The last time I saw a movie in 3D was 4 years ago at some cheesy theme park attraction, where you got visually assaulted by biting snakes and roller-coasters. I’ve been meaning to see a “proper” 3D movie for some time now, but some of the produced stuff still looks pretty gimmicky (like Journey To The Centre Of The Earth). Coraline, however, was something I was really looking forward to and it was only on the day of the screening itself that I realized it was in 3D. Cool!


Coraline is about Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning), an adventurous girl who moves with her parents to a new village and into a weird, creaky old house, called the Pink Palace. Both her parents (Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman) don’t have time for her and Coraline keeps herself busy by visiting the Pink Palace’s other inhabitants. Downstairs is taken by an eccentric duo of bickering old performers, Miss Spink and Miss Forcible (Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French),while upstairs is the amazing Bobinsky (Ian McShane), a Russian circus star with performing mice. But then Coraline finds a door to a parallel world, where everything is strangely idealized with doppelgangers of everbody she knows.

I’ll start things off with the 3D. So far all 3D movies (and photos) I’ve seen have all used the standard one-red-glass-one-blue-glass type of glasses (from which I always got pretty dizzy). This movie however was in RealD; you get a different type of glasses (polarized, light beige for both sides) and the projection feels way better. There were some shots in the movie that just looked amazing! And unlike what I saw from Journey to the Centre of the Earth, the 3D effects in Coraline weren’t for the sake of 3D (as in: the writers didn’t go: “ooh, let’s add a dinosaur, cause that would look so coool in 3D!”). 

Coraline is directed by Henry Selick, who previously directed The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach. The style looks pretty similar to those two, yet still having very much an ambience uniquely it’s own. While it looks animated, everything is stop-motion, but shot in 3D. There are quite some beautiful scenes, but my favourite’s got to be the trapeze scene; it just seems like a dream sequence (which it kind of is).


The strength of the movie mainly comes from it’s great ensemble of characters. Coraline is an interesting and likable character, and you understand the reasons behind everything she does. Her normal parents are boring and have no time for her and you can see why she’s so charmed by the attention of the Other parents. The Other parents are creepy from the start, with their button eyes and eerie perfectness. Mr Bobinsky, Miss Spink and Miss Forcible are all weird characters in the real world and their Other world versions are even stranger.

Story wise I wasn’t too impressed. I know it’s meant as a kids film, but I wish there was a bit more depth and explanation to the story. I loved the whole set-up; the weird characters, the other world and it’s inhabitants, but I would have loved to see a more satisfying wrap-up.

Coraline is a beautiful movie and definitely one you’ve got to see in the cinema in 3D. The characters are all intriguing and different than anything you’ve seen before. Tip: stay seated until after the credits, there’s a little tidbit (really tiny) after it. 

Coraline – Release Date: 8 May UK

I Love You, Man stars Paul Rudd as Peter Klaven, a real-estate agent who has just asked his girlfriend Zooey (Rashida Jones from The Office) to marry him. After overhearing an awkward conversation of Zooey and all her girlfriends about him, Peter realizes he doesn’t have any guy friends to be his Best Man for his wedding. To rectify that situation, he asks the help of his gay brother Robbie (Andy Samberg from Saturday Night Live) who helps him arrange man-dates to find that new best friend. They all fail miserably though and Peter is about to give up, when he meets Sydney (Jason Segel from Forgetting Sarah Marshall and How I Met Your Mother) at an open house.

Even though Judd Apatow had nothing to do with I Love You, Man, I’m guessing people will compare it to Apatow’s previous movies, like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Knocked Up. It does fit in that range of comedies though and it’s not that hard to see why people place those movies in the same group: they star the same set of familiar faces (Rudd and Segal) and feature a refreshingly new premise. In this case, that premise of the film is the “bromance” between Peter and Sydney and how difficult it can be as an adult to find new friends. It has all the trappings of a regular romantic comedy (they meet, they go on a first date, there’s a montage of all the fun things they do together, they have a fight and break-up, then get together again) without the actual romance part. And it works. 

Paul Rudd and Jason Segel both turn in a great performance and their bromantic chemistry on screen is believable. Rudd’s character is charming as the perfect boyfriend, who always put more time into his girlfriends than into his friends. He knows what to do and how to act around woman. But now that he has to find a best friend, you realize how awkward and hopeless he is around men; he has no idea how to connect on a guy-to-guy level. Sydney, on the other hand, is the complete opposite: he’s macho, self-confident and has always had guy friends. Together, these two characters form a great on-screen duo, supplying us with some hilarious situations.

