Dec 28, 2012

Happy B-Day To Cinema

Exactly 117 years ago, on December 28 1895, brothers Lumière made their first screening of very first short movie in Salon Indien du Grand Café, France. The movie was named Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory, with length of 50 seconds and 17 meters.

This day has been considered as the birth of Cinematography.

Here are some important dates (that might be interesting) in movie history:

  • 1908-05-21 - 1st horror movie (Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde) premieres in Chicago
  • 1927-10-06 - "Jazz Singer," 1st movie with a sound track, premieres (NYC)
  • 1951-01-28 - "La Vie Commence Demain," which depicted artificial insemination & is the 1st X-rated movie, opened in London
  • 1952-11-26 - 1st modern 3-D movie "Bwana Devil," premieres in Hollywood
Source: Google

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Dec 26, 2012

Movie Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

One of the most beautiful stories of this  year
Couple of years ago, one of my American friends advised me to read a book named "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" - a one of the most beautiful tales of friendship and love. By that time I was more a sci-fi, fantasy type guy and have not even tried to get this book. I forgot it soon.

This very early year, I saw a trailer of movie called The Perks of Being a Wallflower and I remembered every comment of astonished her. Last night I finally watched it.

I did not expect the movie to be that good. We all have seen a lot friendship-and-complicated-love films and I personally, don't remember most of them. However I am pretty sure, I will not forget this one.

The story is poorly simple, as always, there is a loser (Logan Lerman), a heart breaker (Emma Watson) and a good friend (Ezra Miller). The Loser falls in love with the lady and becomes friend with the guy, who then turns out to be gay. Never imagined that this would be so much fun to watch on the screen.

I loved Miller's performance as a funny, happy, extravagant schoolboy. He makes even more outstanding performance after We Need To Talk About Kevin, becoming this years best new actor (or smth like that). His character is dramatic and cheerful the same time, difficult though. Hopefully Ezra knows how to deliver the soul of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

In Stephen Chbosky’s wonderfully observed film, which the director has adapted from his own novel, Sam is  a wallflower. Logan Lerman's character is a true hero of the film, an aspiring writer. Charlie arrives at high school friendless – but he meets Sam (Watson) and her stepbrother Patrick (Ezra Miller), and a friendship triangle is being sewed. They invite Charlie to a house party, and he involves in their social life – “The Island of Misfit Toys,” according to Sam calls it.

The movie evolves very dynamically, interestingly and from the very first to the very last minutes you start feeling awesomely satisfied that you've spent 1:43 on something enormously brilliant.



Dec 18, 2012

Movie Review: Cloud Atlas (2012)

It is one of the most beautiful scenes of the movie.
I've always had obsession of doing this.
Updated After Second Watch (the strikethrough text is a review after first watch)

I’ve waited too long to watch this movie. Even the first trailer grabbed my attention with surprisingly beautiful sets and brilliant cast. Accordingly I’d huge expectations when I bought a ticket for its screening.

This movie is a lot complicated to just watch. You’ll probably need to get some notes in order to remember every single detail (that should be important) during almost three hours run. I’ve counted six separate stories told and most of them do not (or could not) connect each other. The Wachowskis travel audience through different times, from past to very future and they do it very quickly, sometimes I got lost and wished I could pause the movie to understand all.

I had trouble with characters too, because I see Tom Hanks in 6 different kind of makeup, in the skin of 6 different characters and 6 different stories. The same happens with Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent and lots of others. The first thing you think is that those characters have to be somehow connected and then you start finding links between them, you got lost and gave up. In the end I acknowledged that almost none of them share the same background or something mutual. Most stories are separate.

There is a definite idea of reincarnation of characters from past to future. Robert Frobisher (a composer of Cloud Atlas symphony) reborns as Luisa Rey (Halle Berry as a journalist) after suicide. They both have the same "star tattoo" on the body and Luisa recognizes the music she has never actually listened to, in current life.

