WHEN IN ROME…

TO ROME WITH LOVE (2012)
3 out of  5 stars

This is yet another ensemble romantic comedy, this time brought to you by Woody Allen, set in the city of Rome. There are four main stories and though I mostly watched because of Jesse Eisenberg, I quite like the story of the young couple taking their honeymoon in Rome.

Eisenberg’s story arc can be quite confusing at first, but as it progresses, you realize the tongue-in-cheekness of it. Well, don’t we all wish there was a voice in our head that could guide us along even though we know we would most likely ignore that voice. It’s good in the sense that it really helps to expose the posers around you – take heed!

As mentioned, I liked the story of the young couple because it was one of the funniest – aside from the opera singer in the shower. Alessandra Mastronardi is really classy and beautiful! And her strange encounter is kinda hot. Penelope Cruz also shone in that segment, especially when her clientele all showed up in the same place. I guess the rich and successful need to de-stress in some way.

JERRY: You know you married a very bright guy, I got a 150-160 IQ.
PHYLLIS: You’re figuring it in Euros, in Dollars it’s much less.

HANGING IN LIMBO

INCEPTION (2010)
– 5 out of 5 stars

Well, I guess the most talked-about film this summer is Inception. It’s not a sequel, not a reboot and it’s probably one of the most original films to come out for a long time.

Dom Cobb: What’s the most resilient parasite? An idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules. Which is why I have to steal it.

Inception revolves around Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), who specializes in the art of the extraction of ideas from people while in their dreams. The nature of his job puts him in a position against the law and he has a chance to right his wrongs with a “final job” that requires him to plant an idea in another’s mind via his subconscious – a very complex operation and it’s the complete opposite of what he does. Cobb gathers his team – a point man a.k.a. a right-hand man Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), an architect Ariadne (Ellen Page) and a forger Eames (Tom Hardy). However, Cobb’s past won’t let him go – or is it the other way? – and his dead wife, Mal, appears in his dreams, constantly wrecking his plans (or killing people).

I think it takes some getting used to while watching the film because you have to figure out whether you’re in someone’s dream or reality. Somehow, the dream within a dream concept is really brilliant even though it rarely happens in reality. Then you get to the physics of the matter and you wonder how they control everything in their dream. Though you would know that there are things, like a full bladder, which you can’t control. I’m very impressed with the layering of the dreams.

My favourite character has to be Eames the forger. Apparently, he can morph into another person’s identity. He’s one of the funniest on the team, like when he pulls out the grenade launcher against Arthur’s seemingly miserable run-of-the-mill machine gun. But my favourite scene has to be the hotel scene where Arthur fights without gravity because the van is falling. The sentence probably doesn’t make much sense unless you watch the movie. Man, I gotta say Joseph Gordon-Levitt looks good fighting anti-gravity!

Ellen Page also does well in the movie. She’s the one that really probes into Cobb’s troubled past and helps the audience along because she’s the newest member of the team. I thought she kinda broke out of her mould – playing troubled teens. It’s also amazing how the “kick”, a reflex action that most experience in the midst of their dreams and becomes so vital and excellently captured on film. Sigh, somehow I feel I don’t do the movie justice with my review – there’s more in my mind than I can form into words. Please watch it for yourself. 5 out of 5 stars.

SPOILER:

And I thought I would just add something which I found very useful:
(Source: Cinema Blend)

GO BABE RUTHLESS!

WHIP IT (2009)
– 4 out of 5 stars

Yayy! I caught Whip It!

First I need to mention that I heard Kings Of Leon’s Knocked Up during the opening credits! OMG! I can recognize that bass line anywhere! That got me pretty much stoked and anticipating the movie and the songs it features (MGMT’s Kids, Kaiser Chiefs’ I Predict A Riot, etc.).

Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page) is a small town girl stuck in her mother’s dream of beauty pageants. One day, she discovers the world of roller derby and she makes the cut for the Hurl Scouts, despite not having any experience. She falls in love for the first time and has to find a way to juggle her parents and her best friend in order not to let herself and the people around her down.

