where I live, and previously working in the music industry in NYC and the film industry in Hollywood, I've met plenty of famous people.  The most popular question I get asked "did you get their autograph?", always disappoints people. Why the fuck would I ask someone to sign a piece of paper for me? What am I going to do with that? It's all so weird to me. There was recently a D-list celebrity in my place of work and my employees FREAKED OUT. Anyway, I think as a society we've already gone too far with our celebrity obsession, but this movie goes to new heights. It's horrific to think about because there are probably some crazy "fans" who get inspired by the plot. Yikes!!

3. American Mary - The "twisted twins" are pretty popular among horror fans, but I've never watched a movie from them.  This definitely made me want to seek out more.  It's amateur filmmaking; but, like, really good amateur filmmaking.  I really love the main character and her background story.  The actress, Katherine Isabelle, has a strangely familiar voice.  She's been in a ton of stuff, but her face doesn't look familiar at all - just her voice.  I closed my eyes for a few minutes to see if I could figure it out, but to no avail.  Some of the body modification stuff featured in the movie, is really creepy - to each their own and all that, but some of it gave me chills.  It reminded me of the crazy plastic surgery cases on Nip/Tuck (Love!!).The plot, however, is a little lacking and predictable - classic rape revenge story. It's also an unsubtle story about how far a girl will go to afford to go to college.

4. The Numbers Station - No idea why I watched this movie. It was just sitting there on Netflix Instant and I pressed play.  I thought it would be a mindless action thriller, which is exactly what it was. It just wasn't very good or coherent or interesting.  I'm not a fan of John Cusack or Malin Akerman.  Cusack has been very good in a few roles, but when he's bad....he's really bad.  I haven't seen Akerman good in anything since The Comeback (such a great show!). They were both terrible in this movie - no chemistry, robotic dialogue, and bland personalities.  I got a little lost with the plot because it didn't really make a whole lot of sense, but then I realized that it purposely doesn't make sense to set up the twist ending. So, essentially, it's not supposed to make sense until the end, which makes it extremely hard to pay attention to. I wasn't involved enough to care.

5. Before Midnight - I was really nervous about a third installment of this story, but after reading so many amazing reviews (it's at an astonishing 98% on Rotten Tomatoes), I set my expectations high. Almost impossibly high.  It's perfect. I wouldn't change a thing.  I've never rooted for a couple to survive like I have with Jesse and Celine.  There is a nice balance of optimism and pessimism in their relationship that makes it all incredibly heartfelt and real.  The conversations that they have are just riddled with fascinating theories about love, gender roles, sex, communication, responsibility, lust and the idea of "soulmates". In the third installment, Jesse and Celine are now married with twins, balancing between her career, his need to be a part of his son's life (from his previous marriage) and keeping the romance alive. We can feel the inevitable resentment between them - the only way to maintain a relationship is to constantly compromise. They each feel like they've given more to the relationship than the other, which leads to the EPIC argument at the end.  As usual, I agree with the male perspective of the argument (is that weird?), and completely agree with Jesse that Celine is "the fucking mayor of crazy town". If he wants to move back to the states to be with his son, then that's what should happen (sorry, her career is not more important. I don't really have a family, but even I understand that family is more important than anything else.). Her turning it into an argument about feminism is absolutely ridiculous - he doesn't seem to have any intentions of turning her into a "submissive housewife" as she suggests.  Also, as a feminist, I have to admit that this type of demeaning "housewife" talk is offensive. Some feminists forget that there are some women that WANT to be a stay-at-home mom and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Either way, both have valid arguments that everyone can relate to. It's hard to comprehend that Jesse and Celine are fictional characters, which is obviously a compliment to the writing, but also to Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Just perfect.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. Lay the Favorite - So. Much. Awfulness. I don't even know where to begin.  With a respected director and a strong cast, I wasn't expecting it to be anywhere close to this bad.  I'll start with Rebecca Hall, since she is the "star" of the movie.  I first noticed Rebecca Hall in the movie, Starter For 10 (yes, I only watched that movie for James McAvoy).  A few years later, she stood out in Vicky Cristina Barcelona - which is hard to do considering her co-stars were Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson.  Then, she was absolutely amazing in The Town.  So, you can say that I am definitely a fan of hers. However, this is one of the worst performances I've ever seen.  Her accent was so awkward, mixed with the very unsexy baby voice and incessant hair twirling, she became one of the most annoying characters of all time (I read that this movie is based on a true story and that these are characteristics of the actual woman it is based on. If that's true, then I guess, Rebecca did a great job at being the most annoying woman of all time).  She wasn't the only failed (?) performance, though - Laura Pepron made a fool out of herself with that Texas twang.  The plot of the movie mostly revolves around high stakes gambling, and could have been interesting if the focus weren't on this idiotic girl who "dreams" of being a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas.  No-one dreams of being a cocktail waitress in Vegas.  I'm not knocking the profession (and some of them make bank), I just think that's really a stepping stone for other things or some end up in it out of chance/coincidence and end up enjoying it. Her "dream" lands her as an assistant to a sports gambler, and she ends up finding something she's good at - even thought the film fails at convincing me that she is actually ever good at it.  Bruce Willis and Vince Vaughn are sort of interesting characters (that is, if your brain hasn't exploded from listening to the most annoying girl in the entire world. Ever.). But the only truly good thing about the movie is Pacey. He always makes me smile.

