Pixar phoned this one in, which is sad, because I really wanted to like this film. But flaccid music, an utter lack of narrative urgency, and a female lead whose personality amounts to not much more than generic tomboyishness left me disappointed. If you want a sweet animated film that takes place in the Middle Ages with glorious visuals and a moving story, see The Secret of Kells from 2009.
3. The Hunger Games
Passably satisfying cinematic fare. Demerits for whiplash camera work that left me dizzy. I know the film needed some way to mask the violent deaths of innocents, but whipping a handheld camera past some trees is, apparently, not the answer. Also, for what I assume was an expensive film, the costumes looked like amateur figure skating outfits. Was that on purpose? I couldn’t tell if the film was being cheeky or hired a local Brownies troop as their wardrobe people.
Bridesmaids’ meaner sister. Turns out she’s funnier, too. Kirsten Dunst does a great job portraying a lovable horrible person, and Isla Fisher imbues her airhead character with a tinge of tragedy.
I, too, cannot quite believe that a film that is both part of the Bond franchise and directed by Sam Mendes is at the top of my list, but so it is. Was it flawed? Yes. Was it original? No. And yet, there was lots to love. Javier Bardem, for one was delightful to watch, even if his character was basically the Joker. In the end though, Skyfall was successful because it balanced Bondian stylishness with just the right amount of winking at the Bond formula it was following.