Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My January 2012 in Review: Movies

As this month comes to a close I realize that I saw three movies (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, and The Artist) in the theater this month and did not share a single review. Enough is enough, let's spin these reels!

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 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

I don't know what it is. I have a thing for arch-nemeses. Am I alone here? On New Year's Day my husband proposed that we take our lazy day and spend it at our local movie theater. As I read out all of the movies showing, I have to admit there were a number that I wanted to see, but when I heard my husband mumble something about "Moriarty" my decision was made!

I loved the first Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, but Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows was even more enjoyable. Starting off with a disguised Sherlock, in pursuit, flirting and then finding himself in a impossible fight against a bunch of henchmen before stumbling upon a great mystery when he is unable to successfully save one man's life in his usual fashion - this film wastes no time drawing the audience in hook, line and sinker! Once Watson catches up with us, we are then treated to some comedic levity along with mutual respect as this partnership faces some of its greatest challenges in this tale which lead to both men having to truly assess their need for one another.

If it is not already evident, I loved this movie. It not only delivered an amazingly exciting action/mystery storyline in Sherlock's quest for Moriarty's true motives, but it also was a rich tale of character. I believe we got to know Sherlock and Watson on a much deeper level than in the previous film. If you have not already seen this film, and you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, I highly recommend you check this out.

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol
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My brother is typically a really harsh film critic, so I was really surprised when he called me and said I had to see Mission Impossible. While he enjoys military/law enforcement/action movies and television shows, as a police officer and former Marine, he tends to get really annoyed when things are a bit far-fetched. After seeing a number of trailers I had planned to see MI4 (you can't keep me away from a Simon Pegg movie!), but I was expecting jeers from the little bro. It wasn't until we were finishing up our phone call about the movie that I felt the natural order had been restored. I told him I was definitely going to go see it, especially now that he even endorsed it, so he responded, "But Nicole, I just have to tell you... it's not all realistic. There's some stuff that's ridiculous." I just laughed and explained to him that these things didn't bother me - film is about being fantastic, after all, isn't it?

Well, as you've probably guessed, Mission Impossible 4 Ghost Protocol was the second movie I saw in theaters this January. If you like action movies, then this is for you. It is non-stop thrills, pretty faces and spy fun. Of course, it is over-the-top (Tom Cruise is climbing on the outside of a skyscraper with some hi-tech sticky gloves as a sand storm approaches?!), but, in this day and age it seems like that is exactly what audiences need in order to say, "Wow!"

I enjoyed it, the movie did not end the way I expected and I was wondering why it took the Mission Impossible legacy so long to win me over again. This was the first movie since the first that I walked out of the theater truly excited about (in fact, I left the third to see on cable). I recommend this movie for those looking for the true Hollywood escape experience - leave your troubles at the door and left the team take you for a ride! (My brother swears it must be seen in IMAX).

The Artist

In all honesty this film deserves its own post. (That is a warning about the length of this section!)

A number of weeks ago I was on twitter when I noticed Jimmy Fallon tweeted about the movie "The Artist" and how it essentially was one of the best things he had ever seen. I wish I saved the tweet because whatever he wrote lead me to search out the film, watch its trailer and start looking for showtimes.

Fast forward past the Golden Globes where The Artist received quite a bit of attention and *POW!* The Artist was finally at my local theater this weekend!

It was beautiful. It was magnificent. It was poetic and artful. Sweep the Academy, I say! They deserve it all.

If you know nothing of this movie, let me give you my own synopsis. This is a silent, black and white film. In that statement alone, the movie is a maverick in these times where films battle for big pictures in 3D or IMAX and huge sounds in deafening remastered digital surround sound.

In its silence, the movie allows the filmmakers to draw our attention to what is necessary, what is relevant, and strips away the distractions.

In its silence, the movie allows the actors to emote in such beautiful movements of their bodies, their faces and their eyes.

In this movie's silence you are left wondering why everything else has to be so loud in order to say so little.

The story of The Artist is about a successful silent actor during a time of great transition. His industry is changing in order to allow for "talkies" and his world is crumbling under the financial collapse of the stock market crash.

In the very first scene of the film we are told what the major conflict of the film will be when our protagonist, while acting in one of his silent films as some sort of spy being tortured for information, yells as he is strapped down. The words come on the screen for us to read, "I will never talk no matter what you do to me!" (I don't know if this is the exact quote - I would have written it down if I wasn't so in awe of the beautiful clarity set forth before me).

"Speak!" The torturers say as they electrocute him, "SPEAK!"

He says nothing. This is a message to the torturers and to us in the audience. I won't tell you the whole message. I won't continue describing the film for fear of spoiling it all. I will just say this: if you have a long standing love affair with film as I do, then you absolutely must not hesitate to see this movie. In fact, let me rephrase that, you must SEE this movie - keep your eyes open - the director is brilliant, every setting has a message, every scene tells a tale, nothing is careless here. I can't help but think that the title of this film is so appropriate, not just for the protagonists tale, but for every person involved. The Artist is truly a piece of art.

Here is the trailer, so you can take a look for yourself, if you have not seen it yet.

I loved it. (obviously)

Have you seen any of these movies from my January trips to the theater?
What are your picks for the Academy Awards this year?
What genre of movie do you most enjoy?
Are you drawn to arch-nemeses tales? 

*Special thanks to CostCo for selling those movie tickets really cheap so I 
can still afford to go to the movies! Don't know what I'd do without them...

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