The Descendants - DVD and Blu-ray (2011)
- Grade A
George Clooney turns in an Oscar nominated performance, one that he should have won a statue for, and it also marks the progression of Alexander Payne as an expert filmmaker. The Descendants feels less like Payne’s usual indie films and more like traditional, classical Hollywood, and that’s a step in the right direction.
Characters create actions that propel the story forward, and The Descendants's Oscar winning screenplay utilizes the classical three-act story structure seamlessly; also, all of the performances are terrific. The music is also, surprisingly atmospheric and the cinematography is excellent. This is an excellent, good looking film, and it's one of 2011’s 10 best films.
The Adventures of Tintin - DVD and Blu-ray (2011) - Grade A
The Adventures of Tintin is Steven Spielberg’s best action/adventure film since Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989); it’s also a whole hearted apology for The Kingdom of the Crustal Skull (2008).
The film's story borrows from the first three episodes of the animated series (and book series) and is strung together into a coherent, terrifically told yarn of adventure and exciting amateur detective work. All of the classic characters are here, save for Professor Calculus, and are voiced and acted terrifically by Jaime Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost, and Simon Pegg, et al.
The motion capture technology used throughout the entirety of the film is also quite masterful.
This is the second best action film of 2011, just behind Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011) and needs to be seen, felt, and enjoyed by all, and preferably on the bog screen.
Melancholia - DVD and Blu-ray (2011) - Grade A
Melancholia is Lars von Trier’s best film. It should have been nominated at the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (in which Kirsten Dunst should have and would have won), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. It wasn’t nominated for a single category but I've managed to forgive The Academy for that.
The film showcases a harrowing portrayal of depression, in which its depressed protagonist (Dunst) hates her life so much and wishes that all other life on this planet, believing it to be entirely meaningless, was extinguished. A giant planet named Melancholia appears in the sky and it’s only a matter of time before it hits the Earth.
This is a tough yet beautiful movie to look at and a great source of escapism.
My Week with Marilyn- DVD and Blu-ray (2011) - Grade B-
Here is an honest look into late '50s era British filmmaking and also terrific Marilyn Monroe and Sir Lawrence Olivier impersonations, but that’s about it.
The film follows a young man who does everything possible in order to work in the film industry and eventually becomes Marilyn Monroe’s muse. Her portrayal, performed by Michelle Williams (who should have easily won that Oscar over Meryl Streep) showcases Monroe's damaged behind-the-scenes personality and Kenneth Branagh’s Olivier is also fantastic, trying his best to keep up with her terrible work ethics (or lack of).
It’s a well shot, terrifically acted film that doesn’t take any risks but is, atmospherically a tad too light. It could have gone for a stronger, more dramatic tone. But it’s a good film nevertheless and should be rented or purchased, depending on one’s love for Marilyn Monroe and/or Sir Lawrence Olivier.