The Golden Globe nominations are out, sometimes a precursor for the Oscars, and some of the most nominated films will be showing in your favorite mega-plex over the holidays. “American Hustle” from David O. Russell (no relation) leads the pack with 7 nominations ( along with “12 Years a Slave”), and would be a fine choice for the adults in the family. It’s full of great performances from Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradly Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner. Set in the 70’s, it’s based on the Abscam scandal that rocked the nation, though the interplay between the characters is the real story here. my GPA 3.8, Rated R.
“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” is not likely to get any Award Ceremony love, but lovers of the original “Anchorman”, with Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy, along with his dimwitted anchor team, will find some gems in the many callback moments in the sequel. This one left me cold for the most part. Sure the intentional stupidity of the gags and the opportunity to poke fun at the downside of the 24 hour news cycle, and it’s propensity for mindless filler stories, will pay off a few times but I thought the many improvisational moments to be more lazy than funny humor. They say that the DVD will have a new cut included with more than 300 additional gags inserted, maybe that will be funnier. My PGA 2.0, Rated PG 13.
“Inside Llewyn Davis” is the latest from the Coen Brothers, and it takes us back to the folk music coffeehouse scene of the West Village in New York, circa 1960. As usual the Coen’s visual style is superb, and the performances are terrific. Llewyn is played by Oscar Isaac, a fine actor who can sing and play with total authenticity. Not much happens here except to follow a few days in the life of this constantly self destructive character. However we keep our focus because there is a glimmer of hope for this misanthrope.
As in “A Serious Man” ( with a brilliant 40 second performance by “Detective 1” , see picture), we are left to ponder the fate of Llewyn at the dawn of the Dylan era, but the skill of the Coen Brothers makes this a worthwhile experience for cinephiles. My GPA: 3.0. Rated R.
What to do with the kids that won’t put the adults in a coma? If you haven’t already done so, take them to Disney’s “Frozen”, a brilliant animation musical in 3D that tells the story of two princess sisters, one who is cursed with the ability to freeze what ever she touches, forcing her to isolate herself , and the plucky other sister who helps her break the curse. There are some good plot twists here and the Disney animators have outdone themselves with a great use of 3D technology. The short Micky Mouse cartoon, in 2D and 3D preceeding the film is almost worth the price of admission by itself. My PGA: 4.0. Rated PG.
Still to come in the new year, the always inventive Spike Jonze’s “Her” a look at the future with Joaquin Phoenix, desperate for connection and Scarlett Johansson as the voice of his iOS, and Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts leading a great cast in “August: Osage County”, a movie that definitely takes the “fun” out of family disfunction, but with amazing performances.