Archive for May, 2010
When Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), a fact checker and aspiring writer for the New Yorker and her fiance Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal) head to Italy for a pre-wedding honeymoon love is in the air. But, before long the two end up on different agendas and by total chance Sophie discovers the famed balcony where Juliet supposedly called to Romeo. At said balcony those with questions of love often write letters to Juliet and post them on a wall, similar to the way children write letters to Santa. The difference being, letters to Juliet are often answered by “the Secretaries of Juliet,” a group of women who gather each night to answer as many questions of love as possible. Intrigued, when Sophie discovers a long lost letter to Juliet, the opportunity to respond as one of the is hers for the taking. Surprisingly, her 50 year late response is just what Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) needed to return to Italy and find her lost love. With the help of Sophie and her grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan), Claire sets out to find her soul mate. But is she too late, how will Sophie and Charlie get along, and what of Sophie’s fiance?
A simple and predictable romantic dramedy with enough pathos to actually merit some attention. While the overall story telegraphs every twist and turn and leaves little room for the imagination, the acting between Redgrave and Seyfried is actually something to make note of and comes across as touching at several points. Cliche soundtrack choices could have been better picked and are almost a little insulting at times. Regardless, fans of romantic films might actually find something that isn’t too sickly sweet or trying too hard to be funny but instead an endearing story of never ending love. Perhaps a matinee. Letters to Juliet is rated PG.
Last we saw Iron Man Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) the world was in store for a new hero; one man that could clean up terrorism, take down evil doers worldwide, and single-handedly deliver world peace. But with great acts of heroism comes a price. Now with pressure from the government, other competitors, and personal medical issues, the narcissistic playboy hero must make new alliances in order to thwart the powers that be and stop the new threat of Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke). Vanko is a talented Russian physicist and son of one of the early inventors of the arc reactor, the technology that gives the Iron Man suit its power. And, what about the women in Tony’s life, how will his personal assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and legal assistant Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson) get along, and just what exactly are their motivations for staying so close?
Poised to kick off the summer blockbuster season Iron Man 2 offers plenty of bang for your buck in action sequences and cgi graphics. Performance wise, Downey Jr. continues on his streak of well played parts and has fun chemistry with Paltrow. Don Cheadle and Sam Rockwell add nice spice to the lineup as well; but, an underutilized Rourke leaves the viewer feeling perhaps a little less impressed in the villain department. Don’t get me wrong, Rourke is great in his role, I just wish we saw more of him. Other small roles played by Gary Shandling as a U.S. Senator, and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury also round things out nicely. From a screenplay perspective I’m sorry to say there’s not a lot of new material to work with here nor is there anything terribly inventive about how the events of this film play out. It does everything you expect of it, but not a lot else. Bottom line, fun, yes, inventive, no. Worth your dollar? If you liked the first one, you’ll probably enjoy this one too, and remember to sit through all the credits for an extra treat. Iron Man 2 is rated PG-13.
2009 Oscar winner for best foreign film, The Secret in Their Eyes is the story of Benjamin Esposito (Ricardo Darin), a recently retired federal justice agent who decides to write a book about an unsolved case that continues to bother him 25 years later. In the process of writing the novel Esposito convinces the secret love of his life and coworker Irene (Soledad Villamil) to give him all information regarding the sealed case. Digging further Esposito attempts to solve the case once and for all, perhaps as catharsis and perhaps as a way into the heart of Irene. Regardless of his intentions, life changing discoveries are about to be made.
Many moving parts in the screenplay keep this murder mystery romance thriller moving forward and the audience on edge right up until its satisfying end. Admittedly, things are a bit confusing at first; but, the further we are immersed in Esposito’s flashbacks and recounting of events, the better our understanding of the overall story arcs become. Meanwhile sharp acting also plays out nicely showing real depth to the characters as they age throughout the film. Truly a gem of melodrama and worth your time if you enjoy foreign film. The Secret in Their Eyes is rated R.