Josh Brolin is absolutely terrific—he manages not only to look like President Bush but to act and talk like him. The portrait of Bush is more balanced than I would have expected. The problem with the movie is we know where it's going and pretty much how it gets there.
Waiting for Superman
I can't imagine anything more important than the subject of this documentary: the state of education in this country. I think the message would have been just as effective in half an hour, but it's still something that every grandparent, parent, teacher, and other living and breathing American should see. Clearly our education system is a mess and there are some programs that could help tremendously, and right away.
A Walk in the Woods
The Odd Couple in the woods. Starts slow, stays slow (which is appropriate since the movie is about two old guys trying to hike the Appalachian Trail). But I enjoyed it. Especially Nick Nolte's performance. B.
Probably one of the 2 or 3 best movies I've ever seen—up until the last 15 minutes or so, which aren't bad, but get a little bit Hollywood-predictable. This flick does show that it's possible to combine art and entertainment. God bless writer-director Andrew Stanton.
Let's start here. The trailer and ads for Warrior give away a major plot twist. Has Lion's Gate never heard of spoiler alerts? Next, an admission. Good fight films always choke me up. I've no idea why. This is a good fight flick. I got choked up.
I watched—for as long as I possibly could—and here's what I saw. There was some very good art direction, but also some surprisingly flat scenes. The dialogue is, in my opinion, pretty bad. There's no one I felt obliged to root for or against—which is probably part of the film's conceit—but who cares? Time magazine says the graphic novel is one of the past century's hundred best novels of any kind. Maybe so. But, for me, Watchmen the movie was an overhyped disappointment.
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
Waterhorse is one of those children's movies that adults will enjoy as much as their kids. A lot of attention was given to the script cinematography & animation. Definitely a good one to bring your kids eight and up to see.
We Bought a Zoo
If the title of this move is scaring you off, don't let it. We Bought a Zoo is a sweet, charming, relatively realistic film, based on a very real zoo, with terrific performances from everyone involved, but especially Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson.
What Happens in Vegas
This got horrendous reviews and I expected to see Ashton Kutcher punked for an hour-and-a-half. Surprisingly, however, I found the movie pretty dang funny. It definitely held my interest and, if it were up to me—rather than the F it got from real critics—I'd give it a solid B. Guess I'll never be a real critic.
What Just Happened
Barry Levinson was the director on Diner and Wag the Dog and he can be quite funny. This is one of those Hollywood send-ups that is funny about the ridiculousness in Tinseltown. But the fact that the movie got made could be part of the problem.
Where the Wild Things Are
I talked to a dozen kids about this movie and they said it was okay, but confusing and weird. These are bright kids but they were not illuminated. As for me, I thought it wasn't as good as the book, which said it all very succinctly. I loved Max Records's performance as Max.
While We're Young
I've been noticing for years that most folks don't have much tolerance for other people's soap operas. I guess I do so I enjoyed the hip, cool WHILE WE'RE YOUNG but also Nick Sparks's sweet concoction, THE LONGEST RIDE. B.
The combination of Steve McQueen and Gillian Flynn produces a suspenseful thriller that frequently rises high above the usual. The scenes are delivered with style and effectiveness. The acting is first-rate. My nit-pick would be that the story gets a little by-the-numbers right at the end. A
The Woman in Black
Scariest sound effects ever. I saw this with the theater packed with young girls and there were screams at intervals of about sixty seconds. And Daniel Radcliffe, so far, seems to have a pretty strong following. The film in beautifully photographed but I don't know what it would be like without the over-the-top soundtrack.