Movie Date: Brooklyn (NC16)
Brooklyn is far from a chore for the girls, but a snore for the guys.
STARRING: Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent
DIRECTOR: John Crowley
THE SKINNY: Irish immigrant Eilis Lacey (Ronan) lands in 1950s New York in search of a new and better life. Settling into her adopted city Brooklyn proves to be more difficult than expected due to homesickness. She struggles hard to fit in, until she meets Italian-American plumber Tony (Cohen) and starts to blossom into a confident young woman.
MARS by JASON JOHNSON
This is not my kind of thing - at all.
The critics love it and it has been nominated for three Oscars (Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay), but it leaves me completely underwhelmed.
Brooklyn is as bland as bland can be, and so smug in its sense of good taste.
Such a sensitive, nuanced script. Such subtle performances. Such finely crafted costumes and settings.
I have complained for years about the dearth of truly romantic films coming out of Hollywood.
We get goofy romantic comedies instead of true romances.
The romances I love are set against a backdrop of darkness and danger, like the classic Notorious (1946) with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman.
I also appreciate the more fantastical and imaginative love stories like Edward Scissorhands (1990).
A romance should be larger than life. Epic. Grand.
Brooklyn is a tiny little thing.
Speaking as a little person - I do not need films about us little people, thanks.
A humble Irish immigrant and her simple Italian boyfriend. Wow.
And guess what? He is a plumber.
Calculated to impress, careful not to offend, classy to the point of absurdity, Brooklyn is the very definition of Oscar bait.
VENUS by JOANNE SOH
Ronan has been nominated for a Best Actress Oscar.
She will not win it at the upcoming awards ceremony on Feb 28, but the honour is absolutely deserving.
This simple movie about finding one's identity and forging your own destiny would not have been engaging if not for Ronan.
The Irish lass first impressed as a kid in Atonement (2007) and she thrilled again in Hannah (2011).
Brooklyn is Ronan's most heartfelt and sincere work to date.
Not only does she command the screen with her beauty, she brings much emotion with subtle gestures such as a fleeting glance, her impassioned gaze or slight nuances of body language.
Newcomer Cohen is also a revelation as Tony, the devoted love interest who wears his heart on his sleeve.
Cohen makes Tony so genuine and adorable that when the requisite love triangle comes in the form of Eilis' countryman, the earnest Jim (Gleeson), you cannot help but feel miserable for Tony.
Broadbent lends weight as Eilis' trusted priest Father Flood and so does Fiona Glascott as Eilis' elder sister Rose.
The production set and costumes are also commendable.
But much like how The Revenant benefitted from Leonardo DiCaprio's strong acting, Brooklyn thrives solely on Ronan's powerful central performance.
THE CONSENSUS: Brooklyn is far from a chore for the girls, but a snore for the guys.
What It Looks Like:
Since he was young, Henry has hated the sky. Too big. Too blue. When a meteor falls and crushes his wife's head, he decides the sky must die.
What It's Really About:
In this sci-fi action flick told from the first-person POV, everything is seen through the eyes of Henry, who is trying to save his wife from kidnappers.
Movie Review: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi (NC16)
I initially did not realise this is a Michael Bay movie.
However, the revelation comes pretty quickly, as the director's fingerprints are all over it.
Supposedly based on factual accounts, it is about six security team members who defended a US base in Libya, after the US Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens (Matt Letscher) was assassinated.
It is no performance-driven movie, though John Krasinski is decent as the mercenary trying to survive the attacks to reunite with his family back in the US.
Typical of a Bay actioner, it is highly decorated with many explosive moments and heroic dialogue. It champions machismo and loyalty, and is filled with two-dimensional villains.