Movies

Love is in the Air

So it just happened to work out that the next two movies I watched were both romances. Unfortunately that’s where the similarities ended as they couldn’t have been executed more differently. One turned out mindblowingly well and the other left me wondering why I even bothered to watch it.

Room in Rome (2010)

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Room in Rome is about two women who spend the night together in a room… in Rome. I heard about it from a list of movies to watch on Netflix (that have sex in them). This was one of the few that caught my attention so I decided to give it a go. The whole premise of this movie is that these two women fall in love during that one night. There were parts of the romance that felt genuine but then the next scene would undercut it with either bad dialogue or just bizarre character actions. Case in point, nothing in the movie was surreal or hallucinatory up until the very end when Alba gets shot in the heart with an arrow. I understand they were trying to go for a cupid type thing, but it’s too late in the movie to change things up that drastically. The movie was artsy up to that point, but everything was very much real. I lost any emotion I was feeling for the characters and just kind of laughed to myself. The absolute worst, most laughable part of the movie was when Alba tells Max that Natacha is a tennis player and tells Alba that he should check her arms to see if one is stronger than the other. That has to be the laziest way to find out more about a character. Alba just guessed tennis player out of every profession in the world? Clearly the only way to check for tennis players is to compare their arms because no other profession in the world would cause that. Do football players and pitchers have one arm bigger than the other too? Maybe she’s a professional softball pitcher. Give me a break, I’m not going to suspend my disbelief enough for that one.

I was in the perfect frame of mind to invest in this story. I’ve been in situations where I’m with someone and have to leave knowing I won’t see them again. I know how heart wrenching it can be, but they never built the romance up enough for it to work. I couldn’t see how the two of them would ever make it work and I felt like the only reason they didn’t want to leave the room was so they didn’t have to go back to their lives. I don’t believe for a minute that Natacha would leave her fiance for a woman since she was so against it for the first half of the movie. Obviously a few short orgasms is enough to change someone’s mind. Straight my whole life, but sure I’ll switch teams and destroy my life for a person I barely know. The only reason anyone seems to promote this movie is because of the sex and nudity. Without that, it’s a completely uncompelling story and I don’t know why I even bothered to finish it. Blue Is the Warmest Color did everything much better: longer sex scenes, straight and lesbian scenes, more authenticate romance, sadder break up,  and more interesting characters.

Verdict: 5/10 – Watch porn instead


Once (2007)

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Once is about a man who meets a woman while he’s playing guitar on the streets. They start spending time together and she ends up helping him professionally record his music. The entire movie is scored with the most beautiful soundtrack I’ve heard in years. I hadn’t even heard of this movie until a few days ago. I had finished watching Moulin Rouge! and saw this on a list of best music movies. After scrolling through, this one stood out to me and seemed to have decent comments. I was skeptical for the first few minutes and wasn’t really paying attention. That is until the man starts to play Say it to Me Now. Half way through it picks up and once I heard it, my jaw dropped. I couldn’t take my eyes or ears off the movie from that point on. The music just blew my mind, so much so that I’m listening to the soundtrack as I’m writing this. The man and woman in the movie have great musical chemistry and their songs are so beautifully sad and romantic.

Aside from the musical aspect of the movie, the romance is subtle but so present. It’s always there beneath the surface but never spoken about. It seems the two of them enter the friend zone when it’s so easy to see they both want to be with each other. Something is just holding them back from making a move. When she tells him she loves him in Czech it just broke my heart. She didn’t even have it in her to see him off before he left for Dublin. Compared to Room in Rome, I absolutely believe this romance and understand why their parting was so difficult. This movie didn’t have the allure of sex to draw in viewers, it relied on the music and story to spread the word. It’s 9 years later, and it definitely worked on me.

The premise reminds me of Before Sunrise where the two characters are together for a short time and don’t end up together. A sequel worked great for that movie, and I think it’d be perfect here as well. I’d love to see how the man’s music career turns out and see what becomes of the woman and her life. Sequel or not, this one tops my romance list and this soundtrack just made it into my music library.

Verdict: 9/10 – You’ll be falling slowly in love with this movie

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Movies

Let Me In (2010)

Here I am, back to my regular format which is good because it would be a short post otherwise. Apparently you can’t trust the word on the street anymore because this movie was not better than the original. Part of it might be that I enjoyed the original so much, but most of it is because it really wasn’t as good. It wasn’t a terrible movie by any means though. The plot was solid and they were able to show certain elements of the plot that I didn’t piece together in the original. Of course, they had to take out a spoon and feed them to me. Even though I didn’t get everything in the original on my first viewing, I still prefer their method of storytelling because it gives me a reason to go back and watch it again. The remake laid everything out on the table for you and didn’t leave much room for interpretation. Anyways back to the good parts… I like that they… uhh… kept some lines almost word for word from the original. The parts I liked in the remake were the parts that they kept the same. The only exception to this is the part when Oskar/Owen cuts his hand to make a blood pact with Eli/Abby. In the original it was pretty weird the way he did it, but the aftermath of her drinking it off the floor was good. In contrast, the remake did the actually cutting part better, but wow was the aftermath ridiculous. She turned into some kind of veiny demon monster and it just seemed so unnecessary.

I’m just going to start firing off what I didn’t like about this movie. I’ll start with all the awkward dialogue such as Owen’s mom having the divorce talk with his dad on the phone right in front of him, the second thing Abby ever says to Owen is that they can’t be friends even though he never even said anything to warrant it, and Owen’s dad complaining about Owen’s religious mom while they’re on the phone together. If there was a time when the dialogue wasn’t awkward then it was the delivery that was really awkward. I found the acting sub-par and felt as though the actors were trying to emulate the original way too much. Owen kept going back and forth between sounding like Oskar in the original and sounding like his own character. Acting-wise Abby was not nearly as good as Eli; it felt like she really was a 12 year old girl and not an old vampire. Something I loved in the original was the “what happens when you become a vampire” subplot. This was changed substantially in the remake and didn’t add anything to the plot. You see her drink her own blood and then burst into flames which was presented more like they were trying to gross out or scare the audience than trying to provide us with exposition on vampires. I will end this post with the following list of random observations: bully’s older brother says the same thing to bully that bully says to Owen so we can sympathize with the bully trope; Guardian drops container of blood down hill, runs to get it, sees car coming, suspenseful music starts playing… and nothing happens trope; Guardian hides in back seat of potential victim’s car with a garbage bag over his face in plain view if either of the kids decides to ever look in the backseat stupidity.

If I learned anything from these two movies it’s that you can’t believe what you hear on the streets and, for the most part, remakes never live up to the original.

Verdict: 6/10 Needs more CGI cat attacks