Shal­low and trite

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - Gane­san Sharmilla MichaelCheang Shee­laChan­dran

Eat Pray Love

EAT Pray Love should have been called Talk Talk Talk, be­cause that’s all the char­ac­ters, es­pe­cially Liz Gil­bert (Ju­lia Roberts), do. From the heavy-handed voiceover nar­ra­tion by Liz to the seem­ingly end­less spout­ing of new-age phi­los­o­phy, the preach­ing just goes on and on ... for 140 (looooong) min­utes!

Based on the mem­oirs of real-life author El­iz­a­beth Gil­bert, the movie fol­lows Liz as she strug­gles to find her­self af­ter a failed mar­riage. To do this, she takes a year off from her New York life and trav­els to Italy, In­dia and In­done­sia (Bali, specif­i­cally). In Rome, she re­dis­cov­ers her ap­petite for food and life; in Kolkata, she learns spir­i­tu­al­ity; and in Bali, she finds love. Yes, it’s that trite.

And un­for­tu­nately, not even Roberts’ beauty and charisma is enough to make her char­ac­ter like­able; Liz comes across as self­ab­sorbed and shal­low, and mostly only in­ter­ested in her own prob­lems. Why was she so un­happy in the first place? The only an­swer we get are vague ref­er­ences to “los­ing her­self”.

For all the whin­ing she does about her life, it’s not lost on us that she’s do­ing it while va­ca­tion­ing in gor­geous lo­cales. And when you have men like James Franco and Javier Bar­dem fall­ing over them­selves for you, it’s a bit dif­fi­cult to elicit much sym­pa­thy.

Which brings us to one of the few en­joy­able things about the movie: the men. Franco and Bar­dem, as Liz’s love in­ter­ests, are not only ab­so­lutely de­li­cious, but they put in charm­ing per­for­mances as well. Billy Crudup also does a nice job as her heart­bro­ken ex­hus­band, while vet­eran ac­tor Richard Jenk­ins is very en­joy­able as a Texan Liz meets in an ashram in In­dia. If not for them, I would have re­duced my rat­ing to one star. –

( HHIII)

Leg­end Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole

OWLS are such awe­some, won­der­ful crea-

In Rome, El­iz­a­beth Gil­bert (Ju­lia Roberts) dis­cov­ers the joy of do­ing noth­ing, in tures. There’s just some­thing so cool and ma­jes­tic about them – their big, wise-look­ing eyes, the way they soar silently through the night, their posh Bri­tish ac­cents ... eh, wait a minute.

From the mak­ers of Happy Feet, Leg­end Of The Guardians is an adap­ta­tion of Kathryn Lasky’s Guardians of Ga’Hoole fan­tasy book se­ries, and is di­rected by Zack Sny­der ( 300, Watch­men). For his first foray into an­i­mated fea­tures, Sny­der man­ages to re­alise Lasky’s imag­i­na­tive fan­tasy world in glo­ri­ous 3D, while in­ject­ing a lit­tle dark­ness into the oth­er­wise bright and colour­ful world of an­i­mated fea­tures ( Toy Story 3’ s fi­nal act not­with­stand­ing).

Too bad he didn’t put as much thought into the story. Plot-wise, it’s noth­ing to shout about – an earnest, naive young owl called Soren (Jim Sturgess) fol­lows his dreams and even­tu­ally saves the world from an evil owl by fac­ing his fears, blah blah blah. The real draw of this movie is the stun­ningly beau­ti­ful portrayal of owls – the de­tails on each in­di­vid­ual bird, the el­e­gant way they fly, the rather graphic bat­tle scenes – much love and care has been put into mak­ing these owls look great.

My biggest gripe about the movie, how­ever, is how jar­ring it is when the owls start talk­ing. I know, I know, you’re sup­posed to sus­pend all dis­be­lief when you are watch­ing an an­i­mated movie, but the re­al­is­tic portrayal of the owls some­how does not gel with the voices that come out of their mouths. Also it doesn’t help that Jim Sturgess gives Soren an over­whelm­ing earnest­ness that is just plain an­noy­ing.

If you can, watch this in 3D, as it has some of the most gor­geously re­alised 3D se­quences since Avatar (the scene where Soren flies through a storm is just mag­i­cal). And just like Avatar, with­out the 3D, this is or­di­nary and rather pre­dictable with some very pretty graph­ics. – ( HHHII)

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

WHEN Oliver Stone di­rected award-win­ning Wall Street in 1987, he touched on is­sues re­gard­ing the trad­ing of il­le­gal in­for­ma­tion in the stock ex­change. His se­quel, re­leased 23 years later, doesn’t stray far. And like the ti­tle sug­gests, it is about Wall Street, stock ex­changes and profit mar­gins.

True to Stone’s style, he re­lates the sto­ry­line with a topic that au­di­ences can re­flect upon – the 2008 global fi­nan­cial melt­down and how it halted credit mar­kets world­wide.

The movie sees Michael Dou­glas repris­ing his award-win­ning role as Gor­don Gekko, an un­scrupu­lous trader who has been re­leased af­ter serv­ing time in prison. He be­friends am­bi­tious Wall Street trader Ja­cob Moore (Shia LaBeouf) and of­fers tricks of the trade in ex­change for help to rec­on­cile with his daugh­ter, Win­nie (Carey Mul­li­gan) who is en­gaged to Jake. The movie boasts an im­pres­sive cast and sound­track. I was par­tic­u­larly im­pressed with LaBeouf’s tran­si­tion from child ac­tor (Dis­ney Chan­nel’s The Even Stevens Movie and Tru Con­fes­sions) to grown-up star in this movie.

Money Never Sleeps’ well-writ­ten sto­ry­line was the work of writer/li­censed stock bro­ker Al­lan Loeb who clev­erly dis­cussed how gov­ern­ments had to cre­ate “res­cue” pack­ages to sus­tain their fi­nan­cial sys­tems and how fail­ure of in­flu­en­tial fig­ures to in­vest in com­pa­nies af­fected the liveli­hoods of peo­ple around the world.

Al­though it has an in­ter­est­ing sto­ry­line, cer­tain parts are a tad too hard to com­pre­hend, such as hedge funds, trad­ing shares and the bank­ing sys­tem.

To fur­ther en­joy the movie, go read up on the Dow Jones, chaotic fi­nan­cial world and re­cent fi­nan­cial cri­sis. – ( HHHII)

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