One Day – Movie Review

In One Day, Anne Hathaway is Emma, a British college graduate, who has a crush on Dexter (Jim Sturgess). On the day of their graduation on July 15th, 1988, Emma and Dex spend the night together and make a promise to catch up each year on that day to see where they both are in their lives and careers. One Day is a snapshot of 23 years in their relationship. Each scene in One Day is one particular year in the relationship of Emma and Dexter. Sometimes they spend the day together, other times they don’t. But they’re always on each other’s mind on that day.

Some might say that there’s simply too much gaps to be filled by such a premise. But the movie flows smoothly and doesn’t feel dragged out, mostly due to it being directed by the same man that brought the world An Education in 2009: Lone Scherfig. Instead of filling in the dull details and making this a three hour movie, Scherfig alludes to what happened in the year that past with each subsequent scene. Say Emma got an advance to write a book, you find the book already published in the next frame of the movie and so on and so forth.

One Day can be divided into three parts with each part representing a phase of the relationship between Dex and Emma. The first two thirds are closer in structure to each other than they are to the third even though the movie ends up wrapping up perfectly, with a little nice bow to top it all off.

Anne Hathaway as Emma tries her best to be British in the movie and for the entire length of it, she somehow pulls it off. Sure, there are moments where the role escapes her but in the grand picture, this is not the case. Hathaway is, really, a great actress. And for her role in Emma, although it feels a little restrained at times, possibly due to the nature of the character, her performance is still nuanced and emotive. You can see her showcase the struggles and the life of Emma and at times she manages to do so brilliantly. It’s definitely not her best work, however, but one cannot but see the true potential Hathaway brings to any movie she is part of. She is one of those rare actresses that have managed to escape the frame set for them by their debut Disney movie and transcended into giving the world great cinematic features. The best is yet to come from her.

Jim Sturgess, with Dexter to play with, is confident and charming as his character should be. But the moments he truly shines in delivering are those where, despite the strong exterior of Dexter, you can feel the sadness build inside him: the sadness of not reaching his desired goals in life, the sadness of losing his mother, the sadness of seeing Emma slip away, etc…

Sturgess and Hathaway nail their parts in One Day. Perhaps it would have been easier to bring British actors and actresses to do this movie. But what fun would that be? One Day is a quirky movie about a life. To have it be as authentic as possible, somehow perfect dialect would have rendered the movie less effective.

One Day is a realistic movie of a friendship. If you seek escapism in your movies, this is not the movie for you. The characters don’t always get to their goals in life and in their relationships. They don’t get to see each other whenever they want. There’s disappointment. But there’s also fulfillment. There are moments of sadness. But there are also moments of sheer happiness. Ultimately, the movie is similar to all our lives: we are but a collection of memories, some that fade away and others that are worth holding on to.

8/10

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Batman: The Dark Knight Rises – Teaser Poster

If you’re half as excited as I am for the upcoming Christopher Nolan Batman movie, then you must be very, very excited. Add a couple of very’s to that and you’d feel what I’m feeling. After all, how epic was The Dark Knight?

Set for a July 20, 2012 release, The Dark Knight Rises has had its teaser poster released and it is full of destruction in Gotham City. And based simply on this and the premise that with any Nolan movie, to get a city destroyed like this, he takes you on a roller coaster ride, then we’re in for one great cinematic experience.

“The Dark Knight Rises” will again star Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne (Batman), Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox and Michael Caine as Alfred. The film also stars Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard. A star studded cast that will surely work in favor of this movie.

Now, enough with the talking. Check out the poster:

Upcoming 2011 Movies To Be Excited About

I’ve come up with a list of ten movies coming up in 2011 that you should definitely be excited about:

10 – Larry Crowne:

Don’t judge me but I can’t help but be excited about a movie that has Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks.

9 – Transformers 3: Dark Side Of The Moon

Sure, it’s already a financial hit, a week before its release, but as someone who was thouroughly entertained by the first two Transformers movies and even though Megan Fox will not be present in this one (sadness), I expect this to be one of the biggest movies of 2011, at least financially. And if you’ve liked the first two, this one should be a no-brainer for you to go watch.

8 – Crazy Stupid Love:

Emma Stone: “Damn, it’s like you’re photoshopped” *insert lots of laughter* —> *googles release date*

7 – Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows

I have really enjoyed the first Sherlock Holmes movie and hopefully the sequel delivers as well.