However the best thing you could do with this movie is to free your mind and just watch it. Cloud Atlas is about extreme thirst of freedom and search for the happiness in any life. Every single character tries to make themselves free, escape from something tying them. For someone it's about death, for others it's about rebel and finding the other missing part of them. That is how all these 6 stories connect with each other. Every act of past character influences the fate of another one in the future, the way how s/he has to fight, for what s/he has to fight and with whom.

The first thing I am sure about is that Halle’s two characters (Jocasta – a daughter of old composer) and Luisa (journalist somewhere in mid 80s) have got a link. Jocasta witnesses the creation of symphony Cloud Atlas and Luisa recognizes it in some music shop. As long as the Cloud Atlas was a very rare thing and not many people have known it, I guess Luisa is a kind of reincarnation of Jocasta.

The second definite thing is that movie end in very very far future and the earth probably does not exist anymore. Hank’s one of the characters, saved by other people coming from the sky (Berry’s another character) lives somewhere in outta space telling his grandchildren story of his planet.

Each story is great separately, but the fact that they don’t make any sense together, does work against the movie itself. It makes you tired, bored or just you stop listening and watch the beautiful artworks of future and past worlds.

I still think the brother and sister directors are pretty good. I have never been a huge fan of Matrix, but always acknowledged the difficulties director would face when making such kind of complicated film. I am sure Cloud Atlas was not easier. But I also believe that the director’s main work is to deliver the craft tightly and understandably, in the most pleasant way one could imagine. I bet Cloud Atlas is not the best example of successful film making and story delivery. Personally, I wanted to get more, more pleasure and passion and emotions.

The only thing giving me a chill is the music, astonishing soundtracks and especially, main theme that is brilliant. The one touched my soul, very deeply and accompanied the whole movie perfectly. By the way, Art direction is splendid, spectacular.

I guess, Cloud Atlas is not that difficult movie to watch, you just have to do it at least twice (and I bet you will do it three or more times, because you want it). The idea is that, don't try to remember every moment or detail, you'll fail in any case. Enjoy, think and feel free.

All in all, this movie is one of the MUST see this year. So, I highly recommend every reader to take any chance and watch this on as bigger screen as possible.



Dec 17, 2012

AFI: Most Memorable Movie Quotes

American Film Institute has listed 100 most memorable movie quotes of all time. Some of my favorites are:

What's your favorite quote of all time?


Dec 16, 2012

the Road to Oscars: What Golden Globes say?

We already witnessed the results of 70th Annual Golden Globe awards.Some nominees were predictable, the others totally not predictable but all in all it shows general trend of this award season.

The surprise part:

Tom Hooper was snubbed in Best Director race and Quentin Tarantino got place instead. Does this really mean that Les Miserables was not that good as we all expected, or as good as we all have read after early screenings? For now, it is hard to discuss as long yet this is an unseen movie and for more than one week it will be hard to fairly discuss. However, I still believe that those early emotions and wows from critics/editors and bloggers were not something too overrated, accordingly there are still hopes for Hooper. Historically, Globe and Oscar winner directors are not suppose to match. Last year, Scorsese got HFPA award for Hugo however Michel Hazanavicious was honored with Oscar.

Beasts of Southern Wild has been lost. No single nomination. Quvenzhane Wallis is missed for the second time (also by SAG). Does it shorten her road to Oscars? Well, maybe she's got less chances however Academy loves young performers and almost never loses chance to honor them with nod.

The same time, it is first nomination for Rachel Weisz this season which shall not be considered to be a great opportunity for Oscar nomination.

The It-Is-OK part:

Christoph Waltz in supporting actor race (for Django Unchained) was not very much expected however his nod is not jaw-dropping news. He's not a shoo in Oscar nominee but probably it will take more easier for him than for Eddie Redmayne or Russel Crow (Les Miserables) or Matthew MacCaunaghey (Magic Mike).

Nicole Kidman boosts in supporting actress race leading over Ann Dowd of Compliance, Maggie Smith of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Samantha Bark of Les Miserables.

The We-All-Knew-It part:

Katheryn Bigelow is marching to Oscars once more with the "same" war-theme movie. Zero Dark Thirty is sure nominee of Best Picture, Director, Actress and Original Screenplay. Lincoln of Spielberg is now leading the predictions for Best Picture, giving better chances to Steven for winning his directing nod.