Besides the two main characters, there is a great supporting cast. Rashida Jones is adorable as Zooey; her character stays calm and collected through out most of the movie, and it gives us a nice break from some of the whiny “wife”/”girlfriend” characters there are out there. Andy Samberg is brilliant as Peter’s gay brother, although I wished they had given him more screen time. I loved the characters of Jon Favreau (Barry, the always grumpy husband of Zooey’s best friend) and Thomas Lennon (Doug, the gay man-date that Peter goes on); they both added some great scenes.

My only peeve with this movie were with some of the jokes/scenes. Now I get that this is a comedy and not every joke will be to everyone’s liking, but I didn’t laugh as much as I expected (let’s put it this way: I laughed more at the screening of 17 Again with Zac Efron). Early in the movie there’s a projectile vomiting scene (no, I’m not kidding here), which was just way too gross, and went on too long (the scene, not the vomiting). There were more scenes where you “got” what the joke was, but nobody in the cinema was laughing. Maybe it’s just not my type of humour, but I was disappointed that it wasn’t as funny as it could have been.

Stars Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Jaime Pressly, Jon Favreau, Andy Samberg, JK Simmons, Thomas Lennon, Andy Samberg, Jean Villepique, Rob Huebel
Written by John Hamburg & Larry Levin
Certification UK 15 | US R
Runtime 105 minutes
Directed by John Hamburg

This review was cross-posted on

Movie Review: 17 Again

April 10th, 2009

I try to go with an open mind into any movie I see; how can you really judge a movie without watching it first? Despite that though I do catch myself disregarding movies, because of the first impressions of the plot or the actor. I had that here with 17 Again: a starring vehicle for the new Disney poster child Zac Efron, with a Freaky Friday twist? Nah, not for me. And yet surprisingly it was.

In 1989, Mike O’Donnell (Zac Efron) is the star of his high school basketball team, with a bright future and a college scholarship almost in his grasp. He throws it all away though when he finds out his girlfriend Scarlet is pregnant and asks her to marry him. 20 years later Mike’s (now Matthew Perry) life is falling apart: his marriage to Scarlet is on the brink of a divorce, he’s got no real relationship with his teenage kids and he’s living with his high school nerd-turned-billionaire best friend Ned. But Mike gets a second chance when he is magically transformed to 17 again.

The age transformation gimmick has been rehashed so many times in Hollywood: kids wanting to be older, adults wanting to be young again, we’ve seen it all before. Freaky Friday. Big. And now 17 Again. Add to that plot lines borrowed from other ‘teen’ movies, like the Back To The Future “must not attract the family member” and you’ve got a movie that reeks of unoriginality. Regardless of that though, 17 Again is a funny and entertaining teen movie.

As much as I hate to admit it, that mainly comes because of the likability of Zac Efron. In all previous movies I’ve seen with him, he comes off as a little too charming, a little too smug; I never got why so many teenage girls were so hysterical about him. But with 17 Again his charisma carries the entire movie. Zac Efron just charms the socks off of you and you can’t help but like him.

The rest of the supporting cast are great too. While Matthew Perry doesn’t get that much screen time, it’s his performance at the start of the movie that makes you begin to care for the character of Mike. Most scenes with Mike’s best friend Ned are hilarious: he has the best pop culture one-liners, his entire house is full of geeky memorabilia, his wardrobe is outrageous and his antics to woo the high school headmistress are awkwardly funny. There’s a brilliant scene at the start of the movie where Ned and Mike have fight with Ned’s Lord of the Rings and Star Wars props. Leslie Mann is great as Scarlet, although she doesn’t get as much comedy time as we’ve seen from her in previous movies.

The only drawback I had with 17 Again is it’s wrap-up. After the predictable reveal, the movie ends pretty quickly, giving almost no screentime to the stories of the other characters.

17 Again is a light funny movie, which deserves a wider audience than just hysterical Zac Efron devotees. Yes, teenage girls are going to love it, but there’s more in this movie that will attract others too. I was expecting a movie I’d hate, but instead I discovered I actually did enjoy it. 17 Again never reaches the heights of teen classics, like Mean Girls or Clueless, but it’s an entertaining 102 minutes and well worth paying a cinema ticket for.

