127 Hours

It's amazing that even when you know exactly what is going to happen you can still be caught off guard.  127 Hours tells the real life story of an adventurous outdoor enthusiast who finds himself caught between a rock and a hard place.  Okay, WORST pun of all time - I admit that.  Sorry.  Okay, refocusing.  James Franco plays our hero with heartfelt authenticity and director Danny Boyle brings a great deal of visual electricity to the story.  A must watch this awards season for sure - just get ready for the inevitable.  Trailer here.

Jamaica Inn

1930's Hitchcock?  Yes please.  Jamaica Inn tells the tale of early pirates off the English coastline who shipwreck nearby boats, kill all aboard and plunder.  It's slow at times and too cutty at others.  It can't help it really, film was just getting started.  Here's the wondrous thing, it's early in Hitchcock's career - but it's still creepy.  Sure, his later classics are more finessed but this one is dark and raw which makes it kind of special I think.  Great for a dark and stormy night.

Did You Hear About the Morgans?

I'm sorry, what's that?  Judgment?  Oh no no no.  You'd better not.  Here's the thing.  Yes, you had a pretty strong feeling about Did You Hear About the Morgans?  You assumed it would be crappy.  You thought you could spend your $10 more wisely.  But...did you know?  That's where I come in.  I watch these turds so that you can continue to trust your own judgment and KNOW that something as alluring as Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker on horseback (I'm hoping you're reading this as sarcasm) may be a mirage.  Follow your gut on this one.  Don't do it.

Winter's Bone

Well, this one was a real downer.  Never ever watch something like this at 8:30 in the morning.  Trust me.  So Winter's Bone won the grand jury prize at Sundance for dramatic film in 2010.  It tells the rather unsettling story of a young woman who has to find her father to save her family's house.  There's a desolate realism to the film that makes it that much more difficult to watch.  It's hard to relate to the characters.  They're all so horrifically entrenched in this culture of drugs, fear, and poverty.  The shining light of course is our heroine, Ree - played by Jennifer Lawrence.  It's definitely worth a watch, but I recommend a bowlful of cherries and sunshine afterward.  Trailer here.

The King's Speech

Colin Firth just won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of King George VI (father of Queen Elizabeth II, whom we're familiar with in present day) in Tom Hooper's The King's Speech.  His performance is fantastic.  The king had a speech impediment and sought the help of speech therapist Lionel Logue, played brilliantly by Geoffrey Rush.  The two play very well off of one another.  They have a splendid script to work off written by David Seidler.  Hooper is relatively young (38) and brings a certain sharpness to the edit that keeps this period piece moving in a modern fashion.  The cinematography is gorgeous - painterly at times and photographic portraiture in others.  

The film is quietly paced and at times frustrating - a clear choice to help the audience feel what this monarch's disability was like.  The film builds to an iconic speech the king made as Britain entered the second world war.  Trailer here!  Check it out before Oscar-time!

The Fighter

Well, I'm utterly ashamed that work life has taken me away from my fun hobbies such as this blog for well over 3 months now.  Thing is, it couldn't be helped.  Dear readers.  I know there are at least a couple of you.  I need a swift kick where the sun don't shine.  I write about films because I love them and I think that it's a necessity for me to analyze, discuss, and share my cinematic experiences until the cows come home.  It's just...what I do.  So without further ado...here's a flurry from the past month or two.

Nothing makes me more giddy then leaving a theater and feeling like I just stepped out of the best thing all year.  That moment came after I saw The Fighter, David O. Russell's boxing bio pic film starring Mark Wahlberg and Christan Bale.

Honestly I don't even know where to begin.  Bale's performance will haunt you.  Wahlberg was solid as a rock.  Yeah, I just said that.  Supporting roles by Amy Adams and Melissa Leo were utterly awesome.  And don't even get me started on the other actors that make up the rest of the family.  It's a fiesta of scrappers and they're punching each line as though it was the only one they had in the movie.

Not a moment was unnecessary or a scene out of place.  It's sad and funny and dramatic and witty all in one tense breath.  I could go on but you get the idea.  It's a cinematic masterpiece and I loved every minute of it.  The trailer doesn't it do it justice but can be found here.

The Social Network

The Social Network is based on real events surrounding the creation and fight over the creation of Facebook directed by David Fincher.  By the time I got around to seeing this I had incredibly high expectations.  It's a fascinating film and the DVD comes with an equally engaging behind-the-scenes.  I honestly don't have much to say about it other than it's worth a watch to be sure.  The Golden Globes adorned it with best picture of the year.  It makes my top 5 but The Fighter wins my number one slot.  We'll see what the Academy has to say.   

Black Swan

I would describe Black Swan as a cinematic romp through someone's bad dream after they went to the ballet and maybe...did some ecstasy right before they fell asleep.  It seems unfair to boil it down to such a basic level but it's good to know what you're getting into before you drift off with director Darren Aronofsky.  I made that mistake with his movie The Fountain a few years ago and I was depressed for the rest of the day.  Today's tip: always know what's in store at the theater when it's an emotional tale.  Overall, I really enjoyed the film.  It kept me guessing and I followed down the rabbit hole all the way.  Natalie Portman was very dynamic, showcasing a wide range of emotion as she flitted from one character to the next.  Trailer here.  

The Kids are All Right

The Kids are All Right.  This took a couple starts and stops.  I'm not going to lie.  I'm only human.  People fall asleep.  Here's the thing though, when I did finally commit to this one, I found it to be pretty charming.  At its core it's about family and the complicated messes that they can be no matter who is running the ship.  I liked its honesty and the solid performances.  Trailer here

Easy A

Teen comedy may secretly be my favorite genre.  Okay, maybe not so secretly.  But when good teen comedy comes along, it's delightful.  There's just something about those teenage years that is ripe for all sorts of hilarity.  We've all been there.  We all know the drill and some things never change.  The universality of the themes and the glee and zest with which young talent take on their roles is unique to the genre and special for viewers.  If the right director and writer bring that cast to life, it's pure joy.  Easy A takes The Scarlet Letter and brings it to California in 2010.  It's fabulous and witty on many levels.  Emma Stone received a Golden Globe nom for the role and to be honest, the film wouldn't have had nearly so much pinache without her.  Trailer here.