Written by Stanley Greenberg Friday, 25 January 2013 00:00
As we approach the Oscars, a formidable field of movies awaits recognition. Some years are more fruitful than others. The past year had a distinct variety of movies, of which I saw many.
Anna Karenina—Leo Tolstoy must be spinning in his Russian grave at this adaptation of his great novel. The story of Anna is indeed a great tragedy. A married woman, played nicely by Keira Knightly, falls for a dashing soldier and winds up being shunned by Russian society, and throws herself under a train. Greta Garbo played Anna in the black-and-white version years ago.
Argo—Ben Affleck as the director and star of this film based on a true story delivers a doubly skillful performance. This story of six Americans trapped in Iran delivers a powerful insight into a tense, nail-biter situation during the 1979 hostage crisis. Add John Goodman and Alan Arkin. Suspenseful!
Lincoln— The highlight of all the films I viewed for this column. Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field as Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln was brilliant casting. The year is 1863 and Abe is trying desperately to pass the 14th Amendment, fighting slavery. Aiding Lincoln is an abolitionist senator, played stirringly by Tommy Lee Jones. Stephen Spielberg also deserves much credit for this view of Lincoln garnering votes to pass this important bill in the midst of the Civil War.
Les Misérables— Victor Hugo’s novel came to life on the screen, and this film still has me humming the beautiful score. Anne Hathaway truly surprised me with her singing ability and her performance as Fantine, mother of Cosette. Hugh Jackman was superb as Jean Valjean as well. Russell Crowe as Javert, the police officer, acted well, but his singing was a bit below par. Les Misérables is a glorious musical, performed by a talented cast.
Silver Linings Playbook—This one faked me out. I did not expect the psycho-drama of a bipolar man, Bradley Cooper, falling in love with a troubled woman, gorgeous and oversexed Jennifer Lawrence. Their dance scenes were tender and humorous. Don’t forget Robert DeNiro as the father of Bradley Cooper, and a sports nut.
Zero Dark Thirty—Kudos to Kathryn Bigelow for her skill in directing war pictures. The battle to find and eradicate Osama Bin Laden is the story and Jessica Chastain plays the CIA agent who tenaciously stays on his trail. The documentary style keeps the audience in suspense until the final scenes in the Pakistani hideaway. A great movie!
One day, Lorraine and I actually saw three movies. We wanted to be prepared for “Oscar Night.” Let me know what you think about my mini-reviews of these films.