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Movie Mayhem with Michael Doherty

Friday, 16 May 2008

Movie buff Michael Doherty bring you the latest movie release to hit the Irish screens this week and he has a sneak peak at one of this summers most anticipated movies.

Caramel (PG)          

Courtesy: Momentum Pictures
Starring: Nadine Labaki, Adel Karam, Ismail Antar, Aziza Semaan, Yasmine Elmasri
Director: Nadine Labaki

Plot: In Beirut, five women meet regularly in a beauty salon, a colourful and sensual microcosm of the city where several generations come into contact, talk and confide in each other. Layale loves Rabih, but Rabih is married.

Nisrine is Muslim and her forthcoming marriage poses a problem: she is no longer a virgin. Rima is tormented by her attraction to women and especially to this lovely client with long hair. Jamale is refusing to grow old. Rose has sacrificed her life to take care of her elderly sister.

In the salon, their intimate and liberated conversations revolve around men, sex and motherhood, between haircuts and sugar waxing with caramel.

Verdict: It's not very often that the words ''romantic comedy'' and ''Beirut'' find themselves in the same sentence but so it goes in Nadine Labaki's delightful and extremely impressive directorial debut.

Though it centres on the staff and clientele of a beauty salon, this is not Steel Magnolias in a foreign accent.

The range of characters (led by Labaki herself as a woman enduring an unhappy affair with a married man) is beautifully observed while Labaki's script (yep, she co-wrote it as well) is a gem.

Already a clear favourite for next year's Best Foreign Film Oscar.

Smart People (15A)          

Courtesy: Eclipse Pictures
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Thomas Haden Church, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ellen Page
Director: Noam Murro

Plot: Into the life of a widowed professor comes a new love and an unexpected visit from his adopted brother.

Verdict: Just in case Sarah Jessica Parker wasn't getting enough publicity, here she is in an above-average rom-com co-starring Dennis Quaid. He's a pompous professor adjusting to life after the death of his wife; she's the doctor who treats him when he suffers a brain injury. Together, well, you know the rest. This is not as bad as it sounds or as good as it could be, but the two leads are strong and the supporting cast includes such scenery-chewers as Ellen Page (Juno) and Thomas Haden Church (Sideways).

Trivia: Rachel Weisz was originally cast opposite Dennis Quaid in this film, but she decided to leave the project. She was then replaced with Sarah Jessica Parker.


Shutter (16)         
Courtesy: 20th Century Fox
Starring: Rachel Taylor, Joshua Jackson
Director: Masayuki Ochiai

Plot: A newly married couple discovers disturbing, ghostly images in photographs they develop after a tragic accident. Fearing the manifestations may be connected, they investigate and learn that some mysteries are better left unsolved.

Verdict: While to you or I 'spirit photography' may look like little more than a bunch of snaps taken on a pub crawl, to believers it's the manifestation of a ghostly form on a photo print.

Which sets the premise for yet another remake of an Japanese-type horror movie (actually Thai), in which a newlywed couple, Dawson's Creek's Joshua Jackson and blonde-from-Transformers Rachel Taylor, combine their honeymoon with a work trip to Tokyo and hit a small Japanese woman with their car. That's when the hauntings begin, their wedding and holiday pics ruined by mysterious and ghostly forms. Oooooo. Only our groom may know more about the recently departed than he's letting on. Interested? Don't be.

It's workmanlike at best; derivative, predictable and slightly dull at worst.
(source empire online)


Exclusive Sneak Peak

Mamma Mia     (Released July 11th)
Courtesy: Universal Pictures
Starring: Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Amanda Seyfried
Director: Phyllida Lloyd 

Plot: Based on the hit West End and Broadway musical about an ABBA-ridden tale of a young bride-to-be trying to find her father.

18-year-old Sophie Sheridan (Amanda Seyfried) has a problem. It's almost her wedding day and she doesn't know who her father is. It could be any of her mother Donna's (Meryl Streep) past suitors: Sam Carmichael (Pierce Brosnan), Bill Austin (Stellan Skarsgård), or Harry Bright (Colin Firth). The only way for her to find out is to invite all three to her wedding to see what happens.

Trivia: Benny Andersson, former ABBA member and co-composer of the songs, calls Meryl Streep "a miracle". Meryl Streep came to Stockholm to do her vocal for the song "The Winner Takes it All". She finished it in one take. (source imdb)