Movie Review: Genova

March 31st, 2009

This review is cross-posted on

Stars Colin Firth, Catherine Keener, Hope Davies, Willa Holland, Perla Haney-Jardine
Written by Michael Winterbottom & Laurence Coriat
Certification UK 15
Runtime 94 minutes
Directed by Michael Winterbottom

Following the death of their mother in a car accident, in which they were involved, Kelly and Mary leave America with their English father Joe (Firth) to live in Italy for a year. Via an old girlfriend from college, Barbara (Keener), Joe has been offered a job at the university in Genova as a teacher. The city of Genova provides a fresh start for Joe and his two daughters, but Mary, the youngest, is haunted by nightmares and keeps seeing the ghost of her mother wandering the streets.

Genova is a small production, directed by Michael Winterbottom of 24 Hour Party People and A Mighty Heart fame. In typical Winterbottom style, the film is shot with a hand-held camera, giving a realistic view of the cozy, yet simultaneously claustrophobic narrow streets of Genova. There’s a whole “documentary” vibe going on, and you almost feel as if you’re not looking at actors playing out a story, but actual people just being followed by a camera.

This all creates one of the most true to life film versions of a present day Italy I’ve ever seen. Everything feels genuinely Italian; from the old man who sells them their new apartment to the umbrellas on the beach to the conversations about being Italian the students are having. It all feels real. But there’s one problem I mainly had with Genova and that’s its plot. Here’s a story about a daughter wracked with guilt over the death of her mother, because she caused the car accident. You can see her older sister blaming her for it, while realizing that’s too much weight to put on her young shoulders. Then you keep wondering whether or not the father actually knows the details of that accident, but you keep thinking somewhere deep down inside he is blaming that youngest daughter too.

The whole movie feels like a buildup to one huge gigantic scream-fest family-drama climax… which never happens. There’s a scene which is meant as a “climax”, but it doesn’t even come close to what that buildup promises. After investing 1.5 hours into these characters, the movie just fizzles pathetically out, leaving you no closure. If only it had ended differently, ’cause then I think I would have recommended this little movie to everyone I know. How it stands now though, it just feels like a waste of time. If you like Winterbottom’s films or lifelike documentary-style dramas, give Genova a go. If not: avoid at all costs.

Movie Review: Watchmen

March 5th, 2009


I’ve been looking forward to Watchmen for months. Ever since seeing that first trailer, I’ve been psyched to watch this movie. I’ve never read the graphic novel, but every comic book geek I know has been declaring their love for Watchmen for ages. 

Here’s a bit of backstory first. I hadn’t read the graphic novel before watching the movie. I had bought it quite some time ago, but just never got around to picking it up and actually reading it. Eventually I just decided to go see the movie first and read it later. Then I got the invite to the bloggers screening, while I already had booked tickets to the IMAX. So I thought I’d go see the movie at the bloggers screening first, then read the novel and then see it again at the IMAX.

So this review is mainly written from the perspective of someone who hasn’t read the comic before the movie, but (because I’ve read a bit of it by now), can kind of compare how the two relate. I won’t be giving any spoilers at all about the plot, just general remarks of what I found of Watchmen.

Watchmen is set in 1985, in an alternative reality, where super heroes are real, America has won the Vietnam war, and Nixon has been elected to a third term. When a retired superhero is murdered, the members of his former team try to uncover why someone is targeting costumed heroes.

Now most of the time with the movies that I come to love, I get a sort of a high during the movie; your heart beat races, you’re holding your breath during key scenes, you get that roller-coaster ride, exhilarating feeling and the entire time you’re just amazed and awed at the things happening on the screen. Once out of the cinema, you’re just geeking out over the things you’ve just seen and keep replaying it over and over again in your mind. And you’re itching to jump right back into the cinema and see it all a second time. Depending on the movie, this “high” can last a couple of hours, or even a couple of days. Sometimes you only get them during a couple of scenes or key sounds (one that comes to mind for me was the transforming sound in Transformers). (sidenote: I really would like to know if other people get these type of highs too; most friends I’ve mentioned this too look at me as if I’m completely crazy)

So did I get this with Watchmen? During the movie itself not a single time. Heck, even during the discussion with the other bloggers afterwards that feeling was still missing. No, it came way later on the tube ride back, that I really started thinking about the movie and since then my mind keeps going back to it. I still can’t put my finger on what it is exactly, but since starting with the graphic novel I’m realizing it’s more about the concepts within the movie (and the graphic novel) than the actual movie experience. It’s not that it’s a bad movie (although some of the bloggers at the screening may disagree), not at all, but here it’s not about the visual effects, the acting, or even how the story unfolds on screen or how much you care about the characters. It’s about the questions and issues the story raises and how you start analyzing the movie and its characters.

