Sunday, May 30, 2010

Jake Gyllenhaal Simmers as the Prince of Persia

Prince Dastan

I admit not expecting much from Mike Newell's "Prince of Persia". Another video game turns into another Hollywood blockbuster. Don't we just know the intelligence quotient of such films?
But I didn't wanna miss it for several reasons: foremost of which is Jake Gyllenhaal who plays Dastan - our Prince of Persia.

When orphan boy Dastan valiantly stands up against a brutal Persian soldier, the King decides to adopt him, duly making him "prince" alongside his 2 other royal brothers. He grows up happy, content, albeit a wee bit impulsive, but nevertheless loved by his royal family. When they get word that a neighboring kingdom is mass producing weapons of mass destruction (America, are you watching?) and selling them to an enemy kingdom, Persia decides to invade the aforementioned kingdom, ruled by a mystical princess "whose beauty is beyond compare" - Princess Tamina, played by current "it" girl, Gemma Arteron.

A magical dagger with the power to turn back time soon becomes everyone's raison d'etre as it allows manipulation of events - in the process, can even bring back the dead. When Dastan becomes a suspect for the death of the King, the prince turns to Princess Tamina (Arterton) for an alliance to somehow clear him off the dartardly accusation. Will they save the fate of mankind from total annihilation? Will they find love under the sun-soaked exoticism of royal Persia (Iran)? Will they be able to overpower the slithery Hassansin?

Though Dastan and Tamina's cat-and-mouse banters seem perfunctory, we soon found these flirtations quite fetching, to be honest. And who wouldn't flirt with a prince whose smile could melt an iceberg? The action scenes felt laborious, but the fluid dynamics of Dastan and Tamina's relationship is a joy to behold. I also find the endearing sibling relationship inspiring. Gyllenhaal seems eons away from the lovable boy-next-door Homer in his breakout film "October Sky" (1999) but we are tickled pink of his success. He deserves no less.

Despite the limitations of its story, "Prince of Persia" is far from being an apathetic Hollywood fare. It is an entertaining work altogether.

Jake checks his abs. He'll appear next in "Nailed" (with Jessica Biel and James Marsden) and "Love and Other Drugs" (with Anne Hathaway).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Date With Ingmar Bergman - Summer Interlude

If you're feeling melancholic and under the weather, Ingmar Bergman isn't the answer to your blues. However, his 1951 "Summer Interlude" seems different from the Swedish film master's other ouvres.

Bergman is known for an influential body of work that deals with despair and sorrow. "Summer Interlude" (aka "Illicit Interlude") on the other hand recalls an Indian summer when a talented young ballerina Marie (Maj-Britt Nilsson) meets an infatuated university lad Henrik (Birger Malmsten) during their summer break. It is an introspective summer romance in the vein of "The Notebook" and "Dear John", albeit simplistically told. But in true Bergman fashion, tragedy soon catches up with our protagonists.

What stirs us is how Bergman tells his story in a straight forward manner. There is not much sentimentality in the way the scenes play out, I somehow wondered if such dry exposition would be able to sustain my interest. This, after all, isn't "Fanny and Alexander"(1982) or "Wild Strawberries" (1957). Though the story started out slow (an older Marie gets hold of Henrik's diary), the compelling romance - retold in a series of flashbacks - soon embraced us.

The lovers both exude dreamy countenance, and they're quite uninhibited with their emotions. Their frolic by the river or at the wild strawberry field depicts the raw charm of how incipient affections come about. Spectacular cinematography immensely helped in translating an atmosphere of frivolity and youthful exuberance - without much skin (though there were several scenes of Nilsson and Malmsten donning their swim suits). Unfortunately, some scenes appear a bit dated. To be fair, they would have been risky back in 1951. My minor gripe was the easy resolution of how Marie swiftly overcame her grief as the film drew to its conclusion. Sure, it had been more than a decade since the tragic incident, but the arc with which Marie swung from sulking to relief was too abrupt.

Lastly, the film made me want to celebrate the masterful beauty of its photography - this, despite limitations of technology in 1951. Almost 60 years later, Summer Interlude still overpowers with visual aptitude, specifically in comparison to many of our local films' "visual quality" (or the lack thereof), such mediocrity shamefully on display in our cineplexes!

Bravo to the master!

