Archive | January, 2012

Meryl Streep, Prime Minister

28 Jan

Whether you liked her or didn’t like her, Margaret Thatcher was an important political figure. So she rightly deserves any recognition she gets, and merits a bio-pic.

That said, watching The Iron Lady, you get the feeling that this is a film more about Meryl Streep playing Thatcher, than it is about Thatcher herself.

Would the movie have been made without Streep? Who knows. But you know somewhere, a few years ago, some film producers were sitting around and came up with this brilliant high-concept idea.

Thankfully, Streep delivers. Continue reading

Pal Joey

8 Jan

In recent years, the proudly, blatantly self-important projects that Steven Spielberg has worked on (often with Tom Hanks) — ones like the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers and The Pacific — have been such a turnoff.

They may be good, but who wants to sit through something out of a feeling close to obligation?

So I’ll admit, I was resistant to seeing War Horse, uncle Steve’s latest prestige project, and pre-disposed to not liking it.

This film, an adaptation of the Tony Award–winning play and children’s novel, tells the story of boy gets horse, boy loses horse to World War I, boy enlists in army to find horse, boy and horse are reunited, and all is well. It’s about as audience-friendly as can be, and with gorgeous photography, a predictably majestic score by John Williams, and decent performances, the film is a rousing one that will make you stand up and cheer. Continue reading

2011’s Movies Hit a Home Run

3 Jan

If you haven’t noticed, I see a lot of movies.

As I sit down to write this blog post, this year alone, of the ones that are considered 2011 releases, I’ve seen 50. Last year I saw 60, so I’m a little off my game, I guess.

But there are still a few movies that have yet to open in Boston that I’m sure I’ll see, and that’ll push the number higher.

And yes, I know it’s now a couple days into 2012. That’s alright. Again, we’re talking 2011 releases, the ones that are eligible for Oscars and all the other awards, no matter when they’re in my local theaters.

Okay, enough excuse-making.

2011 was a pretty good year for the movies. Looking back on all the ones I’ve seen, there were a good number of them that I gave high marks to (i.e., a B+ or better).

So what follows are my 10 favorite movies of the year. Continue reading

Out of Control

2 Jan

The Cold War–era spy thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy tells the story of a British intelligence officer who is pulled out of (forced) retirement when it’s thought that a Russian mole is embedded within the Secret Service.

Who is the mole? It’s one of four gentlemen who are given the code names of the film’s title.

That’s about all I’ve got.

Despite an excellent performance by Gary Oldman (and his oversized glasses), I just wasn’t invested in this one.

It’s stuffy, all-too-serious, and not exactly exciting to watch. No wonder my mind wandered throughout, and I couldn’t wait for the film to end.

Is it fair, then, for me to give the movie any review? I don’t care; I’m doing it anyway. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy gets a B– from me.