Mar 17, 2011

No reservations, 2007

No reservations, 2007
Director: Scott Hicks
Cast: Catherine Zeta Jones, Aaron Eckhart, Abigail Breslin

Stage: Home theatre

No reservations in short: A master chef, Kate, lives her life like she runs the kitchen at upscale 22 Bleecker Restaurant in Manhattan--with a no-nonsense intensity that both captivates and intimidates everyone around her. With breathtaking precision, she powers through each hectic shift, coordinating hundreds of meals, preparing delicate sauces, seasoning and simmering each dish to absolute perfection.

Preps: Mmmm, none in perticular. Zeta as chef? Need to see this urgently. Always wanted to be one. Chef, that is.

Reality: Hm. The world of chef is a tuff one. I wanted to (and I still do) have a restaurant. I have always wanted to have one. Always drull with movies where they cook. One of my best ones is Julie and Julia. Or see maybe also The soul kitchen. Superb. Anyhow, wherever parsley is being cut and beef or chicken is put on stew or on butter, here I am. I am bought.

In this case, a cute romantic rival story between two chefs, mixed alltogether within a family drama. Taking care of a small child or being a chef? A hard decision. Meeting your spouse inbetween? well, would love to see this turn out happily. Because you need to decide at some point what to do. OK, if you are a high flyer and are in the middle of the lauch of your career, and you get a new kid - that's a problem. Or a challenge, put it as you want it. The kid hates your guts, you are in the middle of mourning for your relative and his kid doesn't want you to play the mother. This is the world of Zeta Jones right when she believes she's on the breakthrough of her career. A good plot story and an interesting follow through in what is she going to do.

Spiced with exotic cooking, filled with taste and lust. For a soul that likes to cook the way I do, a beautiful piece to see. Nothing in perticular amazing about the cast, the scenery, dialogues. But I enjoyed the romantic dwelling in the kitchen and it definitely made me hungry. A piece I will love to see again, although I don't find it any more than average.

My personal rating: 5,0 (Zeta goes into this macho feminine chef pose I adore. And she cooks in the totally male world, and owns him. On the other side, it's pretty clear. A good career or a strong family. Never both at the same time.
No reservations on IMDB

Letters to Juliet,

Letters to Juliet, 2010
Director: Gary Winick
Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave, Gael Garcia Bernal

Stage: Home theatre

Letters in short:
An American girl on vacation in Italy finds an unanswered "letter to Juliet" -- one of thousands of missives left at the fictional lover's Verona courtyard, which are typically answered by a the "secretaries of Juliet" -- and she goes on a quest to find the lovers referenced in the letter.

Preps: Hm, one in the row, waiting for my attention. The title? Sounds romantic, but I don't know the story neither the cast. So let's get the fingers crossed :=)

Reality: Well, the movie is a very cute one. The story that touches you and even you don't have to be in love or something. But you need to have a certain feeling towards romantic places, like they are shown here. Verona for instance is a place where you need to see Juliet's house and you think obviously about endless love or love that puts you underground. The idea of having women writing letters to all the people loooking for an answer in love is cute, however, unreal. They don't really write the addresses there, do they? That was however, my thought after the movie, when thinking of this. The people write their problems, but in most cases don't write the addresses. A typical mistake in movie, I might say. Or am I wrong or is there a wishing well that makes people believe they will be given an answer if they state the address? Whatever the right answer is, the idea of writing back with some answers is cute. And even cuter, the idea of finding the love from 50 years ago. Extremely romantic.

Through the voyage, the beautiful italian scenery, with cuisine, people that are breathing with the land, romantic places.. all the reasons for going to Italy. They make me lure for a vacation indeed. The obvious thing, romance, dwells somewhere inbetween.

The important message, that a couple should go on a vacation before getting married, is not really hidden. But you think about this afterwards, after all the beauties of the placement in this piece. The couple doesn't have much in common on vacation. It is not true that you need to spend the every minute together, but come on, one week apart on a pre-honey moon? Or any type of vacation for that matter?

A bit of a cheesy ending, but romantic souls might fall on their knees. An appropriate piece for cuddling under blanket, if you are a bit mushy :)

My personal rate: 7,0
(very cute comedy, makes you rethink your virtues and things you are chasing while being left in your life. Making you want to go to Verona and Italy and taste it. Yum!)

Letters to Juliet on IMDB

Where to go in Italy here

Guess Who, 2005

Guess Who, 2005
Director: Kevin Rodney Sullivan
Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Bernie Mac, Zoe Saldana

Stage: Home theatre, TV late selection

Guess who in short: Percy and Marilyn are renewing their vows for their anniversary, and their daughter Theresa brings her boyfriend Simon for them to meet. Unbeknownst to her parents, the kids plan to announce their engagement during the weekend. The Jones family is Black; Theresa neglects to tell them Simon is White. Race complicates Percy's general mistrust of any boyfriend, so he instigates an investigation of Simon, discovering he's recently lost his job and hasn't told Theresa. Mistrust rears its ugly head, and in the process of Theresa and Simon's argument, Marilyn and Percy fall out. What can the men do to cross the divide between each other and between men and women? Will anyone be exchanging vows?

