Tom Ford arrives on the filmmaking scene fully formed, no doubt the product of a man who has been cultivating and manipulating images for nearly two decades as a bigwig fashion designer. His adaptation of Christopher Isherwood's 1964 novel benefits from strong performances, evocative, detail-rich production design and an effectively melancholy mood that only occasionally drifts into slick stylization. Grade: A-.
Amy Adams has cornered the market on adorably cute and feisty young women seeking either the perfect guy or the recipe to change their lives. Here she's in the solid and rather capable hands of romantic partner Matthew Goode (he benefits from her firm grasps as well) as they swing through the familiar highs and lows of a meet-cute couple forced to travel together for a rendezvous with a third wheel (Adam Scott). Grade: C-.