December is the time for the studios to try and get their films out for Oscar considerations. In addition to those, there is also the holiday counter programming. Meaning, the annual holiday films, and light comedies. You typically don’t get the blockbuster type film. Anyway, here is a look back at what I saw.
Best of the Month: The Aviator
Worst of the Month: Christmas with the Kranks
- The Aviator. Martin Scorsese gives us another amazing film, recreating the 1930′s and 40′s and giving us the profile of a strange individual. Fine performances all around, including DiCaprio as Howard Hughes. ***.5
- Blade: Trinity. Featuring Van Wilder: Vampire Slayer. Directorial debut of writer David Goyer is a fun filled action romp. Lot’s of comedy and some big action abound. The villain is bit weal, but this is a very fun third entry in the series. ***
- Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Not nearly as good as the first film. This one tries to be too epic in scope and crosses the line into absurdity. **
- Christmas with the Kranks. Awful movie. Not funny, poorly acted, poorly conceived, just one of the worst films I have ever seen. Avoid at all costs. *
- Closer. Twisted film. Four very damaged people attempt to enter into relationships with each other. About beginnings and endings. Fascinating in the sheer unlikability of the four characters. ***
- Finding Neverland. Another great performance from Johnny Depp. A magical film that takes liberties with the tale of the creator of Peter Pan. This should not be missed. ***.5
- Guerilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst. Interesting, if seemingly incomplete. I was not around when this odd event took place. After viewing this film, I am not sure what to think, it was definitely strange, scarcely believable. I just wish there was a bit more substance to it. ***
- Kinsey. Interesting, if slightly dry film, with surprising moments of humor. Liam Neeson gives a fine performance. I cannot say I agree with everything that Kinsey was about, but he was definitely a character! ***
- Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. A triumph of set design. Slightly repetitive, and in need of some fleshing out, but still a fun movie. It may be a bit too dark for the whole family, but seeing Jim Carrey mugging can be fun for all. **.5
- The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Very disappointing film. It has some funny moments, but it is rather dull an seems to be trying to hard to be weird. **
- Meet the Fockers. Funny movie, not quite as good as the original film. The cast is clearly having a lot of fun and it translates to a fun experience. **.5
- Ocean’s 12. Another example of style over substance. The plot is completely ludicrous, but getting this cast together is enough to create a fun movie, don’t think about the plot and just go with it. ***
- Spanglish. Surprisingly good film, but it still has a sitcom like feel to it. Sandler does a good job holding back in his most restrained and matured role yet. Cloris Leachman is a scene stealer, and Paz Vega virtually lights up the screen. ***
- What the F@#& Do We Know? Existential spiritualist propaganda in the guise of a documentary on metaphysics. Amusing to watch, but rather hokey. **
That brings the year 2004 to a close.
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