Griff the Invisible


Even a superhero needs an occasional break.

Even a superhero needs an occasional break.

(2010) Comedy (Indomina) Ryan Kwanten, Maeve Darmody, Patrick Brammall, Toby Schmitz, Marshall Napier, Heather Mitchell, David Webb, Anthony Phelan, Kelly Paterniti, Kate Mulvany, Angela Bauer, Patricia Rogan, Leon Dobrinski, Joe June, Paul Mawhinney, Kyle Beattie, Ben Borgia, Luke Hobbins, May Lloyd, Ray Carter, Sarah Becker. Directed by Leon Ford

What is real and what is in our imagination is simply a matter of our own personal perceptions. For some of us, the line between the two is thinner than others; that fine line and the ability to recognize where it is can be the difference between genius and madness.

Griff (Kwanten) is a cubicle cowboy in Australia; a sad sack nobody who is constantly bullied by Tony (Schmitz). Griff longs to be a caped crusader, a crime fighting superhero who dispenses justice along with an occasional bon mot. His brother Tim (Brammall) is very worried about Griff who seems to be losing his grip on reality. Tim’s girlfriend Melody (Darmody) on the other hand thinks Griff is more than all right; in fact, she thinks she has the potential ability to walk through walls. When Tim receives a super suit in a mysterious package that allows him to turn invisible, the evildoers of Sydney need to be on their toes!

With a zealous policeman (Phelan) on his tail, Griff seems to be drifting further and further away from reality. He is caught on surveillance video sneaking around his office in his supposedly invisible super suit and as a result loses his job. This turns into a wake-up call for Griff who at last seems to be finally turning his back on his delusions and getting back in touch with reality, but this might cost him his relationship with Melody whom Griff has fallen in love with and whose affections are definitely returned. Is the new, more responsible Griff the same person she fell in love with? Or is that just an illusion as well?

There has been a rash of “ordinary superhero” movies perhaps inspired partially by the success of the Batman movies but certainly by such movies as Kick-Ass and Defendor as well. It examines our own needs to be important, respected and in control but also our fascination with superheroes and what they represent in our society.

Kwanten, best known for his work in the HBO hit series True Blood shows promise that he could go the next step into cinematic leading man territory. He is appealing in both his sad sack Griff persona as well as his heroic crime fighter role as well. With the success of DC and Marvel Comics, it stands to reason that more and newer superhero roles are coming down the pike and it wouldn’t surprise me if Kwanten doesn’t get at least considered for some of them.

His chemistry with Darmody is also strong. She’s less known here in the States having made more of an impression on Aussie TV roles but she definitely has some appeal and could very well one day get the kind of success as her fellow Aussies Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts currently enjoy.

The problem is that Griff and Melody are both a little bit too out to left field. I kind of get the director’s stance that when we lose our imagination we lose something of our soul, but the way that Griff and Melody both behave I can’t see them surviving in the real world without someone having them both committed to a care facility for their own protection. Certainly the actions they take in the movie put them both in mortal danger which of course works in the movies but I couldn’t help but wonder “Isn’t there someone keeping an eye on these two people?” You still end up liking them but you fear for not only their sanity but for their well-being as well.

WHY RENT THIS: Charming. Kwanten and Darmody are both appealing leads.

WHY RENT SOMETHING ELSE: Griff and Melody are maybe too out there to be believable. Doesn’t hold up well with other movies with a similar theme.

FAMILY VALUES: There’s a little bit of bad language and a little bit of violence.

TRIVIAL PURSUIT: The movie was inspired by writer/director Ford observing a small child playing while sitting in a cafe one day.

NOTABLE HOME VIDEO EXTRAS: There is a director’s video log in which first-time director Ford talks about some of the pitfalls of being a rookie.

BOX OFFICE PERFORMANCE: Not available.

