This Means War (2012), Haywire (2011), One Day (2011), The Artist (2011)

This Means War
2012, USA. (R). Action, Comedy, Romance. Director: McG. Writers: Timothy Dowling, Simon Kinberg, Marcus Gautesen. Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Til Schweiger.

Fun McG-style is delivered in this buddy-buddy flick where Chris Pine and Tom Hardy are putting their friendship on a gamble when dating the same girl – the wrinkled Reese Witherspoon. I wish more movies are made in this kind of spirit – a true entertainment where you can rest your brains, a date movie that will not make the boys puke, and a love story that still understands girls. The strongest chemistry here is actually not Witherspoon-Pine or Witherspoon-Hardy, but between Witherspoon and the screen-stealing Til “Oh, Me So Horny!” Schweiger. Once again, great fun!

Haywire
2011, USA, Ireland. (R). Action, Thriller. Director: Steven Soderbergh. Writer: Lem Dobbs. Cast: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas.

Soderbergh’s attempt to offer a raw action flick is carried solely on Gina Carano’s broad shoulders, and she delivers. Man, she can give a roundhouse kick to Angelina Jolie’s ass just any given time. Forget the story and the script – they try to be sharp and smart, but lacking of depth – and enjoy Carano’s excellent combats. In my perfect world, there’d be more steaming scenes with Michael Fassbender and Carano. But hey, I didn’t feel like wasting my time at all being haywired with Carano and a gang of boys.

One Day
2011, USA, UK. (PG-13). Drama, Romance. Director: Lone Scherfig. Writer: David Nicholls. Cast: Jim Sturgess, Anne Hathaway.

Pardon me for being too much of a Miranda Priestly, but Anne Hathaway is a princess, and she has to always, always look gorgeous and beautiful, and not like some hobo with all the wrong kind of hair-do from time to time! The only look that works for her is during the Paris time when her hair is short. Other than that important nitpick, One Day is thoroughly enjoyable though not that special. I feel the script is trying so much to stay faithful to the book it lacks of strength. (David Nicholls wrote both the novel and the screenplay – not always the wisest choice in book-to-movie adaptation.) The real character development happens to Jim Sturgess’s Dexter, so this should be a story about Dexter rather than Dexter and Emma. And, Sturgess’s scruffy look alone worths the admission fee.

The Artist
2011, France, Belgium. (PG-13). Writer and Director: Michel Hazanavicius. Cast: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, and Uggy (the dog).

It’s not that I underestimate this film that I include it in this collective review, but I am actually humbled. Who am I to comment too much on this genius movie? The Artist is a love story, not only of George Valentin and Peppy Miller, but above all, between all of us and movies. In the most minimalistic, unpretentious, and simplest way, Michel Hazanavicius presents to us why people have been making movies for decades, and why we love them. It is most heartbreaking to see Dujardin’s Valentin holding to his dearest can of memory as everything around him is tumbling down. It defines the true spirit of filmmaking that is often forgotten these days. In my book, The Artist is in par with Cinema Paradiso – a movie dedicated to the love of movies itself. Just give them the Oscars already.

1 comment
  1. IMO, Jean Dujardin is the main reason The Artist feels so alive. I was dumbfounded by how emotive he was in every single gesture. He’s able to convey emotion broadly enough, which what makes it believable. Ugh, The Artist is such a delightful art to watch.

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