Preps: Never seen this one, Ashton Kutcher can be heck of a player. Let's get us surprised

Reality: Well, Kutcher may be a strong cast in many movies, just not in this one, I can assure you. Here he's so average it makes me.. well, it leaves me cold, definitely. Tough guy on the outside, in the business world that freezes at her's parents. Yuk. So .. well, so american and predictable. The same way as all the other lame comedies, like the Fockers or any kind of movie that deals with a young spouse trying to impress partner's parents. I get it, you need to impress them. But for what price and at what limit. Sure you need to have a limit. And you cannot be a tough Naci in your business and a small puppy in your private.. or can you? I just think it's two so versatile poles that it cannot really happen up to this extention. In the movie, all the things that can go wrong with parent's intro to the young spouse, go wrong. And it's presented in such a disgusting, demolishing way. No way it can be real. I believe in many minutes this piece mocks the viewer and underestimates the intelligence of what you can see on screen, still being believable.

Let's think about this one as the decend Sunday afternoon piece, when you really have nothing in the world to do and all your friends are on vacation. Then, maybe, it might bring you a smile or two. It has some decent comedy in the dialogues. And some good music. However, some decent moments don't make a good movie.

My personal rating: 5,0
(could be somehow amusing, but you need to be keen on such comedies as the Fockers, mushy women comedies with romantic ends, will smith comedies. Could entertain you with some sparkles, but nothing really dazzling).

Guess Who on IMDB

Mar 13, 2011

Yogi Bear, 2010

Yogi Bear, 2010
Director: Eric Brevig
Cast (voices): Dan Aykroyd, Justin Timberlake, Anna Faris

Stage: Home theatre, 3D version?

Yogi in short: Jellystone Park is celebrating its 100 anniversary, however it may be for the last time, because attendance is down and Mayor Brown wants to close the park and sell the land. If the park is closed, Yogi Bear and Boo Boo will lose their home. They join forces with Ranger Smith to save Jellystone from closing forever. Yogi must really prove in this endeavor that he is "smarter than the average bear".

Preps: Well, I have seen several of the cartoons regarding Yogi and loved them. How about a movie? Usually it wrecks what you had pictured for something like this. But let me get my surprise.

Reality: Well, Yogi is Yogi. Wherever he goes, he's the same. Even in the movie, that doesn't resemble cartoon even from a long distance. All the scenes with Yogi should remain in the movie. Most of them superb and genuine, some a bit weird. All the scenes without Yogi in this case are plain stupid.The director must believe that the viewers are really limited and without any sense of humour or sense for reality. The underestimation of the viewer is huge and I feel truly stupid at some moments for watching this piece of s...

All comes back when Yogi steps in the field. Yes, this is the true sense I had for this cartoon when being a child. The voices, the humour, so genuine. Why do these people need to be around? The storyline is predictable, all the effects are .. well, on the level 1 - the movie could have been done so much better. Did they have a thin budget to go along with most of the studio filming? Where was the music? And someone to knock over the actors every time they really exaggerated at some move or some scenes? I am on one side, dissappointed and as said, would put all the "human" scenes out, but I am absolutely crazy about Yogi and Bubu. If you are a fan of that cartoon, watch it, because you will love the couple and hate all the rest.

My personal rating: 4,0 (looking it from a child's perspective and neglecting the influence of stupidity shown in the way adults are supposed to react.. well, take this away and it can be edible. But nothing beyond that. Fans from Yogi will remain fans. But the fan pool will not increase because of this movie, maybe even shorten).

Yogi on IMDB

Mar 12, 2011

The Bucket List, 2007

The Bucket List, 2007
Director: Rob Reiner
Cast: Morgan Freeman, Jack Nicholson

Stage: Home theatre

The Bucket List in short: Corporate billionaire Edward Cole and working class mechanic Carter Chambers have nothing in common except for their terminal illnesses. While sharing a hospital room together, they decide to leave it and do all the things they have ever wanted to do before they die according to their bucket list. In the process, both of them heal each other, become unlikely friends, and ultimately find the joy in life.

Preps: I have seen this once or twice, a good piece. Nicholson is the reason to make me watch it again. The same goes for Freeman. Nothing but energy could be deriving from these two.

Reality: Now, what is the thing you will do if you think or believe you only have six months to go? I have created some philosophical dilemmas prior to this post regarding several movies that play with the philosophy. The idea is strong and will make you think about how you indulge your everyday life and if you get out of it more than you give into it.

