Things got a little cheeky in the first rate at the Canterbury race track in Sydney, Australia yesterday when jockey Blake Shinn's trouser elastic snapped as he rode Miss Royale toward the finish line.
Even with his backside on full display, he managed to finish second, right in front of a horse named Modesty.
This stuff you can't make up.
And while it was embarrassing, it didn't affect him much. He won the last race of the day on a horse named Eisenhower.
Not gonna lie; I'm biased against romantic dramas. I think a steady diet of Twilights, Nicholas Sparks' recycled crap and a mix of social and genetic dislike has all soured me on the genre. There was something about The Age of Adaline that looked intriguing though. Maybe it was the slight science-fiction plot of a main character who never ages. Maybe it was that it's a period film through the entire 20th Century. Maybe it's just that Blake Lively is insanely attractive. Whatever the reason was that made me open to the idea that this could be something different, I'm glad it exists because it was a film I enjoyed quite a bit.
Director Lee Toland Krieger has a few feature films under his belt but nothing that you've seen...hell, it's nothing I've even seen; and I see a lot. This is by far his biggest film in scope and budget and he pulled it off with the precision that made me think he was a seasoned Hollywood veteran. Despite most of the film taking place in our current year, the entire movie feels timeless and could've been made in any of the decades featured. His choice of lighting and lenses create a nostalgic haze to the screen that seems to be lost in the world of HD and it made everything seem slightly surreal and magical.
I'm fully convinced that Blake Lively is the total package. Yes, it's true that she's one of the most beautiful actresses working today but her look is so classic that she seems absolutely in place for every decade chosen for a flashback. That perfect look isn't just from hair and costumes but a type of face that has always been and will always be a desired leading lady. Aside from all that though, Lively gives a subtle but stellar performance. A fellow critic, who did not like The Age of Adaline, was complaining about her as we left the theater. She said that she seemed cold and distant from the entire film. I think this was a deliberate choice since the character is filled with nothing but sadness as she's forced into a life where everyone ages and dies around her and she must become an island.
The other two performances that are noteworthy are Harrison Ford who gives one of his best performances in the last decade. He's vulnerable in a way we haven't seen since his Regarding Henry days and is a deep breath of fresh air whenever he appears on the screen. The other is from Dutch actor Michiel Huisman (HBO's Game of Thrones, World War Z). It seems in Hollywood that the more attractive you are the less likely it is that you're also a good actor. That doesn't seem to be the case with Huisman who pulls off likable version of Christian Grey (minus the sex beatings), who's funny, charming and far from annoying. He's someone that even the men in the audience will enjoy simply based on his "every-man" persona which he pulls off despite his character's wealth. (Think Mr. Big in Sex and the City.)
There are moments where The Age of Adaline can't avoid veering down Cliche Ave for a moment or two but don't let that distract you from the emotional powerhouse that some of the scenes are executed with. One scene in particular made me cry harder than I have at a movie in a few years and the slobbering snorts and blubbers around me confirmed that I wasn't alone. There will be some disappointed that it's too convenient or not science-fiction enough but as a total product, I found Adaline to be a very enjoyable romantic drama that manages to have a little something for everyone.