Shallow and trite
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. –
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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