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Rating History

War Horse
War Horse (2011)
10 years ago via Flixster

Steven Spielberg delivers one of his most visually arresting films to date. Like THE ARTIST and HUGO, WAR HORSE is a love letter to classic cinema, a homage to a time and an era of the films and their makers who helped influence and shape a young Spielberg. You can see whispers of John Ford in the set-up of a rural English family facing the loss of their farm to overbearing land lords, David Lean in the epic size and scope of a story involving a horses journey through the horrors of WW1, you might even catch a hint of Kurosawa or Victor Fleming in the lavish use of a sunset. WAR HORSE may seem like another sentimental childs movie about a boy and his horse, but it is much more, it is about how sometimes it takes something outside of humanity to remind us what courage and valor really are. A Christmas story for everyone!


Martha Marcy May Marlene
10 years ago via Flixster

More akin to DELIVERANCE than WINTERS BONE, MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE is about a young women (Elizabeth Olsen) who escapes a terribly abusive cult, only to relive the terrors and memories of her experience in the lakeside vacation home of her sister (Sarah Paulson) and her sisters husband (Hugh Dancy). While the performances are good, this is a deeply disturbing film that lacks any real purpose or resolution. The film is more impressed with getting you inside the head of its paranoia driven lead than it is of actually telling you a meaningful story. Where WINTERS BONE was about courage amidst the horrors of backwoods society, MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE only leads to madness and confusion. However, I will say that both Elizabeth Olsen, as a women on the verge of insanity, and John Hawkes, the seductive and terrorfying cult leader, both give excellent performances.

Grade: D

The Descendants
10 years ago via Flixster

George Clooney plays Matt King, a lawyer residing in Hawaii who stands at whit‚(TM)s end upon learning his wife is in a coma after a near fatal boating accident. The accident leaves him questioning his role as a husband and a father when he is left to contend with his two young daughters for which he has little in common, his ailing wife, and a huge sale of beach front property his family is pushing him to sell to local resort developers. To make matters worse, King discovers his wife was having an affair, forcing him to investigate her infidelity as she lies helpless in a hospital bed. Alexander Payne‚(TM)s latest has much to offer, one of George Clooneys best on screen performances to date, a heartfelt story about the trials and tribulations of modern family life, along with plenty of colorful and genuine characters. While it lacks the whit of SIDEWAYS, the redemptive qualities of ABOUT SCHMIDT, and a completely satisfying character arc, it still remains one of more delightful filming going experiences of 2011.


J. Edgar
J. Edgar (2011)
10 years ago via Movies on Facebook

Leonard DiCaprio plays J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood's latest film, J. EDGAR. The film is the untold story of the turbulent beginnings of the FBI, and the state of a country that would need such a bureau to exist. Much more than a story about mobsters, wire tapping‚(TM)s, kidnappers, and political espionage, the film is a focused look at Hoovers friendship with his right hand man, Clyde Tolson. The truth of their real-life relationship remains shrouded in controversy, though the film does not shy away from alluding to the fact that there was more to it than simple professionalism, though little real life evidence exists to back up such a claim. Sadly, director Clint Eastwood fails to ingest any of these story threads with much of any tension, energy, or purpose. What remains is a scattered period piece that plods along, desperately looking for something interesting to say but never finding the words or the right way to say it. Even DiCaprio feels tired and bored as his latex covered face lumbers around the screen in front of us, giving little life to one of our countries more prolific citizens.


Main Street
Main Street (2011)
10 years ago via Movies on Facebook

When small town elderly woman Georgiana Carr (Ellen Burstyn) finds out that the warehouse she has rented out to a sweet talking Texan (Colin Firth) is housing hazardous waste, her and her niece (Patricia Clarkson) try to find a way to end his rental agreement. However, the lack of funds received from renting the warehouse will force Georgiana to have to sell her beautiful southern home. On the side, Orlando Bloom, who plays a local cop living with his mother, and Amber Tamblyn, an office assistant being seduced by a married man, are trying to decide if their own relationship with each other can move forward, or if the lacking opportunities in a dying town with force them to seek new prospects elsewhere. Sadly, though written by the great Horton Foote (TENDER MERCIES; TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD) the film never is able to rise from televised Saturday matinee fodder. It just lacks in the areas of depth and fluidity of storytelling, along with any real sense of dramatic tension. The characters are fine, but the viewer never gets behind their cardboard exteriors which become merely shells filled with empty emotions.

Grade: C-