movie review

Film: Looper

Released on September 28th of this past year, Looper is a film that has been getting a lot of attention. Initially I wasn’t planning on watching this film, the trailer just didn’t grab me in, however after a review mentioned that those who liked Inception would like this movie, it quickly became a must see. I love movies that have depth; go in an unexpected direction and leave you questioning at the end, something I loved about Inception. However Looper left me feeling lack-luster.

Written and directed by Rian Johnson, this film stars Joseph-Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as the young and older version of Joe. The film centers around the idea of loopers, a group of killers who work for the mob. Their victims are sent back in time, blindfolded where the hired gunman awaits. However the loopers soon learn that the Mob Boss is looking to ‘close the loops,’ meaning hiring a man to kill his older self. One looper recognizes a victim as his future self and hesitates killing him, thereby letting his older self get away, resulting in a series of events. While I must admit the concept of this film is intriguing, I really couldn’t get into the film until the last 20 or so minutes when there was a final twist. Mind you I really enjoyed those last 20 minutes.

Joseph Gordon-Lovett and Bruce Willis both did an admirable job playing Joe, however I for one had a hard time believing they were the same person. While this didn’t detract too much, since I wasn’t already engrossed by the film it was another notch against it. I have friends who loved this movie and other who are like me who found it ‘meh’ for lack of a better word. I would say if you are a hardcore action-movie buff, you’ll probably enjoy this movie; however if you’re looking for a film similar to Inception, for me this missed the mark.

Film: Midnight in Paris

Although I notably haven’t seen all too many Woody Allen movies, I have always enjoyed his films. Midnight in Paris is his 2011 offering and stars Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams. Owen Wilson is really the protagonist of the film. He plays Gil, a successful Hollywood who is struggling with his first novel. He travels to Paris with his fiancé Inez (Rachel McAdams) and falls in love with the romanticism of the city. Unfortunately his fiancé seems to be more wrapped up in materialistic ventures rather than taking a moonlit stroll down the parisian streets. One night when Gil takes a midnight stroll, he finds the inspiration he’s been looking for, however it seems to be taking his further and further away from his fiancé.

The romanticism of this movie is evident. It almost seems as if Allen penned a love story to Paris. The cinematography is beautiful and the story is whimsical but has a lot of heart. I’ve found this to be an interesting role for McAdams, one where she plays someone so realistically unlikable. Caught up in the Hollywood glamour of materialism rather than experiencing a city through the little things. Although I was a bit hesitant on Owen Wilson as the lead, he proved to be worthy. As a viewer I truly believed he was experiencing Paris for the first time and was desperately attempting to soak the city in while at the same time trying to find direction for both his novel and his personal life.

While this isn’t an epic love story between a man or a women, nor is it a film that will leave your head spinning for hours trying to understand it. This is a love story between a man and a city and will leave you smiling at the end.

Film: One Week

Life is too short. Live each day like its your last. Always live life to the fullest. We are constantly surrounded by saying and quotes either reminding us or telling us that a single moment can change the rest of your life.

One week is a 2008 TIFF film (theatrical release in 2009) directed by Michael McGowan and stars Joshua Jackson, Liane Balaban and Campbell Scott who narrates the film. Rather than a plot heavy film, in my opinion this was almost a love story to Canada. Here let me explain that a little bit. Joshua Jackson plays  Ben Tyler, an elementary school English teacher from Toronto, Ontario. The film opens with Ben receiving the news that he has stage 4 cancer with a diagnosis of less than 2 years to live. Understandably Ben doesn’t take the news all too well, and with what some would call signs from above, he tells his fiance Samantha (Liane Balaban) that he is going on a 2 day vacation before he ‘becomes a patient.’ Samantha, completely against the idea of postponing his treatment, refuses to go with him. The 2 days turn into much longer and so begins Ben’s motorcycle journey across the country.

The cinematography in this film is absolutely beautiful, demonstrating the beauty within the Canadian landscape. However with quirky nuances snuck in such as the ever so popular Roll up the Rim, this is truly a Canadian salute. I loved the way this film was set, I’m not always the biggest fan of films with narration but it really worked well here and I like how the narration aspect actually found a way to relate back to the story. Rather than having a narration just for the sake of a narration. The opening scene is just so strong and really set the tone for the rest of the movie. Cancer isn’t at all a light hearted subject matter, however the film truly carries a certain spirit. I didn’t walk away from the film feeling an overwhelming sense of purpose, neither did the film leave me toiling with my thoughts. The true star of the film was the landscapes and the scenery. I was literally awestruck when Ben had found his way to Banff (ironically I was headed in the same direction!).

I have actually been wanting to watch this film ever since it was first released, however for some reason I put it on the back-burner and as those things usually go, out of sight out of mind. Would I watch this film again? Honestly I’m not so sure, the scenes were beautiful but I didn’t feel like there was all that much plot development. Nonetheless, as a Canadian and a lover of travel I have to recommend this film. If nothing else than just for a rainy day, at 94 minutes, this isn’t a film that you’ll feel restless throughout. Here again is one of my favourite bits in the film, a final quote courtesy of Ben

When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long… What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill?

Film: Ratatouille

Anyone can cook.

A powerful message and one that I wholeheartedly agree with. The way I think of it the phrase anyone can cook can be taken a step further. Anyone can cook, anyone can have style and anyone can be great. Its only the limitations that we put on ourselves, and the expectations that we allow to affect us that hold us down. A strong message coming from an unlikely source.

Ratatouille is one of my favorite Disney movies in general, let alone in my top pixar movies. I recently re-watched the film and thought why not do a movie review? First off a brief synopsis. Ratatouille is a typical french peasant dish consisting of vegetables; onion, eggplant, peppers, zucchini….. oh wait this is about the movie not the dish.

Ratatouille (the food), this also happens to be a great recipe!

Ratatouille (the film) is the 8th film produced by Pixar and was released in 2007. The movie is about a rat (Remy) who has a love of food and dreams of becoming a chef. He has an incredibly developed sense of smell and taste which allows him to create tantalizing flavor combinations. However since he is a rat there are (of course) certain stereotypes that prevent him from becoming a chef. Remy tries to achieve his dream by forming an alliance with a Parisian garbage boy.

Okay, so let’s think this out. You know how to cook, and I know how to… appear human. We just need to work out a system so that I do what you want, in a way that doesn’t look like I’m being controlled by a tiny rat chef – oh will you listen to me I’m insane I’m insane!

As a food lover myself, this movie really spoke to me. The artistry and cinematography are beautiful, the story is quaint and the film has that quintessential french feel. Although the concept is still a bit icky (can you imagine finding all those rats in the kitchen!) I can’t help but get warm and fuzzies whenever I watch this movie.

I will admit that I’m not the biggest fan of all of Pixar and Disney’s films however this is one of the few that I continually watch over and over again. I would absolutely recommend this movie to any food fan, Disney lover or if you just need a quick me up to get you through. 10 stars, 5/5, 2 thumbs up and all of those other rating scales; basically watch it. You won’t regret it.