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Listen Up Phillip ***

Films about writers are notoriously awful. Writer/director Alex Ross Perry deals himself a smart deck by making Phillip (Jason Schwarztman) a genuine anti-hero, heavily self-obsessed and with his judgement clouded by vanity. Phillip falls under the spell of Philip Roth-like writer Ike Zimmermann (Jonathan Pryce), who offers him the use of his summer-house, but strings are attached. Elizabeth Moss makes a strong impression as Phillip’s frustrated girlfriend Ashley, and the writer’s milieu is well caught from the start.  With Wes Anderson cornering the market in upscale feyness, Listen Up Phillip could well be a caustic update to Anderson’s Rushmore, with the knowingness reflected in the ingenuously 1970’s style cover art and credits featured here.

 

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