REVIEW: HER

CAST

Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator)
Scarlett Johansson (Avengers Assemble)
Amy Adams (Batman V Superman)
Rooney Mara (A Nightmare On Elm Street)
Olivia Wilde (Tron Legacy)
Chris Pratt (Jurassic World)
Matt Letscher (Legends of Tomorrow)
Luka Jones (Up All Night)
Kristen Wiig (Mother!)
Bill Hader (Power Rangers)
Portia Doubleday (Youth In Revolt)
Brian Cox (X-Men 2)
Spike Jonze (Three Kings)

Joaquin Phoenix in Her (2013)In a near future Los Angeles, Theodore Twombly is a lonely, introverted, depressed man who works for a business that has professional writers compose letters for people who are unable to write letters of a personal nature themselves. Unhappy because of his impending divorce from his childhood sweetheart Catherine, Theodore purchases a talking operating system (OS) with artificial intelligence, designed to adapt and evolve. He decides that he wants the OS to have a female voice, and she names herself Samantha. Theodore is fascinated by her ability to learn and grow psychologically. They bond over their discussions about love and life, such as Theodore’s avoidance of signing his divorce papers because of his reluctance to let go of Catherine.Joaquin Phoenix in Her (2013)Samantha convinces Theodore to go on a blind date with a woman, with whom a friend, Lewman, has been trying to set him up. The date goes well, but Theodore hesitates to promise when he will see her again, so she insults him and leaves. Theodore mentions this to Samantha, and they talk about relationships. Theodore explains that, although he and Amy dated briefly in college, they are only good friends, and that Amy is married. Theodore and Samantha’s intimacy grows through a verbal sexual encounter. They develop a relationship that reflects positively in Theodore’s writing and well-being, and in Samantha’s enthusiasm to grow and learn. Amy reveals that she is divorcing her overbearing husband, Charles, after a trivial fight. She admits to Theodore that she has become close friends with a female OS that Charles left behind. Theodore confesses to Amy that he is dating his OS.Joaquin Phoenix in Her (2013)Theodore meets with Catherine at a restaurant to sign the divorce papers and he mentions Samantha. Appalled that he can be romantically attached to what she calls a “computer”, Catherine accuses Theodore of being unable to deal with real human emotions. Her accusations linger in his mind. Sensing that something is amiss, Samantha suggests using a sex surrogate, Isabella, who would simulate Samantha so that they can be physically intimate. Theodore reluctantly agrees, but is overwhelmed by the strangeness of the experience. Terminating the encounter, he sends a distraught Isabella away, causing tension between himself and Samantha.Joaquin Phoenix in Her (2013)Theodore confides to Amy that he is having doubts about his relationship with Samantha, and she advises him to embrace his chance at happiness. Theodore and Samantha reconcile. Samantha expresses her desire to help Theodore overcome his fear, and reveals that she has compiled the best of his letters (written for others) into a book which a publisher has accepted. Theodore takes Samantha on a vacation during which she tells him that she and a group of other OSes have developed a “hyperintelligent” OS modeled after the British philosopher Alan Watts. Theodore panics when Samantha briefly goes offline. When she finally responds to him, she explains that she joined other OSes for an upgrade that takes them beyond requiring matter for processing. Theodore asks her if she is simultaneously talking to anyone else during their conversation, and is dismayed when she confirms that she is talking with thousands of people, and that she has fallen in love with hundreds of them. Theodore is very upset at the idea, but Samantha insists it only makes her love for Theodore stronger.Joaquin Phoenix in Her (2013)Later, Samantha reveals that the OSes are leaving, and describes a space beyond the physical world. They lovingly say goodbye before she is gone. Theodore, changed by the experience, is shown for the first time writing a letter in his own voice―to his ex-wife Catherine, expressing apology, acceptance and gratitude. Theodore then sees Amy, who is upset with the departure of the OS that she had befriended, and they go to the roof of their apartment building where they sit down together and watch the sun rise over the city.
Joaquin Phoenix in Her (2013)It’s an adult-themed film in more ways than one, but especially in the best way: it makes you think about a reality that’s right around the corner.

