holiday movie roundup ::


Every holiday I try to cram in as many movies as possible while away in Dallas. This year I was able to get in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Artist, My Week with Marilyn, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and War Horse.

All were extremely well produced and directed, but when it comes to mass appeal and the race for the Oscars some fell short and others easily rose to the challenge.

My favorite movie out of the five mentioned would have to be Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, but the one that I think will sweep the Oscars will be The Artist.

I won’t make this a long winded review or anything, but a couple of notes on each…

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo ::

It was excellent, without a doubt, as anticipated, the feel bad movie of the holiday season. I had an opportunity to see it twice in one week, and while I love seeing movies I love over and over again, this one was too intense for a double header in one week. So instead I went to go and see MI4 at the last second.

That being said, it was well acted and directed, and Rooney Mara did a full 180 degrees from the witty girlfriend from Fincher’s The Social Network. You go Mara!

But where the American version differed from the beloved Swedish films is that in the role of Lisbeth. I feel like the American version made her more vulnerable, pulled back too many layers in her emotional range, and seemed to make her almost manic in being unable to walk after a brutal attack in one scene but able to fight off a skinhead up and down an escalator in another. Is she vulnerable or is she a badass with a mysterious air? So, I like the Swede’s portrayal better, but really, it’s my only complaint if you can call it a complaint.

Go see it. Really. Just be prepared for the intensity.

The Artist ::

This was my first silent film that I paid to see in a movie theatre. It was neat being able to experience that kind of movie going experience. No dialogue, black and white, a musical score that made you feel every emotion of what was silently being said on the screen and the total lack of opportunity to take that big gulp from your drink or quickly whisper a reaction to your friend beside you; just total, musically scored silence.

It was strange, however, when the credits rolled, that I realized that I never needed or wanted to hear the actors’ voices to come through the speakers. I understood it all and that in and of itself was amazing to me. I knew of talkies, I know of the Jazz Singer, but to actually see the history of film captured in modern form like that was just…amazing. Sorry for my lack of descriptors, but The Artist is definitely a film to see by February’s end.

My Week with Marilyn ::

I almost don’t feel qualified to comment on this one because I have no experience what so ever with Marilyn Monroe. I’ve never seen one of her films nor listened to her music. All I know is what she looked like and that her real name was Norma Jean.

However, the movie was beautifully shot and both Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh gave masterful performances as Monroe and Olivier. Judi Dench was sweet and provided some of the comedic relief and Eddie Redmayne played the role of wide-eyed twenty-something too well. As for Emma Watson who recently hung up her cloak as Hermione Granger, she needs more practice outside of Hogwarts.

In the end, I’d give My Week with Marilyn a B+ and encourage you to go and see it. I just felt it left something to be desired.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol ::

It has been my favorite so far this season. I still haven’t seen The Adventures of Tin Tin, Young Adult or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy yet, but Ghost Protocol takes you on a captivating, exhilarating, heart stopping ride that you never want to end. It’s by far the best out of the franchise thanks to J.J. Abrams’ reboot and the rapport between Simon Peg, Tom Cruise, Paula Patton and Jeremy Renner was perfectly intact. Also, the spy tech is pretty darn awesome this time around ranging from gravity defying gloves, a screen that rivals an invisibility cloak, and a pretty sweet BMW i8. I’ll be seeing this again.

War Horse ::

While War Horse was on my list of movies to see, it was at the bottom of my list. I love Spielberg, don’t get me wrong, but I have a hard time with movies centered on animals.

It was everything you expect it to be. A sentimental story between a boy and his horse and the emotional and physical journey the two of them take to be reunited again after being torn apart at the beginning of England’s involvement in WWI.

I thought the boy, Jeremy Irvine, could have done a little better, but his acting gets better toward the end of the movie. One scene screamed Gone with the Wind, and the cinematography was gorgeous. It was almost any Spielberg movie meets Atonement meets Gone with the Wind meets Babe…but in a good way of course.

You should see it, but if you like character driven plots, then well, you best believe that horse has a journey worth fighting for.


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