21st Feb2016

How to be Single (Film)

by timbaros

13168H2BS.DNGCapitalizing on Valentines weekend, ‘How to be Single’ is out for those who are single, and not so single.

‘How to be Single’ is basically a ‘Sex and the City (SITC)’ ripoff. We have four women navigate the trials and tribulations of being single in Manhattan, and their encounters with various men. FIrst off there’s girl next door Alice (Dakota Johnson – Fifty Shades of Grey – playing the Charlotte character from SITC – very pretty and very nice). She decides to take a break from longtime boyfriend Josh (Nicholas Braun) and head to New York City where her big sister Meg (Leslie Mann) lives. Alice arrives in the big apple newly unattached. She also starts a new job as a paralegal in a downtown law firm where free-spirited wild and crazy Robin (Rebel Wilson) works. Robin shows Alice around the office, including the rooms where not to have sex with co-workers. Robin (the Samantha from SITC) is an expert at being single, and she wants to share her single life, and New York City’s singles party culture, with Alice. Robin is a party hard, one-night stand kind of gal and she literally teaches Alice how to be single. The aforementioned Meg (a dead ringer for Miranda from SITC) is a successful career woman who has it all but neglects to have a personal life. Even though she’s an obstetrician, she’s very uncomfortable being around children. Then finally there’s Lucy (Alison Brie), whose determined to find the perfect man. Sociable and pretty Lucy (Carrie from SITC) has created an algorithm to find a man online in the most efficient and practical manner. She’s always on her computer not realizing that the perfect man could be right behind her. So we’ve got four women navigating Manhattan’s singles scene – just as in ‘Sex in the City.’

Alice dates a series of men, including single dad David (Damon Wayan’s Jr.), though he’s not quite open with her about his past as he should be. Lucy doesn’t realize that the perfect man for her is Tom (Anders Holm), who owns the downstairs bar in her apartment building where she uses the wifi because she can’t get a signal in her apartment. And then Meg accidentally meets receptionist Ken (Jake Lacy) after she has decided to have a baby and attempts to hide her pregnancy from him (If you remember in SITC, high-flying lawyer Miranda falls in love with a bartender). But there’s nothing really laugh out loud funny at any of these women’s relationships, they’re actually quite tame, and normal. And it’s supposed to be party girl Robin to provide the laughs but there aren’t that many. For Robin it’s all about bars and parties where the boys buy the drinks. And in a cringe-worthy moment she shares a sauna with Alice where we find out what her drink number is (the number of drinks you have with a man that means you’re definitely going to have sex with him) – 27; 24 if she’s by herself. And in the sauna Robin comments on Alice’s private parts – telling her “is that Tom Hanks from Castaway?.” Robin says that the thing about being single is that you should cherish it. ‘How to be Single’ doesn’t really show us that there’s much to cherish being single, as three of the four women are constantly on the lookout for a other half. And what’s the point of going to see a movie that should be celebrating being single but instead is lamenting being single. Best to watch an old ’Sex in the City’ rerun or one the two films – there’s more laughs in those than in this movie.

28th Nov2015

Carol (Film)

by timbaros

CAROL_Carol and Therese in the store at Christmas time_CA1_3079In the new film ‘Carol’, Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchette play two women who fall in love in a time when it was not accepted and actually frowned upon.

Director Todd Haynes, in his first film since 2007’s ‘I’m Not There,’ has crafted this movie in a style and theme that he’s used before. In ‘Far From Heaven’ Julianne Moore’s housewife faces a marital crisis – her husband is caught kissing another man so she takes comfort in the arms of a black man. Whereas in ‘Carol’ Cate Blanchette’s unhappy housewife falls into the arms of another woman. Both of these films take place in the 1950’s where it’s all dewey and lush and beautiful. And the attention to detail in both films is amazing, capturing the fashion and essence that was the norm of it’s time, where everyone made an effort to dress up, especially the women, even just to go shopping.

Blanchett’s character, Carol Aird, is in a loveless marriage but it’s not because her husband is cheating on her with another man, it’s because Carol is cheating on her husband with another woman. It’s not a mid life crisis that Carol is going through, she’s been linked to Abby Gerhard (Sarah Paulson) in the past, and Abby has always been in the shadows throughout Carol’s marriage to Harge (Kyle Chandler). Harge still loves Carol, he wants to stay married, but Carol insists that the divorce still go ahead, which is very difficult for the both of them because of their young daughter. But one day Carol goes into a department store and is eyed by employee Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), who suggests to Carol to buy a train set for her daughter. Carol and Therese have chemistry, and the next day Carol invites Therese out for lunch to thank her for helping her out with her purchase. Eventually they start seeing each other more and more, and they fall headstrong into a relationship. Carol, who has the perfect husband and the perfect house, pursues a relationship with Therese, at the risk of losing custody of her daughter. Harge, in utter frustration over Carol’s new found relationship, seeks full custody of their daughter using a morality clause as the reason. And Therese risks her impending marriage to her boyfriend Richard (Jake Lacy) to be with Carol, and her and Carol embark on several trips together. It’s not until New Year’s Eve where they consummate their relationship in a full on one minute lip lock, which leads to a sexual act, again full on, there’s almost nothing left to the imagination. But will Carol’s impending divorce and the threat of losing her daughter and Therese’s burgeoning career as a photographer get in the way of their relationship?

Blanchett is magnificent as Carol, who risks losing her daughter yet has strong feelings for a much younger woman. Mara is even more superb as Therese, her innocence and naivete in full display. Both actresses are excellent, yet it’s Mara who ups Blanchette in the acting arena. The movie basically revolves around Therese and her coming of age not just with her career but with her sexuality as well. It would be a shame if Mara is reduced to supporting actress level as Blanchett does get top billing, they both deserve Best Actress Academy Award nominations but it’s Mara who should be on the podium. Chandler is also excellent as Carols’ husband – he’s got an ideal 1950’s look about him. ‘Carol,’ Based on the novel ‘The Price of Salt’ by Patricia Highsmith, was written at a time when it’s subject was considered scandalous, which Haynes truly captures. ‘Carol’ was filmed with Super 16mm to produce the muted hues of glamour magazines of the era, it’s romantic and dramatic and lovely to watch.