Sunday, February 27, 2011
19. Mother and Child
18. The Fighter
16. Easy A
15. Fair Game
14. Scott Pilgram vs the World
13. Please Give
11. Tamara Drewe
10. I Love You Phillip Morris
9. I Am Love
8. Tiny Furniture
7. The Town
6. The Kids Are Alright
5. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
4. The Social Network
3. The Square
2. Helena From the Wedding
1. Blue Valentine
Honorable Mention: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Black Swan, Get Low, Chloe, Rabbit Hole, Ghost Writer, Winter's Bone.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Down in a Hole
Starring Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest, Tammy Blanchard, Miles Teller, Sandra Oh
Here's a nice, quiet little film that despite its two stars (Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart) has virtually gone unnoticed. Perhaps it's the subject matter that turned audiences away but anyone who enjoys a well-executed drama and outstanding acting by a leading lady should see this film.
It's the story of a couple struggling to get back on track after the death of their son, an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize winning play by David Lindsay-Abaire. Becca (Kidman) and Howie (Eckhart) are dealing with the loss in different ways. Ways that are destroying their marriage and dragging them into an abyss of nothingness. However, it's not as depressing as it sounds. At the core is healing, forgiving and a reminder that life does go on.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Starring Hailee Steinfeld, Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin.
With the possible exception of Chloe Grace Moretz in Kick-Ass (Hit-Girl) I might have a prejudice against actors/actresses under the age of 15 who portray roles that are intellectually and logically too mature for their age. Hailee Steinfeld is an uber-talented young actress but I'm not buying her character, 14 year-old Mattie Ross. As adorable as she may be, the too-big-for-her-britches shtick at the beginning of the film was off-putting; it took me awhile to really sink my teeth into this film.
That being said, it did get better and much more entertaining after the first 20 minutes or so. Overall the film felt a little generic and lacked some of the edginess I've come to love and expect from the Coen brothers. Not a bad outing, but perhaps a little underwhelming considering the Coen's past success and the star-studded cast (primary cast - Steinfield, Brolin, Damon, Bridges have all been nominated or have won Oscars). An entertaining film but not one that will linger afterwards.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
The bone of my discontent
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Kevin Breznahan, Dale Dickey, Garret Dillahunt, Sheryl Lee, Lauren Sweetser and Tate Taylor
Because of its Oscar nomination for Best Picture and Jennifer Lawrence's Oscar-worthy performance, Winter's Bone was re-released in theaters late in 2010. By this time I'd heard all the hype and my expectations were high. The film is good in a gritty and resilient kind of way. I'm glad the the Academy recognized such a small, blue collar indie. Yet I can't help but wonder/compare fellow Sundance darlings like 2009's Frozen River and 2004's Down to the Bone. Why didn't they receive the same notoriety? All three films are cut from the same cold, desolate cloth with the latter two films being slightly superior to Winter's Bone.
Nevertheless, you can't go wrong with any of the three aforementioned films. In Winter's Bone Jennifer Lawrence plays a tough, unbreakable 17-year old in the rural South struggling to support her little brother, sister and catatonic mother. With no money, barely any food and the looming threat of losing their home our young heroine braves dangerous territory to find her father... dead or alive.