This is everything I’ve seen since Oct. 31 that hasn’t already been covered on this site or College Movie Review. Onward!
Flight (A-) – Theater
Despite staying true to convention (though never being shackled by it), Flight is a serious case of studio misdirection. It’s not a story about a pilot’s heroic maneuvering, but about the crash’s aftermath that exposes the man (Denzel Washington in an Oscar-worthy performance) as a fraud, a drunk and a liar. But it’s not just Denzel who’s giving a stellar performance. There’s great ensemble work from Don Cheadle, Bruce Greenwood and Kelly Reilly, as well as a great little cameo by John Goodman.
Skyfall (A-) – Screening
Did I overhype it? Maybe, but this is still near the top of the heap of Bond movies. I think it’s still a contender for the best Bond ever. Daniel Craig continues his dark, introverted take on Bond masterfully. Judi Dench adds more dimension to M than we’ve ever seen before. And Javier Bardem is simply the best Bond villain in decades, even if he is just playing a pansexual version of Anton Chigurh.
Lincoln (B+) – Screening
As you’d expect, Daniel Day-Lewis gives a towering performance as our 16th President that doesn’t feel like dress-up. But Tony Kushner’s verbose script makes me feel that this would have made the greatest play of all time, but it does not make for a particularly rousing movie. Still, this is another misdirect—and a great one at that—because Lincoln is not a birth-to-death biopic, but about the compromises needed to pass a law. I appreciate this direction, but it definitely doesn’t make love the movie.
Hitchcock (B+) – Screening
Another sneaky biopic, Hitchcock focuses solely on the making of Psycho and the near unmaking of the director’s marriage to Alma Reveille (the always great Helen Mirren). Anthony Hopkins adds plenty of wit and swagger to his portrayal of the rotund Master of Suspense. Though I’m not as keen on the domestic stuff, I really dug the “friendship” between Hitch and Ed Gein. Plus, it shows that movies that seem like classics today often had trouble getting off the ground.
Breaking Dawn, Part 2 (D-) – Theater
Thank God it’s over. The worst franchise of all time finally comes to a close in a brainless movie stretched so thin, it makes it even more apparent that Summit split this in two to finagle more money out of its fanbase. This brief post isn’t the place to go through everything that pissed me off about this movie, but here’s a short list: Taylor Lautner’s acting, the number of decapitations, the still-lousy special effects, Kellan Lutz’s roided-out physique and Dakota Fanning’s hundred-yard stare. There are about a hundred more things I could list about this movie that make it the worst thing I’ve seen all year. The only things that saved this from an F were the performances of Lee Pace and Michael Sheen. Everything else is just utter garbage.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (C-) – DVD
As I suspected, Timur Bekmambetov’s follow up to the disaster that was Wanted takes itself far too seriously. I mean, c’mon, this is a movie about our 16th President hunting vampires with an ax while often defying gravity. This should be hilarious. Instead, it’s presented as an important action movie, complete with an obscene amount of slo-mo. It does have this going for it, though: there are several times when I thought to myself, “I’ve never seen that in a movie before.”