Where would you go, what would you do? The two newly fresh friends make a journey beyond the imagination. Every person in this world would go into something like this. The images are fascinating, the imagination goes wild when watching. But. Yes, there's always a but. You need loads of money to make this true. Billions of people can just remain dreaming about it. Therefore, beside giving crazy ideas about how you can invest into free time and the wonders of the world you can see.. well, it's definitely stunning. But all in all.. the idea, the thin red line of the movie as I see it, is make every day count.

The movie is filled with fresh, ironic approach, the true gift of Nicholson. Freeman ads somehow divine approach to coping with things and voila.. you have a perfectly watchable and pleasant piece. No sudden expectations, solid humour and a short trip around the world that will make you want to take it at once.

My personal rating: 7,0 ( a good piece that will make you rethink the way you lead your normal life. Needless to say, you don't need to wait for the deadly disease to make every day count).

The Bucket List on IMDB

Mar 9, 2011

The kids are allright, 2010

The kids are allright, 2010
Director: Lisa Cholodenko
Cast: Annette Benning, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo

Stage: Home theatre, almost HD :)

The kids in short: Nic and Jules are in a long term, committed, loving but by no means perfect relationship. Nic, a physician, needs to wield what she believes is control, whereas Jules, under that control, is less self-assured. During their relationship, Jules has floundered in her "nine to five" life, sometimes trying to start a business - always unsuccessfully - or being the stay at home mom. She is currently trying to start a landscape design business. They have two teen-aged children, Joni and Laser, Nic who is Joni's biological mother, and Jules who is Laser's biological mother. Although not exact replicas, each offspring does more closely resemble his/her biological mother in temperament. Joni and Laser are also half-siblings, having the same unknown sperm donor father. Shortly after Joni's eighteenth birthday and shortly before she plans to leave the house and head off to college, Laser, only fifteen and underage to do so...

Preps: I adore Moore and Benning, therefore two good reasons to see it. A family drama is a good description of the genre I would love to see again - in good shoes, I guess.

Reality: An excellent drama, bringing out all the devious stuff your children could think of when being raised and questioning themselves, who they are, who their parents are and what their role is.

The children want to know who the parents really are. Do they? Well, this movie brings a strong point to revealing these "secrets" at the early stage and not when they are teenagers. Lesbian relationship and motherhood is the second strong point, just waiting for the filmmaker to follow up on it. Philosophical dilemmas, really trying to pull through a perfect family. Even if it consists of two women that couldn't be more different in the way they perceive life, life choices, options, and the way they interact with everyday things or dilemmas.

Benning and Moore play an excellent role in this piece, firstly trying to seduce you with a perfect realistic way of living a normal life and afterwards complication when the biological father enters the premises. The children prove at this point their natural organic way of celebrating life as it is, with its ups and downs and accumulating or adopting to changes. On the other side, the older you get, the harder it is to change things from the way you used to cope with them to a newer, maybe even not necessarily better version. Therefore, a drama or a ironic comedy, filled with energy from the two ladies and every day scenes. You will find it really hard not to like this piece and easily to fill in the gaps that director left behind. As a woman, the perspective of dealing with things, the director of course puts in her perspective. I believe that a male director would not only see things quite differently, the movie would have a different course as a whole.

In some sense, the movie is also provocative. Can a lesbian family really (and I mean REALLY) function as a normal? What do the kids tell the others in school? It cannot be romantic like it is shown in the movie. But I leave this to the interpretation of the viewers. It was a thought that stroke me the most, while watching this.

My personal rating: 8,0 (a strong, feminine movie, still filling the gap with a guy and guy energy :)

The kids are allright on IMDB

While She Was Out, 2008

While She Was Out, 2008
Director: Susan Montford
Cast: Kim Basinger, Lukas Haas, Craig Sheffer

Stage: Home theatre, late TV selection on a Sunday evening

While she was out in short: Della Myers is an overwhelmed upper-middle-class housewife who lives in a large house in the suburbs with her twin children and her abusive husband, Kenneth. Kenneth lets Della know that he thinks she gives all her attention to the twins and neglects her house and her appearance. Late on Christmas Eve, Della drives to the local mall to buy gift-wrap. While searching for a parking space in the jam-packed lot, Della notices an old car taking up two spaces. Frustrated and annoyed, she decides to leave a paper message on the windshield of the old car, writing, "Hey, 'Jack'. How selfish can you be?" After the mall closes, Della's car is hold by the driver of the old car and she is threatened by four punks -- Chuckie, Huey, Vingh, and Tomás. When the security guard of the mall attempts to protect Della, he is shot and killed by Chuckie. Della tries to escape from the criminals in her truck, but the gang chases her...