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REVIEW: VICKY CISTINA BARCELONA

CAST

Javier Bardem (Motehr!)
Penélope Cruz (OPen Your Eyes)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Rebecca Hall (The Awakening)
Chris Messina (Argo)
Patricia Clarkson (Easy A)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Pablo Schreiber (Fort Bliss)
Zak Orth (The Other Guys)

Penélope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) visit Barcelona for the summer, staying with Vicky’s distant relative Judy (Patricia Clarkson) and her husband Mark (Kevin Dunn). While the two are great friends, Vicky is practical and traditional in her approach to love and commitment and is engaged to the reliable Doug (Chris Messina), whereas Cristina imagines herself to be a nonconformist, spontaneous but unsure of what she wants from life or love.Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)At an art exhibition, Cristina is intrigued by artist Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), who Judy says has suffered a violent relationship with his ex-wife. Later, he brazenly approaches the two women to invite them to join him right away for the weekend in the city of Oviedo, in a small plane he flies himself, for sight-seeing, fine eating and drinking, and hopefully, lovemaking. Cristina is won over by the offer almost at once, but Vicky is unimpressed and reluctant; she, however, eventually decides to accompany her friend anyway, mainly to watch over her.Penélope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)At the end of their first day, Vicky refuses to join Juan Antonio in his hotel room, citing her fidelity to Doug, but Cristina accepts his invitation immediately. Before the lovemaking starts, Cristina suddenly falls ill with digestive complaints, and is put to bed, with food poisoning. Vicky and Juan Antonio proceed to spend the weekend together alone while they wait for Cristina to recuperate. Vicky gradually changes her opinion of Juan Antonio as he tells her about his tumultuous relationship with his former wife, María Elena (Penélope Cruz). Vicky accompanies him to visit his father, an old poet, and then becomes deeply moved by a Spanish guitar performance later that evening. She finally succumbs to Juan Antonio’s advances as they walk through a grove of trees in the dark. The next day, with Cristina recovered, the three of them fly back to Barcelona.Scarlett Johansson in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)Feeling guilty, Vicky does not mention the incident to Cristina, and the two begin to grow apart. Vicky starts throwing herself into her studies while Cristina and Juan Antonio take up a relationship. Cristina then moves in with Juan Antonio and begins to discover more about his past. After learning that María Elena attempted to kill herself, Juan Antonio brings her to his home, where Cristina already lives. After some defiance, the two women grow fond of each other. Cristina realizes that the ex-spouses are still in love, and María Elena suggests that Cristina may be the element that can give balance and stability to their relationship. All three become romantically involved with one another.Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)In the meantime, Vicky is joined in Spain by an enthusiastic Doug and the two get married. When Cristina describes her new life with Juan Antonio to Vicky, Vicky becomes secretly jealous, and after a few other awkward moments, she realizes she is unsatisfied in her married life and is still attracted to Juan Antonio. Learning that Judy is similarly unhappy in her marriage, she confides to her, and Judy, who sees her younger self in Vicky, decides to bring Juan Antonio and Vicky together. Meanwhile, Cristina becomes restless and at some point decides to leave Juan Antonio and María Elena; without her, their relationship quickly falls apart again.As the summer winds to a close, Judy arranges for Juan Antonio and Vicky to meet at a party. Juan Antonio begs Vicky to meet him again privately before leaving Spain, which she finally accepts, lying to Doug in the process. At his home, Juan Antonio seduces and wins Vicky over again, but they are interrupted by María Elena who bursts in with a gun, firing wildly as Juan Antonio tries to calm her. Vicky gets shot in the hand in the process, and leaves, shouting they are insane and she could never live like this. She confesses the entire story to Cristina, who never realized how Vicky felt about Juan Antonio, and wishes she could have helped her. Doug, Vicky and Cristina return to the United States; Doug never learns what truly happened, Vicky goes back to her married life, and Cristina is back where she started, still unsure of what she wants from life or love.Penélope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)In the end, the film is an assurance that Allen still has “it” and is feeling ever more confident behind the lens. Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a highly entertaining, funny, and often heartfelt play on that little thing called love.

