Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Les Miserables

Django Unchained

The Impossible

Zero Dark Thirty

Based on the actual events involving the biggest manhunt in history, Zero Dark Thirty is as much about the ambition and tenacity of one woman as it is about the tracking and killing of Osama bin Laden.  Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker and Point Break) directs a riveting story of the investigation and tracking of bin Laden.  The story follows the young up and comer agent, Maya (Jessica Chastain) and her determination to enter into the darker side of the CIA and find the most wanted man in the world.

The scenes of torture at the beginning of the movie are disturbing and are designed to provoke an emotional response and trigger a conversation about the use of torture and its effectiveness/legality.  While some critics saw this aspect as political in nature and therefore tainted the credibility of the movie, I saw nothing wrong with this.  Most likely this did occur.  Whether you are ok with it or not is not the issue.  Its part of history and at the time, the US intelligence agency was involved in black ops and had secret bases in Eastern Europe.  The military was involved in secret prisons and some of the most shocking practices were brought to light in Iraq.

In similar fashion to Argo, its the most intense slow movie I have seen.  Everyone knows the ending and knows much of the back story. But it is still an incredible journey and an intense one.  This movie may not be for everyone, but depending on your patriotic and political views, you can definitely enjoy this movie.

The supporting cast while not chalked full of big names included some outstanding performances from Jason Clarke (Lawless), Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), Harold Perrineau (Lost), Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes), James Gandolfini (The Sopranos), Mark Duplass (The League) and Jennifer Ehle (The King's Speech).

Great cast, amazing direction, intriguing story.  This was a great movie and while I feel Lincoln and Argo stand a better shot at winning the Oscar, this definitely deserves its nomination. I give this movie 4.5 stars and think most people will enjoy it.

Movie poster from:

This Is 40

Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann return a few years later to chronicle the troubles and obstacles of turning 40.  While not an official sequel to Knocked Up, it does follow these two characters from the original movie and their daughters.

As Debbie (Leslie Mann) is about to turn 40, she struggles with the milestone and what it means to her and her relationship with her husband.  What is great about this movie is it speaks the truth.  Pretty much every woman goes through this, and generally every guy acts like this.  That's what makes this movie so funny.  You see yourself either now or headed down that road in these characters.

While the movie is a little long for a traditional comedy, it was hilarious.  I was skeptical going into the movie.  While the previews looked good, I wasn't sold on the angle.  But almost immediately the movie won me over.  Jason Segel was a great addition as the yoga teacher that is sexually enlightened.

Classic Judd Apatow movie.  Real characters, real life situations, and real funny.  I definitely recommend seeing this movie.  I give it 4 stars- definitely a great date night movie.

Movie poster from: