Wednesday, March 05, 2008

HVO: Good Luck Chuck, We Own The Night, Becoming Jane and No Reservations

Home Viewing Options: DVD reviews

Starring: Dane Cook, Jessica Alba, Dan Fogler, Ellia English

Director: Mark Helfrich
Time: 90 mins
Rating: * * 1/2

THIS 2007 effort was taken off the cinema circuit in Malaysia and it is the top-selling DVD in the US! All for a good reason: It’s plot is pure male fantasy – and there are sequences of tits galore, including a shot of a woman with three boobs!

Comedy Central’s comedian Dan Cook plays the title character, a dentist hexed with the dubious gift of being the good luck charm for women seeking to get married. Every girl that Charlie sleeps with will fall in love and marry the next guy after him. Of course, this results in dozens of women offering their bodies to him for sex while Charlie is head-over-heels in love with penquin-keeper Cam (Jessica Alba). Problem is this: While Cam is ready to commit herself to Charlie, he can’t because if he has sex with Cam, he would lose her…

Okay guys, I know what you are thinking. No, you won’t get to see J-Alba topless (but pretty much every extra). Alba is not known for her acting but she is rather adorable here Cooking up great chemistry with Dan. This is basically a hit-or-miss comedy and first-time helmer Helfrich often gets the timing off. Still, it is just the DVD for a night with the boys!
WE OWN THE NIGHT (crime drama)
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Robert Duvall, Eva Mendes and Tony Musante

Writer-Director: James Gray
Time: 117 mins
Rating: * * 1/2

IT is like a cross between “American Gangster” and “Eastern Promises” – about two brothers on opposite sides of a crackdown on a Russian drug mob. Bobby (Phoenix) runs a popular nightclub for his Russian boss and has a hot girlfriend in Amada (Eva Mendes). His brother Joseph (Wahlberg) and father (Duvall) are cops. Things come to a boil one night when Joe raids Bobby’s nightclub, and later gets shot in the face. Bobby now finds that he must take sides…

This ‘brothers-torn-apart’ caper is old hat and the performances are nothing to shout about either. After about an hour of tension, things start to get predictable and ridiculous. However, the show-stealer is Mendes who gets our attention as a caring girlfriend caught in a dangerous situation.
BECOMING JANE (romantic comedy)
Starring: Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, Julie Walters, James Cromwell, Maggie Smith and Joe Anderson
Director: Julian Jarrold
Time: 120 mins
Rating: * * *

Like “Shakespeare In Love”, this is a semi-fictional biography of novelist Jane Austen and her love life. It is 1796 when 20-year old Jane (Hathaway) meets Tom Lefroy (McAvoy) - a penniless student of law who is entirely dependent upon his rich uncle (Ian Richardson, in his last film role) for his upkeep. Tom is not suitable for Jane but they fall madly in love. This liaison does not please Jane's mother (Julie Walter), who wants her to marry the dull, humourless nephew of Lady Gresham (Maggie Smith). Jane's father (Cromwell), encourages her to do what suits her soul.

Hathaway does justice to Jane, providing her with the same wide-eyed intensity that we saw in “Devil Wears Prada” while McAvoy will stir female hearts with his rendition of Lefroy who is ever-ready for a bout of fisticuffs. The real Lefroy, by the way, married a wealthy Irish woman, had seven children with her and was a successful lawyer.

NO RESERVATIONS (romantic comedy)
Starring: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, Abigail Breslin, Patricia Clarkson, Jenny Wade, Bob Balaban, Brian F. O'ByrneDirector: Scott Hicks
Time: 105 mins
Rating: * *

THIS little concoction is an adaptation of Sandra Nettelbeck's 2001 German comedy, “Mostly Martha”, but don’t expect another gem like “Eat Drink Man Woman” or “Like Water For Chocolate”. The problem lies in its lead star Zeta-Jones who seems to be the one having reservations about showing off her romantic self. She plays Kate, a Manhattan master chef who has no life outside her kitchen. When she becomes guardian of her orphaned niece (Breslin), she struggles to relate to the child. Meanwhile, the new sous chef Nick (Eckhart) threatens to usurp both her work and domestic domains - and the usual emotional tussle follows, with predictable results.

Eckhart is incredibly sweet and dashing but as expected, it is 'Little Miss Sunshine' Breslin who walks away with the show again!


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