Ingmar Bergman

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Baseball Jocks Do Full Frontal Glory in Gratuitous "City Without Baseball"

Here's one movie that will make all the manangs blush and drive all those penis-hunting film enthusiasts gaga. Forget the moribund neuron-challenged Pinoy peek-a-boo indies! Directors Lawrence Ah Mon and Scud's "City Without Baseball" lets it all hang out. Not with just a couple of guys but a whole baseball team of buff, ripped nude-happy hunks!

"City Without Baseball" tells the story of a team of baseball players in a "strange city where anything and everything can be found, but hardly anybody can tell you where to find a baseball" - Hong Kong. This team, in fact, is the only baseball players in this city state! It follows a couple of charismatic players - Chung (Leung Yu Chung), a part-time mechanic and very talented pitcher who has a weird relationship with a suicidal girl; Ron Heung (who looks like Korean Superstar Rain) is, on the other hand, coming to grips with his sexuality; something that he has to deal with fast before he loses his latest girlfriend. A coach from Taipei is flown in to help improve their chances of joining first-tier players like Japan and Korea. Their stories take the spotlight in this film oddity.

The actors portraying these fictional stories are real Hong Kong baseball jocks and the random stories are credited from the Hong Kong Baseball Association. These spectacular amateur actors even use their real names and more interestingly, bare their bodies in wild abandon. Many of the scenes teeter on homoeroticism and scenes are replete with nudity! Consider these - guys in all their naked glory playfully butt-slapping each other in misty shower halls, a player ordered by his coach to run the field does so buck naked - his family jewels bouncing everywhere; a guy teased to be the group's best "batter" strips to prove their claim - at a karaoke bar; and the opening scene has Chung frolicking the night seas in his birthday suit.

The stories are quite engrossing, you're bound to root for one of the characters. If the idea was to attract attention on Hong Kong's spectatorless sport(their diamond field doesn't have an audience stand nor a homerun wall), it may have failed miserably. The film carries a multilayered plot that deflects our attention from a coherent focus: love and fidelity, friendship; death, sexuality and overcoming the odds of losing in a sport that no one else is interested in. All those big words comprise a very tall order!

The raw actors are revelatory, not just in terms of being nude-happy (you don't have to pause that button to see a genitalia - it is everywhere, shot from frontal, rear, lateral and even from top views! It's a veritable feast of penises! Best of all, these good looking jocks appear with natural ease, you would wonder if they were actually professional actors! (The initial scenes write - "They are no actors. They are baseballers. They belong to the diamond.")

There is an artful gimmick that I find distracting: Every so often, a song is played for a particular scene. As the song ends, the name of their singers are flashed on-screen: e.g. Anita Mui (1963-2003), Leslie Cheung (1956-2003), and so on! Four more names were flashed in similar manner. If there's a pop culture reference relevant to the narrative on hand, it is lost on me! Otherwise, it only bolsters the randomness and unfocused vision of the 2 directors.

If the story feels cluttered, there is no denying the freshness and sincerity in them. It's just bonus that there's genitalia gloriously on display.

Too much bonus, in fact.

Ron Heung disrobes in countless occasions, and reminds me of Korean Superstar Rain. In the movie, he writes and sings his own songs!

Chung gets an invitation with death. (left) Even Coach John Tai does the full monty!

Jaws drop as, not just a couple of jocks flash the family jewels - but a whole team of real life athletes! This scene shows a brawl in the shower room while everyone is butt naked. How appendages flip flop!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Here Comes The Bride - Hilarity Gets a Brain

We've heard about the solar eclipse and the 5-vehicle pile up along Magnetic Hill - the one that culminated into a body-switching gaffe, a cinematic fiesta replete with some of local cinema's funniest scenes. A loud spinstery lawyer (Eugene Domingo) snags a young well-abused nanny's body (Tuesday Vargas). The nanny gets an old, wealthy invalid (Jaime Fabregas) who, in turn gets the able-bodied but very swishy beautician (John Lapus). The limp-wrist hits gold and gets the body of a virginal blushing bride-to-be (Angelica Panganiban) who acquires the body of affection-hungry, loud mouthed lady lawyer. If a tad too confusing, this comes into fluid retelling in Director Chris Martinez's able hands!

These bifurcating storylines enjoy freshly-cooked gags that work pretty well, considering the staple of highly intuitive actors that inhabit the characters. Angelica Panganiban is once again a revelation. She relishes her lividly gay persona with spirited brio. Her gay-speak deliveries are, in fact, pleasurable linguistic cadences, deliciously frivolous to inspire streetwise mimics. Yes, Angelica is even gayer than John Lapus in his pinkest moments! What a joy!

