Category Archives: romance

JUST GO WITH IT (2011)

I would create a fake family for that

It seems that almost every movie nowadays is a remake of something. So is the Adam Sandler vehicle Just Go With It – it’s a remake of 1969 comedy Cactus Flower, which won an Oscar for Goldie Hawn. I have never seen Cactus Flower, so no clue if that’s as funny as the remake. Yes, I know, I know – all the critics slayed Just Go With It, but I found it surprisingly funny. Then again why would this be surprising – Adam Sandler is a funny guy. And it is directed by Dennis Dugan, who also did Grown Ups – which I thought was enjoyable watching, even though less funny.

                                                                        Let’s do it!

In Just Go With It Adam Sandler plays Dr. Danny Maccabee – a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, who has for years pretended to be married in order to hook up with women. Then comes the day when he meets a young teacher, Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) and decides that it’s time to stop pretending. Unfortunately he is not quick enough with the truth and Palmer finds his wedding ring. All kinds of shenanigans follow when Dr. Danny asks his loyal assistant Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) to impersonate his soon-to-be ex-wife. Things get complicated when Katherine’s kids become involved in the scheme and the whole gang heads to Hawaii with Dr. Danny’s cousin Eddie (Nick Swardson). There they find Katherine’s old college frenemy Devlin (Nicole Kidman). Well, you can guess the rest…

Feels good being honest, doesn’t it?

What the movie lacks in plot is substituted with the onscreen chemistry between Sandler and Aniston. Don’t except this movie to be anything else than a feel-good, entertaining film for the whole family. But then again does every movie need to be something more? Just sit down with a bowl of popcorn and your favourite drink and relax after a hard week at work with this light-hearted rom-com. What could be more relaxing than that? Well, maybe actually holidaying in Hawaii…

               I’ll be taking acting classes and become the next Miley Cyrus, yes I am.

Sandler is his usual self in the role of Dr. Danny, but it’s Aniston who steals the movie by proving that she is a good comedy actress. The most ridiculous character award goes to Swardson as Cousin Eddie with his “The Dolph Lundgren” impersonations. I could not help but laugh out loud. Some scenes are bit tacky like the coconut / dance contest in Hawaii, but most are well executed.

Lundgren, The Dolph Lundgren

So here’s for you critics – go get yourselves a funny bone!

GOING THE DISTANCE (2010)

You know like when you get really drunk and you just
kinda black out and you don’t know how much time has gone by

I certainly wish that would have been the case while watching Going the Distance. It just had one too many NYC – SFO trips in it. Maybe I did not understand the premise of this movie because I have never been in a long-distance relationship. Fair enough; but do you still expect me to believe that Justin Long’s character could not find a job in the music industry in California? Then why not take a temporary job as – let’s see – a dog walker to be able to spend some quality time with Drew Barrymore’s character.

The movie itself was lightly entertaining. Drew Barrymore and Justin Long did a good job as a couple who just were not able to live in the same city for more than 6 weeks.

You take my breath away

So there is Erin (Drew Barrymore) who has six weeks left on her internship in a New York newspaper, when she meets Garret (Justin Long). Garret is a newly single – we are talking just off the boat – Top Gun loving / Jonas Brothers hating regular guy. They have a one-night stand, which develops into a summer romance. Six weeks is up. Pop quiz: What do you do? You go long distance even though both of them have doubts. But they have fallen in love and this is just too good to pass. What follows is several trips between NYC-SFO. Garret’s two friends Box (Jason Sudeikis) and Dan (Charlie Day) cheer him on – hilariously. Erin on the other hand receives advice from her overprotective married sister Corinne (Christina Applegate). After a while, everybody comes to the inevitable realization that long distance must be made into short distance. Only if there would be one job available on the West Coast…

  This is not really working

Geoff LaTulippe based the screenplay loosely on the long-distance relationship experiences of his friend. Drew Barrymore was drawn to the script because she thought it was funny. She saw true emotional investment inside the comedy. Barrymore has also said that she likes playing strong female characters. Erin certainly is a person who deeply loves her sister, but at the same time is a little tomboyish and can hang out with the guys. What also made this movie appealing to Barrymore was that it’s an R-rated love story, which are not that common. I agree with her that Going the Distance is a more realistic and adult love story and not based on a fairy tale setting. I just did not find it that funny!