2. See Girl Run - Adam Scott and Robin Tunney?? I am in. I really miss Robin Tunney (I was a teenager in the 90's - The Craft, Empire Records, Niagara, Niagara...).  I realize that she's been in stuff, and apparently has been on the television show The Mentalist for years (I don't even know what that show is, but it's been on for at least 5 years. Weird.).  I saw this little indie movie listed on Netflix Instant, and I was immediately interested.  It seemed like something I would really like.  Unfortunately, it's really not that good. I enjoyed the beginning, the way it tricks you into making assumptions about each character.  It has a strong message about marriage and the loneliness that people suffer (even when they are in relationships).  The movie also has a strong message about exploring the "what ifs" in life, but then the ending is absolutely the worst.  I'm not sure I fully understood Adam Scott's character, other than he's obsessed with frogs.  It's weird and endearing.  There is something really off about their relationship; mostly because it seemed really immature.  I don't really get the "games" behind relationships. I'm really bad at playing them, because I'm too honest for my own good.  I don't understand what's wrong with just saying what you're thinking. Makes life so much easier for everyone. The whole plot wouldn't exist if everyone just communicated like mature adults. Also, on a side-note, Jeremy Strong reminds me of Giovanni Ribisi. I actually looked it up to see if they were related somehow.

3. Pain & Gain - Half of the reviews for this film fault it for its crassness and moral indecency in telling a story about true life criminals, while the other half praise it as Michael Bay's "best film", admiring it for the witty dialogue and black comedy storytelling (in fact, it's rated at exactly a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes).  I agree with both arguments.  It makes light of violent criminals, glorifies this violence on behalf of "the American Dream", and uses women as props.  It's also very funny and subversive in parts.  However, I don't watch Michael Bay films for the dialogue; I also don't expect a female character with even half of a brain.  The problem with Bay films are that he became so criticized for the things he does well (action scenes, explosions etc) that he became too much a of a parody of himself with his most recent movies.  However, you will never convince me that movies like Bad Boys, Transformers, and The Rock aren't pure entertainment.  I even enjoy both Armageddon and Pearl Harbor (to a very basic extent).  It's obvious from this movie that Bay is trying to convince us that he can do more, but I'd prefer if he just stuck to what he is good at (and the haters can fuck off.  I find the biggest Bay complainers are also the first ones in line to see his movies on opening day).  The cast did a good job in their roles - I love Anthony Mackie; He's sure to be a household name after his role as The Falcon in the next chapter of The Avengers.  I didn't hate The Rock, this is the first role I've seen him actually attempt "acting".  He didn't quite win me over, but I appreciate the effort.

4. Much Ado About Nothing - This is one of those movies in which, the more I think about it, the more I like it.  When it ended, I thought "that was a really sweet and cute adaption", but now I admire the simpleness of it and the strong directorial choices. Whedon kept the complicated Shakespearean dialogue, but everything else is stripped down. It's in black & white, the location is actually Whedon's house, and the cast speak the dialogue as if talking like that is second nature. Much Ado About Nothing is definitely one of Shakespeare's easiest plays, making it a perfect choice for a modern adaption - it's basically a bunch of people trying to trick two people into falling in love.  There is a "second" story as well, in which the "villain" tries to trick Claudio into thinking his fiance has cheated on him.  Both stories are intertwined and given equal weight within Whedon's version, keeping things interesting.  The cast are all from former Whedon movies  - Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathon Fillion, Fran Kranz, etc. and they have a very strong chemistry together. Everything about this movie, just works really well together.

5. After Earth - Not the worst movie of the year, but pretty damn close.  When you take into consideration how much money this movie cost to make, it's definitely the biggest "flop".  I can't defend it in any way.  There are two things that are horribly wrong with this movie. First, it felt very amateur.  If this were coming from a new director (who didn't have millions of dollars of technology in his hands), I wouldn't criticize it.  I'm not one to harp on camera angles, shots, etc but I did take many classes, as a film studies major, where I literally had to break down and analyze these things (over and over and over again).  Usually, when I am watching a movie, I focus on the story and the acting - and when there are beautiful shots, I take notice; otherwise, I overlook a lot of the technical stuff (making a movie is a ridiculously hard thing to do, I respect anyone who even tries).  However, when an established director uses drastic zoom in and out shots to create a sense of disorientation. it is distressingly bad (and no, I don't think that was an attempt at an ode to Hitchcock).  The second biggest problem is the star of the movie, Jaden Smith.  I've never seen him in anything, so I didn't realize how bad he is.  I don't know if that's his natural way of speaking, or if that was another bad directing choice - but his pronunciation of certain words drove me bonkers (the ones that stand out: effort was "effote", coward was "cowood" and sir was "suh" - if I didn't have the captions on, I don't think I would have understood half of what he said).  I feel bad, if that's the way he actually speaks, I would hate to criticize someone for a speech impediment, but I would argue that maybe acting isn't the best career choice (the pronunciation of words is kind of important).  There are a lot of other problematic elements of the movie - the plot doesn't make much sense (at night everything freezes, yet all of the animals are fine), aside from the "ursa", the kid never seems to be in that much danger - it has similar themes as The Happening (man vs nature), and I HATED The Happening.  Will Smith is stripped away of his natural charisma and given a robotic personality (why would anyone think that's a good idea?).  I was also sort of expecting a "Shyamalan twist", and I even thought of a few as I watched the movie (that would actually help the plot make sense), but instead we were given a very flat ending.  What a disaster.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

3 Thoughts on Gravity

1. The experience - If you are questioning whether it is worth seeing in IMAX 3D, trust me, it is.  I'm not a fan of 3D (although I love IMAX), but Gravity uses this technology in a very subtle way. I actually forgot that I was watching a 3D movie, instead it felt like an interactive experience. I felt like I was part of the movie - alone and terrified, barely able to catch my breath.  It's not a perfect movie; the dialogue is stiff, the story is simple and the ending is predictably uplifting, but it's an intense and exhausting ride into space that you'll likely never forget.

