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The Age of Adaline (2015)
The last time I reviewed a movie was 4 years ago when I reviewed "About Time," on which I wrote the following comment, "I just feel like the genre is really worn-out, with not much fresh to offer." Of course, "The Age of Adaline" is not a time travel movie, per se, but there is so much in it that feels like time travel, and I have to say it is fresh, and I loved this movie. The casting was excellent, especially Lively as the lead, and Harrison Ford. Ford's part and his "moments" were just too important to be trusted to anyone else. I just can't imagine anyone but him being able to pull it off. Perfect choice. So why 9, and not a 10. The narration! Just a bunch of unnecessary stuff that was really a blotch on a near perfect film, and took me out of the "romance" of the story. I actually did my own version and dubbed music from other parts of the film over the narration, and I have to say, not only was nothing lost, but I had the joy of watching this film in its perfect 10 version.
About Time (2013)
Worn out Genre
I had great expectations for this film and went to its first showing (10:25am) on opening day. To my surprise, many people were at the showing.
Overall, I was disappointed, but found Domhnall Gleeson's skill and charm in the leading role the most enjoyable element of this film. But the movie itself felt more like a series of skits. Maybe the skit-like feel supported the central theme of this movie (as with most time-travel movies), namely: live for today, relish every moment. Maybe I just feel like the genre is really worn-out, with not much fresh to offer. I did leave the theater with that "tell my wife and children how much I love them everyday, every moment" sort of feeling, but only because I'm extremely sentimental anyway, and need very little to elicit that emotion.
The movie was cast pretty well, but I think Rachel McAdams, at 35, is at the end of her cast-as-a-twenty-something girl. Even bangs/fringe couldn't make me believe it. The film was worth seeing, but save your money and see it on DVD. No rush to see it right away, or need to see it on the big screen.
The Artist (2011)
I loved this film. The lead character was charming, and made me understand completely what my parents and grandparents found so interesting about the cinema of their day. This film never really let me go, from beginning to end. It had a very specific tone, that was never violated (except for a purpose), yet never did I feel it was boring. Its surprises were (usually) subtle, probably appreciated more by those familiar with early cinema. Yet, even those who aren't, could be drawn into the story. Seems like everyone loves this film, and so there is little I can say about this film that hasn't been said. I did feel there was an underlying theme that those who don't love themselves can be loved and admired by everyone, but still have a really hard time loving themselves and others.
One other thing I would comment on is the use of the Bernard Herrmann score during a segment of the film. I thought it was an amazingly intelligent use of the music. The scene was getting just on the edge of being too much for the overall tone of the film, and the score's use telegraphed intensity, yet, because it was a recognizable score used in a previous specific dramatic context, it was almost tongue in cheek, and lightened the mood just enough almost to melodrama without losing the serious drama. Honestly, it made me LMAO, while still caring about the character's situation. I would dare to say Bernard Herrmann would have loved it too.
Midnight in Paris (2011)
Just enough of an intellectual angle to make it interesting, but really just a fun movie. It's fun to think of the what-ifs of meeting the bygone's famous, and to ponder the question: is life really greener on the other side of the time-continuum? and does everyone of every era feel this way? I loved the characterizations of past's characters -- just the way I'd pictured them (except maybe Pablo). Marion Cotillard absolutely devours the camera until there is no camera between you and her. You are invited into her presence, and it is just her and you and you are feeling and hearing what the receiving character is hearing and feeling. She is luminous.
Weaknesses: I thought Wilson's performance was good, but there was no reason for him to be in this role other than star-power. Someone else could have given this role a new dimension, and perhaps the movie a new dimension as well. Same with McAdam's. I think she is a great actress, but maybe only took this part for a chance to be in a Woody movie. Even a one dimensional character needs more than one dimension, but still, I don't think the problem here was with her performance, as much as with casting. Just my opinion.
Overall, I liked it very much.
