Saturday, August 03, 2013

Okay, I'll Watch. Trailer for Diablo Cody's 'Paradise'

Some don't like her. Not sure why. I think it's because she was a stripper and that rubs people the wrong way. Actually, I think it's because she started out like the average person and is now a Hollywood player.

I like Diablo Cody. She can write. 'Young Adult' and 'Juno' have a spine, a core, ring true, are entertaining, and fairly irresistible. 'Jennifer's Body' I don't know about, haven't seen it. But, I'll give her the benefit of the doubt on that one. 

Can Cody direct? Not so sure. But, I'm sure she can at least point the camera in the right direction, get coverage, then let someone edit it all together into something cohesive. And, when the script is by a writer like Cody, that's about all the directing technique you need.

'Paradise' is Cody's directorial debut and the only way I have to judge it is that, watching the trailer, I cared and actually wanted to get to know the character, a Las Vegas bartender, played by Russell Brand. So what, you ask. Well, I don't connect with Brand. I don't like anything he's done up till now. Not that he's a bad actor, per se, it's that his method of bringing a character to life has never meant anything to me. Brand could do a great job yet there's something about him, his personality or acting chops, that yields a portrayal with no traction. It's just like air. There's nothing there.

That said, watching this trailer I did, in fact, like Brand's work and wanted to see where things went with his character. As for the rest of the cast, well, they're fine. I have no qualms with them. I'll go where ever they take me. However, when a director can make me care about an actor whose very presence in a movie had in the past made it a write-off for me, that's got to be considered a good thing.

As such, even if Cody lacks a technical approach to directing she has a great way with actors. And, besides, she could be a great technical director. So, if that's the case, it's a win-win.

So, because there's something in the way Diablo Cody directs and/or Russell Brand's reaction to her script, that made his performance so compelling even in this short trailer, yeah, I'll watch 'Paradise'. When a guy as (previously) off-putting as Russell Brand makes you want to see a movie and, in large part, is the most compelling reason for wanting to see the movie aside from intangibles like the involvement of a very cool writer and first-time director, that is simply something you can't ignore.

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