COMPARISON SHOPPING: Super

FINAL RATING: 5.5/10

NEXT: Change of Plans

Advertisements

Four-Warned: August 2011


August 2011Every month I’m going to look at every movie on the release schedule and try to assign them a numerical value corresponding to how anxious I am to see it. The lower the number, the more I want to see it. A one means I would walk through hell and high water to see it; a four means there’s no interest whatsoever. The numbers are not arrived at scientifically but they aren’t arbitrary either.

The numbers aren’t a reflection of the artistic merit of any of these films, but merely a reflection of my willingness to go to a movie theater and see it. The top four scores will be gathered as a means of reflecting the movies I’m anticipating the most; you may use that as a guide or not.

Each entry is broken down as follows:

NAME OF FILM (Studio) Genre A brief description of the plot. Release plans: Wide = Everywhere, Limited = In selected markets. RATING A brief comment

Keep in mind that release dates are extremely subject to change, even at this late date.

FOUR TO SEE
1. THE DEBT (1.3)
2. RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (1.5)
3. CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1.6)
4. ONE DAY (1.9)
TIE. THE HELP (1.9)

FOUR TO SEEK OUT (FILMS NOT IN WIDE RELEASE)
1. BELLFLOWER (1.8)
2. GRIFF THE INVISIBLE (1.9)
TIE. THE CALLER (1.9)
4. CHASING MADOFF (2.0)

RATING SYSTEM: 1) Must-see, 2) Should-see, 3) Perhaps-see, 4) Don’t-see

AUGUST 5, 2011

BELLFLOWER (Oscilloscope Laboratories) Genre: Action. A pair of buddies preparing for a global apocalypse discovers something far more devastating – a woman. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles. RATING: 1.8 The movie generated major buzz at Sundance this year.
THE CHANGE-UP (Universal) Genre: Fantasy Comedy. A bachelor and a family man exchange bodies after urinating in a fountain. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.6 Body switching comedies are beginning to wear out their welcome.
GUN HILL ROAD (Motion Film Group) Genre: Drama. A soldier returns home to the Bronx from war to find his wife emotionally unfaithful and his son undergoing a sexual transformation. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles only. RATING: 3.2 Could be interesting depending on how many Latino clichés they use.
MAGIC TRIP (Magnolia) Genre: Documentary. Never before seen footage of the 1964 psychedelic bus trip of Ken Kesey and his Merry Band of Pranksters from San Francisco to the New York World’s Fair finally sees the light of day. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.2 What a long strange trip it’s been…
MYSTERIES OF LISBON (Music Box) Genre: Drama. A bastard child in 19th century Portugal tries to find out who his parents are and discovers that knowledge can be dangerous. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 2.1 Acclaimed as a beautifully filmed modern masterpiece.
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (20th Century Fox) Genre: Science Fiction. Animal experimentation on a new wonder drug has unexpected consequences. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.5 Meant to take this franchise in a completely different direction might be just what the mad scientist ordered.
THE WHISTLEBLOWER (Goldwyn) Genre: Drama. A U.N. police officer in post-war Bosnia discovers an insidious web of corruption and murder. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.5 Rachel Weisz stars in the title role of a movie based on actual events.

AUGUST 10, 2011

THE HELP (Disney) Genre: Drama. An ambitious journalist student in Mississippi in the 1960s decides to write an article on the servants of Jackson. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.9 Based on a best-selling novel that brings the Civil Rights era to life.
OVER CITIES GRASS WILL GROW (An Alive Mind) Genre: Documentary. An artist turns a derelict silk factory in France into a gigantic art installation. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.9 Normally I’d be interested in something like this but the studio summary makes this sound awfully pretentious and artsy.

