Human Interest Story
Every year come awards season, there are those movies that are universally appraised for the Oscar-worthy performances of their leads, while the quality of the film itself tends to be nothing but an afterthought. Although star Judi Dench certainly deserves the praise she has been receiving for her performance in Philomena, the movie itself should not be forgotten. With a good mix of laugh-out-loud humor and tear-inducing drama, this movie is quality entertainment that will hopefully be able to find its audience.
There are a lot of big movies scheduled for release this holiday season, but not many of them are actual holiday movies. There is also a surprising lack of musicals. Sweeping in to fill the void is Black Nativity, a holiday-themed musical that is based on the play by Langston Hughes. The film’s timing may be good, but unfortunately the movie comes off more like a television special than a big-screen musical.
He’ll Bring the Thunder
Thor: The Dark World is a continuation of not one but two franchises. Mainly, it is the second film in the Thor franchise, but it is also the seventh chapter in what you might call the Marvel franchise. Like Iron Man 3, The Dark World limits the tie-in to The Avengers to a mention here and a cameo there, keeping the focus on its title character and what is going on in his universe. What is going on in Thor’s world is that an ancient and not-very-clearly-explained weapon that was hidden ages ago has recently been uncovered.
Time Traveling for Love
Having written the screenplays for Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Love Actually (which he also directed), Richard Curtis has proven to be adept at creating captivating romantic comedies that feature wonderfully-written characters. With About Time, he returns to the genre as both writer and director, but this time he slyly introduces elements from another genre: science fiction. No, there aren’t any flying cars or aliens; just some simple time travel. The time travelling itself may be simple, but as the film’s main character quickly learns, using time travel to control your destiny is not so straightforward.
There have been plenty of franchise movies released in 2013, but most of them are sequels to, or reboots of pre-existing franchises. There have been a couple of movies that were released in hopes of dawning new franchises (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, After Earth), but they were widely considered to be busts. Enter Ender’s Game, based on the 1985 novel of the same name by author Orson Scott Card. Excellent special effects, a compelling storyline, and a good blend of talented young actors and solid veterans just might turn this sci-fi adventure into the next big franchise.
City of Oscar Winners
Last Vegas borrows its tagline from the popular sitcom How I Met Your Mother. “It’s going to be legendary,” the movie’s poster tells us. Whether the movie itself turns out to be legendary is maybe neither here nor there, but there’s no denying that the movie’s cast has already earned legendary status. With no less than fourteen combined acting Oscar nominations and five wins, the idea of seeing these beloved veteran actors muck it up in Vegas alone should be enough to get most moviegoers into the theaters. Fortunately, the movie does not fail to disappoint.
It’s About to Get Messy
One look at the cast and crew of the new thriller The Counselor should be enough to get any lover of cinema excited with anticipation. Directed by Oscar-winner Ridley Scott and featuring a script written by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy, The Counselor features an all-star cast and promises a crime-laden plot. Although a few entertaining scenes do deliver on the movie’s promise, for the most part it gets bogged down in overcomplicated dialogue, unclear plot turns, and a couple of scenes that are just bizarre.
Reel-Life Internet Drama
Hot off the presses and into movie theaters, The Fifth Estate is the story of the controversial website WikiLeaks, which is considered responsible for leaking innumerable sensitive documents to the public. The site’s founder, Julian Assange, has publicly spoken out against the movie and even sent an email to star Benedict Cumberbatch asking him not to participate in the film. There are probably many reasons why Assange is against this drama, and his being portrayed as a “manipulative a—hole” has to be a primary one.
Tension at Sea
When it comes to creating cinematic tension, there are few directors who do it as well as Paul Greengrass. After winning critical acclaim for the Irish civil rights drama Bloody Sunday, the director won over both critics and audiences by directing the two superior movies in the Jason Bourne franchise (Supremacy and Ultimatum). In between, he brought to life the story of the brave passengers on United flight 93 who battled the terrorists on 9/11. Now, after the tepidly received but entertaining Green Zone, Greengrass is back with another tension-filled drama based on a real-life event.
It Will Drop Your Jaw
Gravity is a one-of-a-kind treat that is one of the few films to truly benefit from being seen in IMAX and in 3D. Director Alfonso Cuaron has directed a film that genuinely deserves to be called epic, despite its minimal 90-minute runtime. This is a cinematic experience unlike any other and it must be experienced to be believed.
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