Eugene Domingo brandishes with lawyerly arrogance, but her heavy delivery soon gets tiresome. We do have to remind Ms. Domingo, one of our favorite comediennes, that eternally angry characters with inadequate character development can wear down her audience. After all, who wants to watch a constantly nagging woman on the silver screen! When her lawyer persona transforms into the Angelica's blushing bride-to-be, the result isn't seamless. In fact, she gets as awkward as when John Lapus becomes testosterone-charged Jaime Fabregas. But the scenes that require hunky Tom Rodriguez to kiss Domingo (who's supposedly Tom's gf) does make one shiver with uneasy pleasure. It's any girl's fantasy!

John Lapus works hard as wheel chair-bound Lolo Bien who suddenly acquires ambulatory legs and the sexual appetite of a younger man. He is less successful in his characterization (read: Lapus can't disguise himself as a straight guy). The parlorista switching body with Angelica becomes a gay man's vagary - for which flaming fag wouldn't party if he suddenly acquires Angelica's voluptuous body and luminous beauty - all at his disposal! What could be close to hitting the jackpot than marrying a sizzler that's Tom Rodriguez? A gay man could get dizzy with the salubrious possibilities!

"Here Comes The Bride" is funny cinema acquiring a brain!

Tom Rodriguez

Angelica Panganiban in her gay countenance faces a beefy audience.

Eugene Domingo takes the fast ride to her wedding!

Angelica and Tom - Perfect match, with or without solar eclipse!

P.S. The movie poster is distinctly similar to the Vince Vaughn comedy "Couples' Retreat". (See the poster in this blog's entry on "Couple's Retreat". - or click here -

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Robin Padilla Apologizes to Wowowee Fans; Warns People Against Illegal Guns

In todays' Wowowee show, which marked Robin Padilla's 3rd day to temporarily replace King of Arrogance himself, Willie Revillame - Philippine Showbiz's acknowledged Bad Boy apologizes to the show's fans!

Before starting his song ("Kahit Konting Pagtingin"), he swaggers languidly then starts his spiel, "Para sa mga naiinis sa akin dahil ako'y nandito (sa "Wowowee"), ako po'y humihingi ng paumanhin. Ako po'y naririto lamang sa ngalan ng Bayanihan para matulungang di magsara ang inyong paboritong programa! Muli, ako'y humihingi ng tawad kung kayo'y naiinis dahil ako'y naririto!" The audience roars to disagree, for how can any living soul not melt with such humility and overflowing charm! His star power runneth over! He further clarifies, "Ako'y nandidito lamang ng panandalian!" Watching him boyishly grovel an earnest plea made me blush! Such commanding presence made my toes curl!

When guests like Mr. Padilla expresses concern about a show like "Wowowee", you get a curious feeling how a talentless Mr. Willie Revillame can easily abandon a show that has enriched him in so many ways. Arrogance after all knows no bounds when it concerns individuals whose claim to fame rests on making fun of people's desperation!

In the same show, eternally funny Pokwang mischievously banters with the youthful Superstar to which he gamely replies with, "Nawawala ako sa sarili ko sa kaseksihan mo!" Sure, Padilla is a time-tested ladies man, but we somehow believe his harmless banter. Talk about star power.

The day's program featured military personnel. When the subject of guns came up, Robin gamely reminded people against illegal possession of firearms. "Tatlo't kalahating (3 1/2) taon akong nakulong dahil dyan," Robin cautions. I can't quite believe how after all these years, Robin's forthrightness and magnetism are as potent as when he was actively flirting with a then-svelte Megastar! Has it really been two decades?

Padilla. Youthful charm, star magnetism & sincerity endear him further to Wowowee audience. He is also single. (hrrmmmm... I would be too if you say the word! LOL)

Party Pilipinas - Summer Sintunado Frolic

Jaya and La Diva

Boredom is a dangerous preoccupation as it allows one to indulge in mediocre activities such as watching a bubblegum show like GMA’s “Party Pilipinas”. As I’ve written a few weeks ago, world class entertainment isn’t exactly what people get to witness for this Sunday extravaganza. But out of curiosity, we mustered enough resolve to watch the show once again, just to check out if the GMA denizens have resorted to rehearsals to mount a good show. The result is a mixed bag of entertainment.

