These are the movies I liked:
True Grit: I agree with Half Sigma that this is the best Western ever. But regarding Hailee Steinfeld’s racial background, I initially thought she looked vaguely American Indian, but I later attributed that to the long braided hair. Also, I never would have believed that Hailee Steinfeld was thirteen until I looked it up. Now that I know she is a minor, I’m just going to, um, leave it at that.
Also, I had seen the John Wayne movie as a child, although I didn’t remember it until Jeff Bridges said the line, “You do what you think is best, Ned.” It was a lot funnier when John Wayne said it.
Secretariat: Penny Tweedy [Diane Lane]:
I’ve been through the stud books, Jack. Bold Ruler – that’s the sire – he was fast, but he couldn’t last over distances. Now the two dams are Hasty Matilda and Something Royal. Hasty Matilda is eight years old. She’s still young, and since brood mares tend to produce their best offspring while they’re young, that makes her foal the obvious choice since Something Royal is 17. But her grandsire was Prince Quillo, he had great stamina, Jack. Do you know what that means?
Meanwhile, nothing has been heard from Malcolm Gladwell.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: Trumwill wrote the authoritative review. But I want to remark on the absurdity of the protagonist deciding to dump his pretty, devoted, virgin, Asian girlfriend so he can make a play for a weird-looking carousel rider that, frankly, isn’t giving him much in the way of encouragement. Please tell me that even indie musicians wouldn’t be that self-destructive. Right?
The Girl Next Door: Escapist nerd fantasy about a high school senior who’s pure love for the porn starlet next door redeems her from her life of sin, as she redeems him from his life of solitude. I get it. Nothing in the movie makes much sense, but so what?
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: Animated escapism about a nerdy young scientist who saves the day and gets the girl.
The Kite Runner: The heartfelt saga of a young refugee from Afghanistan who must return as an adult to rescue the son of his childhood friend from the clutches of the Taliban. Sadly, it gets its central premise wrong: as I have remarked before, it is Karzai’s government that turns an indifferent eye to pederasty, while the Taliban vigorously suppressed it.
Miss March: If you can swallow the prospect of Hugh Hefner holding forth on the importance of true love (and, I should add, a middling amount of gross-out humor), then this movie about a young man, wakened from a four-year coma to learn that his erstwhile girlfriend has become a Centerfold, is actually sweet and touching.
Tangled: It’s been a while since I enjoyed a Disney animated musical quite this much. Perhaps it doesn’t equal their ‘89 – ‘94 output, but this movie was nonetheless competently executed, especially the scene-stealing non-speaking characters (the horse and the chameleon). However. . . I have to remark on the story arc: a young girl rebels against the authority of her mother-figure by running off with a man, who happens to be a dashing criminal. Really?
Knight and Day: Girl ignores earnest overtures from fireman/beta provider type to run off with rouge super-agent . . . wait a second, I’m starting to notice a pattern here . . . . Okay, never mind, this was a fun romp of a romantic comedy cum action-adventure. Cameron Diaz is still smokin’ at 39, and Tom Cruise, while starting to show his age, is a lot better actor than he ever seems to get credit for.
Speaking of Tom Cruise, when was it exactly that popular opinion decided Top Gun was the punch-line to a fag joke? Back in ‘86, that movie defined military aviation for a generation of AFROTC cadets. Yet now, all everybody talks about is the “shower scene”.