190. Trumbo (B+)
191. Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides (C+)
192. The Muppet Movie (A)
: This documentary offers a fascinating look at Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted as part of the Hollywood 10 until 1960, when he was hired to write Exodus
under his own name. The film makes excellent use of Trumbo's own words, mostly in the form of letters read by a plethora of famous actors, although there is also some archival footage with the writer. Where the film is incomplete, I think, is that we never get a sense of Trumbo's political ideals. We get a good sense of his ideas about free speech, surely, but the rest of it is left unstated. There are obvious economic reasons for this (America seems as conservative as ever, even with a Democratic president), but it is something I would like to learn more about.
Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides
: I enjoyed watching this while I wrapped Xmas presents, probably more so than if I had been watching it intently. For one thing, there isn't a single naval battle in the entire movie -- most of it is spent plodding through the jungle -- which makes it feel like half a pirates movie. It's also far too long at 136 minutes -- these movies should really be 90 minutes and done -- but to its credit it is far less bloated than the second or third movies in the series. It also wisely eliminates any major earnest characters from the cast (although there is a preacher, he's a minor character in the end), which makes the proceedings more fun. I'd watch another sequel, provided it had a bigger budget. This one grossed over a billion dollars, so I don't see why another one wouldn't be given more money to spend.
The Muppet Movie
: The DVD transfer is mediocre, but the movie is still wonderful (the nostalgia helps, but I think much of it would work even if I were seeing it for the first time). I miss Jim Henson.