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Old October 14 2011, 10:13 PM   #782
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

154. The Debt (B-)
155. Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (B)
156. Contagion (B)
157. 1941 (B-)
158. Gone with the Wind (C-)

The Debt: Not a great movie, but watchable, and I'm happy to see Sam Worthington in a more dramatic role. His accent was still lackluster at times, but he's definitely a better dramatic actor than an action hero. Jessica Chastain, in everything this year, was also good, as were the older versions of the characters, including Helen Mirren, great as usual.

Conan O'Brien Can't Stop: Entertaining if slight documentary about the talk show host's tour that took place during his contractually forced time off of television. I'm surprised by how much of an asshole Conan is allowed to be in much of it, actually. I was excepting a more white-washed look at him, but the movie exceeded my expectations there.

Contagion: Finally, an outbreak thriller that doesn't throw the science in the garbage. At times, it has trouble juggling so many different characters (Marion Cotillard vanishes for much of the movie, which apparently was an editing choice made late in post-production), but everyone in the ensemble gets at least one chance to shine. There's also a few moments where the scientists and doctors are explaining things to each other that they should already know. I'm especially thinking of Dr. Cheever's briefing to Dr. Mears -- nothing he says should be news to her. Obviously, this is for the benefit of the audience, but it's one of the few times that a pretty smart movie treats its audience like it’s dumb.

1941: Caught this at a special screening with a big audience that knew the movie well -- definitely the best way to see this film. It’s still the least interesting entry into Spielberg’s early filmography, but it has a great score, one of the finest comedy ensembles aver assembled, and a couple of standout sequences (the USO dance sequence is brilliant) that make up for the whole.

Gone with the Wind: Finally able to see this film all the way through, I’m pretty comfortable proclaiming that I’ll never do it again. Scarlett O’Hara is a heartless, conniving woman who behaves like a child from beginning to end. As I feared, it’s an unrepentantly racist movie, too – and I don’t just mean the characters. No, the opening title crawl makes the movie’s point of view quite clear. Even the big set pieces aren’t that exciting, which surprised me, given how expensive the film was to make. Really, it’s watchable only for Clark Gable as Rhett Butler (an obvious model for Rick Blaine, Han Solo, and many other cinematic rouges), and he’s absent for much of the running time.

164 movies this year.
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