That being said though, the visual effects, the acting and everything all do work in this movie. Yes, there is a lot of CGI, but from the start you’re transported to this other world and, just like with 300, there’s a surreal fantastical feel to this world you’re seeing. The actors are all perfectly cast, even more so after reading the start of the graphic novel; some of them are are eerily similar to their paper counterparts. From what I’ve seen of the graphic novel, the scenes too are uncannily lifted from the pages, with details such as background posters and graffiti being copied to a T. 

I think Watchmen is truly a movie you’ll have to see twice. Or you have to have read the comic book beforehand. For someone watching it for the first time, you do have a feeling you’re missing information and that you have to piece stuff together. It’s just simple things like realizing what the name is of each character, and what everyones relationship is. I think (although I haven’t gone a second time yet), a second viewing would help a lot. I can’t wait to see it again at the IMAX tomorrow.

This is a movie you have to see in the cinema. With all the different opinions about it already floating around, you’ve got to see to create your own. You might end up hating this movie, you might end up loving it. But however you end up feeling about it, Watchmen will make you think.

Week 4: Life isn’t measured in minutes, but in moments.

I managed to get free tickets to this movie for a couple of weeks ago, but I was feeling too sick to get out of bed that day (plus the screening was at 10 in the morning, so not exactly my favourite time of the day). I was gutted I couldn’t go, but I finally was able to catch this movie before the Oscars. 

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is (of course) about Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt), a man who is born old and is slowly aging backwards. Set in New Orleans, it tells the tale of how Benjamin deals with his extraordinary life and the people he meets.

Let’s start with the bad stuff: the plot. Almost everything comes together for this movie, except for the story, plot, screenplay, whatever you want to call it. Unexpectedly enough for a movie about a man aging backwards (which hasn’t been done before, right?), the plot seems all to familiar and nothing seems original. A couple days after watching it Cristiano showed me this video which highlighted all the similarities between The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Forest Gump (beware there are spoilers in it). No surprise, cause it turns out they’ve both got the same screenplay writer. 

The story aside though, the rest of the movie looks pretty amazing (let the discussion begin: can a movie still be amazing, if the story sucks?). I loved the cinematography; there are multiple shots that are just beautiful. For me, it was worth seeing in a cinema for those shots alone (sidenote: the photo below is not one of the ‘amazing’ shots).

And then you’ve got the visual effects. I knew there would be some outstanding effects to create the whole “old” Brad Pitt and “baby” Brad Pitt etc, but there is just so much more beyond that. Take a look at the Science Behind Benjamin Button website and you’ll see just how much has been created from scratch. Unlike with other movies though a lot of the effects here are elegantly integrated into the scenes and most of the time you don’t have a feeling you’re looking at something “fake”.

The acting is great, but I’m still conflicted about Brad Pitt’s Oscar nomination. How much of the Benjamin Button character comes from his performance? It’s his facial expressions in the entire movie, but the rest of the characters body movements are delivered by several other actors. Plus it’s the work of all the visual effects artists to merge everything together. So how much of Benjamin comes from Brad?

While I did like this movie, I don’t have a feeling it will stay long in the IMDB Top 250. Give or take a couple of years (months even) and it will be replaced by something better. Still, it’s a pretty picture and it’s nice to be able to watch at least a couple of these Top 250 movies in the cinema.

Next week: In Bruges

52 Movies: Psycho

February 23rd, 2009

Week 3: The screen’s master of suspense moves his camera into the icy blackness of the unexplained!

Writing these 52 Movies blog posts has proven to be quite a challenge to me. I think the problem lies in how I approach them. In my normal movie reviews I tend to avoid spoilers at all costs, mainly trying to give an overview of what type of movie it is, so that readers can determine whether or not it’s a movie they’d enjoy. Should I stick with this format for 52 Movies? Or should I be more spoilery and start a discussion of what I liked/disliked of the movie? 

This week’s movie was Psycho, directed by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock. I’ve seen some of Hitchcock’s movies while growing up, but somehow I never got really into them. I’ve been meaning to watch more of them now and the 52 Movies challenge finally forces me into finding and watching them.