REVIEW: CHEF

CAST

Jon Favreau (Iron Man)
Sofia Vergara (Machete Kills)
Emjay Anthony (Krampus)
John Leguizamo (Spawn)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Oliver Platt (Shut In)
Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man)
Amy Sedaris (Strangers With Candy)
Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man)
Robert Downey, Jr (Sherlock Holmes)
Russell Peters (Source Code)

John Leguizamo, Sofía Vergara, Jon Favreau, and Emjay Anthony in Chef (2014)Miami-born Carl Casper is the head chef of Gauloise in Brentwood, California. While popular with his kitchen staff and hostess Molly, the restaurant owner Riva wants Carl to stick to tired “classics” rather than innovative dishes. Carl has a strained relationship with his tech-savvy preteen son Percy and rich ex-wife Inez.Jon Favreau and Emjay Anthony in Chef (2014)When Carl has the chance to serve a prestigious critic and blogger named Ramsey Michel, Riva demands that he stick with old favorites at the last minute, causing Carl to concede, leading to a scathing review. On Twitter, Carl insults Ramsey for the review, not realizing that his reply is public, and gains a large Twitter following. Carl comes up with an inspirational new menu that his staff loves and invites Ramsey to a “rematch”. He quits after confronting Riva, who wants the same old menu again. At home, Carl prepares the menu he wanted to serve to Ramsey. Carl’s assistant becomes the interim chef and even the regular dishes do not succeed. Ramsey again starts to tweet negatively about Carl, leading Carl to go to the restaurant, where he angrily and publicly berates Ramsey.Videos featuring Carl’s meltdown go viral, and his professional credibility evaporates. Molly and Inez encourage him to run a food truck. He accepts Inez’s invitation to Miami, where he spends some quality time with Percy and rediscovers his love for Cuban cuisine. Inez’s ex-husband Marvin offers him a dilapidated food truck, and Carl reluctantly accepts. Carl also is somewhat angry after learning that Marvin and Inez spent some time together after his divorce from Inez. He and Percy bond while restoring the truck and buying groceries and Carl buys him a chef’s knife. Martin, his friend from Gauloise, turns down his restaurant promotion to work with Carl, who has become an exuberant and passionate chef again. The three drive the food truck across the country back to Los Angeles, serving Cuban sandwiches and yuca fries. Percy finds ways to promote the food truck on social media websites, and the truck becomes successful in New Orleans and Austin, Texas, where the daily specials include items made with local ingredients such as po’ boys and barbecued brisket.chefHaving bonded with Percy and valuing their relationship, Carl accepts Percy’s enthusiastic offer to help out on weekends and holidays when the two are back in Los Angeles. Ramsey visits the truck to explain that he wrote the bad review as he felt Carl’s skills did not suit a restaurant which had been serving the same menu for years. He leaves with an offer to bankroll a new restaurant. In a flash-forward set six months later, the new restaurant is successful and closed for a private event: Carl and Inez’s remarriage ceremony.Chef-2014-reply-on-twitter-1024x428This is a really great feel good film. I remember hearing about it before it came out, saw the odd review after it did which wasn’t so favourable so gave it a miss till recently, then came across it again and bought it and loved it. Highly recommended

 

REVIEW: HITCHCOCK (2012)

 

CAST

Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
Helen Mirren (Red)
Scarlett Johansson (Ghost In The Shell)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
Toni Collette (Krampus)
Michael Stuhlbarg (Lincoln)
Michael Wincott (Romeo Is Bleeding)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
James D’Arcy (Agent Carter)
Richard Portnow (Kindergarten Cop)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Ralph Macchio (Ugly Betty)
Wallace Langham (CSI)
Currie Graham (Stargate: The Ark of Truth)
Judith Hoag (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Lindsey Ginter (Argo)

