Time again for another quick set of reviews for two very different films. One is a summer blockbuster while the other is a romantic cluster-fudge.
Tom Hanks returns as an Ivy League symbologist in Ron Howard's "Angels and Demons." This is the second film from author Dan Brown, author of "The Da Vinci Code," with Hanks reprising his role as Robert Langdon. I went into the film expecting a popcorn thriller and that's basically what I got.
I did like the film from the aspect of a puzzle/mystery film. It's interesting to think that there are secret, clandestine groups plotting against the rest of the free world, especially groups which formed centuries ago. While the story becomes a bit predictable (and a touch long), there is setup after setup followed by payoff after payoff. Most of the performances are strong (strong enough to carry the film at least) and it's fun to see Hanks in a role that isn't terribly overwrought or championed as an Oscar-worthy performance. You know what? See it.
The other side of this theatre ticket features the French film "Shall We Kiss?" This film follows two friends as they come to realize that what they seek romantically happens to be each other. The story is dialogue driven and is actually depicted as a story within a story. The film is witty, interesting, and unconventional as it asks "is it better to follow one's desires or uphold the responsibilities and mores of marriage and friendship?" (that is not a quote from the film).
The film has a very deliberate (slow) pace, but is very methodical in the way it unfolds. If you are a drowsy film-goer, you may run the risk of dozing off in the middle of the film, so I'd say it's probably best to rent this one, but it is certainly worth seeing.