Movies I really wanted to see.... And my quick reviews
1. ARGO - I really liked it. I think it's really well done and the standouts are John Goodman and Alan Arkin. I think Ben Affleck as the director did a great job with the authenticity of the look and feel and also the suspense and tension. Certain parts did feel kind of forced and manipulative, but it's a really good movie.
2. SKYFALL - I think it's one of the best Bond films I've seen, and this one I can actually understand the plot and remember it! Javier Bardem is a great villain and Daniel Craig has never been better. The plot does get a bit too sentimental at the end and I kind of find it implausible (a bit of Home Alone there) but over all, an awesome Bond film. Oh, the Bond girls are hot.
3. LES MIS - more on it tomorrow after the screening!
4. CLOUD ATLAS - I was intrigued by the trailers and the premise. I think it was a very ambitious undertaking and to some extent they succeeded. But by using the same famous actors to play different roles using make up, they end up distracting more than engaging... it becomes a "look, look, who is play what?" Parts of the story are flat or uninteresting. I don't find it confusing, but I can how it can be. Very uneven.
5. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK - Feel good movie of the year. Everything is in place. Cooper, Lawrence, De Niro and Weaver are all excellent. Chris Tucker, however, seems misplaced -- his role can be cut out with no loss to the story. I also find the ballroom dancing and thus the ending somewhat contrived. I really, really like the movie, just not as much as just about everyone else.
6. THE SESSIONS - What I thought was as funny, adult comedy about a man with polio who hires a sex surrogate... turns out to be a heart-warming drama. John Hawkes and Helen Hunt are both amazing. Love it.
7. THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER -- the nostalgia factor makes it a must-see for me. Like Adventureland a few years ago, this one reminds me of my time in Pittsburgh in the late 80s. The story and the acting are superb.
8. ANNA KARENINA - ever since Pride & Prejudice, I have been a Joe Wright fan, and ever since the Pirate of the Caribbean films, I really enjoyed Keira Knightely. So I was expecting a lot from Anna Karenina, and was ultimately disappointed. The movie is gorgeous, and the production is great... I just think Joe Wright took a big risk by setting the film on the stage, and it didn't pay off. It felt distant -- I couldn't connect with it emotionally. Anna isn't really very likable either, so it makes it harder for me to like the film. I think Joe Wright should stick with period drama in naturalistic settings -- he did it so well with P&P and Atonement.