My relationship with film this year has started in earnest. After a lackluster month of December in which I watched very few films, I decided to play catch-up and, at the same time, aim for some of the quality films I missed last year, with only a couple of exceptions and a few repeats.
Following is a list of all the films I have watched so far this year. I have written a small review for each film, with the exception of those I have already analyzed on this blog:
50/50 ( Jonathan Levine – 2011)
A well-written, efficient and heartfelt film about overcoming adversity and deepening relationships with the ones you love. A very compelling Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars alongside Seth Rogen playing his usual self with a bit more restrain and depth in a film that needed some of his warm comic relief.
50/50 handsomely balances comedy with drama, giving more room to the former until the final few scenes unfold.
I would have still liked a film that was a bit more personal and less lighthearted, yet still infused with some of the comedy that made it work so well.
Rating: 3.5/5 (good)
I find myself back at my IMDB top 250 challenge after a couple of months without a single post. Magnolia, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, marks only my 14th review since I began this series in March, which tells me I need to pick up the pace if I am ever going to finish.
Released in 1999 to critical acclaim, Magnolia is not only engrossing, but it is the sort of movie that lends itself to analysis for its purpose does not easily come across. In fact, there are sequences of the film which are downright odd, though imbedded with symbolic meaning.
Magnolia is a poem written and produced in cinematic form. It comes across as a tragedy filled with tender, highly emotional moments where lives either get significantly and permanently altered, or they meet their unavoidable end.
With much left to write to update my IMDB TOP 250 film challenge, I give you a few reviews of some of the films I have seen recently.
Moneyball (2011 – Bennett Miller): not being a fan of baseball in any way, I can say it is quite an accomplishment for a film that revolves around the sport to have captured my attention so deeply. In fact, I will go out on a limb and say it is the best performance of Brad Pitt’s career and I would go even further and say he is in my short list in the Best Actor category of 2011. I confidently state it because I could not imagine anyone else playing the part of Billy Bean, the former sporting director of the Oakland Athletics that significantly changed the philosophy on how to manage a major league baseball team.
The film’s script is smart, funny and carefully crafted. It provides a great portrait of Billy as a person, exploring not only his love and devotion for baseball, but his insecurities and deeply personal struggles. The cast around Brad Pitt is equally persuasive, with the great Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a standout in the role of manager of the Oakland A’s. The cinematography is equally impressive. Baseball fields are treated as temples that are to be admired, which also serve as catalysts to people’s hopes and fears.
Props go to Jonah Hill who was convincing as Brad’s geeky sidekick.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (excellent)