As is the case with LaineyBooks, we are still awaiting certain tech upgrades before properly launching the LaineyMovies page.

But if you can forgive the anticlimactic introduction, here’s the inaugural movie review written by Michelle Crespi, a properly educated journalist and not some smutty internet hack.

Michelle is a television producer – has produced countless junkets, film festivals, fell in love with Chris Martin at the Junos, a live show in Canada on the Oscar red carpet, and she has watched at close range while Jennifer Lopez worked every one of her eyelashes while posing for Hello Magazine.

Here’s Michelle’s review of one of the most beloved movies of the year – a small budget gem called Once in theatres now. See it before it comes down… I promise you won’t be sorry.

Michelle Crespi
August 2007

When you see it, you know.

It’s the difference between when Brad looks at Angelina, and Tom looks at (or presents) Katie.

I’ve seen it myself on a red carpet. John Travolta and Kelly Preston act like they’re in love. Mark Anthony and Jennifer Lopez are undeniably in love (like it or not).

Sometimes you need an authentic love story. Not the Ryan and Rachel rain-soaked-kiss version of romance, but the real mix of both fabulous and ridiculous moments. It’s been a while since a movie like this came along, and thankfully Once has arrived.

Once teaches you more about love and relationships than all of Jennifer Aniston’s romantic comedies combined. Like Before Sunrise, you’ll feel like a voyeur on a couple’s journey. The scenes are like relationship-porn – long, honest conversations winding through cobblestone streets in the evening. Unsure of how it will turn out, you soak in every glance, every word and every awkward moment. The dialogue feels unscripted and the actors look, well, like us. If you get butterflies when Jim looks at Pam across The Office lunchroom, you will adore this movie. This is what reality TV should be like. And thankfully this is what Once is.

I’m sure it helps that there are no one-name famous faces. A Gwyneth or a Scarlett would have ruined this movie. I would have been distracted by the close-ups (how is her skin so perfect?!) and the wardrobe (why can’t I look that effortlessly stylish for Sunday brunch?). But Once was made for only $150,000 US, so both characters wear the same wardrobe throughout and there is no sign of a make-up artist or hair stylist. The Stars Are Just Like Us! With a budget equivalent to a five-month stay at Promises, you won’t be watching for next season’s hair and fashion trends.

zeros in on the reality love. Guy meets Girl. And in this case they make music. As a high school girl inspired to learn the guitar because of Jewel (seriously), I naively thought that finding a guy to write a song with would be the hottest thing ever. Funny enough, I don’t think high school guys had the same opinion. However, Once ’s director seems to agree with me.

The first scene they play a song together, she takes him to a music shop for a quickie. She sits down at the piano and he sits next to her on the bench with his guitar. The foreplay begins with him teaching her the lyrics and melody of the song. Then they go at it. You see them learn about each other with every note–he’s a bit bossy, and she can dish it right back. It’s one location. One camera. One song. Four minutes. And you won’t want it to end. This scene alone proves the intimacy of making music together is hotter than any sex scene (okay, except for George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez in Out of Sight).

It made me understand why Nelly Furtado’s engaged to her sound-engineer and has a child with her former DJ. Or why John Mayer and Jessica Simpson didn’t (and couldn’t) work. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova have an onscreen chemistry not seen since Gwyneth and Mr. Fiennes. I wasn’t surprised to learn the two actually fell in love while making this movie.

Maybe in ten years we’ll get another fabulous sequel like Before Sunset. The characters will be older, wiser and ready for another love story. The ending may not be Hollywood perfect, but the reality is neither is life. And who knows… by then Tom and John may finally be the It couple.