This time around, the gang conquers touristy Camsur! But as the screen flickers to a set of girls warbling away, my mom started pestering me, “Katrina, who is that?” It was Maricris Garcia of the all-female trio “La Diva”. I'd have been glad to introduce her to my mother, but Ms. Garcia started skewering Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. I’m partial to Maricris mainly because she has a beautiful voice, but she has to learn to listen to herself so she doesn’t resort to the flats and sharps that populate GMA performers. Let’s take Jaya for example. In a “novelty number” where “jukebox” staples were being rendered, the soul singer started with an “oooh” adlib for Jessa Zaragosa’s “Bakit Pa”. If you listen closely, her one-note croon teeters into off-key territory, you feel like moving your ass so you won’t fall off your seat. When she finally gets to the chorus (“Bakit ka pa nakita, bakit pa nakilala…”), all hell break lose! She springs into a bevy of flats, uncomfortably distinct. How can you not notice, it’s a song as familiar as “Happy Birthday”. As her spot comes to a close, she fumbles with her lyrics and misses the words. Isn’t there a teleprompter for this? Josnamahabagin!

Shouldn’t veteran singers (like Jaya and Ogie) be benchmarks of excellence and correct singing? Can't you hear your singing? Russell Crowe offers his two cents: "You've got dead ears, mate. Seriously dead ears!" LOL. Their penchant for pitch-imperfection provides a bad example to the new generation of singers who look up to them and call them “Ma’am” or “Sir”. I’ve noticed this in “ASAP” too, when other performers refer to Gary V as “Sir Gary”. Has he been knighted by the queen to merit such royal accolade? On to the topic at hand, which is singing the notes as to how they were written - just learn to listen to yourself when you sing. Singing live isn’t an excuse nor a license to sing out of tune!

Gian Magdangal and Miguel Escueta

Who does better? It wasn’t Janno Gibbs who was likewise off-key with his rendition of Rodel Naval’s “Lumayo Ka Man Sa Akin”. Mark Bautista performed Renz Verano’s “Remember Me” – who was grunting, his neck veins close to popping! Then came Gian Magdangal! He was note-perfect with his “Muli(“Bakit di pagbigyang muli an ating magmamahalan.”) and I just know that this guy is world-class, he belongs to “A.S.A.P.” In fact, Mark Bautista’s transfer should’ve ushered a switch with Gian Magdangal (who did even better with Kris Allen’s “Heartless”) into ABS CBN territory. Kyla fielded a mean “Halik” – the anthemic jologs ditty from Aegis. Thank heavens for intuitive, hard-working performers like Gian Magdangal and Kyla.

In a dance showdown that featured The Manouvres, Sex Bomb Girls and this new group called Mxmovement, the latter displayed their amateur chops when during their set, they’d keep looking at each other, unsure if they were grooving to the same movement. What painful clutter! Wasn’t this group a product of a rigid elimination process from the defunct “SOP”? It doesn’t show! Practice, my dears!

A favorite set: Kris Lawrence sings Travis McCoy & Bruno Mars’ "(I Wanna Be A) Billionaire". Love Mr. Lawrence’s velvety voice. As usual the resident glamour girls: Rhian Ramos, Bianca King, Lovi Poe, and Pauleen Luna were uncoordinated as they cavorted to a slinkily unsensual “Get Sexy”. My parrot has more oomph than their thoughtless choreography! And once again, More practice, ladies!

CamSur atmosphere conjured frenetic partying. I loved the vision of billowing white shirts, summery shorts, with amateur porn princess Katrina Halili sporting a smug grin along with the dancing gallery. It’s a guilty pleasure watching shirtless guys like Survivor castaway Marvin Keifer careening in the background; or beefy Victor Aliwalas strutting his stuff with Brazilian model Fabio Ide! It’s a fun frenetic Malibu party uprooted to third world Philippines! Dang!

With Marvin Keifer looking exactly like this, who would change channels? ;->

Victor Aliwalas and Geoff Eigenmann

The think tanks sure got the atmosphere right! What’s a bit of a let down is the obvious carelessness in mounting the musical numbers. The dances look second rate, and the singers seem under rehearsed. I want my songs sang decently, and not seem like people were unexpectedly shoved a microphone. The whole show fields a lot of flats-and-sharps artists and this distracts my viewing pleasure! You somehow miss a Regine Velasquez! I noticed some more unfamiliar faces – Joshua Desiderio, joining Gian Magdangal, Kris Lawrence and Miguel Escueta for a pseudo-group called “Vocalistas”, probably as counterpart to ASAP’s obviously more seasoned “Sessionistas”. If I were to field a copycat group, I’d make sure they were way better than the original - and having Miguel Escueta in it doesn't make it better!

