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Monday, November 26, 2012

Quick Reviews: Six Recent Films

I'm giving myself an assignment: put up a post about as many of the eight films I've seen this month as possible before I go to bed, which will be soon as I'm off to Washington, DC in the morning, Three nights away from home are beckoning, so...

Cloud Atlas: I nearly walked out on multiple occasions. There are six different storylines set at various times, from the days of slavery to a post-apocalyptic future, and the film cuts back and forth between them constantly. They're tied together by the fact that many of the actors (including Tom Hanks and Halle Berry) appear as multiple characters, and by some other plot points. There's some grand theme about humanity and how we treat others and so on, but it was such a confusing mess it's a miracle I didn't leave. I guess it was a novel attempt at something different, which keeps it from being a complete failure. My grade: D-plus.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Really impressive and well-acted. Emma Watson completely makes you forget she was in the Harry Potter movies. Definitely deserved a better box-office fate. My grade: A.

Wreck-It Ralph: Like the "Toy Story" of video games in its nostalgia. Funny moments, interesting premise, ultimately not quite as brilliant as the "Toy Story" films. Still definitely worthwhile. My grade: B-plus.

Flight: Quite good but a little overrated in telling the story of a pilot (Denzel Washington) who's a drunk and a drug addict but manages to save almost everyone on a plane with an amazing crash-landing maneuver, and how the crash investigation affects him and those around him. The ending felt too predictable and a little too easy. My grade: B.

Skyfall: Never saw a James Bond movie in a theater, nor had I even seen one in full on TV since possibly some time during my childhood, but even I enjoyed the nods to previous films, and almost everything else was perfect, including Daniel Craig. I felt the villain (played by Javier Bardem) was a little too over-the-top, though. My grade: A.

Lincoln: A little talky, but what do you expect when a film about Abe Lincoln is based on reality instead of his being a vampire hunter? Loved Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field (as Abe and wife Mary Todd Lincoln) among others, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt was kind of wasted in a small part as their eldest son. Interesting to see the parallels between the depiction of Lincoln's efforts to get Congress to pass the constitutional amendment abolishing slavery before the end of the Civil War and what's going on in DC today. My grade: A.

I've got two more but I haven't decided on their grades yet. At least I got six of the eight done. Good for me!

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