WHERE DO WE GO NOW?
The men of a Lebanese village divided evenly between Muslims and Christians are a hot-headed bunch, quick to take offense and retliate for perceived slights from the opposite camp. Their womenfolk see the battle lines drawn more along male and female lines, and they hatch wild schemes to defuse tensions. They feed the men hashish pastries and import a gaggle of eastern European exotic dancers to push their "make love not war" message.
The film is a welter of story lines and tones, veering from broad comedy to pathos, as if writer/director Nadine Labaki were randomly punching buttons on a radio. It's a fresh take on Mideast strife to see the endless battles from a feisty feminist point of view, but most of the acting and plotting is subpar. Labaki's "Caramel," a delicious multi-character romance set in a Beirut beauty shop, radiated talent and promise that is missing in this would-be crowd pleaser.
TONIGHT YOU'RE MINE
Director David Mackenzie takes a documentary approach to this musical romance filmed at a Scottish rock festival. While the story is pure contrivance -- two antagonistic performers get handcuffed together, fighting until they fall in love -- the soundtrack is lively and the characters grow on you. There's a magical passage when he must stand onstage while she's singing. He mischeviously decides to play Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" on her keyboard and chime in warbling. The messy interference flows into a spontaneous collaboration. As it becomes a counterpoint duet, we know they're on to something. Adam, played by Luke Treadway ("Clash of the Titans") and Morello, played by Natalia Tena ("A Game of Thrones," "Harry Potter") wind up harmonizing beautifully, thanks to the actors' considerable musical talent. Carefree, enjoyable fluff.