VIFF 2014: Listen Up Philip has vague intentions

    1 of 2 2 of 2

      Listen Up Philip (USA)  

      It’s not clear whether the subject of this unpunctuated title is addressing himself or someone else, such as Philip Roth, who represents a macho thrust of American letters that’s fading everywhere but here, in a curiously pre-digital present.

      An odd vagueness of intention dissipates the energy of this initially bracing study of a novelist, played by Bored To Death’s Jason Schwartzman, who becomes an even bigger asshole as he gets more successful. How he could attract a string of supplicative beauties, led by the excellent Elizabeth Moss, is never explained. Nor are examples offered, on screen or in Eric Bogosian’s Woody Allen–like narration, to support the notion of Philip’s alleged brilliance on the page.

      International Village, September 26 (7 p.m.) and 28 (4:30 p.m.); SFU, October 1 (4 p.m.)