Finally, I realized that Geoff Eigenmann – in all his otherworldly beauty – cannot dance!

Word of the Day: Practice!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Frenchie Dy Finds One Big Fat Love (MMK) - And On Reruns & Closing Shop

In Maalaala Mo Kaya’s (MMK) “Taxi” episode, we were treated to a rare lesson on the essence of a true unadulterated love! It takes the shape of a morbidly obese woman and a baby faced driver who in an otherwise myopic world would not find romance together! Though the narrative unravels in simplistic exposition, the core of this real-life story is one lesson of hope; that the concept of attraction doesn’t solely rest on physical attributes; that character, sincerity and an open-minded demeanor help individuals in their search for happiness!

In a capsule, Arnie (singing champion Frenchie Dy) is content with the fact that no man will ever find her attractive. One fateful night, she takes a cab driven by an amorous guy – Jake (the coyly charming and self-effacing Janus del Prado). When he offers to drive her home for free – an unlikely friendship develops, soon evolving into a firm handshake of “subukan nating maging tayo”. They encounter resistance from Arnie’s father (Lito Pimentel) who finds the relationship suspect, but the couple seems to genuinely love each other. Then a text message from nowhere reveals another girl. Is Jake taking Arnie for a ride? A rather sloppily executed climax (Jake accidentally walks in on a very sick Arnie) almost drags the narrative thread down, but the palpably vulnerable performance of Dy and Del Prado makes up for what turned out to be a predictable, but nonetheless affecting conclusion.

Every girl dreams of a Prince to love her; one who overlooks that unsightly flab rudely jutting out from her tummy; one who doesn’t notice the blemishes on her skin or the less than perfect – frazzled hair! Once in a blue moon, a lucky girl finds that prince – and I celebrate that love with them! May you be happy forever!

On that note, I have noticed the constant rerun of previously shown stories in recent MMK episodes. “Taxi” (directed by Mae Cruz – and had a strong supporting cast: Vice Ganda, the lovely Paw Diaz, Saicy Aguila, Lito Pimentel) was shown January 24, 2009 last year, and though I am glad to have finally caught it this time, it does make you wonder what’s up with MMK? Is it going to fold up soon? Nagtitipid? Is the nation's alleged number one television station cash-strapped and can no longer afford new episodes for its flagship drama anthology? Why all these reruns? It is a prime time slot after all! Sayang!

MMK - closing shop soon?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fairytale Romance in You To Me Are Everything

Yes, Taylor Swift, it is a fairy tale!

In Mark Reyes’ “You To Me Are Everything” (YTMAE), reality takes a back seat to give way to a rom-com yarn designed to showcase a popular loveteam. The think tanks from GMA conjured a cauldron filled with clich├ęs.

This is the modern Cinderella story of an Igorot lass Iska (what a name! – played by Marian Rivera) who is bequeathed a sizable fortune (try P100 million) from her estranged father. As a consequence, she has to uproot her comfortable existence from the mountains of Benguet in order to honor the memory and will of her departed father. Meanwhile, cocksure Rafael (Dingdong Dantes) suddenly finds himself stripped of material wealth when his Congressman-father is suddenly convicted of corruption, and all of their assets have been sequestered. High society’s golden boy finds himself grasping for straws! With dad in prison, Rafael finds himself in a spare apartment that doesn’t even have its own electricity. One drunken night, he ends up at Iska’s room – the same house he vacated! Sparks fly - and he lands a convenient deal to become fairy godfather to the nouveau riche, albeit clueless Igorota beauty! Rafael Inigo Benitez III becomes Iska’s financial consultant cum fashion guru! Will romance find its way into Iska and Rafael’s hearts?

We were never a fan of director Mark Reyes. In fact, in our book, Director Reyes leads GMA 7’s stable of film directors who continuously churn out mediocre works. They have some of the best visual artists who produce eye candy music videos and fan-pleasing television shows, but they’re also among the country’s most mediocre film artists! Consider the following films and try not to wince: “I.T.A.L.Y. (I Trust and Love You)”, “Eternity”, “My Best Friend’s Girlfriend”, the gag-worthy “Angel of Love” segment of Angel Locsin-produced “Angels” (with Jennylyn Mercado and Patrick Garcia). I can go on and on but the easy denominator would be the amateurish awkwardness of this lackluster, logic-challenged body of work.