2. Sandy & George - How do you create a movie in which there is no time for character development, yet you need the audience to care about the main characters within the first five minutes? You cast Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.   We don't need to know anything about them. They are Hollywood royalty, charming and charismatic to a fault.  It's clear even before watching the movie, that Sandra is the "star" - her performance is garnering a lot of attention and Oscar talks.  She did a fantastic job, but I've always been a fan of hers, so it's not a surprising performance for me, at all. Of course, I will have to mention how refreshing it is that an action/sci-fi movie features a strong and smart female lead.  Won't it be nice when that becomes "normal" and it won't even be worth mentioning?  In general terms, it's been thought that male audiences relate to male characters, while female audiences relate to both, which is why we are bombarded with male lead characters - it's nice to see the shift happening (this shift has been "happening" for well over 30 years, I would say since the introduction of Ripley and Sarah Connor). I'm not just talking about movies with female leads, which is also a nice shift, I'm referring to female lead roles that aren't "feminine".  Characters that don't use their sexuality at all during the course of the story (think Maya in Zero Dark Thirty, or Olivia from Fringe. It's worth noting that both of these characters have been criticized as being "boring").  In Gravity, Ryan has certain female traits (emotional, apologetic) but she has to overcome these traits in order to survive.  There is also a scene where she strips down into her underwear, yet instead of it being a sexual scene - it's raw and intimate.  Even, her name, "Ryan", is referred to as being the name given to her because her dad wanted a boy.  It felt like Cauron's way of saying "yah, you wanted a male character, but fuck you.".  I just noticed that I labeled this paragraph "Sandy & George" and then spent the entire paragraph talking about Sandy's character.  That's actually kind of awesome - so I'm going to keep it that way.

3. Horror story? - During the month of October, most film geeks spend their days watching horror movies, but I have to admit - it's not really a genre that interests me.  I love to be scared, but it's rare that a "traditional" horror movie scares me.  I can still enjoy some of them, but I'm more keen on movies that keep me up at night - that affect me psychologically.  Someone on twitter asked if Requiem For A Dream would qualify as a "horror" movie and I thought "hell, yes!" because that movie did serious damage to my sleeping pattern.  Gravity, to me, is a movie that gets in my head because it's about loneliness and the will to survive. There doesn't need to be aliens lurking in a spacecraft; instead there is NO ONE! As someone who prefers to be alone, you would think the thought of being trapped alone in space wouldn't be so terrifying but I would liken it to being buried alive (with a much better view).  This movie, for me, is much scarier than any "horror" movie released in the past few years.

Monday, October 7, 2013

3 Thoughts on Don Jon

1. It's full of good intentions - While I'm not fully on board with this movie, as a whole, I can't deny that it's packed with good stuff.  I would say that I agree with most of the bold words listed on the poster (except "stellar" and "hilarious").  It's definitely a different look at relationships; an honest look.  However, it's not in the same category as other "honest" movies about relationships - movies like Blue Valentine that make you want to slit your wrists.  Instead, it remains charming and light; there is a clear voice and direction.  For Joseph Gordon-Levitt's first foray into writing and directing, I think it's a quite a success.  

2. It's full of stereotypes - This movie relies heavily on stereotypes, because really, it wouldn't work without them.  The first big stereotype: girls like sappy romance movies, boys like porn. The tagline "There's more to life than a happy ending" is actually quite smart, because it relates to the girly rom-com "happy ending" and also, to the porn "happy ending". Sure, this is probably a stereotype that's pretty true to life.  I guess my problem with this is that I find it hard to believe that there are women out there who believe that life is like a rom-com. Also, while the main character suffers from an obsession with porn, I think porn, in general, is pretty harmless. *Slight spoiler ahead, but it's in the trailer* The big fight that occurs between the couple occurs because she checks his browser history and finds porn (after he claims he never watches it).  The biggest problem with this fight is that SHE CHECKS HIS BROWSER HISTORY. Why do women think this behavior is ok?  I have several female friends who have come to me for relationship advice (no idea why) who start off the conversation with "well, I was checking his email...", "I saw a text on his phone..." etc. I stop the conversation there. If you feel the need to go through his personal stuff, then end the relationship. Period.  Also, back to the porn, I really don't understand what the big deal is. If you think your boyfriend doesn't watch porn, you are in denial (although, I don't think ALL guys watch porn, and I am sure plenty of girls enjoy porn, as well).  I actually know this girl (who is from NJ, I'll get to the whole NJ part of the movie in a minute), who got breast implants and her reason (that she actually admitted out loud) is because her husband watched porn and he claimed that he only watched it because she was flat-chested. So, she got implants and now her marriage is "perfect" (that story simultaneously makes me laugh and cry). So, the second big stereotype: people from NJ are horrible, horrible people.  It's a shame that reality shows like The Jersey Shore and Real Housewives have given NJ a really bad name.  I made NJ my home a few years ago, and I can't deny that these people do exist.  Fortunately, I found a part of NJ where it's not quite as bad, but I still find that most people care about the "image" that they present to people. Just recently, I had a co-worker try to set me up with a guy she knows.  I asked "is he funny?" and she responded "um...he drives a brand new Mercedes" (another story that simultaneously makes me laugh and cry).  It's a sad, sad world we live in, and I hardly think it's specific to New Jersey, but it's definitely more present here than anywhere else I've ever lived.

