Pull up a chair, crack open a beer and watch #drinkingbuddies #LFF #LondonFilmFestival #Filmreview

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 09.14.35Drinking Buddies is set in and around the working and running of a brewery, where Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) are co-workers. She’s in a relationship with a wealthy older man (Ron Livingston) and his fiancé (Anna Kendrick) is keen to get their wedding plans moving along. Their friendship is very strong and they have a lot of similar interests, such as the beer they produce and they both share similar playful senses of humour. Their lifestyles revolve around drinking with their co-workers, and for the audience its hard to know whether or not what they share is friendship or something that little bit more.  Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 09.15.06

The film is directed and produced by Joe Swanberg and is an honest and real depiction of friendships and relationships amongst late twenty-somethings. There is sexual tension, tomboyish playfulness and blurred lines around the line drawn between men and women who just enjoy each other’s company. The drama you witness within Drinking Buddies feels real and void of any “film like” over- dramatization; no dramatic realization that one person is with the wrong partner, and no overly thought out inner battles over whether or not each character should be with one another. Some would say it is exactly how you or I would deal with the various situations that present themselves – sit on them until absolutely necessary then apologize profusely! – With the right balance of humour, relatable trials and tribulations of modern day relationships and that awkward feeling where you’re pretty sure there’s underlying sexual tension between you and a friend – this film manages to capture issues that often burden the general public more than anything and yet depict it in such an enjoyable way.Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 09.15.53

Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson are incredibly believable as the lead characters who share this surface based brother/sister /best friend style friendship; and a lot of this is to do with the heavily improvised scenes which not only make the audience feel like they’re catching a glimpse through the keyhole of a group of peoples lives but also help you to dispel any potential distaste towards Wildes beautiful and likeable girl next door persona. You can understand why Luke likes Kate, she’s one of the boys, and is always the one up for some fun. What you do question within this film is why there isn’t any suspicion or doubt from each of their characters other halves. Their tactile approaches to each other can be a little hard to swallow sometimes and yet you’re still routing to see if they eventually take the brave step to cross that all important line.Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 09.18.29

What these characters represent is often the realistic approach to potentially something better suited to ones self. Its clear to the audience that Luke and Kate would be perfect for each other, yet they never dare to do anything more than think about it. You will leave this film questioning whether or not there are regrets about someone or something that you have had the opportunity to pursue in days gone by, and having taken the safer option, maybe regretted after.

What the director manages to do with Drinking Buddies, is give its audience a glimpse into the days of the lives of people not so different to you and I, everyday jobs and simple pleasures that we all have, essentially, life is a simple construct and sometimes its not really worth the complication. With this in mind Swanberg delivers a film that is fun to watch, quirky in its own right and most importantly get you thinking. Its style is simple and poignant, so wont be everyone’s cup of tea, not much happens throughout, but what does happen manages to get you routing for those you’re watching, laughing at similarities that you most likely will see in yourself, and leaving hopefully with a smile on your face.

Drinking Buddies hits cinemas 1st November.

4 Stars

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Date for your diary! The @ukjewishfilm Festival comes to town next month! #jewishfilmfestival #film

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If you’re not catching the #LFF London Film Festival next month then fear not, only a few short weeks later will be the 17th annual UK Jewish Film Festival. This years festival will feature screenings of over 70 films and other special events across five cities – London, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester – over the course of 19 days from 31st October 2013.

From gala premieres to documentaries about the Jewish culture, here’s a few of our highlights which look like ones not to miss! 

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Joe Papp in Five Acts

A riveting portrait of a transformative figure in the New York theatre scene, Joe Papp – a poor, tough, Jewish kid from Brooklyn – who created Central Park’s free Shakespeare In The Park Festival, which launched the careers of everyone from Meryl Streep to Kevin Kline, all of whom feature here.

This radical and tumultuous personality introduced colour-blind casting, nurtured emerging playwrights, fostered countercultural plays like Hair, and revolutionized commercial theatre with the Broadway smash hit A Chorus Line, as well as founding the Public Theatre.

Packed with testimonials from Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen, James Earl Jones and Meryl Streep – and framed by Kevin Kline’s exquisite monologues.

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Hava Nagila (The Movie) 

Featuring interviews with Harry Belafonte, Leonard Nimoy, Connie Francis, Glen Campbell, Regina Spektor and more. Hava Nagila (The Movie) is a documentary romp through the history, mystery and meaning of the great Jewish standard.

The film follows the ubiquitous party song on its fascinating journey from Ukraine and Israel to the Catskils, Hollywood and the world, using the song as a springboard to explore Jewish history and identity and to spotlight the cross-cultural connections that can only be achieved through music.

High on fun and entertainment, Hava Nagila (The Movie) is also surprisingly profound, tapping into universal themes about the importance of joy, the power of music and the resilient spirit of a people.

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Blumenthal

Funny, clever and abrasive New York comedy from a young director tipped as the next Woody Allen, starring the inimitable Brian Cox CBE.

Blumenthal is a comedy about a family in motion. The severely constipated Saul Blumenthal desperately wants to go. His brother Harold the famous playwright (whom Saul believes plagiarised his life), has just gone. Saul’s wife Cheryl fears she’s a has-been and considers cosmetic surgery whilst Ethan, the main protagonist, is on a duel-pronged journey to find a soulmate and Harold’s lifetime achievement award, as a form of recompense for his father…

Welcome to the world of American Modern Day ‘Jewrosis’!

You can book your tickets via the Film Festival website  but don’t leave it too late or you’ll miss out on all of these fantastic films.