Peep Show

Nanette Burstein, who directed the movie, has a strong background in documentaries and commercials. Justin Long found this exciting, as it meant that Burstein would film as realistic as possible portrait of the two main characters. Burstein herself took this directorial debut because she thought that many people could relate to this love story.

The Boxer Rebellion “If You Run”

Going the Distance does have a realistic feel about it. It does also have some funny lines. As the poster says, it’s a comedy about meeting each other halfway. Unfortunately the movie does only go halfway – its weakest link being the screenplay. Strongest on the other hand is the cast with stellar performances.

Disease free and light – indeed

No. 5 SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (1952)

Dignity – Always Dignity

Singin’ in the Rain is one of my all-time favourite movies. It is such a feel-good movie, which has it all – fantastic acting, dancing, singing, and dialogue – set against the twenties glamorous looking Hollywood. Why didn’t I live back then?! This movie celebrates the joy of filmmaking, joy of love and joy of friendship. It is a buddy comedy mixed with romcom.

                                                           You let go – no; you let go first

In the movie Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) and Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) are huge movie stars, but then comes the transition from silent movies to talking movies. They are faced with a problem of how to make a musical with an actress who is a triple-threat (can’t act or sing or dance)? And whose speaking voice is higher than Mickey Mouse’s on helium. With a cunning use of a lovely unknown actress – of course – who can do all the above.

                                            Household names – like bacon and eggs

Singin’ in the Rain has been quoted as the best Hollywood musical ever made and it absolutely lives up to that. The transitions between dialogue and dance / musical numbers are seamless. This is the first musical where the songs were actually incorporated into the plot in the way that they enhance the characters’ emotions instead of being a separate part of the movie.

                                                         Why did I think I could pull off a hat with this outfit?

The film features a 12-minute Broadway Melody Ballet dance number, which took a month to rehearse and two weeks to shoot. My favourite song and dance number is “Good Mornin.” It just makes you want to get up and start dancing and singing for no apparent reason. No, I did not do that – I thought to spare my neighbours from wondering who was terrorising a cat.

                                                                   Y-M-C-A

The most famous scene of the movie is “Singin’ in the Rain.” It was actually shot during daytime under a black tarpaulin. During the filming the technicians lost water pressure in the late afternoon when the residents of Culver City, US arrived home and turned on their sprinklers to water their lawns and gardens. Gene Kelly once said when asked about how he was going to approach this scene: “It’s going to be raining and I’m going to be singing. I am going to have a glorious feeling and I am going to be happy again.” That quote summons up the feeling in this movie. It is glorious to be happy!

You have been reading those fan magazines again – smashing it up Glee-style

The real triple threat of this movie is its three main stars. Gene Kelly holds such a charisma that during the dance numbers you cannot take your eyes away from him – he dances with such ease. He also co-directed and choreographed the movie. So it’s no wonder that Singin’ in the Rain is considered by many to be his masterpiece. Donald O’Connor as Cosmo delivers fantastic slapstick comedy especially in the “Make ‘Em Laugh” number. He went on to win the 1952 Golden Globe award for “Best Motion Picture Actor in a Musical or Comedy” for his performance. Debbie Reynolds as Kathy is such a pill of joy that you feel energized for days. At the time of filming “Singin’ in the Rain”, she was 19 years old.  Gene Kelly, whose character falls in love with her character in the movie, was 40 years old at the time.

If you’ve seen one – you’ve seen them all

EAT PRAY LOVE (2010)

Maybe you are a woman in search of a word

… Or lost carbs? I have wanted to see EAT PRAY LOVE for a while now as the film and the book have created such a phenomenon. Was I sucked into this craze as well? Not in such lengths, but the movie did make me want to go to Italy to eat and learn Italian words that smoothly roll off your tongue; go to India to meditate and scrub floors for inner peace (ok, maybe for 5 minutes); and to Bali to find balance and true love in the form of a sexy Brazilian.

Ryan Murphy, who is well-known for his TV-hits like Glee and Nip/Tuck, has directed a truly visually stunning movie that has Julia Roberts in every scene. Everything and everyone looks gorgeous. It is like 133 minutes of a self-help travel documentary. After the movie, you feel like your vision just overate a bowl of colourful pasta.

                                                           You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes

In short, this is a true-life story of a modern woman Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts), who has it all – a successful career, a fantastic house, supportive friends and a husband. Already I am bitterly jealous; and we have not even gotten to all that pasta, red wine and Javier Bardem. Then one day she realises that, she is not happy and makes a courageous decision to do something about it. After a difficult divorce and a rebound with a young hottie, she is ready for rebirth and a round-the-world journey to “find herself”.

