Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Young Victoria

WORTH-IT: (Jean-Marc Vallee) From the perspective of someone who swoons over a good period peice, The Young Victoria is a story very worth seeing. Although incomparable to Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and lacking the instensity of Pride & Prejudice, it nonetheless impresses. Beginning with a chronological log of Victoria, circa age 5. She is a young girl, destined for royalty but hidden from soceity out of parental selfishness for the crown, and fear for safety amongst countless other selfish names. Faced with countless hurdles to claim her place, Victoria must learn the trade before entrusting others to guide her--a feat easily assumed, but much less ensued. Emily Blunt plays the vibrant, determined young princess (and queen) adept in Victoria's essence of youthful enthusiasm and rock solid pride. Not often do we get to see Blunt take her characters to a place like she does here. Its a pleasant journey and entertaining to watch. Director Vallee sets the stage for a subtle, yet undeniable chemistry between Blunt and Rupert Friend. Friend plays the young Prince Albert, sent to win Victoria's heart for the reputation of his territory, but inevitably finds his own heart swept away. His gentle and timid spirit proved turnkey to the film's attractiveness. Friend and Blunt crept into a romance packed with emotion, passion and sophistication so seamlessly, that by the end, you have only just realized your own heartstrings were along for the ride. The film, only dusting on the political side of Victoria's stressed first years, is at bottom-line, a romance. Its a story of dedication and loyalty highlighted with the strength of love and trust. Don't expect a heavy helping of history, other than the subtitled summations and breathtaking cinematography, but don't mistake take for encouragement to disregard the film. No, here Blunt surely proves herself as a layered actress, making The Young Victoria most definitely worth it, and an audience, if I don't speak for myself, anxious for more.

Up in the Air

WORTH-IT: (Jason Reitman) Do you ever get so deep into a routine that you forget what life is like outside of it? Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is a top account executive at company who fires other company's employees for a living. Specializing in severance packages and "the after," he lives between airplane seats and hotel beds, laying off hundreds a week and never looking back. He's got the packing down, all the good member cards and his closest friends are employees of American Air. He's got it all, getting the best upgrades wherever he goes, steak dinners a la his company, and no baggage to come home to. In a sense, he is free... living life in the clouds, up in the air. When a Cornell honor student joins his team with new ideas threatening to keep him grounded, he is forced to see what his life has become while he's had in head in the clouds. The story is that of his re-evaluation, and while I won't spoil any of the journey for you, potential viewers, I can say that watching his rediscovery is fascinating. Clooney captures the innocence, ignorance and arrogance that Bingham has rolled into his character. He wears emotion on his face, in his body language and drenches his voice with a punch of those same feelings, making whatever story portrayed on-screen one not to ignore. The story here is funny. It's witty and sharp, laughing right back at you when you immediately wonder if the same joke is on you. Its dark and disheartening, but in a self-revelation sort of way. Its heavy on family, but dabbles in immorality... matching Bingham's inward conflict to that of life, in general. Its deep and thought-provoking. Overall, quick and painless entertainment, leaving you with slight discontentment, but inevitable encouragement to take the high road. Clooney does the job, and with newcomer Anna Kendrick as Cornell's brightest to shake up routine, and veteran (and growing personal favorite) Vera Farmiga as the mature, travel-high new companion, its a treat on-screen, for your eyes and your heart... and yes, in the end, your spirit. Up in the Air proves that at the lowest of lows we have what it takes to move on, we have what it takes to choose a different path, or recognize our current path for what it may actually offer. Surely Clooney will get the nod here, so do yourself a favor and see this flick.


PHENOMENAL: (James Cameron) Everyone should see this film. Everyone. Aside from the fact that it is an epic tree-hugging love story comparable to Ferngully on steroids (thanks for that Reed), this film is a landmark in American cinema. In 1939, The Wizard of Oz was the first movie to hit theatres in color. Well, if you'd been around then (or maybe you were) to say you saw it, wouldn't you choose to have had that hand in history? So, for that monumental reason, everyone should see this film. With that out of the way, potential audiences, rest easy... This movie is phenomenal. And not just by Film Reviews by Jenni standards... Avatar is bonafide adjective worthy of my favorite vocabulary word. Writer/Director/(Genius) James Cameron introduces us to a futuristic U.S. colony hovering over a newly discovered planet of energy-rich flora and fauna that would improve life on Earth. The problem is that the inhabitants are hostile and the U.S. military are impatient. A small group of scientists aboard the Earth ship are out to befriend the people of this new planet, despite the orders of the military. By creating avatars of themselves, they can approach the people on the new planet (giant, blue-skinned, agile creatures), learning and interacting firsthand. Longstory short, the military arm of Earth's colony doesn't care about relationships or this planet's eco-system, out only for the natural resources and preparing for war if it doesn't happen soon. Are you seeing Ferngully? From here, its 3 hours of beautiful colors, textures, sounds and emotions all working together for the utmost cinematic experience thanks to the masterful hands of Cameron's crew. The fact that this film is in 3D makes your forget the movie theatre chair, never once acknowledging that its in 3D... (No roller coaster rides or flying objects). You're pretty much just inside the screen. So much so, that once the film is over, you almost believe in the blue people, or if not that severe, its like waking up from dream and shaking yourself back into what you know should be reality. The film is clever. Its emotional and fast-paced. No storyline is sacrificed for special effects and the acting shines, despite animation. I can't say enough about Avatar. Its the most mesmerizing piece of creativity I've seen on a movie screen, ever. Don't miss out.