Hitting theaters this week we get a multi-continent love story, a beautiful scenery/no story film from Oscar winners and a true story about trapped miners. We’ll start with the best film of the bunch Brooklyn. You can keep Jennifer Lawrence, for my money the best young actress in the business right now is Saoirse Ronan. The film is a charming coming of age story about a young Irish woman (Ronan) who moves to 1950s Brooklyn. The screenplay comes from Nick Hornby (About a Boy, High Fidelity) so it is of course witty and delightful. Ronan completely shines while trying to figure out life in her new world. She lives in a boarding house with other young women and works at a department store while trying to get accustomed to American ways. She meets a young I-talian fella and soon falls in love. A death brings her back to Ireland where she quickly falls back into her previous life and has to make a choice of staying or going back to her new life. If you can’t fall in love looking into Ronan’s eyes during this movie then something is wrong with you. The backdrops of both Ireland and Brooklyn are incredible with perfect set design, costuming and wardrobe. It won’t be a huge box office success, but to re-use a word, it is completely charming. Makes for a great date film or girls’ night out. 4/5 stars.
Second we have the absolute disaster of a film By The Sea. Written & directed and starring Angelina Jolie and her husband Brad Pitt (who also produced it), the film is pointless. It is absolutely stunning to look at it, but 100% pointless. I have no idea what the point of the film is. Pitt plays a successful author who brings his wife to a seaside resort in France and they drink a lot. He writes a little, she sleeps and takes pills. He drinks a lot more. Then they watch their neighbors have sex through a hole in the wall. Then drinking, then panoramic shots of the ocean. Drinking, shot of a fisherman, drinking, sex, smoking, sex, ocean, hotel, sex, drinking. You get my point. Plus you think Jolie might be crazy because she’s having issues with something and you find out later in the movie what the problem is and it’s a cop out/lame twist you figured out in the beginning of the movie and yawn. It’s way too long and doesn’t pan out to anything worth seeing again. In fact, the only way I’d ever watch this again is if I drank every time the characters drank so that way I’d be dead before it ends. How two extremely talented people made this movie is beyond me. I couldn’t wait to leave. Sure I’ve seen worse straight to DVD movies than this, but the fact that millions were spent on this and both Jolie and Pitt were highly involved in it makes me even more disappointed. 0.5/5 stars
Last we have The 33. This is a film about the Chilean miners who were trapped in a mine for months. I didn’t realize it was even made into a movie till a few weeks ago and sure it’s another predictable movie, but I liked it well enough. It helps not to remember much about the story because I wasn’t sitting there waiting for the happy ending. I didn’t remember if anyone died and knew nothing personal about the men themselves. The film shows how their wives, families and friends pushed for the government to step in and save the miners. Again not remembering how long they were stuck down there for helped with the entertainment factor. They were trapped long enough to really build a story around it and that worked for me. Plus Antonio Banderas was very good. Films like this remind me of how good of an actor he can be. Lou Diamond Phillips, James Brolin and Gabriel Byrne also star. The less you know the better the film is. 3.5/5 stars.