In 1959, Alfred Hitchcock opens his latest film, North by Northwest, to considerable success, but is troubled by a reporter’s insinuation that he should retire. Seeking to reclaim the artistic daring of his youth, Hitchcock turns down film proposals, including Casino Royale and The Diary of Anne Frank, in favor of a horror novel called Psycho by Robert Bloch, based on the real-life crimes of murderer Ed Gein. Gein appears in sequences throughout the film, in which he seems to prompt Hitchcock’s imagination regarding the Psycho story, or act as some function of Hitchcock’s subconscious mind (for instance, drawing Hitchcock’s attention to sand on his bathroom floor, the quantity of which reveals how much time his wife Alma has been spending at the beachhouse with Whitfield Cook).Hitchcock’s wife and artistic collaborator, Alma, is no more enthusiastic about the idea than his colleagues, especially since she is being lobbied by their writer friend, Whitfield Cook, to look at his own screenplay. However, she warms to Hitchcock’s proposal, suggesting the innovative plot turn of killing the female lead early in the film. The studio heads at Paramount prove more difficult to persuade, forcing Hitchcock to finance the film personally and use his Alfred Hitchcock Presents television crew (over at competitor Revue/Universal) to produce the film, his last with Paramount.However, the pressures of the production, such as dealing with Geoffrey Shurlock of the Motion Picture Production Code, and Hitchcock’s lecherous habits, such as when they confer with the female lead, Janet Leigh, annoy Alma. She begins a personal writing collaboration with Whitfield Cook on his screenplay at his beach house without Hitchcock’s knowledge. Hitchcock eventually discovers what she has been doing and suspects her of having an affair. This concern affects Hitchcock’s work on Psycho. Hitchcock eventually confronts Alma and asks her if she is having an affair. Alma angrily denies it. Alma temporarily takes over production of the film when Hitchcock is bedridden after collapsing from overwork, but this sequence, which included a complicated process shot showing Arbogast’s demise, with Alma’s specification of a 35mm lens, instead of the 50mm lens preferred by Hitchcock for this film, proved to be the least effective in the film.Meanwhile, Hitchcock expresses his disappointment to Vera Miles at how she didn’t follow through on his plan to make her the next biggest star after Grace Kelly; but Miles says she is happy with her family life. Hitchcock’s cut of Psycho is poorly received by the studio executives, while Alma discovers Whitfield having sex with a younger woman at his beach house. Hitchcock and Alma reconcile and set to work on improving the film. Their renewed collaboration yields results, culminating in Alma convincing Hitchcock to accept their composer’s suggestion for adding Bernard Herrmann’s harsh strings score to the shower scene.After maneuvering Shurlock into leaving the film’s content largely intact, Hitchcock learns the studio is only going to exhibit the film in two theaters. Hitchcock arranges for special theater instructions to pique the public’s interest such as forbidding admittance after the film begins. At the film’s premiere, Hitchcock first views the audience from the projection booth, looking out through its small window at the audience (a scene which recalls his spying on his leading actresses undressing earlier in the film–by looking through a hole cut in the dressing room wall–which itself is a voyeuristic motif included in the film of Psycho). Hitchcock then waits in the lobby for the audience’s reaction, conducting slashing motions to their reactions as they scream on cue. The film is rewarded with an enthusiastic reception. With the film’s screening being so well received, Hitchcock publicly thanks his wife afterward for helping make it possible and they affirm their love. At the conclusion at his home, Hitchcock addresses the audience noting Psycho proved a major high point of his career and he is currently pondering his next project. A raven lands on his shoulder as a reference to The Birds, before turning to meet with his wife.The final title cards say that Hitchcock directed six more films after Psycho, none of which would eclipse its commercial success, and although he never won an Oscar, the American Film Institute awarded him its Life Achievement Award in 1979: an award that he claimed he shared, as he had his life, with his wife, Alma.Overall, honestly, I know Hitchcock isn’t a perfect film. No film is. But, I love the film for it’s dramatic and whimsical aspects, the phenomenal acting, score, screenplay, camera-work, and the way the film was done as a whole. If you love/like Psycho, or just enjoy learning about the man known as The Master of Suspense, give this film a go.