6 – One Day:

Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess spend the night of their college graduation together and throughout the years, they revisit each other to see where they are in their lives. Based on the trailer, this looks like it’ll be a very interesting movie.

5  – The Tree Of Life:

This movie has been very polarizing. So I have no idea what to make of it. But it was one the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Festival, so it must be good enough, no?

4 – Where Do We Go Now?

The new Nadine Labaki Lebanese movie. Set for a September 22nd release in Lebanon, this is probably one of the most hyped about Lebanese movies this year. It doesn’t hurt that some of it was filmed in my hometown.

3 – A Dangerous Method:

A movie with Keira Knightley, Vigo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender about Freud? I’m there. Just watch the trailer. The movie looks brilliant!

2 – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo:

Just finished the book upon which this movie is based and it’s a highly entertaining read. Set for a late 2011 release, the movie stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara and, even though no trailer has been released yet, judging by the movie’s poster, this will be great.

1 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

This should be a no brainer. Epic trailer. The movie is based on an epic book and it’s the conclusion of the series that was an important part of the upbringing of millions.

Rio – Movie Review

If you want to go for a 90 minutes movie that will give you a blast then Rio is the movie for you.
With the voice talents of Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and Anne Hathaway (she doesn’t need any introductions, right?), Rio is a very, very fun animated movie.

Blu is a blue macaw parrot who gets caught while still very young and is shipped to the United States where, by an act of fate, the truck his box is on gets hit and his box drops off. Linda, a little girl, finds Blu and takes care of him for the next fifteen yes. The two become inseparable, the best of friends and Linda becomes as dependent on Blu as he is on her.
However, soon enough, Tulio, a scientist, shows up to Linda’s bookstore and tells her they have found a female counterpart for Blu, the last existent male of his species and that they need to fly him down to Rio so both birds can mate.
Linda reluctantly agrees… but Rio De Janeiro is a hostile place, especially for a rare bird like Blu and it is there that the story unfolds.

Jesse Eisenberg does not stray away from The Social Network’s nerdy Mark Zuckerberg persona in this but he is quite awesome as Blu. I daresay, it’s good for him The Social Network was released before Rio because I’m sure we would have all pictured him as the blue bird instead of Zuckerberg had it been the other way around.

Anne Hathaway displays, yet again, amazing versatility even though only her voice-over skills are put to the test in Rio. Her voice adapts extremely well to the flirty, yet resilient bird Jewel.

You will also hear the vocal talents of Leslie Mann, Black Eyed Peas’ frontman Will.i.am, Jamie Foxx, George Lopez…

All in all, Rio is a movie that will entertain you without asking too much mental involvement on your part. It’s hilarious, sentimental and beyond a doubt authentic.

The Oscars Debrief

This year’s award season to celebrate the high quality 2010 movies is over. The Academy has spoken and The King’s Speech is the big winner.

The ceremony opened up with a very funny bit of montage with this year’s hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway, doing acting bits in the Best Picture nominated movies. We were able to watch them be part of Inception, The Social Network, True Grit, The King’s Speech, etc… and it was quite awesome. Anne Hathaway had some awesome lines, notably when, during her “role” in The King’s Speech she says: “we come from the future with good news… we have smaller microphones” or when she freaks out Natalie Portman in Black Swan as the green duck.

And then they started their opening segment which was very dull apart from a couple Hathaway lines about how it’s been a great year for lesbians and how getting naked isn’t enough anymore to warrant a best actress nomination, taking a stab at herself for her mostly nude movie Love and Other Drugs.

Soon after that, Tom Hanks came on to present the first two awards of the night, Art Direction (Alice in Wonderland won) and Cinematography (Inception).

Then, Kirk Douglas came up to present Supporting Actress and I honestly thought it was torture. He kept pushing on the nominees’ buttons and it was pretty interesting to see them getting prepared for the results only to see him divert the subject elsewhere. Melissa Leo won this, as expected, although many had predicted an upset (myself included). Melissa Leo then a very horrible acceptance speech where she dropped the F-word, only to become the night’s go-to joke about acceptance speeches. Literally, everyone who won something referenced her in his acceptance speech.

Melissa Leo

However, soon enough, it began to look like The King’s Speech was not going to own the night as many had predicted. The race was as close as it can be. Soon enough, even Alice in Wonderland had two Oscars.

Supporting Actor went to Christian Bale, as was pretty much expected. So if anyone believes the combination of a Screen Actors Guild Award and Golden Globe doesn’t make you a lock for an Oscar win, this night proved you wrong. The “weakest” frontrunners in the acting categories came out unscathed and victorious.

