3. The Silver Linings Playbook (A-)
Saw this last night. I've now seen all the major English-language films of this year apart from Zero Dark Thirty
, and it's only January 4th; that's a personal best. David O. Russell's followup to his big comeback movie, The Fighter
, has a very similar formula to that: he takes a fairly standard movie formula (boxing movie, in that case; here, the romantic comedy, or perhaps dramedy), doesn't really diverge much from the expected beats on a pure story level, but really delivers on the execution and characterization. That's perhaps a good sign for the genre, because there are only so many ways to be innovative with a genre that has three quarters of a century of cinematic history; breathing life into the formula is what most can hope for. There's a fun twist on the climactic competition, for instance (a dance competition, in this case).
Has a great cast. Most of the buzz has focused on Jennifer Lawrence, currently duking it out with Jessica Chastain for frontrunner status in the Best Actress race, and she's terrific. Bradley Cooper is also very good, while Robert DeNiro is the best he's been in a long time. The rest of the supporting cast, likewise (it's weird to see Julia Stiles now doing such small roles, though she's a really good fit to be Jennifer Lawrence's sister).
Cinema: 2 (+1)
Home Video: 1