I've been catching up on some fun, mindless action movies at the theater, hooray!
I actually liked Mission: Impossible, Ghost Protocol, much better than I expected. It did a great job with tension and action scenes. No one watches these things for character development I hope, because they will be largely disappointed. But it was directed by Brad Bird (of Pixar fame) and I thought he nailed it.
For me, I really appreciated the way they made all the stunts look (sound!) like they hurt. (Though suspension of disbelief is also crucial since they all keep running around at full-speed after each.) From what I've read online, it also sounds like Tom Cruise did a lot of his own stunts--including shots outside the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (above).
Even before that, I saw Sherlock Holmes 2: Game of Shadows. It, too, was well done but more of a oncer for me.
I still think this would have been a perfectly successful franchise without having to rape the whole Sherlock Holmes story, but whatever. It's fun, but you have to go in knowing it will be almost grotesquely slick, self-aware and will toe the line of over-produced. But yeah, it's fun. Some fairly solid lines, that's for sure.
And just to bring it down another five notches, I caught up with last year's Another Year. I thought it won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay (Mike Leigh) but apparently not! It was nominated, of course, but The King's Speech won. Eh. I disagree, but then again, I often do.
Anyway, Another Year was really good but it was really fucking depressing. I'm always a fan of character-driven films, even though so often they are complete and utter downers. Needless to say, the actors are all superb here, particularly in light of the fact that Jim Broadbent gets the luck of being the only mostly-likeable character. The others aren't characters you openly dislike (with one possible exception--and even Mary, Lesley Manville, isn't an open and shut case), there's more to the characters than that.
I hope, despite having way too much writing and research to do, to get some Angelika time in...they have Shame, The Artist, The Descendants, A Dangerous Method, J. Edgar, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and then there's still The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo everywhere, as well!