Holiday Movies Roundup

Ok, I have no desire to tru­ly review all of the movies that I’ve seen in the past few weeks, espe­cial­ly giv­en Tbone’s new and detailed reviews. But I would like to quick­ly say a few things about a few movies:

Lord of the Rings
Review: A+

Sim­ply put, the best movie of the year. Vig­go Mortensen should be a star the likes of which we haven’t seen since Har­ri­son Ford. Peter Jack­son did a much bet­ter job the sec­ond time around, and I am only look­ing for­ward to the third film.

Catch Me if You Can
Review: A

I know I’m near­ly alone when I say that Spiel­berg (or Leonar­do Dicaprio, Tom Han­ks, too) doesn’t real­ly do much for me, but Catch Me is a fun film. From the open­ing cred­its, to the musi­cal score com­posed by John Williams, you can tell that you’re in for a ride.

I don’t see what’s so great about the dumpy-look­ing Tom Han­ks in this film, but Leonar­do Dicaprio is great, and the sto­ry is irre­sistible.

Gangs of New York
Review: B-

Chalk this one up as the dis­ap­point­ment of the year. Of all the hol­i­day movies, I was most look­ing for­ward to Mar­tin Scorcese’s real­ist Gangs. One tiny prob­lem: Mar­ty can’t make movies like this very well– he should stick to the grit of mod­ern-day new york.

The recre­at­ed streets of ante­bel­lum New York are eye-pop­ping, Daniel Day-Lewis is extra­or­di­nary in his role as Bill the Butch­er, but it’s the direc­tion and edit­ing that screws every­thing up. Take the over-the-top sym­bol­ism when Leo’s chrac­ter toss­es a bible into the riv­er as he leaves on his quest for revenge… Or, the mud­dled edit­ing dur­ing the first nativist/irish gang fight. Save it for the DVD, folks. Maybe then we can see the full Director’s cut.

About Schmidt
Review: A-

The plot is sim­ple, and unre­solved at the end, but Schmidt was the most supris­ing­ly good movie of the hol­i­days. Despite some critic’s reviews, I thought Jack Nichol­son was the most sin­cere char­ac­ter on the screen. I didn’t feel as if Jack was giv­ing us the wink wink treat­ment through­out. Der­mot Mul­roney, though he got the laughs, almost soured the film, but Kathy Bates pro­vid­ed enough of a counter to Jack’s WASP per­sona to make the whole thing inter­est­ing.

Wish i had more inter­est­ing obser­va­tions.… but hey, I’ve got oth­er fish to fry.

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