Archive for December, 2012

Bill Nighy in “Love Actually”

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Actors: Will Ferrell, Emma ThompsonDustin Hoffman, Maggie Gyllenhaal

Director: Marc Forster

stranger than fiction

Harold Crick leads a rather dull life. He lives alone,works as an IRS tax collector and carefully counts the number of strokes while brushing his teeth every morning. Until one day when he starts hearing a voice that narrates his actions and thoughts. At first, Harold ignores what’s happening to him. But as the voice becomes more and more present and finally reports about Harold’s ‘imminent death’, his quiet, organized life is disrupted for good.

Little does Harold know, his life is actually being written by a real writer, Karen (played by a chain-smoking Emma Thompson) who had her moment of fame a decade ago but now suffers from an nasty writers-block.  She is unaware about the impact of her writing on Harold’s life.

If you are into movies with a somewhat surreal twist to it (like Being John Malkovich, Adaptation), you have to see this one.  It is interesting to see, Will Ferrell, one of Hollywood’s most uninhibited actors,  putting such a restrained character on the screen without loosing credibility. As the story evolves and Harold, forced by his fast approaching ‘imminent death’, starts losing his rigidity, Ferrell gets to be his ‘old self’ more and more, adding a good deal of Ferrell-comedy to it all. Parallel to his search for ‘the voice’, there is also a romantic side to Harold’s story as he has a crush on Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a baker who is being audited by him but refuses to pay her taxes. The ‘love story’-part brings a nice balance to the whole and makes you feel more emotionally involved with Harold’s sad, nearing fate.

Stranger than Fiction, is comedy, drama and romance glued together in an ‘out of the box’ story. The impossibility of the whole situation and how every character deals with it makes watching it an enjoyable experience.

Actors: Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, Emma Watson, Paul Rudd

Director: Stephen Chbosky

2012, THE PERKS OF BEING WALLFLOWER

Charlie is a quiet boy who had his share of issues in the past.  He is about to start high school and is scared of having to go through that ordeal  alone, not making any friends. Though Charlie endures some of the classical high school harassment, he is lucky enough to meet a group of friends where he seems to fit right in, the wallflowers.  A bunch of teenagers, considered slightly different, just as Charlie considers himself.

Charlies closest friends are Patrick, a non-stereotype gay, beautifully portrayed by Ezra Miller. And his step-sister Sam, played by Emma Watson who proves to be so much more than an adolescent wizard ‘s sidekick. Charlie opens up under their wings, they encourage his writing talent, embrace him for who he is and eventually help him overcome his personal tragedies from the past. As does Charlie help them to deal with their problems. Every character in this movie has its own story and each of those stories gets told, without ever getting boring or overcomplicated. On the contrary, it is one of the things that makes this movie so great. The authenticity of every single character and how they interact is astounding. They are real people as you and I know them to be. That’s what makes this movie different and more genuine from any other high school movie I’ve seen before, although it basically covers the same issues as most of them  (friendship, love, acceptance, the search for one’s identity,…)

We forget about what it was like to be in high school. The intense moments we lived through with our friends, the sometimes painful search for ourselves. It is something most of us can relate to. This movie reminded me of things i thought i had long forgotten, and that’s why it is bound to become a high-school movie classic.

Woody Harrelson in “Friends with Benefits”

Actors: François CluzetOmar Sy

Directors: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano

The-Intouchables1

‘Intouchables’ tells the story about the friendship between two men, (Driss and Philippe) who come from completely opposite sides of society. Philippe is a rich aristocrat. He lives in a luxurious Parisian mansion and became quadriplegic after a para-gliding accident. He is looking to hire a new care-taker. Driss is a young, Senegalese offender, regularly in touch with the law, who lives in the rough outskirts of Paris. Driss, completely uninterested but forced by social services, turns up for the job interview at Philippe’s mansion. To his own surprise he is hired.

Philippe seems amused by Driss’ straight-forwardness. He does not treat him as a helpless quadriplegic and pulls practical jokes with Philippe’s handicap. The collision of their opposite worlds and behavior, and Driss’ complete inexperience when it comes to the care-taking part of his job, leads to some hilarious scenes.  The build-up of their friendship in the story is heartwarming and becomes  deeper when both men need to deal with the problems of their owns worlds. Philippe is unable to have any real relationships since the death of his wive and his accident. Driss, though he now lives in Philippe’s mansion in uptown Paris, can not escape the reality of his origin and has to deal with his family-issues.

‘Intouchables’ is based on a true story, which makes it stand out even more  in its kind. It is probably the funniest french movie I ever saw but nevertheless very moving at times.