The Manson Sisters, Rosa Sparks, Bloody Holly, Babe Ruthless, Maggie Mayhem, Smashley Simpson and coach, Razor.

I think one of the first things that attract you is the names these roller derby girls have? Bliss becomes Babe Ruthless after she learns that in a contact sport like roller derby, she has to make contact (get rough) and be ruthless. Other names include Iron Maven (Juliette Lewis) and Eva Destruction (Ari Graynor).

It’s nice to see Bliss finally finding her own ground after going against her parents and boyfriend. The final game was really exciting because the Hurl Scouts executed their strategies and even did a double-leg whip! I think one of the warm fuzzy feelings emerge when Bliss’ parents finally accepted what their daughter was good at and not force their dreams on her.

Check out: Whip It!: Clip – 23 Seconds | TotalFilm.com for a quick introduction to the rules of roller derby.

IT WON’T BE SOON BEFORE LONG

JUNO (2007)
– 4 and a half out of 5 stars

I think it’s one of the best films I’ve seen this year. No pretense – a very real and great script and acting too!

It all started with the chair and ended with one (watch the movie and you’ll know). Juno (Ellen Page) becomes pregnant and decides to give the baby up for adoption since she’s only 16 and is ill-equipped to care for the baby. She finds her prospective adoptive parents in the ads and meets Mark and Vanessa (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner). And as the tagline goes, this is a comedy about growing up and the little bumps along the way. I’m so glad Juno got together with Bleeker (Michael Cera). They may not be the typical couple, but they are like so sweet together – especially towards the ending! Jennifer Garner acts really well, I mean, you can see how desperate she was to be a mother and how she was willing to sacrifice anything for it. Just seeing her touch Juno’s belly can make you cry. Oh, according to Jason Bateman, the reason you should watch Juno is not the heartwarming story behind it but because of the high-cut yellow shorts Michael has on!

Here’s the song Juno and Bleeker sang at the ending.

Anyone Else But You (originally performed by The Moldy Peaches)

Juno:
You’re a part time lover and a full time friend
The monkey on your back is the latest trend

Bleeker:
I don’t see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

I kiss you on the brain in the shadow of a train
I kiss you all starry eyed, my body’s swinging from side to side
I don’t see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

Juno:
Here is the church and here is the steeple
We sure are cute for two ugly people
I don’t see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

Bleeker:
The pebbles forgive me, the trees forgive me
So why can’t, you forgive me?
I don’t see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

Juno:
I will find my nitch in your car
With my mp3 DVD rumple-packed guitar
I don’t see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

Both:
Du du du du du du dudu
Du du du du du du dudu
Du du du du du du dudu du

Juno:
Up up down down left right left right B A start
Just because we use cheats doesn’t mean we’re not smart
I don’t see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

Bleeker:
You are always trying to keep it real
I’m in love with how you feel
I don’t see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

Juno:
We both have shiny happy fits of rage
You want more fans, I want more stage
I don’t see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

Bleeker:
Don Quixote was a steel driving man
My name is Adam I’m your biggest fan
I don’t see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

Juno:
Squinched up your face and did a dance
You shook a little turd out of the bottom of your pants
I don’t see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

Both:
Du du du du du du dudu
Du du du du du du dudu
Du du du du du du dudu du
But you

THE CURE

X-MEN: THE LAST STAND (2006)
– 4 out of 5 stars

Anyway, the movie was GREAT! I personally think it’s better than The Da Vinci CodeIt’s quite sad to say many are killed off in this last installment (or is it not?) and of course, more characters are introduced. Political issues were touched on, and it simply showed that there are two sides of a human coin – good and evil. The more you try to suppress it, the more it wants to escape…

The ending was magnificent and I don’t know whether I should say this… but for those watching it, please stay right to the end of the credits for the coda, or in other words, a small little surprise to entice viewers about the next sequel or to cover a part of the story that was not revealed in the ending.

STAY BEHIND, OK?