Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Back-up Plan

After noticing that this movie got a 4/10 on IMDB, I was reluctant to see it and especially didn't want to drag Fabio into a romantic comedy disaster.  However, with not much out these days, we watched it together last night and were both pleasantly surprised (low expectations can do wonders!).

It is the story of Zoe (Jennifer Lopez), a pet store owner, who being single and afraid that she will pass the age of having children, decides to get artificially inseminated.  The problem is that it works on the first try and that she meets a very attractive, charming man (Alex O'Loughlin) right outside her doctor's office the day of her procedure.

Trying to pass it off as nothing and ignoring the dreamy man doesn't do much good.  They bump into each other repeatedly and he goes out of his way to romance her and capture her affections.  But when the truth of her situation is revealed, things turn sour, if only for a little bit.  After their first make-out scene she blurts out to him that she is pregnant.  He is obviously quite surprised stating it cannot happen so quickly. 

Despite being clearly very smitten by Zoe he is not sure of being ready for children in the first place, let alone somebody else's child, or worst of all, as they will soon find out, twins.  However, as I'm sure you can imagine, he decides to stick by her and lives out her pregnancy with her, promising to stay with her forever.

There are many cute, heartfelt and humorous scenes but also some very over the top and outrageous ones (a live exorcism style birth, filled with screaming and chanting, in the living room of her support group being one of them). 

Overall this movie was light, enjoyable and made me feel good.  I laughed quite a lot and was touched at times.  Being pregnant, I could relate to some of the emotions - although luckily for Fabio I am not nearly as hormonal and do not sleep with a gigantic pillow in between us.  Not every night at least! 

My rating: 6
Fabio's: 6
Total score: 12/20

A Single Man

A Single Man is an elegant and enticing film by fashion designer and first time director Tom Ford. The cinematography is simply stunning - exquisite images and sequences of movement, beautiful contrasts of monochromatic and vibrant colors, coupled with excellent acting and enchanting music make this movie a pleasure to watch.

Colin Firth's performance is extremely powerful and convincing.  He is an English professor named George who after losing his partner of 16 years in an accident and having tried to go on with his life, chooses this day to be his last.  What we see is this particular day, beginning with George getting dressed in the morning, putting on his impeccable suit and dark-rimmed glasses, and escalating to his meticulous preparations for his suicide. 

His pain is palpable without ever being overly dramatic.  Colin Firth's seriousness and intensity are incredible.  Ford manages to capture just the right amount of melodrama and bleakness and we not only understand but feel George's tremendous grief, without being overwhelmed by it.  There are other things going on in the world around and we watch, wondering if George will or will not commit suicide.

George is a man who was deeply in love but who at the same time is in love with life.  His sorrow and hollowness juxtaposed with the beauty that he sees in front of him are truly alluring and magnificent.  They give the movie a haunting quality, a certain glow which draws the viewer in like a magnet.

Julianne Moore interprets George's dear friend and portrays her character superbly, capturing the 1960's mood to perfection with her charcoal lined eyes, smoky gaze, pouty lips and cigarette always near.  She spends most of her day applying make-up, smoking and drinking, but is the friend George turns to when he feels at his worst.  She seems to have a way of picking him up with friendship, memories of a past fling and a bit of gin.  Her perfect English accent made me forget whether she was American or British.

There are also some sexually charged and ambiguous scenes with a student, played notably by Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy).  It is unclear until the very end what the young man's intentions are, as he is quite clearly stalking his professor, but his presence in the story is important.  Like an angel, he guides George through memories of his former lover and shows him hope for the future. 

This film is artistic, stylish, and classy - not surprisingly.  However, it relies very much on the visual and perhaps the novel by Christopher Isherwood was able to convey more depth to the story.  It is definitely worth seeing for its cinematic qualities and will hopefully leave you wondering, as I am now, what Tom Ford's next project will be. I, for one, hope that a movie is in the making; Fabio believes Mr. Ford should return to making sunglasses.  

My rating: 7.5
Fabio's: 6
Total score: 13.5