My View: War Horse (2011) Steven Spielberg directed this sprawling tale set in England right before WW1. It's a story of friendship between a young man, Albert (played by Jeremy Irvine) and a horse named Joey. Joey is bought by Albert's father on a whim. The family needed a strong workhorse, but Joey is a young thoroughbred, meant for racing not working on a farm. Albert bonds with Joey, allowing Albert to get him to do just about anything, even pull a plough. These are hard times and England has just declared war on Germany. In order for Albert's family to keep their land, they sold Joey to the Army, leading Joey on a vast adventure where he touches many lives. While this is a beautiful film, with lush colors and sprawling vistas, it's just too long and you feel as if Spielberg is putting in every cliché he can to pull at the audience's heartstrings. With that said, there are some great action sequences and the horse is wonderful to watch. You will tear up a couple of times, but I don't think this film ranks up there with better tearjerker animal films, like Old Yeller and The Yearling. My Rating: Bargain Matinee War Horse Website
My Top Ten Films of the Year:
1). The Artist Is a wonderful silent film, that is now the frontrunner for the Academy Awards Best Picture. The story of a dashing silent screen star that sees his career go downhill due to the advent of sound, just as the girl he falls in love with becomes a rising film star. Don't stay away from this movie just because it's in Black and White and only has a sound track. Go See It! My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again The Artist Website
2). Bridesmaids Kristen Wiig co-wrote and stars in this very funny comedy about a group of women serving as bridesmaids for Maya Rudolph’s wedding. Wiig is asked to be the Maid of Honor, this is when everything she plans for the bride goes rapidly from bad to worse. But truly, it's Melissa McCarthy who makes this a film a must see, as she plays the brassy sister of the groom, stealing every scene she is in. My Rating: Full Price Bridesmaids Website
3). The Muppets What a joy to see The Muppets back on the big screen with Jason Segel and Amy Adams along for the ride. Wonderful songs (Academy Award worthy), fun cameos from a bunch of stars and an all around great script makes this film a great experience for the whole family. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again The Muppets Website
4). The Descendants George Clooney stars in this film, which is at times very sad but also very funny, about a father whose life is shattering around him. Clooney is amazing in this role, but it's Shailene Woodley who really shines in the role of the eldest daughter. Woodley starts the film out as a rebellious teenager, but by the end of the film she has become her father's partner in crime, as well as his confidant. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again The Descendants Website
5). The Help Set in 1962 Mississippi, Emma Stone plays a recent college graduate who befriends two maids (played by Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer). Stone decides to shake things up and write a tell-all book about the maids lives, working in the world of the privileged, from the point of view of the maids. This is a good film with a great cast and Davis is sure to get an Academy Award nomination. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again The Help Website
6). Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Great ending to an amazing series, where the actors really grew into adults that can handle complex roles. The leads, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson are excellent, while the special effects are some of the best of the year. It's an exciting, brilliant job of wrapping up the series. My Rating Full Price Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Website
7). 50/50 Based on a true story, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a producer of an NPR-like radio station whose life changes when he discovers he has cancer and only has a 50/50 chance of survival. I loved the female leads in this film with Bryce Dallas Howard playing his selfish girlfriend and the very cute Anna Kendrick playing the inexperienced therapist. This is a comedy that has heart and will make you laugh and cry. My Rating: Full Price 50/50 Website
8). The Guard Brendan Gleeson is an unconventional local Irish police officer who is forced to work with a preppy FBI agent (played by Don Cheadle) on a drug case. There is great chemistry with them going back -n-forth between the strait-laced Cheadle and Gleeson, as they try to not only catch drug smugglers but also solve a murder. My Rating: Full Price The Guard Website
9). Beginners Ewan McGregor plays a man trying to find love (something he has never been good at) while discovering that his father is not only gay, but is also dying. Many people feel that Christopher Plummer, who plays the father, has a great chance to win Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars. My Rating: Full Price Beginners Website
10). Martha Marcy May Marlene Elizabeth Olsen stars as a woman who suddenly shows up on her sister's doorstep after missing for two years. We learn through flashbacks that she has escaped from a cult, which has scared her. Olsen is incredible in this dark, strange film and I hope she gets an Oscar nomination. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again Martha Marcy May Marlene Website
The following films almost made it into the top ten: Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey, Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol, The Skin I Live In, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Moneyball, Attack the Block, Midnight in Paris, X-Men: First Class, Terri, The Illusionist, A Better Life, Incendies, Win Win, The Debt, Project Nim.
Weird Credits: From the credits of War Horse - Equine Hair and Makeup Artists
Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: A Separation This film from Iran is getting put on a lot of top ten lists. A married couple have to decide to either move to another country to improve the life of their child or stay and look after a parent of theirs that has Alzheimer's. A Separation Website
Until Next Time!