Monday, January 3, 2011

quick and dirty holiday movie reviews

Girls at Films
I never realized how much I love seeing movies in the theatre until I moved to a town without a cinema.  So it's been a bit of a priority, these past six months, to see movies whenever I am in a town with one.  These times tend to coincide with holidays.  Over Thanksgiving, I saw four movies in four days.  For this trip, I made a list of my hopefuls.

Here's what I saw:
1. Tangled - Saw this over Thanksgiving and loved it, then caught it again with two friends this week.  I adored it, but if you're on the fence about seeing it, I recommend this review.  Pretty much sums up my opinions.

2. Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader - Chris and I felt like catching a fun, mindless movie, and this one fit the bill.  The Narnia movies are enjoyable enough, but they always make me want to go home and reread the book.  This one was no different.  Much more fun was getting schooled in Rock Band by my Chinese family and playing the drums with rolling pins.

3. The King's Speech - Fantastic movie, wonderful cast, but the whole of it rests on Colin Firth's performance.  Fortunately, he does not disappoint.  As someone who notices interiors and costumes, I'll say that they did not disappoint, either.  My one complaint was that the film sometimes felt like a series of close-ups.  By the end, I had every pore on Colin Firth's face memorized.

4. Tron: Legacy - I expected a light show, and that's basically what I got.  It was a thrill ride, to be sure, but what there was of plot was fraught with holes. There's nothing about the film that lingers, except perhaps the music.  Daft Punk's score was so spot-on and present in the film that it may as well have been another character.

5. Black Swan - There was nothing easy about this movie.  It's painful and challenging to watch, though it has its moments of unexpected humor, and at the end one is left with the lingering sense that something magnificent has just occurred.  It's a film that keeps you guessing until the very end, and makes its final point with such resonance that you can't help but carry it with you.  Natalie Portman is wonderful.  I'm glad I saw it once, but I could not watch it again.

6. True Grit - There's something about the Coen Brothers and the American West that just goes hand and hand.  This was funny, striking, and entertaining as hell.  Jeff Bridges is fantastic.  I think I enjoyed Matt Damon's bumbling Texas Ranger more than anything else I've seen this week.  Some of my favourite moments in it came straight from words, and I realize I like the Coens best when they're working from a book.  I wish I could remember the music, but I'm blanking, so sadly it didn't make any kind of impact.

High marks to most everything on this list, save Narnia, really.  I wouldn't pay to see Tron in IMAX, if you have the option.  It's fun, but not $20 fun.  Tangled is worth catching in 3-D.  The King's Speech is a solidly great movie, but you'll see it for Colin Firth.  If you're in the mood for a movie to really sink your teeth into, go with Black Swan or True Grit.

Ah, movies.  Someday I'll live in a place with a cinema again.  Someday.


Bronwyn said...

Great - thank you! I really want to see the King's Speech, and you may have decided for me.
I also must confess, I'm a little nervous about watching the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It was my favourite Narnia book, and I'm worried that they messed it up. Have they?

Kelly Anne said...

Honestly, it's been so long since I read the book that I couldn't say. I didn't get a sense of anything being terribly wrong, if that helps. I thought it was quite good, if far from the best thing I've seen. Better than Caspian, anyway.

Bronwyn said...

Okay, thank you!
Yeah, Caspian... I'm not sure what happened there.