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Movie Review: Lost in Transalation

Alternate Title: East is East and West is West

Story: A wild round of applause to young writer and director Sofia Coppola for this terrific, highly unusual, very entertaining and memorable film. Yes, I really, really liked it!

The story revolves around two Americans from different generations and backgrounds who find themselves staying at the same Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo. He's there on a short business trip and she is accompanying her photographer husband while he is on a shoot. How they meet and interact depicts the best on-screen coupling I have seen in a very long time. There are no large moments and no epiphanies -- just good storytelling, real life and fabulous acting.

If you travel - you know how your world changes dramatically from the moment you enter the airport in a foreign land. It can be wildly exhilarating or it can make you seek out the nearest American fast food franchise for comfort. We have all had interesting liaisons while traveling and have had intimate moments with people on airplanes and trains. This film explores those relationships that can, if you pay attention, be very life altering and affirming.

If you have experienced jet lag on a trip to the Far East you will roar at the main characters' inability to sleep. And if you have been to Japan (like I have) you will find the film even more enjoyable.

Acting: Bill Murray is back. He was perfect as Bob Harris, American movie star, and apparently Ms. Coppola wrote the script with him in mind. Scarlett Johansson is a movie star in waiting. She is real, fresh and a pleasure to watch.

Predilection: None.

Critters: None.

Food: Raw stuff.

Visual Art: Lots of Japanese prints (of course) and some really bad modern art.

Blatant Product Placement: Japan is one big advertisement.

Soundtrack: Terrific.

Opening Titles: A seductive opening shot of Johansson. All credits except the opening title are at the end of the film.

Theater Audience: Very crowded. I know this is not scientific but I have noticed over the past two years the number of people attending weekday afternoon showings have increased tenfold. They are not retired folk. I think the number of the unemployed is vastly underreported. (But don't get me going on politics.)

Quirky Meter: 3

Predictability Level: I had no idea where this film was headed which was part of the joy of watching.

Oscar Worthy: Yes.

Nit Picking: Nothing to really get me annoyed.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure. For some other Bill Murray films try: The Royal Tenenbaums, Hamlet, Cradle Will Rock, Rushmore, Ed Wood, Mad Dog and Glory, Groundhog Day, What About Bob?, Quick Change, Little Shop of Horrors, The Razor's Edge, Ghost Busters, Tootsie, Stripes, Meatballs and I am adding Caddy Shack to this list because a few of my poker friends just loved that film.

Length: Under two hours.