3. It's full of surprises - *slight spoilers* I think the biggest complaint I have about the movie, is that it moved a little slow and it wasn't as funny as I expected.  The best part of the movie is JGL singing "Good Vibrations". It's shown in the trailer, so I looked forward to it for the whole movie.  The scene finally comes after a series of surprising events.  After the big fight between the couple, the story changes into a story of self-discovery and it's actually quite moving.  I think it will open up a lot of dialogue between couples, and hopefully it's a bit eye-opening for some. The films entire narrative is set up as a glorification of porn, until suddenly it's not. As a whole, the story is taking a clear stance against it - as our main character suddenly learns to let go of his anger and connect with other human beings, after he stops watching it.  It's actually a story about overcoming addiction (anything in excess is bad for you), which I wasn't expecting.  Another surprise came with the sister - played by Brie Larson, who is much more astute to her surroundings than you think she is.  There are some great family moments, that give depth to Don Jon.  And the biggest surprise of all....Scarlett Johansson is really good in this role. I've made it very clear, that I am not a fan of her as an actress, but she really went for it with this role and I have to give credit when it's due.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. Wish You Were Here - For some reason, I thought Amber Heard was in this movie, but it is actually Teresa Palmer. I was a little disappointed at first (super huge crush on Amber Heard), but I like Teresa Palmer, so I got over it rather quickly.  The plot seemed interesting, although a little unrealistic - two couples vacation in Cambodia, one of them suddenly disappears without a trace and the other 3 are left to continue on with their lives as normal as possible.  You get the sense early on that one or more of them know more about the disappearance than they are willing to tell.  As things unravel, the plot gets more and more annoying but the movie is held together by Joel Edgerton's performance. I love that he has his natural Australian accent (sexy), and that even though his character is hard to root for, he still convinced me to.  I didn't care about any of the other characters (including the one that is missing), which is clearly a problem.  The "twisty" ending seemed a bit out of place (and ridiculous), but overall, the suspense was evenly paced.

2. Oblivion - Very beautiful to look at and towards the middle, it starts to actually get pretty interesting.  It's too bad that I already lost interest by this point.  I got distracted by other things (my phone, the internet, my cats...) and my mind started to wander.  I fully admit that had I seen it in the theater, where these distractions wouldn't exist, my opinion may have been a different outcome.  Watching a film like this, for a first viewing, at home, has plenty of disadvantages, however, I do think that the story and characters were too boring to really grip my attention.  As I said a few months ago when I saw Welcome to the Punch, Andrea Riseborough has a great screen presence and she was definitely the highlight of the movie.  I waited in anticipation for her to answer "no" to the question that is asked over and over again ("Are you an effective team?").  It's ultimately frustrating that a big plot point is boiled down to a beautiful woman's jealousy over another beautiful woman (dumb, dumb, dumb).  I can't say that I enjoyed it, as a whole, because I was just too bored, but it does have some interesting aspects.