Preps: Well, I see Basinger in the main window and I am curious. Haven't seen her in ages, so I need to do this again. I loved her in some elder romantic dramas or comedies like My stepmother is an alien. But who knows, what happens to the actors in decades. Let's find out.

Reality: Woooow, nothing good happens to the characters. Basinger definitely doesn't fit into the victim role, she isn't persuasive even to at least keep the level of my interest. Whatever she does in this role of a hurt wife that loses her mind, is plain stupid. Stupid character or stupidity of a nation? Or maybe leftovers in family affairs.. or similar wifes - hmm, I cannot make up my mind. Well, it's a tragedy, this movie, not by the genre, but by execution. I don't suppose I have anything really positive about it to say. The stage feels plastic, the dialogues are not really thought through. A lot of small mistakes you see in second rate movies. Different clothes being worn in same scenes, stage mixture so it is obvious it was filmed in a studio and not on site, different variations of the story make it stupid to look at,.. well, a whole bunch of stuff that annoys my eyes and would most definitely most of the viewers. Looks like noone had a second view of the movie once it was ended. Some ironic scenes lighten up the stage, but that's it. How about some sense before screening the next time, eh?

Nevertheless, the pressure, deriving from home affairs and anger, loss, abuse in family - those are real topics that I thought about while watching this stupid excuse for a movie. As a strong topic, it could be covered with a good movie. And there are several great pieces covering the topic of family affairs or dealing with pressure. Falling down is for instance one of them. Or maybe You will meet a tall dark stranger (just the one I saw last month). There are rules to be submerged to, when entering a family. We could call them also a family game with set of rules. If you don't follow, you will be struck eventually. And maybe lose your mind. Neglecting something that really bothers you or standing behind the scenes and hating your life - well, normalwise it can last for a while, but what happens after the curtain is up?

My personal rating: 3,0 (amusing up to a point, then plain stupidity runs all over me. Of the characters, of course. Save your time :)

While She Was Out on IMDB

Rango, 2011

Rango, 2011
Director: Gore Verbinski
Cast (voices): Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Timothy Olyphant

Stage: Local colloseum, row 7, late screening

Rango in short: Rango is an ordinary chameleon who accidentally winds up in the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost in the Wild West in desperate need of a new sheriff.

Preps: The newest hottest thing in our local cinemas. The kids going crazy about this. I don't know much about it, still waiting for a cartoon to catch my mind completely like How to train your dragon. Will this be it?

Reality: Well, first you take a bowl. And think about cool movies with Johnny Depp. Or cool cult movies, like Pulp Fiction. And some magic from Harry Potter. Stick it all in, mix it up and shake it, not stirr :)

Result - voila - Rango. Definitely an animated adult movie. Not much children can really take from this, but a whole wide range of stuff for the adults. OK, we have the fight between good and bad. But, to really phylosophically ask yourself, who you are and who you can become - pretty adult stuff to my knowledge. And furthermore, you get to see the remorsement period of a young chameleon, when he needs to buy his way out of his lies. It's pretty realistic, considering the facts you have stated in this movie. If you need to stand out, a way with rebuilding your image (or lying about it), could do the trick. Until the people realize it's all been a joke. And you are then mocked like you have never been before. One of the craziest and greatest ideas of the movie is definitely to stand and face the enemy (or a rival), no matter his size and no matter his backup. And in this glory there's a good chance you will get lucky and win. Apart from that, chasing the wrong thief seems to be the hot red line in the movie. Quite normal for our everyday life, I believe that many people could relate to this very much. Or chasing the wrong impression, the wrong thing (in this case, an empty bottle of what it was supposed to be water).

A substory in capitalism, bringing all the good of the world to more developed parties (Vegas, in this sense), on the account of poor and unimportant others, that cannot influence the decision of money stakeholders (mayor in this example). Lots of goodies for my brains to think about. Luckily I am not a child anymore, not in the thinking part, anyway. Children wouldn't find all these treasures in this piece.

It is packed in good music, good script and great performance. I can almost see Depp in the Pirates and I can smell Travolta in the Pulp Fiction. The snake and 3D movement, reminds me of Harry Potter. The characters remind me of old Disney stuff I was crazy about.

All in all it's a good piece, a good soup came out of this bowl. I think it could be considered as the animated version of the Pirates of Carribbean. In some sense, it really is. Depp really got his soul buried in this and makes an excellent dinner to dwell upon.

My personal rating: 7,5 (only because I think the piece could be more original. You will spend a lot of time thinking hmmmm, where have I seen this before? :) But a strong recommendation. One of better ones lately. And for sure it will rise the chameleon sales worldwide. As it did for the Ratatouille movie - with the rats)

Rango on IMDB