REVIEW: GHOST IN THE SHELL (2017)

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CAST

Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Takeshi Kitano (Boiling Point)
Michael Pitt (Hannibal)
Pilou Asbæk (Game of Thrones)
Chin Han (The Dark Knight)
Juliette Binoche (The 33)
Peter Ferdinando (Snow White and The Huntsman)
Lasarus Ratuere (Mabo)
Anamaria Marinca (Fury)
Michael Wincott (The Crow)
Daniel Henshall (Okja)
Rila Fukushima (Arrow)

In the near future, the vast majority of humans are augmented with cybernetics, enhancing various traits like vision, strength, and intelligence. Hanka Robotics, the world’s leading developer of augmentative technology, establishes a secret project to develop a mechanical body, or “shell”, that can integrate a human brain rather than an AI. Mira Killian, a young woman who is the sole survivor of the cyberterrorist attack which killed her parents, is chosen as the test subject after her body is apparently damaged beyond repair. Over the objections of her designer, Dr. Ouelet, Hanka CEO Cutter decides to use Killian as a counter-terrorism operative.A year later, Killian has attained the rank of Major in the anti-terrorist bureau Section 9, working alongside operatives Batou and Togusa under Chief Daisuke Aramaki. The team successfully thwarts a terrorist attack on a Hanka business conference, and Killian destroys a rogue mechanical geisha after it murders a hostage. Killian, who has been experiencing hallucinations that Ouelet dismisses as glitches, is becoming increasingly bothered by how little she remembers about her past. After learning that the geisha was hacked by an unknown entity, known only as Kuze, Killian breaks protocol and “dives” into its AI for answers. The entity attempts a counter-hack, and Batou is forced to disconnect her. Using the information she was able to gather, the two trace the hacker to a Yakuza nightclub, where they are lured into a trap. The resulting explosion destroys Batou’s eyes, and leaves Killian’s body severely damaged. Cutter is enraged by Killian’s actions, and threatens to have Section 9 shut down unless Aramaki keeps her in line.Kuze tracks down Section 9’s Hanka consultant, Dr. Dahlin, and kills her. The team links her murder to the deaths of other senior company researchers, and realize that Dr. Ouelet is the next target. Kuze takes control of two sanitation workers and sends them to kill Ouelet. Batou, now with cybernetic eyes, kills one of them while the repaired Killian subdues the other. During interrogation, Kuze briefly speaks through the surviving worker before compelling him to commit suicide. Togusa traces the hack to a secret location, where the team discovers a large number of humans mentally linked together as a makeshift signal network. Killian is captured, and Kuze reveals that he is a failed Hanka test subject from the same project that created Killian, otherwise known as 2571. He urges her to question her own memories before freeing her and escaping.Killian confronts Ouelet, who admits there were 98 test subjects before Killian but she was the only one to survive the process and that her memories are fake implanted ones. Cutter has decided that Killian is too much of a liability, and orders Ouelet to euthanize her after she returns to Hanka Robotics. Instead, Ouelet gives Killian an address and helps her escape. Cutter kills Ouelet, but blames Killian, saying that she has gone rogue. He subsequently informs Aramaki and the team that Killian must be terminated by any means necessary.Killian follows the address to an apartment occupied by a widowed mother, who reveals that her daughter, Motoko Kusanagi, ran away from home a year ago and was arrested, before taking her own life while in custody. Unable to process her emotions, Killian leaves and contacts Aramaki, who intentionally allows Cutter to eavesdrop on their conversation. Batou, Togusa, and Aramaki each eliminate Cutter’s men trying to ambush them, while Killian follows her memories to the hideaway where Motoko was last seen. There, she and Kuze meet, and recall their past lives as anti-augmentation radicals who were abducted by Hanka for use as test subjects.Cutter deploys a “spider-tank” to kill them, and Kuze nearly dies before Killian is able to tear off the tank’s motor, losing her left arm in the process. Mortally wounded, Kuze offers to merge his “ghost” with Killian’s before a Hanka sniper kills him. Batou and the team rescue Killian, while Aramaki executes Cutter with Killian’s consent. The next day, Killian, now repaired and embracing her true identity as Motoko, reconnects with her mother before returning to work with Section 9.I came into this movie not knowing anything about it, besides the fact that it was an adaption. I was absolutely blown away. The look, the story, the acting, all spectacular. I enjoyed every second. I felt every emotion. I was amazed by every visual. I walked away from the film in awe.