The Last Airbender (2010)
This movie was simply awful. At first, I thought I was watching a genre parody of "epic" movies. I soon realized that this movie should be included in a study in "what not to do" in film making. From start to finish, the story and dialog were so cliché and unbelievable. The acting was simply terrible. I laughed through most of the film. I thought, "This had to be written by some 19 year old who grew up sitting in front of the VCR without literature or education." Even the music was amateurish. Wow, was I ever shocked at the ending credits to see it was written by M. Night Shyamalan, the music composed by James Newton Howard, and the movie produced by Kennedy and Marshall. How could this happen? Such an embarrassment to a great writer, great composer, and great producers.
Letters to Juliet (2010)
Coulda been a classic, but
Really enjoyed this film. A very good story, that had many good moments, one in particular -- if you've seen the film, you know which one I'm talking about. Redgrave made this film. She is amazing, and she gave the story believability. But the film could have been a classic. Two things got in the way. 1) The story was just a little too light, seems like they were trying too hard to make a romantic comedy, instead of letting it be what it was -- probably the money people were responsibly for that one. 2) The two leads were somewhat unlikable, with zero chemistry. She was OK, but he was a Hugh Grant caricature. The pacing of their relationship was way too fast to be believable. I think this story is good enough to be remade, and I think it should be - with a different Sophie and a different Charlie, and maybe a little (please note I said a "little") more serious tone. Other than Sophie and Charlie, I think the film was very well cast.
Just Write (1997)
I can proudly say I was a Piven fan before it was "cool" to be a Piven fan. OK, now for the movie. Great fantasy, and as for plausibility, I've seen more fantastic things happen in real life (mine), but I'm an optimist, and good things tend to happen to optimists, and of course, these kinds of movies are aimed at such, not at Mr. Pensive, brooding, deep tortured souls. He! He! Good plot, good pace, fair chemistry. This was back in the days when Sherilyn Fenn was actually likable, and as I said, I'm a Pevin fan, and don't think he can be un-likable, even when he is villainous. I think this might have been his first leading role, one where his character wasn't the lead's best friend. But even as "just" the best friend, he shines, steals quite a few scenes, and makes the lead shine brighter. I liked this movie. I own this movie and watch it frequently.
Pyaar Impossible! (2010)
Predictable, but charming
No deep story, just a predictable, but cute, charming story. I had no intention of watching it all the way through, but I found the characters charming, and after I watched it, found myself walking around the house singing the music.
The most interesting thing to me was the statement this film makes on India pop culture -- the language a blend of English and Hindi, probably from the impact of American movies and pop culture, and also from the out-sourcing of software support jobs to India, ala, Bill Gates.
One final comment: I read a news review by an American film critic, criticizing the film for nepotism. How silly! You want the government to take over film making also? You can't hire your relatives to work on your own film? I'm sorry, but I think private biz should be able to hire whomever it wants, related or not. I would prefer to have people I enjoyed working with and trust on my set, related or not.
The Last Song (2010)
Where do we start...
It's been 5 years since I've reviewed a movie on IMDb, but oh... I am compelled! Where do we start? One of the producers has the last name of Cyrus, so I guess that explains a lot. But let's forget Miley's "acting" and address the story itself. I've always thought Sparks overuses death to illicit emotion in his readers/viewers (even though The Notebook and Message in a Bottle are two of my favorite films). But that aside, was there a single un-contrived moment in this film? They (whoever "they" is) tried to squeeze every type of plot device imaginable into this movie. So many cliché conflicts going on, I laughed more times than I can count. Hope I didn't disturb the other two people (both teen-aged girls) in the theater. However, hats off to Kinnear for an honest performance.
Jagged Edge (1985)
Best comedy of the 80's
Maybe it's just a dated movie, and all these plot gimmicks have been used so much that we are used to them by now. Maybe if I could go back in time to the 80's and see it I might have a different opinion of it. But this is probably the most laughably contrived movie I have ever seen. I literally laughed aloud several times during this movie. The acting was pathetic, especially Close's performance (who I usually like and respect). You keep hoping for something unique and surprising, yet believable and inevitable, but it never comes. And just when you think it can't be any more contrived, predictable or stupid comes the ending. Great for laughs. I think the most shocking thing about this film is that it was actually nominated for some awards.