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Sunday, December 24, 2006


The Year-End Blitz

I don't think I'm going to be able to review the late-Christmas rush of movies before our year-end lists begin next week, so I'm going to follow the lead of some of my compatriots and give you quick blurbs on the highs, the lows, and the in-betweens of Holiday Movies 2006:

- Blood Diamond - D+
As obvious and loud as the trailer promises, it pimps its racial, political and ethical subjects for cheap emotional responses. Pass it by.
- Children of Men - full review - B-
- Curse of the Golden Flower - B
Gorgeous production design, and Gong Li: GORGEOUS. But it's pretty insubstantial, and lacks the vivacity of flying daggers or heroes.
- Dreamgirls - full review - A
- For Your Consideration - full review - C-
- The Fountain - full review - B+
- The Good Shepherd - B-
A perfectly solid spy drama...not exactly a thrill ride, though. We heart Matt Damon, but this movie is merely okay in our book.
- The History Boys - full review - C+
- The Last King of Scotland - full review - A-
- Letters From Iwo Jima - C
Professionally made, but its virtues have been wildly overstated. Limited character depth and unnecessary flashbacks stalls the pace, and the 'unsentimental' portrait includes some serious mugging in actors playing the minor characters.
- Little Children - D
I'd rather eat radioactive thumbtacks than watch this movie again.
- Miss Potter - full review - C+
- Notes on a Scandal - half-assed review - A
- The Painted Veil - full review - B+
- Pan's Labyrinth - full review - D
- The Queen - B
Sure, Helen Mirren's good. But I can't figure out what the fuss is all about. It's a small, modest movie, and beyond its value as a character study...what makes it the best film of the year?
- Venus - B
Love love love Peter O'Toole. Love his cranky old senior citizen buddies, and Vanessa Redgrave as his estranged wife. O'Toole object of desire, the young girl, I love much less. Heavy on charm and character...but then, so was "Cocoon".

Seeing This Week (hopefully): The Good German, The Pursuit of Happyness, We Are Marshall, Happy Feet and maybe Apocalypto if I can stomach it (and get in for free). I'm going to finally see Marie Antoinette too...I found a theatre where it's still playing! I plan to skip Night at the Museum, Inalnd Empire, Shut up and Sing, and Rocky Balboa, unless one of you tells me they're a must-see.

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