February is a short month (and the beginning of session!), so I’m not going to give myself a hard time for only getting through four movies. Unusually for me, all of them were “modern” movies, from the last year or two. Maybe that’s why I actually enjoyed watching all of them?
Obvious Child: 9/10
I’d only ever seen Jenny Slate as the supremely irritating Mona Lisa on Parks and Rec (who she actually manages to make more funny than annoying, which so many performers try and fail to do in similar roles), so I was delighted to see her being completely charming as the star of this little abortion-themed rom-com. Not for the pro-life crowd, obviously.
The more I think about it, Joaquin Phoenix might be one of my favorite actors. He’s certainly one of the most talented actors working today, in my opinion. The range of roles he’s played varies widely, and he disappears into his role each time. This movie hinges on his performance (and Scarlett Johannson’s voice acting), and he creates a character that’s a little bit creepy, but mostly just sad and lonely. It really makes you think about the nature of love.
The Grand Budapest Hotel: 8/10
Wes Anderson’s movies are immediately identifiable as such, and also feel like they’re just endless variations on the same theme. That being said, I think this is one of the best ones. I’d say that The Royal Tennenbaums is my favorite, but this one is a close second. Ralph Fiennes’ lead performance is amazing and is responsible for a large part of its charm. If you don’t like Wes Anderson, this probably won’t be for you, but if you enjoy his work, this a good one.
Gone Girl: 9/10
I read the book over a year ago and it’s stuck with me…the “Cool Girl” passage alone is worth reading the book for. This was a great adaptation: the casting was spot on for every role, and while there were some things I wish had remained from the book (Nick’s relationships with his parents, more of Amy’s inner life), they had to cut some stuff and I think they made good decisions. I really enjoyed FINALLY seeing a compelling female sociopath onscreen, Rosamund Pike was, well, amazing as Amy. I did think, while I was watching it, that I could see the similarities between the movie and the also-directed-by-David-Fincher House of Cards: the character of Amy seemed to have some overlap with Claire Underwood, honestly, and the way they were shot was really reminiscent of each other. But both the movie and House of Cards are awesome, so it’s all good.