December 31, 2013.

This blog is now closed. After three years and 311 posts, I have decided to end this blog. I have enjoyed watching the films, reviewing them, and interacting with global readers.

If you are interested in contacting me, you can do so by commenting on any of the posts. The blog will remain live on the web.
Thank you to all the readers for your comments, ideas, and thoughts. They were helpful, stimulating, and enriching. This is Alene, signing off.

December 19, 2011

Love Actually (2003)

When it's over, what's not to love about Love Actually, one of my Christmas favourites.  The stories inter-weave brilliantly featuring a well-known British cast and some new faces then, who are no longer new faces today.  The soundtrack's catchy and perfectly placed within the film making me cry through the sad moments and laugh through the comedic ones.  Most of all, it's just a feel-good film that truly lasts the test of time.  Love is the obvious theme throughout the film, and Director/Writer, Richard Curtis, cleverly explores the many facets of love - how it begins,  how it ends, and sometimes, how we endure the pain.  By far, one of the best romantic comedies to deal with this theme that covers varying ages and social levels. 

My rating: 5 out of 5

December 15, 2011

Drive (2011)

When it's over, silence says a lot. There isn't much dialogue in this small independent film, especially for actor Ryan Gosling, who plays the Driver in a story about a part-time stunt performer, slash mechanic, slash getaway driver, who finds a price on his head when a heist goes sour. Gosling does a solid job without saying much. The script purposely called for a scarcity of words, which in the beginning of the film, seemed oddly strange, but Gosling manages to convey through his body language so much more than words ever could have. In many ways, the silence helps shape the Driver's personality by defining his flaws, his loneliness, and at times, his violent tendencies. I really liked the look and feel of this film. By using costumes, retro music, and set design, Danish Director, Nicolas Winding Refn, has created a stylish neo-noir film that consists of a unique blend of sleaze and corruptness in modern day Los Angeles reminiscent of cult classics such as Bullitt (1968) and To Live and Die in L.A (1985). The neon credits in the beginning and end is a nice touch and adds to the overall look of the film. There's great camerawork and editing which keeps the story on track and heightens the tension between a well casted list of characters portrayed by Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Bryan Cranston, and Ron Pearlman.

My rating : 4 out of 5

December 4, 2011

Bridesmaids (2011)

When it's over, this was one raunchy comedy that actually had some heart.  Annie's (Kristin Wiig) best friend is getting married, and although Annie's overjoyed by the prospect of her friend's happiness, she can't help but feel inadequate by her own misfortunes and another bridesmaid's attempt at stealing her role as Maid of Honour.  Although the film is a romantic comedy, and there's plenty over the top laughs, I think the film offers a lot more than meets the eye.  I think it addresses a lot of issues women struggle with in today's fast-paced world of relationships, friendships, and the allure of what money can and cannot buy.  The theme of finding Mr. Right and when you do find Mr. Right, are you willing to take a leap of faith and put yourself on the line, as Annie struggles to answer when she meets Officer Nathan Rhodes?  Or the theme of  jealousy of what you desire but do not have and the envy of other people's good fortune, as Annie and Helen struggle with.  Insecurity is another theme that underlies the film.  The insecurity of losing a best friend, the insecurity of not having any friends, and the insecurity of being left behind when you feel life isn't going the way you had expected, as each character feels in their own personal way.  I think the character of Megan (played by Melissa McCarthy) said it best when she told Annie that Annie was the creator of her own problems, and it was Annie who had the power to fix them.  Forgiveness, Acceptance, Courage round out the themes that make Bridesmaids a fun, feel-good journey. 

My rating: 3.5 out of 5