The Newness Of You (Movie Thoughts: Newness)

1200x630bbThere were a couple of things that excited me about this movie. First of all, it is directed by Drake Doremus, whose last movie, ‘Like Crazy,’ I loved. (He even dedicates this movie ‘For Anton,’ presumably because he starred in that movie) Second, this stars Nicholas Hoult, who is one of my favorite young actors working today. And, this film has been dubbed as the ‘Tindr movie,’ because the whole premise is about a couple who meets on a similar dating app (It’s called Winx in the film) and how that affects and changes dating and relationships in this day and age.

The answer is that, of course, it is a different world out there and at the same time the core values of what we want from a relationship really define how successful it will be. I thought this was a very interesting film, and what it has to say really depends on how you view relationships. It is anchored by realistic performances by Hoult and Laia Costa. But it goes on a bit too long, and at times the film feels like friends of yours who can never decide about their relationships, and the constant are-they-on or are-they-off tugs feel tiresome after a while. But, like it or not, this film shows how the world is today, and explores how we find love and how we keep them.

Love Is Everything (Movie Thoughts: Everything Everything)

Sometimes, a film surprises you. In the best possible way. I didn’t see this film because for some reason I thought this had a sci-fi angle but this is exactly the kind of popcorn romantic drama I crave. This is ‘The Boy In The Plastic Bubble’ but more than that this is ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ with all the non-subtleties: She wears all while, he wear all black. There’s even two rooms across from each other, and she even has a nurse.

And even as I acknowledge big holes in the story, I will also be the first person to say that the story, the characters got me hook, line, and sinker.

And it’s all because of the actors who play the lovers – Madeline, as played by Amanda Stenberg and Nick Robinson as Ollie. They are two charming actors who bring a lot of charm to their roles. I always say even the most clíched characters if played by great actors will be believable. I believed. There are details in the end that will make you roll eyes but at that point you will probably too invested with these characters, and you will just go along.

If you are a hopeless romantic, like myself, this will make you remember your first love. Like what Madeline writes in the film: Love  is Everything.

Hot In Hong Kong (Movie Thoughts: Already Tomorrow In Hong Kong)

downloadFinally, a love story.  That’s what I said when I started watching ‘Already Tomorrow In Hong Kong,’ starring real-life couple Bryan Greenberg and Emily Chang. Directed by Emily Teng, this movie is basically a formula – two people meet and have a connection, but…( You know the drill.) This has been done before, most famously in Richard Linklater’s ‘Before’ series starring Ethan Hawke and Julia Delpy. This film borrows from that, but with a global twist. What would make the film really work will depend upon the chemistry of the two leads. Thankfully, Greenberg and Chung here have great easy breezy chemistry. Just look at the way they look at each other, particularly Greenberg. He has this look of love and lust on his face, and at any second he seems like he is ready to devour her. Chung has a cool chick vibe, but you can see that underneath it all she is vulnerable and smitten. Yes, I do wish that the script had a little more depth, so we could have gotten to know the characters a wee bit more. But I did not feel shortchanged at all – their passion with and for each other showed. I have mixed feelings about the ending, though. On one hand, they probably thought it was brave of them to have a non-resolution, but it just felt gimmicky, and one that has already been done numerous times. I have to say, though, hat I never thought Hong Kong to be a romantic city, but there it is here, they made the city look like it would be full of romantic possibilities (and why not indeed) If you have room in your heart for romance, try this one for size – it even serves a side of dim sum. Yum!



So In Love (Movie Thoughts: Carol)

index“Carol” opens as Carol Aird (Cate Blanchette) meets Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) while shopping for a doll for her daughter. It’s a random kind of moment, and this film is much too serious for a “meet-cute” scene. But you know there’s more to the meeting, because as Carol looks away, she looks back at Therese, and Therese catches her eye. The look back test – there’s nothing more dangerous, more passionate than that. It’s a prelude to love, and you better believe it.

But this is still the 50s, and loving someone of the same sex is frowned upon, and we see Carol and Therese do a cautious dance, until they eventually go to lunch, and fall in love. Todd Haynes, the director, does this is a very slow manner and I have to confess I thought the pace was deadly slow. But this is a melodrama, and like a Douglas Sirk outing, we get the dramatic complications: Carol’s husband won’t let her go, and uses their daughter as a pawn – there’s even a private detective scene that is kind of corny by today’s standards. Blanchette and Mara give quiet integrity to their roles that you don’t care – you just take it, and everything is instantly believable. If I had to take a pick between the two performances, I will pick Mara’s : it’s Hepburn-esque and more subtle than Blanchette’s more showy performance. But what I find most magnificent about this movie is that it accurately shows that feeling of being in love, as very few movies nowadays are able to convey that. This is love with a Capital L : it’s soaring, it’s deep, it hits you square in your chest. If you have ever been in love (I mean, let’s face it, we all have) you will find yourself identifying with what these characters are feeling.

Folks’ Folk (Movie thoughts: Jackie & Ryan)

3910193032-283x400Didn’t I just enjoy a Katherine Heigl film (Jenny’s Wedding) and now here she is again  on “Jackie And Ryan,” and she is giving another enjoyable performance. In this movie, she plays Jackie, a former recording artist, who, because of an ongoing divorce battle,  is now living in Ogden Utah. She meets Ryan, a member of that community of musicians who travel from city to city, carrying their lives in a bag. The movie is a sweet little love story, and sometimes that is all you need. Gorgeous folk music (by Nick Hans) permeates the film, giving it tone and mood that frames their story. Ben Barnes, as Ryan, is fantastic, carrying this mood with him, and infusing it with charm. Director Ami Cannan Mann may or may not be invoking the movie ‘Once” but for better or worse, this film mirror’s that movie’s vibe.

Love In The Afternoon (Film Thoughts: 5 To 7)

thyImagine if Woody Allen today were still writing love stories. What you would get would be very similar to “5 to 7.” This is a movie that was made for someone like me – it tells of a love story that any other person would think would be doomed from the start: a young man gets infatuated with an older married French woman. When she first meets him, she says she is only available to meet from 5 to 7 pm, which is a code for her wanting just an affair. he is hesitant at first, but acquiesces to the set up, and the rules. This film captures that feeling when someone just falls in love, and throws caution to the wind, and just dives in that pool, not caring, not thinking five steps ahead. You know you are going to be hurt, you can practically taste the hurt, but still, nothing compares to the euphoria of being in love. We have all been there. It wouldn’t take a genius to tell where this love story is headed, but it gets there so beautifully, in a poetic, romantic, heady kind of way. I was enchanted, I felt ever single scene of this movie. Anton Yelchin, as Brian, will make you remember that feelingof love, and he engages you in his love instantly.  This is also for me, a New York film. the city and its inhabitants are a separate character here. It made me miss it, it made me want to fly right now and sit t a bench by Central Park. I can’t remember the last time a film really touched me, and I hope this film means as much to you. Please see it.

Top Heavy (BookThoughts: Guys On Top, Darien Cox)

guysontopLove stories – they all are basically one and the same, aren’t they? The joy in reading about them is how one gets to a point and overcome obstacles.  Darien Cox gives little details that make “Guys On Top” more enjoyable than your run-of-the-mill MM romance,he sets up the Boston suburb pretty vividly,  but I am still a little turned off by the gratuitous sex scenes – this is just me, by the by, because I know most people enjoy that. More emotions and less physicality for me, please!