Hot off the presses, heres a pair of movie reviews from tonights Monday night movie – ONCE. John Carney (“circus folk – small hands”) directed this flick from the Emerald Isle that we saw at the Arclight. Heres a pair of reviews from me and Casey, to give you an idea, either of the movie or of our differing movie tastes.

He Said: She Said:

“My Kingdom for a Tripod”


“Indie Irish Emo”

ONCE bleeds cinema verite. Or maybe it does, if I remember my film school
terminology correctly. Whats it called when the director eschews the
traditional “put the camera on a tripod and make sure you can usually see the
actors” method of making movies and handholds (badly) for the entirety
of the one hour and thirty-five minute runtime?

Anyway, there were some nice moments in there somewhere, moments that tended to stretch into hours and become therefore ruined by their neverendingness, much like my sentences. The music, also, was sweet and engaging in small bits, but there was entirely too much of it, and playing every song in its entirety didn’t help. The main two characters (credited as Guy and Girl and played by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, respectively) had interesting chemistry at the beginning…

The point is that I would have liked some judicious editing. ‘Nuff said.
Sorry this review isn’t better.

Once invites me to make the joke that “once” was enough to see this film. I’m starting to believe that anytime a film rates ridiculously “fresh” on rotten tomatoes, I should
question the sanity of film critics everywhere. An 80% rating is good, but anything close to 100% and you start reaching Spiderman 2 levels of ridiculous overrated-ness.

Once follows a boy and girl who fall in love
over their shared interest in whiny, emo music. Now, I’ve liked my share of emo, but this took it too far. Classified as a “modern
musical”, Once feels more like a visually uninteresting music video for a guitarist
whose songs all sound exactly the same. Supposedly they tell the story
of the two characters love, but all I heard was “my girlfriend/husband left me and now I’m going to whine about it for an hour and a half”.
Some cute moments popped up throughout the film, and I appreciated the earnestness of the characters; they genuinely seemed to be falling in love. I also always approve of the not so gift wrapped ending, which I won’t spoil, but I question the characters’ decisions that led
them to this ending. Maybe they just aren’t very smart.

If there’s anyone out there who could explain the fabulousness of this film to me, please do, because I clearly missed something. That’s
not to say I was personally offended by the film, but I just don’t get all the hubbub. Final Word—boring, without the stand out “musical
numbers” I expect from anything calling itself a musical, EVEN if it’s modern.