Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Search for John Gissing|
Actors: Alan Rickman, Janeane Garofalo, Mike Binder, Juliet Stevenson, Owen Teale
Director: Mike Binder
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Genre: Feature Film-Comedy Rating: UN Release Date: 12-AUG-2008 Media Type: DVD
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Rickman's Comic Genius
Pamela E. Long | Charlottesville, VA, USA | 08/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I paid an arm and a leg to get this movie to add to my Rickman collection before it was widely available, and it was worth it. Alan Rickman has described himself an instrument. He is most known for "playing that instrument" as a heavy, and even as a romatic lead. He does each brilliantly. But in Gissing, he proves that he also has perfect comic timing. The movie is a little choppy in its transition editing, perhaps because someone thought this was creative. It is not. However Alan Rickman's performance is incredible. If you are a Rickman fan, you absolutely must own this. If your don't know much about him (where HAVE you been?), you will be a fan when you see this."
L. Yarnes | Tucson, Az | 12/11/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I too got this film to add to my growing collection of Alan Rickman films and was sadly disappointed. I found Mike Binder to be annoying and ridiculous beyond measure and the absolute implausibility of the storyline caused me to roll my eyes so many times I had a headache by the end of the movie! The whole nun thing was awful. And as has been said before in other reviews here, the likes of Janeane Garofalo and Juliet Stevenson are wasted.
Oddly enough, despite my negative impression of the film as a whole, I have a great desire to see Alan Rickman do more comedy. I adore him in his dramatic roles but he has a gift for symphonic sarcasm that keeps me wanting more. Who knows, however, why he chose this project. I sincerely hope some smartly written comedies (let me stress this again, this was not smartly or even well written) come his way."
Disappointing, boring, and a chore to sit through...
Grigory's Girl | NYC | 12/03/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This film is a very disappointing outing. It's a rather contrived, badly plotted film about a corporate manager who is transferred to London to oversee a merger, and gets the shaft by the title character. While there are a few funny passages in the film, there are a lot of very dull stretches. Most of the dialogue is expository, resulting in a film with absolutely no narrative flow. It plods from one setpiece to another, and ends up being an absolute chore to finish. Much of the slapstick quality of it feels forced, and it feels like a sitcom where logic and character development go straight out the window. The character's motivation make little to no sense at all. It's one of the most paper thin scripts I've ever seen in a movie.
There are some good things about it. It has an excellent cast. Alan Rickman is good as usual, and Janeane Garofalo is very good here, despite her character being underwritten. It's nice to see her play a relatively normal person here instead of the dumpy romantic lead or the sarcastic chick. Her character here has some sarcastic dialogue, but there's some tenderness there as well, a side she rarely shows in her work. Mike Binder wrote, directed, and stars in the film, and has good screen presence and good chemistry with Garofalo. His writing, however, is very poor and the flashy direction is annoying. The flashy direction seems to be compensating for the fact that the source material is so flimsy to being with. Juliet Stevenson, Allan Courdiner, and Nigel Terry (all excellent actors) are wasted in roles that end up being caricatures, and there's a silly plot involving a fake nun. The film never got a release stateside, and only recently got released to DVD. It's easy to see why."
Rickman, yes. Movie, no.
Laurie | Decatur, GA | 02/22/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie has the fatal stench of "vanity project." To be an ambitious actor of unknown quality is to be an actor who has to write a movie for himself, then has to direct it so he can cast himself. Mike Binder is the actor/writer/director who knitted this series of cliches and old Neil Simon together as a gift to his own career. No one told him that "The Out of Towners" had been made some 30 years ago, and even the much, much more likable and talented Jack Lemmon couldn't make its irritating plot tolerable. No one told Mike Binder that there is only gonna be one Ben Stiller. So hopeful he is to be Ben Stiller that he even fetched one of Ben Stiller's former company members, Janeane Garafolo, to play his wife. As the wife, she gets to complain a lot, follow her man from port to port while having no other wish for herself than to settle down and give birth to his children. When you write your own husband role, you get to make yourself a wife like that-- one who's nearly as focused on you as you are.
The writing and directing are uninspired and often lazy. Mike Binder's acting, that present he created for himself, is indeed a watered down Stiller imitation. Unlike his role model, he does run around a lot, which seems to be his acting shorthand for funny. There's his writer/director mediocre attempt to make secondary characters lovably kooky, but by golly, they are poorly realized, never engaging or endearing, just thrown in because, hey, that's what Ben Stiller would do. Mike Binder doesn't seem to have the skill set to make what he's attempting work, hard as he tries to mimic other well-worn comic formulas.
Binder's more self-brutalizing mistake is one even actor/writer/director Kevin Costner made-- allowing himself to be measured against Alan Rickman. Again, why didn't anyone tell him? You cannot out perform Alan Rickman. Rickman is lightly used in the first half of the movie, then dominates the last half. He seems to relish his chance at screwball comedy, and he plays what he's given with deft delight. Although he is the root of all the Binder character's frustrations, Rickman's John Gissing is still the most engagingly appealing character of the bunch. It's a relief when John Gissing is finally found and begins to occupy real screen time.
While Alan Rickman consistently out classes Mike Binder's performance, God bless Alan Rickman's involvement. Without his name on the credits, no one would have sought this movie out. It would have remained with the other vanity projects of needy actors turned writer/directors. Gone. Forgotten-- just the source of the faint sour smell of desperately failed self-promotion wafting up from the bottom of the clearance bin at Blockbusters."