The first thing that came to mind after watching Psycho was regret that I hadn’t seen this when I was younger. For starters, you can easily see that Psycho was the inspiration for so many movies, I just wish I had seen it before all of those. Besides that, I knew how it ended beforehand and I wonder if I would have been able to predict it myself (I think I would have).

I loved watching this movie from a film making perspective. You kind of take for granted how some shots are taken, cause nowadays so much more is possible than in the time of Hitchcock. Even when you disregard all CGI, blue-screen and visual effects, the technology and maneuverability of cameras are way more advanced nowadays, making some of Hitchcock’s shots all the more remarkable. Take for example the below screenshot from the famous shower scene:

For this shot to work and for the camera to survive, the water has to spray past/around the camera. If you’d recreate this with a tiny handheld camera this would already be pretty tricky to do, but can you imagine how this was done with the lumpy, big cameras of that era? Answer: the shower head was specially created for Pyscho and actually has a diameter of 1.8 meters (six foot). Pretty nifty, right? And you can find more of those type of creative cinematography in this movie, once you realise what the limitations of those times were.

The small quibble I had with this movie is it’s pace. It’s a tad slow for my generation (and younger) who are used to much faster plot developments. I’m not saying it should move faster, but it’s pretty difficult to get into if you’re used to quicker fare than this. That being said though, don’t let that fact put you off. Sit down and watch this movie, cause in the end it will be worth it.

Conclusion? Everybody must see Psycho at least once in their lives and parents should force their kids to watch this before their teen years (it’s way less bloody/creepy/gory than anything that passes for horror nowadays, plus it’s part of required movie history and education). 

Next week: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Week 2: Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.

I’m running way behind with these 52 Movies blog posts. I have been keeping up with watching a movie every week, I just haven’t found the time to blog about them too (plus the internet connection here is still sucky; fingers crossed it’ll be solved tomorrow). Hopefully I’ll manage to write the reviews for Week 2, 3 and 4 this week, and then next week I’ll do Week 5 and Week 6.

The movie for week 2 was The Shawshank Redemption, currently ranked as the number 1 film on IMDB. I’ve been meaning to watch it for at least the past 10 years, but every time it appeared on TV something managed to get in the way of watching it. Exams, delayed trains, or just plain forgetting what time it was on. It was a movie I knew I had to watch from start to finish, so I really didn’t want to jump in after missing half an hour. Frankly, I have been quite successful in avoiding seeing or hearing anything about this movie and not being spoiled at all (a rare feat considering the amount of movie blogs I read; I think I know at least the endings to half of the 52 Movies we’ve chosen).

The Shawshank Redemption tells the tale of Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a man who is convicted and sentenced to life in jail for the murder of his wife and her lover. He’s sent to Shawshank Prison, where he learns how to deal with prison life.

So what did I think of The Shawshank Redemption? To be honest, I wasn’t that impressed by it. I mean, I can see and understand why it would be ranked so high; it’s a movie with not a lot of faults, and the type of movie almost no one can not like. That being said though, I don’t see it as “THE best movie ever” and that’s what this list of 250 Movies should represent, right? Especially the number one.  

It is a good movie though and for those of you who haven’t seen, it definitely is a movie you should see. It’s full of hope and the lengths that we can go to when we have hope in ourselves, in our futures, and in others. The acting is superb; both TIm Robbins and Morgan Freeman are great in their roles. Personally though I just didn’t find it deserving of that number one spot. 

Next week: Psycho

I still had a long list of movies I had seen in 2008, but for which I hadn’t taken the time to write a review yet, thus this blog post. Now if I keep to my New Year’s resolution of reviewing every movie I see I won’t have to do these type of posts any more.

Kung Fu Panda

Funny animation about a panda with dreams of becoming a Kung Fu master. What I especially like of this film was how it wasn’t too predictable; I never had a feeling “oh, it’s gonna end like this and this”. My one quibble with it: there are so many famous actors cast in this (Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan) and some of them only have a couple lines. Don’t promote the movie as if they’ve got big roles then!

The Strangers

One of the worst “horror” movies I’ve ever seen. Almost no plot, no real frights or scares. It just felt like a complete waste of time after watching it.


Sigh. Christian Bale in a musical! And he’s singing and dancing. Even though he might be a bit ashamed of that movie nowadays, it’s still a great little gem. The singing is a bit cheesy and not always in tune, but, hey, it’s a kids movie and it’s perfect for those stay-inside-cause-you’re-sick-or-it’s-cold-outside days. 