He just folded my delicates – did he use to work at GAP?

Sometimes it feels like the visual aspect of the movie overpowers the story. You get lost in the panorama and not in the story itself. The outdoor scenes are shot in the way that even the side streets of Naples look inviting – I am ignoring the less than friendly greeting from an adolescent girl on a balcony; not quite the Juliet…

The script is enjoyable and floats forward seamlessly. It delivers touching moments like the one that unravels after the wedding in India, when Richard from Texas (gorgeously acted by Richard Jenkins) tells his story to Liz. This entire scene was shot without a cut in one take over Julia’s shoulder. Ryan Murphy kept the first take in the movie, as it made him and the whole editing crew cry.

To summon this movie up I would use the usually hated word “nice”. It is nice. It does not leave you wanting more, but it keeps you entertained.

So I am backing my bags and heading to Italy to eat some pizza in Napoli and drink a lot of red wine. If you are wondering what that whizzing sound was; it was me on a scooter – without a helmet – waiving Ciao!

You need a “thumbs up”!

No. 83 TITANIC (1997)

When you got nothing – you got nothing to lose

After taking a week off from watching the movies on the AFI’s 100 Greatest Movies list I am back in action with Titanic, the $ 200 million James Cameron pre-Avatar movie which was expected to sink like the unsinkable ship of dreams. But instead it has been quoted as the most popular motion picture of all time. I have seen it a couple of times, so now when I began watching it again I was feeling quite blasé about it. It’s a movie I like, but not a movie I love. Then something happened when the images of the ship in all its glory started flowing onto the screen – I got once again sucked into the story.

You remember what I told you about the boats

Titanic is like two movies is one. One is about the unthinkable tragedy which saw more than 1,500 of the ships 2,200 passengers die, because the ship was thought to be indestructible. As said by James Cameron “The lesson of Titanic is, just don’t go so fast when you’re dealing with that much of power and energy. Give yourself time to turn, because that’s all they did wrong”.

The other movie is an epic love story between a girl who has everything except her freedom and a boy who has nothing except his freedom. The love story unfolds smoothly even though at times it’s overpowered by the story of Titanic sinking, which is probably why the screenplay was one of the few categories in which the movie was not nominated for an Oscar. Funnily when you really think about the screenplay, it is nothing new. Love story between two people who are separated by social class – has not that same story been told millions of times? But what makes this movie special is that everything works. The chemistry between the characters has been fine-tuned to perfection. Kate Winslet as Rose and Leonardo Di Caprio as Jack are perfect casting. I have to say that for me Victor Garber as the ship’s builder Thomas Andrews steals the show. He pretty much summons it up with lines like “She [Titanic] is made of iron, Sir – I assure you she can [sink] and she will”.

                                                         Flying without wings

James Cameron is like an all-in-one moviemaking machine – he wrote and directed the movie. He even drew all the sketches used in the movie as Jack’s drawings, including the most famous one of naked Rose wearing the Heart of the Ocean. Damn, if he could act he would have probably acted in it as well. But if you remember his acceptance speech at the Oscars in 1998, where Titanic scooped 11 golden statues, you can be sure it is a good idea for him not to act. “I am the King of the World” just did not have the same punch as said by Leonardo Di Caprio in the movie.

                                                                 I am the King of the World

But he sure made one cinematic masterpiece and proved all the doubtful people wrong. The recreation of the sinking of the Titanic is stunning. It makes chilling watching each time. I also found fascinating that footage of the actual Titanic is used in the film. Even though much of the underwater footage was filmed on set with miniature models and special effects. Inarguably the most visually stunning special effect scenes of the movie are the ones when the ship breaks up just before it plunges to the bottom of Atlantic. In the words of the unsinkable Molly Brown: “Now there is something you don’t see everyday”.

The level of detailing throughout the movie is also amazing. The sets representing the interior rooms of Titanic were reproduced exactly as originally built, using photographs and plans from the original builders who are still in business. Titanic must have really been something else. I wish I had been there – except for the sinking part; obviously.

I found the last scene of the movie the most touching – together at last on Titanic. A fitting ending to an epic story, which I am sure, will live on as one of the Greatest Movies ever made – also in my mind.

All life is a game of luck