3. The Kings of Summer - I was really anticipating this movie once I saw the trailer and read several great reviews (I didn't read the whole reviews, but the gist of most reviews seemed to be positive).  It's a cute, indie movie about boys being boys.  It's not even close to being what I expected.  I guess my biggest problem is that I can't relate - obviously, I can't relate to what it's like to be a teenage boy, but I really can't relate to spoiled kids who have childhoods I've only dreamed about.  They have parents who actually care about them (you make them dinner, play games, remember that they exist, etc), yet they run away because they consider their parents "annoying".  I get that the main kid is having trouble after his mother died and his father is starting to date someone new. Sure, I think that would be tough for a child to deal with, but running away still seems like something a spoiled brat would do. I do think that some of this was intentional - it's a coming of age story about boys who haven't quite figured out that they aren't the center of the universe. It just didn't work as a whole, for me. There were some entertaining and memorable moments - like the "boy who cried wolf" moment with Ron Swanson and the young cop.  Also, the line "he's like the Zodiac killer", made me laugh out loud.

4. The Bling Ring - I long for the day when I love a Sofia Coppola movie. Really, I do.  She has such a great sense of style, always tapping into a younger generation, and extracts out ugliness in a really beautiful way.  Sadly, I always find her movies to be really empty.  This movie is focused on the obsession of celebrities and really, that's all. It's all on the surface.  The plot revolves around true events based on a group of thieves called the "bling ring", a group who invaded the homes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Rachel Bilson and others, and stole items totaling over 3 million dollars.  It's a hard concept to wrap your head around - a group of amateur (and mostly drunk) idiots were able to enter millionaire homes over and over (and over) again before being caught.  You would think these celebrities would take precautions to protect their belongings (and themselves - imagine if these were actual evil people instead of just vapid, materialistic thrill-seekers??).  I remember the story about the one girl who had a reality show on E! (because I remember The Soup making fun of her and her mother), and I was fascinated as to how these people were able to secure a show just by being "around" other celebrities.  Also, the mother is an interesting character - she teaches her own religion based on the book The Secret (no joke).  Aside from Leslie Mann (who plays the mom), I didn't find the cast very convincing.  I love Taissa Farmiga (from American Horror Story), but she seems too timid for the role, and Emma Watson just looked like she was playing dress up in her mom's clothing (and she clearly struggled with an American accent. It was painful to watch. Poor girl.).  The movie just presented us with these characters but never follows through with telling us anything meaningful about them.  It was all sort of pointless. Fantastic soundtrack, though, as expected.

5.Upside Down - This is the type of movie where it is absolutely necessary to "just go with it".  If you start to think about the plot, your brain will explode with questions and the movie becomes background noise.  The concept is absolutely fantastic; I've never seen anything like it. Visually, it is incredibly beautiful.  Everything else about it is a disaster beyond belief.  It feels like the creators started with this mind-boggling original idea but realized (while making it) that it won't work, so they just started to make things up as they went along.  So, let me try to explain the plot: there are two worlds that literally sit on top of each other - so when one looks up, instead of seeing the sky, they see an upside down world.  They explain this as "double gravity" and the people stay in "their" world because of "inverse matter".  Jim Sturgess plays a guy living in the "poor" world, who falls in love with someone in the upside down world (Kirsten Dunst), which is the "privileged" world.  The clear problem is that it's love story; if they took this "upside down" concept and made it into a thriller/adventure type movie it would have worked really well. The other clear problem is that scientifically, none of it works.  Physics isn't my strong suit (it's the only class that I received a solid "C" in, but I blame the teacher more than anything else), but even my brain was screaming out "HELLOOOOOO.....THAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE".  First, there is only a small sliver between the two worlds where the sun comes in, so technically it would only be light for a few minutes a day. Second, the only way one world could be on top of another world is if both worlds were flat! Otherwise, there would never be light. There are a million more problems like that, and none of it is addressed.  If you're going to create a crazy concept then you have to really go for it.  It's a shame, really, because I would have loved to see a movie like this on the big screen - some of the images will remain in my brain forever (if you're curious, just google some of the images from the movie. Breathtaking.).