This movie looked at the workings of an admissions committee at an elite university, which was interesting and something that I had never really thought about before.
The story was alright. I liked seeing the process of how students were admitted, and I liked the idea of an unconventional applicant (an "autodidact") beating the odds. The characters seemed natural and were easy to relate to.
I didn't really like the contrived drama, which I felt was a little too emotionally-driven and over-the-top. For example, when Portia finds out she's not actually Jeremiah's mother, she seemed to take it out entirely on John for suggesting the possibility, even though she was the one who allowed herself to become super invested in the idea.
The biggest problem with this movie was that it was too fast paced. They would have one scene with rapid snappy faux-cool dialog and then abruptly end it and move on to the next, leaving me going, huh, what just happened?
This movie has an interesting concept and a certain charm to it, as well as some touching moments. I thought the second half was better than the first, which was marred by corny narration and rather amateurish exposition.
I get what the general storyline of R and Julie is supposed to be, but my problem with this movie is that the zombies just don't make any sense, even by zombie movie standards. R is a very unzombie-like zombie, who collects memorabilia, plays music, reads books, drives cars, etc. Even the other, less-gifted zombies seem pretty tame, aside from the unrealistic "bonies". What's the science behind a zombie eating a brain and then somehow accessing that brain's memories? How did the zombies always sneak up on human targets when they're not exactly subtle creatures? And how is one romantic relationship between a quasi-zombie and a human supposed to start the "cure" for zombie-ism in all these other zombies? Why would those zombies care about this one zombie and his human girlfriend?
I think this movie would've been better had they not called them zombies, or at least had made the zombies more realistic. But then that might've ruined the whole "zombie romance" angle they were going for.
This is one of those movies that's just pure entertainment but isn't anything deeper - like Transformers for Europhilic cultural elitists. There's not really much of a plot or focus. It's split among four separate storylines that feel either dull or extremely contrived. In a way, it reminds me of Woody Allen's previous overrated baloney, Midnight in Paris. Once again, there's lots of drama and fighting between young people and their parents. Once again, people are having stupid drama and quarrels in the backdrop of an overromanticized European city with charming locals with sexy accents.
The Hayley plot (with Hayley's opera director dad trying to get Hayley's future father-in-law to sing opera in the shower) is stupid; it's just a series of annoying fights between Hayley and her father, Hayley's father and Hayley's boyfriend, Hayley and her boyfriend, and Hayley's boyfriend's father and Hayley's father.
The Antonio and Milly plot (with the newlyweds) is the most interesting of the four, as it features a bodacious Penélope Cruz as an alluring prostitute who helps Antonio engage in some educational adultery.
The Leopoldo plot (the ordinary guy becoming famous for being famous) is the worst; it's stupid, annoying, and pointless.
The John/Jack plot (with Alec Baldwin and Jesse Eisenberg playing two architects) is fairly stupid and lame, but it's also kinda interesting in a juicy gossip sort of way. I also liked John's meticulous deconstruction of Monica's faux intellectualism.
I did like the main song, The Starlite Orchestra's rendition of "Amada Mia, Amore Mio". That's probably a good thing considering the movie plays it constantly.
This was boring and slow as fuck. God what the fuck was this movie even about? It was just a lot of random images and enigmatic whisperings to who knows who. It's way too abstract. There really isn't a sustained plot - just a bunch of disconnected sequences revolving around these annoying boys and their asshole dad. The only good thing about this movie was all the imagery of space and volcanoes and lifeforms - I could see it winning the Academy Award for Best Cinematography (which it was nominated for but lost to Hugo, no cinematography slouch itself).