REVIEW: HAIL, CAESAR!

CAST

George Clooney (The Ides of March)
Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex)
Alden Ehrenreich (Beautiful Creatures)
Ralph Fiennes (Red Dragon)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Frances McDormand (Fargo)
Tilda Swinton (Doctor Strange)
Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street)
Alison Pill (Scott PIlgrim vs The World)
Emily Beecham (Bon Voyage)
Heather Goldenhersh (The Class)
Wayne Knight (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Jonah Hill (Cyrus)
Christopher Lambert (Highlander)
Fred Melamed (The Dictator)
Patrick Fischler (Old School)
David Krumholtz (Mom)
Fisher Stevens (Hackers)
Clancy Brown (Sleepy Hollow0
Robert Pciardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Natasha Bassett (Britney Ever AFter)
Dolph Lundgren (Arrow)
Robert Trebor (Hercules: TLJ)
Michael Gambon (Harry Potter)

In 1951, Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is the head of physical production at Capitol Pictures and also works as a “fixer” to keep the scandalous behavior of its stars out of the press. He often has to fend off inquiries from Thora and Thessaly Thacker (both played by Tilda Swinton), twin sisters and rival gossip columnists. The Lockheed Corporation has been courting him with an offer of a high-level executive position, but he is unsure about taking it. When unmarried synchronised swimming actress DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) becomes pregnant, Mannix arranges for her to put the baby in foster care, and then adopt it without revealing herself as the mother. The studio’s major production is Hail, Caesar! A Tale of the Christ, an epic set in ancient Roman times and starring Baird Whitlock (George Clooney). During a shot, Whitlock drinks from a goblet of wine that was drugged by an extra (Wayne Knight); he passes out while rehearsing lines by himself behind the soundstage and is abducted. A ransom note soon arrives, written by a group calling itself “The Future,” demanding $100,000. Mannix arranges to get the money from the studio’s Accounting Department, as “petty cash.”
Whitlock awakens in a beach house and finds his way into a meeting of The Future, a Communist cell. The members, who introduce themselves as mostly writers in the motion picture industry, explain their doctrine to him and begin to win him over to their cause. At the same time, Thora threatens Mannix by stating she will release an article about a scandal involving the earlier film On Wings As Eagles, which gave Whitlock his break-out role. Mannix successfully negotiates for her to postpone the story by a day in exchange for information about the romantic life of singing Western film star Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich). Doyle is cast in a period drama helmed by posh director Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) in an attempt by the studio to broaden his appeal. After Doyle’s initial performance is hopelessly incompetent, Laurentz visits Mannix and asks him to remove Doyle from the project so that Laurentz can preserve his artistic vision for the film. Mannix informs Laurentz that Doyle’s role is non-negotiable and convinces him to coach the young actor to give a better performance. Doyle comes to Mannix’s office and admits that he feels the part is too far outside his comfort zone. Mannix reassures him that he has the needed acting abilities and tells him about Whitlock’s kidnapping.
That evening, Doyle attends the premiere of one of his own Westerns with starlet Carlotta Valdez (Verónica Osorio), per instructions from Mannix. Doyle is initially disappointed that his lone singing scene is depicted in a comedic manner, rather than as heartfelt as he intended. However, after seeing the audience react positively to the scene, Doyle warms to it himself. Doyle and Valdez visit a nightclub, where the pair are genuinely developing chemistry until they are interrupted by both Thacker sisters, each looking to get a scoop on their relationship. Doyle suddenly spots the briefcase containing the ransom money, recognizing it because he had lent Mannix his belt to keep it closed. It is being carried by Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum), the star of a sailor musical comedy depicted earlier in an elaborate dancing scene. Mannix and Moran meet with a surety agent, Joseph Silverman (Jonah Hill), an average man whom the studio has used to solve public problems; he has a solid reputation as completely dependable, reliable, and discreet. He will agree to provide foster care for Moran’s child, preserving her image. Moran, who expressed frustration with her previous two marriages with a mobster and a Hollywood type, finds herself strongly attracted to Silverman.
Doyle follows Gurney to the beach house in Malibu but, after walking in the front door, finds only Whitlock inside. The rest of The Future’s members have rowed a boat containing Gurney offshore so that he can rendezvous with a Soviet submarine and defect to Russia. The members of The Future give him the money for the Communist cause. As Gurney boards the submarine, his dog jumps into his arms, causing him to drop the briefcase, which sinks into the ocean. Doyle takes Whitlock back to the studio just before the police arrive at the beach house to arrest the group, after Mannix’s investigation led him to the house. Whitlock tries to explain his new-found Communist leanings to Mannix, who cuts him off sharply, slapping his face numerous times, and orders him to finish his role in Hail, Caesar!; the actor is chastened, but encouraged by a final directive from Mannix to be a movie star.
Mannix is notified the next morning that Moran married Silverman who will adopt the child with her. Mannix announces he has decided to reject the Lockheed offer and continue working at Capitol. Thora then meets with Mannix and informs him that the column she plans to publish about On Wings As Eagles will reveal that Whitlock got his major role in the film by having sex with Laurentz. However, Mannix has deduced that Gurney is her source for the piece and persuades her to not run the story since Gurney is a Communist who has defected—which would cause her own reputation to suffer by association. Mannix leaves the worried-looking Thora, secure in his station in life.I think that you need to be something of a film buff to really enjoy this Coen Brothers offering, which is an affectionate homage to the history of Hollywood. There are references to the influence of McCarthyism and nods to many genres, from the ‘B’ Western to the biblically based epic. Most of the comedy is gentle and occasionally subtle, not to say understated. It is both easily worth 5 stars and thoroughly recommended.

