It was a short and busy month, so I wasn’t able to watch as many films as I’d like.

Yes, even with the Oscars … in which I was supremely disappointed.  The statuettes were awarded pretty fairly, I thought, but the ceremony itself was for sh*t. Truly. The hosts were awful (and I like them both otherwise, so I won’t use a stronger expletive), the montages were uninspired, and the presentation of the lifetime achievements was abysmal. I have always had the Pollyanna attitude to see the annual Academy Awards gala as a magical night of dreams come true in recognition of film-making achievement.  But the suits and marketing execs are taking all the fun out of it, and this year I finally found myself siding with my infinitely more cynical friends who have poo-pooed the Oscars for years. So, I’ll just cross my fingers that next year it gets better again.

In the meantime, the few films I did see in the past month were memorable, for the most part. Here are some more movies to add to the February report card.

Film Grade Comment
The King’s Speech(2010)  A-
Now we know this film won the Best Picture Academy Award … and one for Best Actor, and Writing, and Directing. It is a very well-made film, but I personally did not think it was the bee’s knees of this year’s crop of nominees.  But that does not detract from the fact that this movie is very much worth seeing, with superb performances from Colin Firth and especially (I thought) Geoffrey Rush. It would be an A or even an A+ were it not for the sterilized and sorely detail-lacking snapshot of the challenging era in which it takes place.
RED(2010)  B-
RED stands for “Retired Extremely Dangerous,” and the REDsters are Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, and Helen Mirren. With a stellar cast like that (plus Mary-Louise Parker), I expected more.  There are some terrific gags, lots of things blowing up, and a bunch of shoot-outs – but incredibly the story still drags, and the sometimes the camera lingers on the “knowing expressions” of the characters … ugh.  I believe the treacly feel is due to the directing, which makes sense with Robert Schwentke (The Time Traveler’s Wife) at the helm.
Animal Kingdom(2010)  B+
If you don’t mind watching the ultimate trailer-trash-living-turned-murderous, this Aussie gem is the epitome of gritty thrillers. Marvelously menacing and memorable performances from the entire “criminal family” as well as good-guy cop Guy Pierce. The movie plods a bit in some places, and the demeanors of the characters – while appropriate – make it a bit difficult to relate to them. But upon reflection, it’s a film that crawls under your skin and makes an impression.

As always, let me know what you though of these flicks, if you saw them!

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