All in All, we have expectations, we predict. However it is totally possible to be more surprises on January 10, 2013 after announcing Academy Award nominees.

Golden Globe Nominations 2013

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Dec 13, 2012

Golden Globe Nominations 2013

Here are the nominees for 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards

Motion Picture Drama

  • Argo
  • Django Unchained
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Zero Dark Thirty

Motion Picture - Musical/Comedy

  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Les Miserables
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Salmon Fishin in Yemen
  • Silver Linings Playbook

Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama

  • Daniel Day Lewis in `Lincoln`
  • Richard Gere in `Arbitrage`
  • John Hawkes in `The Sessions`
  • Joaquin Phoenix in `The Master`
  • Denzel Washington in `Flight`

Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama

  • Jessica Chastain in `Zero Dark Thirty`
  • Marion Cotillard in `Ruste and Bone`
  • Helen Mirren in `Hitchcock`
  • Naomi Wats in `The Impossible`
  • Rachel Weisz in `The Deep Blue Sea`

Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy

  • Jack Black in `Barnie`
  • Bradley Cooper in `Silver Linings Playbook`
  • Hugh Jackman in `Les Miserables`
  • Bill Murray in `Hyde Park on Hudson`
  • Ewan McGregor in `Salmon Fishin in Yemen`

Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy

  • Emily Blunt in `Salmon Fishin in Yemen`
  • Judy Dench in `The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel`
  • Jeniferr Lawrence in `Silver Linings Playbook`
  • Maggie Smith in `Quartet`
  • Maryl Streep in `Hope Springs`

Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

  • Alan Arkin in `Argo
  • Leonardo Dicaprio in `Django Unchained`
  • Philip Saymore Hoffman in `The Master`
  • Tommy Lee Jones in` Lincoln`
  • Christoph Waltz  in `Django Unchained`

Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

  • Amy Adams in `The Master`
  • Sally Field in `Lincoln`
  • Anne Hathaway in `Les Miserables`
  • Helen Hunt in `The Sessions`
  • Nicole Kidman in `The Paperboy`

Best Director - Motion Picture

  • Ben Afflec for `Argo`
  • Katheryn Bigelow for `Zero Dark Thirty`
  • Ang Lee for `Life of Pi`
  • Stieven Spielberg for `Lincoln`
  • Quentin Tarantino for `Django Unchained`

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture

  • Amour - Michael Haneke
  • Django Unchained - Quentin Tarantino
  • Lincoln  - Tony Kusher
  • Silver Linings Playbook - David O Russel
  • Zero Dark Thirty - Mark Boal

Best Original Song - Motion Picture

  • `For You` from Act of Valor
  • `Not Running Anymore` from Stand Up Guys
  • `Safe and Sound` from Hunger Games
  • `Skyfall` from Skyfall
  • `Suddenly` from Les Miserables

Best Original Score - Motion Picture

  • Life of Pi
  • Argo
  • Anna Karenina
  • Cloud Atlas
  • Lincoln

Best Animated Film

  • Brave
  • Frankenweenie
  • Rise Of the Guardians
  • Hotel Transylvania
  • Wreck-It Rapph

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Amore
  • Royal Affair
  • The Intouchables
  • Kon Tiki
  • Rust and Bone

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SAG Award Nominations: the Road to Oscars

Screen Actors Guild announced its nominees in both, Motion Picture and TV categories. Generally, these nominations speak a lot about the Roads to Oscars and Golden Globe, as long as they match each mostly.

This year's nominations are surprising, in every nomination you could find at leas one jaw-dropping name that totally messes Oscar predictions up.