In the meantime, Anne Hathaway continued a pretty overzealous and energetic hosting job by dressing up as man and taking a stab as Hugh Jackman (Or Huge Jackass as she named him) by singing and dancing about it. And just when you thought she dwarfed Franco beyond measure, he comes up on stage in pink drag. That was probably his most memorable moment. He just looked like he didn’t want to be there.

Anne Hathaway Singing At The Oscars

Continuing with the awards, Inception received both Sound-related awards, to raise its total to three, leading the night. The Social Network scored two quick wins for Best Original Score and Best Adapted Screenplay, as expected.

Then there was a bunch of awards for short films most of us hadn’t watched. Oprah then presented the award for Best Documentary. Inside Job won. I thought Oprah looked dead tired.

Documentary was soon followed by the nerve-wracking Film Editing. It has become known that the movie that wins Film Editing is the favorite to win Best Picture. And in a night where the combination of the awards handed out so far didn’t single out a clear frontrunner, this award looked like it might seal the deal. The Social Network won this and adding to its Adapted Screenplay and Original Score, it looked like we might have a Social Network sweep – again.

Russell Brand and Helen Mirren presented Best Foreign Language Film and Helen Mirren came across yet again as a superb class act by addressing the audience in fluent French. All hail to the queen!

For you animation lovers, this year’s animation phenomenon Toy Story 3 went home with the gold, winning two Oscars, one for Best Animated Feature and the second one for Best Original Song.

Speaking of Best Original Song, there were four performances, the highlight of which was A.R. Rahman and Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine singing “If I Rise”. It was a chills-inducing performance and the song deserved to win. Gwyneth Paltrow sang nominated song “Coming Home” from her latest movie “Country Strong” and I thought she did well. Randy Newman, the writer of Toy Story’s theme song “We Belong Together” mentioned how weird it was not to have a fifth song nominated. And I agree with this. “There’s A Place For Us” by Carrie Underwood for the movie Chronicles of Narnia deserved a nomination.

Later on, Inception reclaimed its title for top movie of the night by earning its fourth Oscar for Visual Effects, a much deserved win – although my heart also wanted Harry Potter to snag its first Academy Award. Which reminds me, The Wolfman won for best makeup. And I thought it was an abomination how this movie gets to flaunt an Academy Award and the whole Harry Potter series has none. Having said that, Deathly Hallows Part 2 better bring it at next year’s Oscars!

Speaking of Harry Potter, there was a funny segment as well about how “musicals” have been an important part of the business this part year. The segment comprised of dialogue parts from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, The Social Network and Twilight, among other movies, transformed into song. I thought it was pretty cool, actually.

And since it’s not the Oscars without a proper “In Memoriam” segment, Celine Dion sang a beautiful rendition of “Smile” to a montage of the pictures of industry people that have left us, commemorating their memory.

Continuing with James Franco still looking like he’d rather be anywhere but the Oscars, we get to the final and most important stretch of the night. The last four awards: Director, actor, actress and picture.

Director comes up. Drumroll, please… and what do you know, it’s our first major upset of the night. Presented by last year’s undeserving winner Kathryn Bigelow (yes, I think The Hurt Locker is such an overrated movie!) Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech overtakes David Fincher for The Social Network, who looked like a frontrunner for this category. Tom Hooper delivered a remarkable speech, telling the story of how if it weren’t for his mother, The King’s Speech wouldn’t have been made. I have to say, British people make the best acceptance speeches. This win, however, brings us back to square zero in our movie frontrunner race. Best Picture is back up for grabs.

The Best Actress category was announced by last year’s Best Actor winner, Jeff Bridges. And honestly, I much preferred last year’s nominees introduction. It just seemed so bland and rushed this year around, like they simply wanted to get it over with. These are five women who gave it their all to be where they were, at least give them the decency of properly introducing them. I still get goosebumps when remembering how Stanley Tucci introduced the great Meryl Streep and how Oprah introduced newcomer Gabourey Sidibe last year… No surprise here, however, Natalie Portman won this. She acted surprised and I thought it wasn’t that credible. Sure, you’re happy and all but come on, you’ve seen this one coming since December. It’s not like Jennifer Lawrence or Michelle Williams or even Annette Bening had a late moment surge in votes. She looked very pregnant and gave a pretty boring speech. I was thankful she did not mention her “sexual activities” with her fiance but she enumerated too many names than I care to remember. Last year’s speech by sweetheart Sandra Bullock beats this by a country mile!