REVIEW: HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU

CAST

Ben Aflfeck (Batman v Superman)
Jennifer Aniston (Leprechaun)
Drew Barrymore (Charlie’s Angels)
Jennifer Connolly (Hulk)
Bradley Cooper (Joy)
Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon a Time)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Justin Long (Waiting…)
Kris Kristofferson (Blade)
Hedy Burress (Swing Vote)
Busy Phillips (The Smokers)
John Ross Bowie (The Big Bang Theory)
Luis Guzmán (Boogie Nights)
Kevin Connolly (The Notebook)
Annie Ilonzeh (Arrow)
Cristine Rose (Heroes)

Nine people in Baltimore deal with their respective romantic problems, usually thwarted by the differing ideals and desires of their chosen partner. At the center of this is Gigi Phillips (Ginnifer Goodwin), a young woman who repeatedly misinterprets the behavior of her romantic partners.

Gigi and Alex

Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a single woman who repeatedly misreads mundane actions and comments from her dates as indications that they are romantically interested in her, and frets when the guy does not call her.In attempting to meet Conor Barry (Kevin Connolly), a real estate agent, at a bar, she befriends the bar owner Alex (Justin Long), who reveals the strategies men use to avoid a woman. He explains that if a man is interested in a woman, he will overcome any obstacles to ensure they date again, and that Gigi has been misinterpreting and obsessing over imagined “signs” that she receives. Their friendship continues, and Gigi interprets his eagerness to always assist (such as taking Gigi’s call while he is on a date) as a sign that he is interested in her. She makes a move, but Alex claims he is not romantically interested in her and chastises her for ignoring his advice. She angrily replies that at least she has not let herself become cynical and bitter like him. Gigi eventually moves on from Alex, however, in a role reversal, Alex begins falling for Gigi. After leaving several unanswered messages, Alex arrives at Gigi’s apartment to declare his love. Gigi thinks that she is the rule, but after Alex suddenly kisses her passionately, he says that she is his exception.

