Cube Critics: Year-end films and Oscar hopefulsby Stephanie Curtis, Minnesota Public Radio,
Euan Kerr, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — "Too many movies, not enough time." It's a common complaint from Stephanie Curtis the Movie Maven and arts reporter Euan Kerr, especially now, with the deluge of year-end blockbusters and Oscar hopefuls. Today, Stephanie and Euan sift through the cinema pile-up on Cube Critics.
This week there were too many films, five in all, for Stephanie and Euan to really bite into. So they also wrote mini-reviews for all five:
Stephanie Curtis: Much better than the sepia-toned trailers implied. It is Spielberg, so there is schmaltz. But once the horse and his boy are tearfully separated, the horrors of war overcome the sentimentality. We even get a few real laughs.
Euan Kerr: Despite the cliched 'horsey story' open, Spielberg's "War Horse" is a stirring piece of story-telling, neatly examining the impact of war on those with least ability to have a say in what's going on; the animals and grunt soldiers on the ground. There are some tough moments for a PG13 flick, but the all-star members of the cast of European actors are a treat to watch.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Curtis: Due to the abbreviations made to LeCarre's byzantine novel, this might be more accurately titled "Tinker, Tailor." You never really suspect the other two. Despite that, the movie is a gripping thriller about operatives who appear as beige as their Cold War-era institutional offices until you see the heart beneath those bespoke suits."
Kerr: John le Carre obsessives rest easy: the classic tale of cold war double agent intrigue is every bit as wonderful in its 21st century revival. Gary Oldham channels Alec Guinness in his George Smiley, while adding his own moody subtleties to the role. This is literally a dark film that captures the mood of a dark time.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Curtis: I was hoping for director David Fincher to bring depth to the saga of Lisbeth Salander. He doesn't. Oh well. In the end, the story doesn't matter. All that matters is the unexpectedly universally-beloved bisexual antisocial computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander. Rooney Mara glowers and glows in the role. She's worth the long run time. Also, best use of Enya ever.
Kerr: A huge hit at Cannes this year, "The Artist" is a weird one: a 20011 black and white silent movie about a Hollywood star undone by the arrival of the talkies. With French comedian Jean Dujardin as the star, supported by the likes of John Goodman and James Cromwell, it's an acting tour de force, which is undermined by a predictable storyline.
The Adventures of Tintin
Kerr: Spielberg's second of the week is a wild motion capture ride through the clue-riddled world of the Belgian boy journalist/detective/adventurer. Fans of the original Herge books will be happy, as will those who have never stumbled across Tintin before. Be warned: it's a wildly frenetic flick, which may leave you exhausted, and I never quite got over wondering why the character voiced by Daniel Craig looks so like Mr. Spielberg.
Cube Critics was created and produced by Chris Roberts
- All Things Considered, 12/23/2011, 3:54 p.m.
Stephanie Curtis produces online content for The Daily Circuit program on MPR News.