Best Ensemble in a Motion Picture

Argo | Les Miserables | Lincoln | Silver Linings Playbook | Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Probably the least surprising nominees, however I more imagined Moonrise Kingdom or Django Unchained instead of Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture

Bradley Cooper in `Silver Linings Playbook` | Daniel D. Lewis in `Lincoln` | John Hawkes in `The Sessions` | Hugh Jackman in `Les Miserables` | Danzel Washington in `Flight`

Bradley's nod looks like "Whaat?". He plays good however reviews did not promise much. It is hard to imagine him in best actor top five, especially when Joaquin Phoenix's incredible performance in The Master is missing.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture

Jessica Chastain in `Zero Dark Thirty` | Marion Cotillard in `Rust and Bone` | Jennifer Lawrence in `Silver Linings Playbook` | Helen Mirren in `Hitchcock` | Naomi Watts in `The Impossible`

Helen Mirren? Hitchcock got terrible reviews. Critics did not like it much. Yeah, Helen was maybe the best part of whole show, but where is Quvenzhane Wallis (in Beasts of Southern Wild), she delivers so much emotional and beautiful performance, that I can't imagine Academy would miss it. However, Naomi is getting closer to Oscar's top five, as long SAG is not the only giving her mention.

Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

Alan Arkin in `Argo` | Javier Bardem in `Skyfall` | Robert De Niro in `Silver Linings Playbook` | Philip Seymour Hoffman in `The Master` | Tommy Lee Jones in `Lincoln`

Alan, Tommgy, Philip and Robert were predictable, however only few people hoped to see Javier here. He did not get much recognition from critics. I expected to see in top five Matthew McConaughey (in Magic Mike) or Eddie Redmayne or Russel Crow (in Les Miserables). Hard to say who will make the nominee list in January at Oscars, but obviously Bardem is already one of the candidates.

Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

Anne Hathaway in `Les Miserables` | Helen Hunt in `The Sessions` | Maggie Smith in `The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel` | Nicole Kidman in `The Paperboy` | Sally Field in `Lincoln`

Smith and Kidman did not look like jump over Amy Adams in `The Master`or Samantha Barks in `Les Miserables`. Will they make the Oscar nominations? Hard to say, Golden Globes will definitely say.

What about you? Did you expect all this or not?

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Dec 11, 2012

AFI: Movies & TV Shows of the Year

American Film Institute has announced the winners of AFI Awards 2012, honoring this year's best motion pictures and television series. 

AFI AWARD Honorees are selected based on works which best advance the art of the moving image, enhance the rich cultural heritage of America’s art form, inspire audiences and artists alike, make a mark on American society and represent the year’s most outstanding achievements in film and television. AFI is the only national organization that honors the creative ensembles as a whole, acknowledging the collaborative nature of the art form.

AFI movie top ten list mostly looks like Oscar best picture front-runners' list, excluding The Master and including The Dark Knight Rises.

Motion Pictures

  • Argo
  • Beasts of Southern Wild
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Miserables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty

Television Series

  • American Horror Story: Asylum
  • Breaking Bad
  • Game of Thrones
  • Girls
  • Homeland
  • Louie
  • Mad Men
  • Modern Family
  • The Walking Dead
This list will probably somehow define the fate of winners for corresponding major award ceremonies. Modern Family already leads Golden Globe best Comedy Series nomination and Homeland hits Drama category.

P.S. Where the hell is Dexter?!


Dec 10, 2012

Ann Dowd, Zero Dark Thirty and other Oscar Buzz

The award season has messed up. There are a lot critics favorite films and more award winning ones.

Katheryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty already won Best Picture nominations on: National Board of Review and New York Film Critics awards. Accordingly, ZDT is front-runner in Oscar race along Argo, Lincoln and Les Miserables. Probably it is not shoo in but nomination is absolutely guaranteed. Bigelow herself also wins all her previous directing nodes and becomes stronger contender against Tom Hooper, Ben Affleck and Steven Spielberg. She already owns a directing Oscar for The Hurt Locker and hence strives for another victory. On the other hand, Jessica Chastain is winning over most highly acclaimed Jennifer Lawrence in leading actress nomination. 

Surprisingly, Anne Hathaway loses NBR to Ann Dowd of Compliance in the supporting actress race; Bradley Cooper and Joaquin Phoenix beat Daniel Day Lewis in best actor nominations on NBR & LA Critics Award, respectively. However, both Hathaway and Lewis still are considered as biggest sure wins in their categories.