AUGUST 12, 2011

30 MINUTES OR LESS (Columbia) Genre: Crime Comedy. A pair of bumbling criminals kidnap a pizza delivery boy and strap a bomb to his chest, forcing him to rob a bank or else. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.4 Reunites Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer and star Jesse Eisenberg.
AARAKSHAN (Reliance Big Picture) Genre: Thriller. The friendship between a legendary academic and his disciple is tested when they stand on opposite sides of a controversial decision. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.1 A Bollywood film with some very strong production values.
FINAL DESTINATION 5 (New Line) Genre: Horror. Survivors of a bridge collapse get visited by Death who is apparently Rube Goldberg. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D). RATING: 3.3 It’s been a winning formula but how much longer are people going to be interested in it?
GLEE: THE 3D CONCERT MOVIE (20th Century Fox) Genre: Musical. The kids from the Fox TV hit “Glee” are captured in concert. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D). RATING: 4.0 Oh joy.
SENNA (Producers Distribution Agency) Genre: Documentary. The story of Brazilian Formula One racer Ayrton Senna, who revolutionized the sport and died tragically young. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.1 Will a documentary on a Formula One hero fly in NASCAR country?

AUGUST 17, 2011

ATROCIOUS (The Collective) Genre: Horror. Footage from a video camera reveals the hidden truth behind a gruesome multiple murder. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.5 One has to wonder how many of these found footage movies audiences are going to warm to.

AUGUST 19, 2011

5 DAYS OF WAR (Anchor Bay) Genre: Action. A television journalism team documents the 5-day Georgian conflict in 2008 putting their lives in grave peril. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 Although I normally love these sorts of movies, the trailer left me cold.
AMIGO (Variance) Genre: Drama. During the Spanish-American War, Americans come to a village in the Philippines and raise havoc, igniting conflicts between the peaceful villagers and the local resistance. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 John Sayles is one of the most consistently intriguing directors today.
CONAN THE BARBARIAN (Lionsgate) Genre: Fantasy. A young Cimmerian warrior’s quest for revenge turns into an all-out fight against supernatural evil. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D). RATING: 1.6 Is the public ready to see Jason Momoa step into Arnold Schwarzenegger’s boots?
FLYPAPER (IFC) Genre: Crime Comedy. When two rival gangs try to rob the same bank at the same time, a teller and a customer try to save the day without getting caught in the crossfire. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.5 A very interesting trailer and a very attractive cast.
FRIGHT NIGHT (DreamWorks) Genre: Horror. A high school senior suspects his new neighbor is a vampire. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D). RATING: 2.0 Was a remake of this ‘80s horror comedy really needed? And does the new version add anything?
GRIFF THE INVISIBLE (Indomina) Genre: Romantic Comedy. A shy young office worker assumes the guise of a superhero by night; it’s up to his new girlfriend to save him from the clutches of his own monsters. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.9 The trailer looked very enticing.
THE LAST CIRCUS (Magnolia) Genre: Period Drama. A sad clown and a happy clown do battle in a circus struggling to survive in Franco’s Spain. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.3 This is the latest from one of Spain’s hidden treasures, director Alex de la Iglesia.
THE MISSING PIECE (Self-Released) Genre: Documentary. A Trivial Pursuit player becomes obsessed with the 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa and resolves to shed more light on the crime. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 Sounds fascinating but has no official distribution.
MOZART’S SISTER (Music Box) Genre: Period Drama. The re-imagined life of Mozart’s sister posits a similar talent that can’t be nurtured because of her gender. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.8 To show you my ignorance, I wasn’t aware Mozart even had a sister – which is not only a sad comment on my education but also on the treatment of women.
ONE DAY (Focus) Genre: Romantic Drama. The evolution of a friendship into romance is chronicled over two decades as we see a single day in each year of their lives. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.9 Sort of like Same Time, Next Year only with Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway.
PROGRAMMING THE NATION (International Film Circuit) Genre: Documentary. A look at the history of subliminal messaging in the United States. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 3.1 A subject which has always been of great interest to me but the trailer doesn’t look like the movie covers it in an interesting way.
SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD (Dimension) Genre: Family. A couple of kids discover their stepmom is a spy. Release Strategy: Wide (Standard, 3D). RATING: 3.3 I think the concept would work better if the kids weren’t so much smarter than the adults.

