No More I Love Yous (Movie Thoughts: I Love You Both)

jTcdvA pair of twins fall for the same guy. With that premise, Doug Archibald’s ‘I Love You Both’ could have gone to the very predictable. But Archibald, who also star in the film, injects some unexpected emotions in here that while the film is imperfect, it cuts a different slice from an ordinary cake. It helps. perhaps that he stars with his real-life fraternal twin, Kristin Archibald, so there’s instant chemistry there. It also helps that it is indie, and they can more or less have more freedom in what they present here. There are a lot of things unsaid here that seem to resonate more than the dialogue – a glance, a pivot of a hand, a walk away. You feel like you went inside the hearts and souls of these two characters.

Here Comes The Sun (Perfume Thoughts, Sun di Gioia , Giorgio Armani)

nd.36600Summer Solstice is this week, and it’s the worst time of the year for me, living in the desert.  The average high temperature has been on the triple digits, so I am in a scent rut – mostly rummaging through colognes that are light and cool.  But then I was at Sephora and I saw Sun di Gioia, and it sparked my interest. I am always on the look out for sun scents, aside from the suntan lotion based ones and citrussy colognes. This seemed promising, promising floral notes like freesia, frangipani and ylang ylang.  And at first blast it does was nice – heavy but not overbearing. The florals are there, and it has a faded quality – smelling like you have spritzed something and is now faint and sunned-in. I must admit it’s very different from your usual summer scents, and was appealing to me. I like that it’s heavy-ish and screams PERFUME. I found myself sniffing my arm where I sprayed it, and now I want it. There was a time I was madly in love with the original women’s Acqua di Gio, it became a sort-of signature scent of mine in the late 90s. Maybe it’s time for me to use the House of Armani again.

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner (Film Thoughts: Beatriz At Dinner)

BEATRIZ_046-e1497039599437One of the blurbs used for ‘Beatriz at Dinner’ is the quote: “The first great film of the Trump era,” and while that may be true or not, there are a lot of things in this film that says things about the times we live in right now. Salma Hayek plays Beatriz here, a massage therapist/healer who gets ‘stranded’ at her rich client’s mansion in Orange County, California. She gets invited for dinner at said client, Kathy’s and her husband (Connie Britton and David Warshofsky) We then see right away that Beatriz is out of place once the guests arrive. One one side are members of The Real Housewives of Orange County, and on the other rich mogul husbands. Beatriz thinks she recognizes one of them, Douglas Strutt, (John Lithgow) a ruthless real estate developer who destroys natural habitats for hotel and golf courses, hunts in Africa, and is merciless – reminds you of someone yet? The vagueness here is not really masked, and we get to see the good and the bad. But there are no angels here – Beatriz is pushy and talks out of turn, and is passionate about what she believes in:  everything that Strutt doesn’t. There is a delicious mouse and cat play between Hayak and Lithgow, and whose side you take depends on whether you are deplorable or not. There are some big things to think about here –  greed,  politics, nature, even good manners and social etiquette. The ending is a bit strange, but not unreal, and I wish it was more ambiguous, so viewers can be left thinking, not seething. This is a great little film with big things to say.

They Built A Zoo (Film Thoughts: The Zookeeper’s Wife)

large_zookeepers_wife‘The Zookeeper’s Wife,’ directed by Nick Caro from Diane Ackerman’s non-fiction book. It’s the story of Jan and Antonina Zabinski, who hid Jewish ‘guests’ at their zoo during the war. They had more than three hundred guests during the time and all but two survived.

The film is gorgeous to look at, which makes the difficult scenes depicting the horrors of war more vivid and true.  The scene with Antonina and her animals may be a bit too cutesy, but it helps send the message across. Jessica Chastain is good, but I felt some ofd the scenes were too Oscar bait-y, as if she is begging for some kind of recognition. I found Daniel Bruhl more effective – eerily sexy and at the same time scary, as the Nazi zookeeper from Berlin. There were some confusing parts in the middle here, but the latter parts was poignant and wraps up the film effectively. I wish it had just a little bit more passion – at times it feels very tempered and tame. I find myself still contemplating, after all these years, all the damages the Second World War brought to a lot of people.

Breaking Bread (Movie Thoughts: The Dinner)

dinner_ver2_xlgDirected by Owen Moverman, ‘The Dinner’ is an overlong and exasperating film.  I found myself so bored by it, never connected with any of its characters – loathed almost all of them, actually – and couldn’t wait for it to end. Even the food in the film (most of the time a saving grace) was annoying/ I really can’t find anything too mice to say about this. And that is weird considering I like most of the cast – Richard Gere, the luminescent Laura Linney, Rebecca Hall and Steve Coogan. Centered around a family breaking bread discussing a tragic event involving their kids, it takes too long for us to understand what is really going on – everyone keeps on avoiding the issue – so we are left feeling frustrated and, in the end, no longer caring. Plus, the movie clocks in at 120 minutes, and those feel like long long minutes. Rarely do I feel like my time is truly wasted watching a film, and this is one of those instances.

A Parisian Summer (Film Thoughts: Paris Can Wait)

large_paris_can_waitI am happy that in your local Cineplex between all the summer movies of superheroes and action sequences, there exists a film like ‘Paris Can Wait.’  This film, directed by Eleanor Copolla (Francis Ford’s wife) is, like your average summer movie, a whole lot of nothing. But with its French scenery, French food, and French suitor in the way of Aurnaud Viard, it just seems a lot more sophisticated and worldly. And in the summer heat feels like a great reftreshing creme brulee.

Diane Lane frames the whole film as Anne, a housewife of a movie producer (Alec Baldwin, barely here) who spends her time in his shadow. While at Cannes Film Festival, she develops an earache which prevents her from flying to Budapest with her husband. Instead one of his associated, Jacques (Viard) drives her to Paris. The film then becomes a glamorous road movie, as the normally day trip stretched to two, and along the way, they both explore the French regions, from Aix en Provence to Lyon, weaving through restaurants and museums and Roman aqueducts.  To me it’s all interesting, with the shots of fresh lavender fields, and mouth-watering food. I was very much enchanted by all of it, as we see all this through Anne’s eyes. Is Jacques an opportunist French man or is he just plain French?  The film will not let you spoil its romantic premise, but then why would you want it to? This is a film of moonlights and slow dances, and sometimes on a Summer afternoon it’s as much as an escape as a space battle. Maybe even better.

The Heart of The Heartland (Movie Thoughts: Heartland)

DVD_Amaray_Template.qxdThere have been so many films about gay people wherein they have to hide their love, and I am always a sucker for them, even if sometimes the film isn’t so good.  Maura Anderson’s film, ‘Heartland’ isn’t bad but it really does not offer anything new. Lauren took care of her ailing partner, and because of this, has to live back in the house of her homophobic mother.  This is Oklahoma, so we don’t even realize this is the case because there’s a prevailing sense that all of this would be kept under the rug. Enter her brother and his wife (Aaron Leddick and Beth Grant) who come into town to start a wine marketed towards a midwest market. And Lauren, after hanging out twice with Carrie (the wife) begin to develop feelings. I don’t know if I was really convinced about that transition, but sure why not. And you can already imagine what comes next after the two women kiss. Yes, I couldn’t help but get touched when the love that could not speak its name really couldn’t, but maybe that’s just from automatic reactions when I see love repressed. I don’t know if anyone else will have the same reaction. Anderson’s film has a low-key vibe that may turn off some viewers but it was just fine for me.