“La La Land” Review

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La La Land (2016)

Universally acclaimed, “La La Land” is the kind of a film which could melt the most cynical and toughest of critics. As romantic as it is visually stunning, the main charm of the film lies in its simplicity: a guy, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), and a girl, Mia (Emma Stone) both dream of a professional success in Hollywood, and first find true happiness in each others’ arms, before the practical realities of their chosen “star” professions separate them. With an uncomplicated plot and an absolutely stunning soundtrack, “La La Land” has all the appeal of an old musical, while keeping things interesting and original with notes of modern music, the showcasing of modern technologies and with the demonstrations of a competitive side of today’s Hollywood business. In “La La Land”, Damien Chazelle (director) shows that, in 21st century, you can still not only make a financially successful old-school musical-comedy film, but also produce a real gem of a movie capable of leaving the audience breathless with its heart strings’ pulling and sheer inventiveness. 

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“Florence Foster Jenkins” Review

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Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

– “Was everyone laughing at me the whole time?” (Florence)

– “I was never laughing at you.” (St. Clair)

Directed by Stephen Frears (“The Queen” (2006) & “Dangerous Liaisons” (1988)), “Florence Foster Jenkins” is a comedy based on a true story[1] of Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep), a New York socialite whose desire to be a well-known opera singer greatly surpassed her natural abilities.[2] Unaware that she has a very poor singing voice and hearing, Madame Florence Foster Jenkins embarks on the career of a professional opera singer, hiring a talented young pianist Cosmé McMoon (Simon Helberg), and relying for encouragement on her devoted “common-law” husband St. Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant). Knowing how much music matters to his partner, St. Clair manages to keep the appearances of Florence having vocal potentials often enough, or maybe until the time when Florence gives a thousand tickets to soldiers to come and hear her live at the Carnegie Hall, a large prestigious music venue in the centre of New York. “Florence Foster Jenkins” is the kind of a movie one is happy to have watched: it is funny in its individual scenes, and melancholic and moving in its overall presentation; Meryl Streep’s Florence is breath-taking, and Hugh Grant gives the performance of his career. 

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“Love & Friendship” Review

Love & Friendship Poster

Love & Friendship (2016)

“…the audience is being joyfully manipulated into liking…”

Love & Friendship” is a new movie by Whit Stillman and an adaptation of a short novel by Jane Austen “Lady Susan”. The plot is rather simple: 1790s; a recently widowed Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale), together with her American confidante Alicia Johnson (Chloe Sevigny), arrives to spend some days at her brother’s estate Churchill where she becomes the centre of spiteful rumours as a consequence of her past and present flirtations in accordance with her character. Soon upon arrival, Lady Susan submits to her charm the young bachelor of the estate Reginald DeCourcy. However, the matters are complicated further when Lady Susan’s daughter Frederica is brought to Churchill soon after, Frederica’s suitor Sir James Martin also makes his presence, and the situation of Lady Susan’s previous stay at Langford becomes clearer.  Read more of this post

“Chinese Puzzle” Review

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Chinese Puzzle (2013)

Chinese Puzzle’ is the final film in Cédric Klapisch’s travel trilogy (other films are ‘L’Auberge Espagnole’ (2001) and ‘Russian Dolls’ (2004)). The film presents Xavier ( Romain Duris (‘Populaire’ (2012)), a French writer who leads a confused and stressful life in Paris. When his girlfriend of 10 years, Wendy (Kelly Reilly (‘Flight’ (2012)) leaves him for another man and moves to New York, Xavier follows her to the Big Apple to be closer to his children. In New York, Xavier’s adventures begin as he rekindles romance with his ex-girlfriend, Martine ( Audrey Tautou (‘Amélie’ (2001)), marries a Chinese-American to get a US green card and becomes a surrogate father to his lesbian friend, Isabelle ( Cecile De France).

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‘Populaire’ Trailer

“Kate & Leopold” Review

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Kate & Leopold (2001)

Coming from James Mangold, the director of ‘Girl, Interrupted’ (1999), ‘Kate and Leopold’ is a romantic fantasy comedy, telling a story of Kate McKay (Meg Ryan) who lives happy busy life in the 21st century New York City. When her ex-boyfriend, Stuart Besser (Liev Schreiber), a scientist, manages to find a portal to the past, he, inadvertently, transports to his apartment Leopold (Hugh Jackman), a handsome Duke of Albany from the 19th century. Although Kate is a woman driven by common sense and realistic views on life, she soon succumbs to the charms of the mysterious stranger from 1867.

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“Caramel” Review

Caramel (2007)

‘Caramel’ is the first feature film of a Lebanese director Nadine Labaki which follows the lives of five Lebanese women, three of which are working in a beauty salon ‘Si Belle’ in Beirut, Lebanon. Each of the five women has her own problem: Layale (Nadine Labaki) has an affair with a married man; Nisrine, soon to be married to a man from a strict Muslim family, does not know how to tell him he will not be her first; Rima seems to be attracted to women; Jamale, a separated mother of two, fancies herself as a great actress; and, finally, Rosa, an elderly tailoress, experiences insecurities as she falls for a new salon customer. Despite being from different social and religious backgrounds, the women share close friendship, which helps them get through many life difficulties.

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