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Month in Review: December 2011

by on 2011/12/31

This month we did things differently, not the usual holiday thing . . . unconventional December picks, and a schedule that tested us all.

At a difficult end to a terrible year, I have no desire to look back. (How’s that for unconventional?) Instead I’ll acknowledge two vital supports: Gru and the movies themselves. Without their challenges and rewards, life would seem emptier indeed.

Without further ado, here are my five: favourites, (no) surprises, disappointments, and least-liked, as well as an offbeat offering suggested by my ravishing rival.

Cheer down!


Favourite
About a Boy (2002) on 2011/12/25

* * * * *

“It’s tough to throw stones at an experience this strong. Even after a half-dozen viewings, it has yet to lose its effect. About a Boy appears fast-paced and light in its humour. In time, however, its ideas burrow deep, seeding sober reflection and, thankfully, hope.”

Honourable Mentions:
Go (1999) on 2011/12/23
The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) on 2011/12/30


Surprise

(There were no happy accidents this month. I’d already seen the good movies, and the “new” ones were less than impressive. So I guess the surprise is no surprise.)


Disappointment (tie)
Desk Set (1957) on 2011/12/22

* * *

“Grating in parts, though bland overall, with irrational leaps near the end, its high production values are squandered on the unrealized potential of a Yuletide technology tale. Desk Set is worth seeing for the Fifties aficionado, but not if your time is at a premium, especially over the holidays.”


Disappointment (tie)
The Lion in Winter (1968) on 2011/12/27

* * *

“Without historical accuracy, the appeal of Lion in Winter falls to entertainment, but I didn’t find it entertaining, just impressive in minor ways . . . and still too few to make this viewing more than academic utility.”
.


Least-Liked
Gremlins (1984) on 2011/12/03

* *

“I’m still waiting for a funny, horrific, holiday hybrid that succeeds, because Gremlins just ain’t it. The many issues which lay it low are themselves overshadowed by this flaw: an identity crisis, an uncertainty about itself and its audience. This uneven clutter doesn’t know what it wants to be, or for whom. If you remember dearly loving it, you may want to see it again . . . or maybe not.”


Show Me
Mixed Nuts (1994) on 2011/12/12

* * *

“It is a bit of a stretch to call Mixed Nuts a movie. It is more a series of eccentric vignettes. Vignettes wearing jingle bells and flashing Christmas lights. That’s not say I didn’t enjoy it. I really did. It was like watching some of my favourite comedic actors doing a holiday pageant just for me. And they are all drunk. Very drunk.”


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