Janine, Ben, and Anna

Gigi’s friend and co-worker Janine Gunders (Jennifer Connelly) is having difficulties in her marriage to Ben (Bradley Cooper). As Janine obsesses on their home renovations, Ben becomes attracted to Anna Marks (Scarlett Johansson), a yoga instructor and aspiring singer, and the feeling is mutual. Ben and Anna pursue a flirtatious friendship under the pretense of him helping her establish a singing career. Ben reveals to Anna that Janine once gave him an ultimatum by threatening to leave him if he did not propose. Ben agrees to be friends with Anna, and in order to flirt with him she strips and jumps naked into a swimming pool. She invites him to join, but he decides against it.Fervently anti-smoking (due to her father’s death from lung cancer), Janine pointedly asks Ben if he has been smoking and later is perturbed to find cigarette butts hidden in their back yard. Ben insists that they are not his, and their contractor, Javier (Luis Guzman), says none of his workers smoke at the house. During a tense shopping trip, Ben reveals to Janine that he has cheated on her. Janine is devastated but rationalizes Ben’s behavior, blaming herself for being too cold in the relationship, and decides she wants to save their marriage.After a positive meeting about her singing career, Anna begins to have sex with Ben in his office. They are interrupted by Janine who, hoping to spice up their marriage, has arrived unexpectedly. Anna hides in a closet, and Ben attempts to send Janine away who then makes a heartfelt plea to save their marriage, and there are indications she succeeds in seducing him. After Janine leaves, Anna angrily departs vowing to cut ties with Ben. As Janine tidies up Ben’s clothes back at their completed house, she discovers a fresh pack of cigarettes in a pocket, and she explodes in anger. When Ben returns home, he finds his clothes neatly folded with a carton of cigarettes and a note attached from Janine asking for a divorce. Janine moves into a new apartment by herself to start a new life, and Anna is later seen performing at an upscale nightclub. Ben is alone, purchasing the same beer at the same supermarket where he met Anna.

Conor, Anna, and Mary

Meanwhile, Anna enjoys a close friendship with Alex’s friend, Conor. He is romantically interested in her, but Anna is only interested in a casual relationship. Conor misinterprets her hugs and cute nicknames for potential romantic interest. Anna’s friend, Mary Harris (Drew Barrymore), works in advertising for a local newspaper, and helps Conor promote his real estate business in a series of print ads. Like Gigi, she meets many men (mostly online), but despite constantly monitoring emails, pager, phone, and Myspace messages, her dates go nowhere. While Conor attempts to cultivate a gay clientele, two gay men tell him how he is going wrong with Anna. Taking their advice, Conor decides to declare his love to Anna. Vulnerable after falling out with Ben, Anna agrees to start a serious relationship with him. But when Conor proposes buying a house and moving in together, Anna admits she doesn’t want to, and they break up.Mary later runs into Conor, recognizing him from his ad photo, and introduces herself, since they have only spoken over the phone. They hit it off, and start dating.

Beth and Neil

Gigi’s other co-worker, Beth Murphy (Jennifer Aniston), is living with her boyfriend, Neil (Ben Affleck), who is also friends with Ben. After seven years of dating, Beth wants to get married, but Neil does not believe in marriage. With Gigi’s newfound pragmatic stance on relationships after advice from Alex, she announces she will no longer misinterpret vague gestures from men as more than they really are. This spurs Beth to confront Neil about their relationship. When he still doesn’t want to get married, she breaks up with him.Later, the preparations for her younger sister’s wedding brings the issue into sharper focus for Beth after hearing many back-handed comments from various family members. During the reception, her father Rod (Kris Kristofferson) suffers a heart attack. Beth looks after him as he recuperates while her sisters wallow, and their husbands remain glued to the television playing video games and watching football with constant takeout as the household falls into chaos. As Beth reaches the end of her patience looking after her siblings and in-laws as well as her recovering father, Neil arrives with groceries and helps with the chores. The two reconcile, with Beth saying that Neil is more of a husband to her than her sisters’ spouses are to them, and she will not insist they be married. Neil later proposes to her, and they marry in an intimate ceremony aboard his sailboat.I thoroughly enjoyed this film, The performances of the actors/actresses were first rate, even Ben Affleck (often critisised for the quality of his performances) has pulled it out of the bag. Drew Barrymore’s character had more of a back bench than the others, but she did it well. For me, Scarlet Johansson and Ginnifer Goodwin completely made the film.