BUT – “You To Me Are Everything” is surprisingly decent. The giggly-manipulations work pretty well with the audience, buoyed by the refreshing allure and spirited spunk of Marian Rivera who makes a lovely fish out of water! I do not follow most of Rivera’s TV works. In fact, I find her rather jejomonish in her public discourses. For the most part, this turns off her audience. Not the least of which are those prima donna antics that intermittently mushroom from whispery grapevines. To be honest, Marian was particularly compelling in “Nieves: The Engkanto Slayer” (Shake, Rattle & Roll X). And in YTMAE, she is great as the good-natured Francisca Carantes aka Iska! She carries the film’s featherweight moments with on-spot candor and charm! In fact, those kilig-fueled scenes with Ding Dong (“Hindi ako marunong humalik!) are golden cinematic moments of romantic bliss! Naturally charming, perfectly choreographed! Made me blush!

As was stated early on, the premise is pretty fantastical, and some of the situations defy common sense. If you find a stranger in your room, would you really allow him to sleep over – even share those intimacies while he is heavily inebriated? You would, if you’re stupid. If you finally get to confirm that your consort is indeed after your P25 million more than your heart, and even overhear his callous phone conversations (“Di ako matitiis nun, in love yun sa akin eh.”), would you still invite him home to meet your family? Once again, only an idiot would! Even some lines are as mechanically cheesy as those age-old melodramas: To me, you’re just a fat juicy cockroach that I’m going to step on! Move over, Cherie Gil!

The supporting cast is curiously bad. Most rom-coms would be littered with indubitable supports to give their reed-thin storylines adequate flesh! ”You To Me…” does the opposite! Fabio Ide, for example, (as Rafael’s friend Miko) does awkwardly. So do the “evil stepsisters” acutely wanting of the crucial gravitas to pull off as memorable contravidas! They essayed nothing more than elementary pursuits, I was tempted to buy them rotten tomaties! They would have acquired a more interesting screen presence with tomatoes sliding down their moribund articulation!

Production design is above par, and employing the perfect place (Sitio Cayoco of Itogon looked serene and heavenly) help depict a fairytale atmosphere. Unobtrusive music score helped the light treatment of the narrative. They even used “Ngiti” which was sung as a duet by Ronnie Liang and Francheska Farr. I wonder if Liang has crossed the other side.

To my mind, this would be GMA Films’ first “better” rom-com in years! And Mark Reyes finally learns a thing or two about movie making! Of course, this is not to say that "You To Me Are Everything" is a superior film. Mainstream film productions have long stopped being ambitious. But there's not a lot of pretensions either. They have learned to coast on what's easy, simple, and doesn't require a lot of brain activity!

Iska and Snowy

Itogon, Benguet

Monday, May 3, 2010

Fatherly Love in The Boys Are Back

Imagine testosterone walking around your living room, collecting soiled clothes, washing dishes in the backroads of Australia's dry and dusty backroads? Then imagine it is Clive Owen! Oohlala!

In Scott Hick's "The Boys Are Back", we follow sports journalist Joe Warr as he deals with the death of his wife. He is suddenly left with a little boy to look after. To make matters worse, his other son from his first marriage flies from London for a visit. And he doesn't know what to do with them! One day, work requires him to fly to Melbourne for a couple of days - and there's no one to take care of the children.

Joe's daily trials are engaging. What's different about this film from other domestic dramas is that storytelling isn't told like a sentimental hogwash. There's no "woe is me" here; only real events that real people experience. It shows the resiliency of the human spirit and the importance of family in grief management. I like that.

Clive Owen on acting: "I don't 'do' emotion. Emotions are overrated. I'm more interested in creating a presence." He sure did that in "Closer"!

The 6'3" actor is happily married to his "Juliet" when he did "Romeo" back in RADA! On his making "The Boys Are Back": "It made me realise I've not made many films my own children can see, and I want them to see what their old man does for a living. When I was a kid, Catweazle was the bees' knees, the best thing on TV. I didn't want to be Cedric or the other kid, I wanted to grow up to be just like Catweazle. It's my dream role. You could say my whole career has just been a rehearsal for Catweazle."