Amour of Michael Haneke is absolute winner of Foreign Language film nominations (except LA Critics that gave its nod to Holy Motors). It would not be easy to beat Amour in Oscar FLF nomination and probably it is not going to happen.

Frankenweenie wins NYFCA and LA Critics Award, and NBR honors Wreck-it Ralph.

Dwight Henry, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matthew Mcconaughey win best supporting actor nominations on LA Film Critics, NBR and NYFCAs respectively. As for now, this nominations is leaded by Philip S. Hoffman in Oscar predictions, but he has not got any award recognition lately, which could mean less chances against other nominees (mostly with Leo).

All in all, we have:

Best Picture race: Argo vs Lincoln vs ZDT vs Les Miserables
Best Actor: Daniel Day Lewis vs Joaquin Phoenix
Best Actress: Jessica Chastain vs Jennifer Lawrence
Best Director: Steven Spielberg vs Top Hooper vs Ben Affleck vs Katheryn Bigelow
Best Supp. Actor: Tommy Lee Jones vs Leonardo DiCaprio vs PS Hoffman
Best Supp. Actress: Anne Hathaway vs Ann Dowd vs Amy Adams


Movie Review: Compliance (2012)

Compliance is real fact based film written and directed by debuting filmmaker Craig Zobel.
A restaurant manager Sandra (Ann Dowd) gets a police call about the thieving of customer's money by one of the workers (Becky) and she is guided to inspect the thief before the office comes. After general and well-known procedures he (the policemen) tries to psychologically influence all the people involved in those procedures by encouragement of violence towards Becky.
All in all the film was OK, one of those that is worth of seeing once. However I hated most part of it, starting with the screenplay that looked too unreal, despite describing real life events.

Imagine you get a call from police department and he asks you to examine one of your co-workers as long as she is suspect in stealing money. Any person would definitely obey the caller. However any reasonable person should guess that there is something wrong when the "policeman" tends you to sexual intercourse with suspected girl. We all know that is against the law. Surprisingly to me, each character was stupid enough to fulfill every single inhuman fantasy of prank caller without questioning the reality of him. Until the very last minute the manager, her boyfriend, some man and other co-workers kept humiliating Becky considering they served the justice.

I imagined this movie a bit more complicated. Let me say. Psychologically, people tend to more believe the persons who are cold policemen as they associate to justice and they are supposed to be right in any circumstances. Execution of prank caller's each order is direct result of belief in his authority, without questioning it. However, psychologically as well, when something goes wrong even morally, people start doubting in "justice". I could not see it in Compliance. I believe these details were totally simple and the writer missed the logic out.

The acting panel is too OK, except Ann Dowd whose performance is not brilliant but still very good. She has recently got a huge Oscar buzz (that shall be discussed in my next post) but I think her character is very simple, monotonous, with minimum amount of emotions. But the thing she hides pretty well, as a character, is a real motive of punishing Becky. Is it really the orders given by police or something else? Is this vengeance of old woman on younger and more popular lady? (That's what you should decide by yourself).

However, the movie still has its charm. That is when people start putting themselves in the shoes of Sandra and others. It is hard to discuss what we would have done in that particular situation. This is the way people remember movies and the characters. The after-film-discussions make the movie more popular and this could be one of the reasons why Dowd is making the heads of every supporting actress list.



Dec 7, 2012

Making the Case for Moonrise Kingdom

Stevee Taylor started a blogathon named "Making the Case for" recent movie that probably won't get any Award recognition. Well, when I looked through my predictions I understood that Moonrise Kingdom could be this year's most underestimated film.
As for now, the only nominations for Moonrise Kingdom looks like to be Academy Award Best Original Screenplay and Golden Globe nom for Best Comedy/Musical. The first one is led, I don't know why, by the Master and the last one - we all know why- by Les Miserables.

Best Picture

The moment I watched the movie, I was pretty sure that this was one of the best candidates for Best Picture nomination. But now I look at predictions and see the list without Moonrise Kingdom. That is not fair. Academy has honored numerous family comedies with nominations, including most recent the Kids Are All Right and Little Miss Sunshine. Wes Anderson's film has everything a best picture nominee needs: outstanding story & screenwriting, one of the best casts this year, beautiful sets and a whole charm.