Contrast it with this:

Then it was time for yet another expected category with Best Actor. We all knew Colin Firth was going to win this, but what made the category extra-special was Sandra Bullock’s introduction of the nominees. She walked the line between seriousness and humor so meticulously. She radiated with confidence. I think she should host next year’s Oscars. She is just all kinds of awesome! So yeah, Colin Firth won. He opened up his speech about how he might have hit “the apex of [his] career” and then his speech became another snooze-fest. You’d think after all the rehearsals in the movie he won for and the fact that he is British and it’s in their genes to deliver awesome acceptance speeches, he’d do a better job.

And then it was time for the moment of truth. Which movie would turn out a winner out of the two that are seriously left battling it out?

The King’s Speech came out triumphant, bringing its total to four Oscars, tying it with Inception for first place. The whole cast and producers came on stage, a speech I did not care about ensued.

Following The King’s Speech “expected” win, the P.S. 22 Chorus closed the night with their rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, the winners joined them on stage. And we’re out people!

All in all, I felt last year’s Oscars had more prestige. I thought they didn’t give the movies nominated for Best Picture their due. Each movie had a segment introducing it last year. This time around, the movies were parodied and barely mentioned when their category came up. Maybe the Academy personnel should care about delivering a better ceremony show suitable for the Oscars than a show to attract young viewers?

 

Love And Other Drugs – Review

Love And Other Drugs, aka one of the most hated movies of the year. But unlike the overall opinion regarding this movie, I actually loved it!

Love And Other Drugs stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Jamie, an ADD son of a doctor, who doesn’t want to follow in his dad’s footsteps, so he gets a job as a pharmaceutical sales rep for Pfizer, the company that later on brought the world Viagra. While trying to sell his company’s drug, he meets Maggie, the character portrayed by Anne Hathaway. Maggie has an early onset of Parkinson’s and this where the story starts.

The movie is very life-like. It’s about commerce (trying to sell drug to doctors who can be bought by gifts and schmoozing), ambition and ultimately love. Aren’t those things what life is all about? You have ambition to basically set a name for yourself. This ambition will lead you to make good money, fall in love and raise a family. This is where the life-like approach comes from.

Each one of the main characters of this movie has their own journey. Jamie’s path is to grow out of the careless womanizer that he is into a man. And Maggie’s growth revolves around trust in people, to let go of her own secure but fragile little world and let go.  Jake Gyllenhaal is heartfelt, engaging in his portrayal of Jamie. He draws you in and makes the character very likable. But the true star here is Anne Hathaway.

Anne Hathaway has very much grown since her The Princess Diaries days. And if the first hour of movie, which is basically sex, is not convincing enough, she blows you away (no pun intended) with the emotions she gets across in the second half. It’s not hard (again no pun intended) to like her in any movie that she does, be it the drug addict in Rachel Getting Married or as the sick woman in this one. Her embodiment of a Parkinson’s patient is very good. The tremors she makes, the way she lives the disease… it is all done with the right touch of credibility. And this is coming from a person who has lived firsthand with someone with Parkinson’s. The struggle to get the drugs, the disappointment when she discovers she forgot to refill her prescription… you live the movie and the character through Maggie’s eyes, predicting what she’ll do next: will she open up to Jamie or will she remain secluded? Will she let herself truly live or will she just keep in going by? It’s a multi-layered character, delivered brilliantly. And I’m not ashamed to say I prefer this performance over Annette Bening’s performance in The Kids Are All Right.

There’s one particular scene involving a vodka bottle that is very haunting. You can’t but feel sorry for her character at that point.

Some say that the nudity is unnecessary, especially with the amount it is in this movie. I disagree. The sex scenes in this movie are the vehicle by which these two characters communicate and get to know each other. Relationships usually start the other way around. This is not the case here. Instead of having their minds do the talking, their bodies do.

Moreover, you feel at times that the plot can be taken to an extra level. Sometimes, it feels as if the script could have used an extra draft to make this movie into one that could have actually been a very strong contender at this year’s award season. Some scenes are dispensable and very Hollywood-like cliche, in a movie that is not very cliche. An extra revision would have probably tied those scenes up and delivered a truly great movie.

To finish this up, I prefer Love And Other Drugs over all the other  movies in the Motion Picture – Comedy nomination at the Golden Globes. It’s not for all tastes. But I loved it.