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Old April 9 2011, 10:50 PM   #324
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Location: Charlottetown, PEI, Canada
Re: Movies Seen in 2011

30. Gigi (B-)
31. I Love You Phillip Morris (B+)
32. How To Train Your Dragon (A)
33. Tarzan (B+)
34. Oliver! (B+)
35. Gosford Park (A-)
36. The Princess Bride (B+)
37. All the President's Men (A-)
38. Oliver Twist (B+)
39. My Fair Lady (A+)

Another of the famous musicals, again by Lerner and Loewe (who are much less famous as people than Rodgers and Hammerstein, even though their movies were much bigger awards successes at the time), and directed by George Cukor.

A lot of older musicals are excessively cheery or otherwise lacking in dramatic conflict; this is a definite exception, and that's not surprising, given that it's based on one of the more famous works of George Bernard Shaw. The dialogue is exceptional, and though the movie ends on a much more ambiguous note than its source, I give it credit for not going for a full-on happy ending. Rex Harrison is superb as the snobby male lead; Audrey Hepburn's Cockney act is a little grating in places (though I imagine it's supposed to be), but she's also very good. The supporting players are all well-done. The film meanders a bit (Eliza's dad is funny, but has a couple of fairly long sequences that don't have anything to do with the rest of the movie), but it's still easily my favourite of the 50s/60s musicals that I've seen.

40. Hanna (A-)

The first 2011 film I've seen in 2011. Joe Wright's fourth feature (I haven't seen his 2009 The Soloist, as with most people, but Pride & Prejudice and Atonement were both terrific, and his Anna Karenina sits atop my most anticipated films of 2012) stars Saorise Ronan, who was so wonderful in Atonement (and may also be in Anna). I would say this is the thinking person's teen girl assassin movie; it leaves the backstory somewhat vague in places, but it's all quite well-handled, and the plot is both tense and tight. The characterization is nicely handled; again, it's not a character piece by any means, but you care about the people involved.

Directorially, the look is a lot more "modern" than Wright's other films; lots more flashes and stuff to give people seizures. There's also a couple of one-take sequences, which Wright clearly loves, though nothing nearly on the scale of the Dunkirk beach tracking shot. There's a one-take fight between Eric Bana and four guys in a parking garage that is excellent and flows very well. Actually, that's one thing I really liked about it: in a really good action film, there's weight and a sense of risk to every confrontation. Here, every one of the mooks feels dangerous; there's no scene where the good guys mow through twenty guys effortlessly.

One of the best action films I've seen in recent years.
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