1. My Week With Marilyn (B-)
2. Fantasia 2000 (B+)
3. Blade Runner (B)
4. The Hidden Fortress (A-)
5. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (B+)
The second best young-boy-with-a-key-that-relates-to-his-dead-father movie of the year.
I don't there's been a more divisive film this Oscar season than Stephen Daldry's fourth directorial effort, an adaptation of a popular (though also controversial) novel that I haven't read. People seem to either find this movie extremely manipulative (with an extra dose for people who think it's exploiting 9/11). I don't think it's exploitive; if you don't like sentiment, you might not like this. I thought that the movie's main relationships, between the kid and his mother and grandfather, are both done very well, and the climactic moments feel genuine.
The main challenge of adapting this novel (from what I've read about it, and from flipping through it in the store) is the main character. The novel is told first-person by a kid with an Aspergers-like personality ("the results weren't definitive", as he says in this movie, we shields the author from having to answer for how accurate the kid's depiction is); like a lot of modern fiction, it's heavily internal. The kid's personality has been splitting viewers too. This is a much tougher job for a child actor than most roles, and I think Thomas Horner acquits himself pretty well.