AUGUST 26, 2011

BRIGHTON ROCK (IFC) Genre: Crime Drama. A vicious criminal takes up a romance with a naïve waitress who may have proof of his gang’s involvement in a revenge slaying. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles. RATING: 2.6 British gangster movies are the best in the world at the moment.
BUZZKILL (Indican) Genre: Comedy. A struggling writer becomes famous when a notorious serial killer steals his car and his latest script. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.3 The trailer didn’t excite me as much as I’d hoped.
THE CALLER (Goldwyn) Genre: Supernatural Thriller. A divorced woman gets disturbing calls from a woman who claims to be in the past. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 1.9 Looks pretty nifty, like the anti-Lake House.
CHASING MADOFF (Cohen Media Group) Genre: Documentary. A securities analyst goes on the hunt for one of the most notorious white-collar criminals of our time. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.0 It’s amazing how something that sounds so much like a John La Carre novel could have actually happened.
CIRCUMSTANCE (Roadside Attractions) Genre: Drama. Two Iranian teenage girls struggle with their burgeoning sexual desires in a repressive society. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.7 As titillating as the concept is, the trailer looks actually pretty serious.
COLUMBIANA (TriStar) Genre: Action. A young Columbian girl who witnesses the murder of her parents is raised by her uncle to be a world-class assassin, going after the ones responsible for her parent’s death in between jobs. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.1 The casting of Zoe Saldana in the lead role seems a little odd but Olivier Megaton is an excellent director.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (FilmDistrict) Genre: Horror. A young girl moves into a 19th century mansion her dad is restoring begins to hear voices that may be connected to some hideous creatures. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.3 Guillermo del Toro produces this remake of a made-for-television movie that might not interest me as much if not for his involvement.
THE FAMILY TREE (Entertainment One) Genre: Comedy. A dysfunctional family gets a new lease on life when the shrill matriarch suffers from amnesia. Release Strategy: New York City/Los Angeles. RATING: 3.2 The trailer didn’t really give me much incentive to see this film.
HIGHER GROUND (Sony Classics) Genre: Drama. During the 1960s, a woman struggles with her strong conservative religious background, the onset of feminism and the loves of her life. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 Actress Vera Farmiga makes her directing debut.
LIMELIGHT (Magnolia) Genre: Documentary. This is the story of Peter Gatien, the flamboyant and charismatic King of Nightlife in New York City during the 1980s. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 Could be interesting but haven’t seen a trailer for it yet.
OUR IDIOT BROTHER (Weinstein) Genre: Comedy. Three sisters take turns housing their uber-honest hippie-like brother. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.2 A great cast and an intriguing trailer make this one a sleeper to look out for.
REDEMPTION ROAD (Freestyle) Genre: Drama. Two men become unlikely friends on a journey between Texas and Alabama. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.8 Mario van Peebles is a capable director and with an outstanding cast should produce a respectable movie.
SPECIALTREATMENT (First Run) Genre: Drama. A high end prostitute and a psychiatrist discover that they are therapeutic for one another. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.1 Terrific trailer and the wonderful actress Isabelle Huppert make this one a must-see for me.

AUGUST 31, 2011

THE DEBT (Focus) Genre: Thriller. An Israeli MOSSAD team hides a terrible secret that comes to light 40 years later. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.3 An amazing cast with a trailer that reminds me a bit of Spielberg’s Munich.
GAINSBOURG: A HEROIC LIFE (Music Box) Genre: Biographical Drama. A fanciful interpretation of the life of French icon Serge Gainsbourg. Release Strategy: New York City only. RATING: 3.1 Je t’aime indeed.

SCHEDULED TO BE REVIEWED HERE AS NEW RELEASES
The Change-Up, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Help, 30 Minutes or Less, Conan the Barbarian, One Day, Columbiana, Our Idiot Brother, The Debt