Best Cinematography

This year's most predicted films for this category use blue color palette for cinematographer work, except Life of Pi, which I have to admit to be a total winner in this nomination. But still Moonrise Kingdom deserves a nod for most colorful and beautiful scenes that make the whole movie spectacular.

We all know that best cinematography nomination is mostly led by historic, fantasy or other theme movies and that contemporary films rarely manage to win. But as long as cinematographer not only deals with lights but also s/he captures the movements, images and scenes, I believe that Robert D. Yeoman nailed it.

Best Director

Maybe it is hard competition among Spielberg, Affleck, Hooper and Bigelow, but there is still one spot left and I believe Wes Anderson deserves this. He made an extraordinary tale about childhood, memories, falling in love and life in the best way any director could. I know that the movie lacks a lot technical complexity that usually makes directors work more valued, but Wes does not need it, I guess.

Best Assemble (SAG Awards)

This nomination is fairly led by Les Miserables, and also includes Argo, Lincoln, The Master and Silver Linings Playbook, followed by Django Unchained and Anna Karenina. All those films present strong dramatic performances, accordingly the comedy acts are missed in the recent predictions. Except the huge names listed in the Moonrise Kingdom credits, their tremendously excellent work shall make final list.A great characters of Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and young Jared Gilman & Kara Hayward are unique and really worth to be included in Best Assemble top five.


Best Original Score nomination is overwhelmed competing numerous bright names like John Williams and Alexander Desplat, though there are some freshmen. Music for Anderson's masterpiece was composed by Desplat and Hank Williams, who also adopted Benjamin Britten's classic music. Any of those two deserve to be included in best score list.

Best Comedy Actor nomination is well deserved by Bruce Willis on Golden Globes (sorry to charming Channing Tatum). We remember not many comedy performances of him and this is definitely the most memorable one.
I tried to make it short and I hope my predictions of missing Moonrise Kingdom in the final lists will not be as precise as it mostly used to be.


Dec 3, 2012

Movie Review: The Barbarian Invasions (2003)

The Barbarian Invasions (aka Les Invasions Barbares) is Canadian movie and Best foreign Language film of 2003 that tells a story about final days of Remy who reunites with old friends, ex-wife and son to farewell to life.

The film is brilliant. It has unique dramatic storyline and a great cast. The same time it hides direct messages concerning numerous social issues.

Director Denys Arcand is critical to any economic formation in the modern world. In a five minute scene of hospital he explains how brutal a social health care can be - full of indifference, carelessness and bureaucracy. Inhuman treatment is so much common towards anybody that in a moment you hate everything that can be associated with the word "socialism".

Denys makes fun of capitalism as well. There is a scene where a priest takes an auctioneer to a Church basement showing some old statuettes and chalices for sale. The girls examines all of them and states that they would be more valuable in Churches than on free market, in other words "they are useless". Well, it is matter of argue but the director sees capitalism as not spiritual.

The name of the movie itself "Barbarian Invasions" refers to everything new and barbarian that comes into one definite culture and makes everything up and down. The main character Remy is old fashioned man who does not get along his son very well. But as the death comes closer, he has to adopt to doing stuff he never enjoyed before. He has to accept the son he rejected long time ago, he has to restart friendship to people who he knew  once and he has to restore relations with ex-wife. Remy puts lots of effort to put himself among the people he admired and this works.

There are a lot stuff that invades in each person's life. Remy has his own barbarians - cancer, that kills him slowly, family which made his life a lot complicated and restricted in personal freedom and friends  who make Remy remember all the foolishness done in the young years. He deals with most of his invaders but the strongest one -  the death - can not be beaten and Remy is trying to get used. As long as he refreshes his relations with every important person in his life, learns that it is hard to think about your own demise.

However, alongside the drama content, movie includes a lot funny and happy moments, just like the normal lives of normal people. Accordingly, I found the film a lot sincere and easy watching. I simply loved it!