Shoot ‘Em Up

I know a lot of people loved this movie, but it just didn’t work for me. It was too ridiculous and absurd, I just couldn’t get into it. Now I love old B action movies, but this didn’t even have the charm of those movies. It just felt awkward.

The House Bunny

Cute movie about a Playboy bunny that gets kicked out of the Playboy mansion and then becomes a house mother for a geeky sorority. Pretty obvious plot, but still quite funny and sweet.


I saw the trailer some time last year, and definitely wanted to see this movie. Liam Neeson as an ex-spy/special agent whose daughter gets kidnapped? Sounds good, right? And the movie is actually quite good, although a whole lot grittier and realistic then the trailer leads you to believe. I don’t mean in “blood and guts” gritty, but more in the plot and ambience.

Quantum of Solace

Greatest disappointment of the year. The action sequences are superb; there’s no problem with that. But the plot? it felt like they first came up with the main action shots and then decided to write a story to connect them all together. For me, it didn’t work. I was expecting much more emotional turmoil from Bond and at least a slightly less convenient Bad Guy.

Tropic Thunder

Not as brilliant as I expected, but still a great movie. I think it would have made more impact, if I hadn’t heard anything about it at all, but how can you ignore so many ads and marketing? You’re bound to hear something. 

Burn Without Reading

I’m not a fan of the Coen brothers, but Burn After Reading was quite funny. I’m not sure though if it deserves the nominations it’s getting. Still, Brad Pitt and George Clooney are both just so different and weird in this movie, it’s worth seeing for that alone.

Mamma Mia!

Abba songs are catchy; there’s no doubt about it. But an entire movie based on that? To be honest, it actually could have worked, but this movie suffers from one main problem: Meryl Streep. She doesn’t have the voice to pull this off. And while she may be a great actress, I never truly believed her character. 

52 Movies: La Vita è Bella

January 11th, 2009

Week 1: An unforgettable fable that proves love, family and imagination conquer all.

As I mentioned in my New Year’s resolutions post, one of the challenges I’ve set up for myself is to watch 52 Movies. Cristiano and I discovered that we both had only seen about 25-30% of the Top 250 Movies on IMDB, missing a lot of the classics and just general good movies I never got around to seeing. So every week we’ll be watching one of these movies and I’ll try to blog about it.

For this first week we did La Vita è Bella, at the moment #87 on IMDB. I had told my brother about my idea of this challenge before Christmas, so (of course and great that I did) I got two DVDs of two movies I hadn’t seen, one of which was La Vita è Bella

The first half of La Vita è Bella is set in the 1930s Italy. Guido (Roberto Benigni) has just moved to a small town in Tuscany where he falls in love with a schoolteacher, Dora. She’s already engaged, but the playful Guido manages to woo her in surprising and unusual ways. The story then jumps ahead to five years later; Guido and Dora are living happily together with their son, until they get sent to a German concentration camp. Guido does everything in his power to get this family through this ordeal.

There were a couple of reasons why I had never seen this movie. For starters, (I know this sounds a bit lame, but this is truly one of my reasons) I tend to watch (or at least start watching) a movie during dinner, and films with subtitles… not that handy when every other minute you have to look down at your plate (told you it was lame). Another reason was that every time I saw a clip or something else with Roberto Benigni in it, I just got completely exasperated by him. He’s so busy and bubbly and peppy, it’s tiring to watch him (I have the same with a Dutch comedian Bert Visscher; it’s too taxing to watch).

And for that first half of the movie, he is very much busy and bubbly and peppy. But in an endearing type of way. The way he woos Dora is just so sweet, you can’t find it irritating (still a bit tiring though to be honest). And when the second half of the movie hits, when this character that is so busy and bubbly and peppy lands in a concentration camp, he remains busy and bubbly and peppy. In a unique way, he keeps his son hopeful, never letting the harsh realities of the war affect him. 

I’m not one to cry that often during movies, but the end of La Vita è Bella had me slightly in tears (not too much, mind, and not until the last minute).  It’s a sweet story, and at it’s heart you could say it’s a bit of a fairy tale, even though it’s set in not the most fairy tale-ish of places. One note: if you’re avoiding this movie because it’s a “war-movie-drama”, don’t. You’re missing out on a great tale of hope and love (not to sound too soppy).

La Vita è Bella deserves to be in the Top 250 of IMDB, maybe even a little bit higher than #87. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should. Trust me, it’s a film you’ll always remember. 

Next week: The Shawshank Redemption