1. My Week With Marilyn (B-)
Starting out the new year with a trip to the cinema to see one of 2010's minor films, which has attracted attention mainly for Michelle Williams' highly acclaimed performance as Marilyn Monroe (and, to a lesser extent, Kenneth Branagh's Lord Olivier). It is indeed a great performance; I never doubted Williams had the acting skills to play Marilyn, but she demonstrates movie star charisma, something she doesn't usually do (her roles usually being deliberately drab as a sign of seriousness). Marilyn still fascinates, fifty years on. Branagh is a hoot as Olivier, even if he's playing more a caricature than a really deep character (2010 was a quietly great year for Branagh, between Thor
's success and a likely Oscar nomination, and I'm very happy for him). Dame Judi Dench is fun as Dame Sybil Thorndike, though she pretty much disappears from the movie after the first act; Emma Watson is very cute in her small role as well. Eddie Redmayne as the main character is okay - he's the everyman viewpoint character that frequently crops up in movies like this, and, as is often the case, it feels like this story would have been more interesting if he had been dispensed with (or, at least, relegated to supporting) and the focus been on Monroe and Olivier (though, admittedly, this movie was based on the guy's memoir, so that might have been difficult). But I think there was a more interesting movie focused on the big stars and the clash between American and English acting in here somewhere. As it is, this is fun but unexceptional.
's format innovations like a boss.