Wong Kar-wai's first English language movie is a romantic movie about a young, lovesick woman (Norah Jones, who plays her part well) who enters late at night the café/bar of Jeremy (Jude Law) whom she asks if he remembers having seen her cheating boyfriend as a guest. The two start to talk about life, the universe and everything and soon her visits become a regular event. One day she doesn't return and starts a soul-searching journey across America to resolve her questions about love. On her trip she works in various bars and restaurants. At one point she encounters Arnie (David Strathairn) who has difficulties to accept that his marriage with Sue (Rachel Weisz) is long over. And while working in a casino in Nevada she encounters Leslie (Natalie Portman), a self-assured gambler who thinks she has all her opponents figured out.
The movie doesn't develop the same hypnotic fascination as WKWs previous two movies. It's much less intense so don't expect another In the Mood for Love or 2046. But of course the visuals are again the main draw and if you're interested it is strongly recommended to see it at a movie theatre since I suspect it loses much of its appeal if you watch it on a small TV screen. You not so much have to understand but feel the movies of WKW.
Most of the movie takes place during the night in the bars and restaurants and the actors are lit so that they have halos from the neon light most of the time. A lot of scenes are filmed through glass with reflections everywhere. You can get a good impression of the used colour palette by looking at the stills or by watching the trailer. In combination with the music this generates a typical dreamy WKW mood, always a bit melancholic.
It's a simple, old-fashioned love story in the form of a road movie. Some may say a little too simple. How much you will like it will probably depend on how much of a romantic you are and in what mood you're in while watching it. You don't necessarily have to be of the hopeless kind but it might helps. I liked it a lot.
I Am Legend
From imdb: Years after a plague kills most of humanity and transforms the rest into monsters, the sole survivor (Will Smith) in New York City struggles valiantly to find a cure. In general I really like stories like this since I always thought that an epidemic outbreak of something deadly is a very plausible scenario for how we may one day end.
Soon after the movie started one of the friends who was with me at the theatre asked "Emma Thompson?" and I said "I don't think so". After she had spoken a few more words we both agreed "Emma Thompson!". Keep in mind that we only heard her "German" voice. For me the decisive factor was the way her mouth moved when she spoke and the way she leaned her head. That was a fun start.
Since I'm not familiar with the story the movie is based on, nor have I seen previous versions of the movie, 28 Days Later comes to mind as a very similar movie. But I liked seeing a deserted New York just as much as I enjoyed seeing a deserted London. I thought the "vampires" looked a bit strange and reminded me at times of the robots from I, Robot, not at least because of Will Smith. Not so much their look but their movement, especially when there were many of them. But the CGI-ed version of New York looked fascinating and Smith's six-pack looked so real they almost had me fooled.
Smith proved again that he's rightfully one of the biggest movie stars right now since he was able to carry the movie single-handedly. And I obviously hope that Alice Braga has a long movie career ahead of her. I was able to avoid all spoilers concerning the ending though I had noticed that many people mentioned that they were "surprised" by it. I think I also read somewhere that they changed it a couple of times, either in the script or even later while shooting, which naturally made me fear for the worst. Considering this I can say that I was quite pleased especially when keeping in mind that it was a big blockbuster Hollywood movie. All in all I felt pleasantly entertained. Though I Am Scared by this imdb entry. It probably was inevitable.
On a side note, I came across this link a while ago where you can download (or watch online) The Last Man on Earth, the version starring Vincent Price. See various file sizes on the left.
Melodies of Spring - Märzmelodie
A German movie about three couples and their relationships with all partners being about in their mid-30s. You can say all of them have sort of their mid-life crisis. The main connection between them is that the three men are long-time friends who meet up regularly in their local pub. The main focus is on Thilo and Anna. He's an underemployed actor who's struggling to land roles through auditions hence he has a daytime job at a call centre trying to sell wine. His girlfriend has just left him because she met someone else. So one of the guys decides to set him up with the lonely friend of his wife, an elementary teacher named Anna. The married couple has a young child and they struggle to keep a balance in their relationship when the wife decides to start working again and he switches to working the night shift so that someone always can look after the kid. The new guy the woman who left Thilo has met is the last of the three friends.
The movie now describes the development of those three different relationships: The difficulties of finding a new partner, the fear of commitment once one realises that a relationship might get very serious and the struggle to keep a family intact. The movie does this with a good balance of humorous and serious scenes. All six characters have some kind of vulnerability, some of them also have an illness, like temporary memory loss or an overly strong noise sensitivity which makes them more real.
In general the stories are nice but also relatively conventional. What makes the movie special is that at numerous times during the movie the actors abruptly start to sing. This happens mainly when they are especially emotional. They aren't singing themselves they are only lip-synching lines from German hit songs from the last decades. Sometimes just a line or two, sometimes a whole verse. I'm aware that the movie in all likelihood will never be shown outside Germany and if you don't speak the language you won't understand a lot but if you would like to see what this looks like, have a look at the trailer.