I was finally able to catch up on some films from last year that were recently released on DVD...Here are my thoughts.
1. Happy-Go-Lucky - OK. Sally Hawkins won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical as well as a slew of other awards and praise. Can someone please inform me as to WHY? She was extremely irritating in a role that was clearly supposed to be cheerful & charismatic. The film itself was mildly amusing but I absolutely hated the main character - and not because she was malicious or villainous but because she was daft and selfish. I didn't wish for her to have the happy-ending.
2. Synecdoche, New York - Talk about a film that is trying to hard!! It was a film about a playwright who writes a play about himself writing a play. There were 3 different love interests and I have no idea which of them he actually loved (all? none? I stopped caring after the first hour). Although I am usually confused by Charlie Kaufman, I am also inspired by his creativity and his character development - however this film doesn't evoke the same response. Maybe he should stick to writing and let others capture his brilliance visually?
3. Australia - This could have been a good film, but there were too many obstacles in it's way. First, it was too long (2 hours and 45 minutes!). Second, it tried to tell too many stories - all were good but none were developed enough. I actually would have preferred a film that focused solely on the Aboriginal population of Australia during WWII and the "Stolen Generation" because it's something I know very little about. The "opposites attract" love story was a completely different film mixed in. Third, Hugh Jackman & Nicole Kidman were painfully lacking chemistry. Lastly, the "evil" in the film was represented solely by one character, which over-simplified the story.
4. Wall-E - To be honest, I am not really an animated film person. I haven't enjoyed animation since the Disney glory days of The Lion King and Aladdin. I'm one of the only people I know who found Finding Nemo boring and Shrek extremely annoying. However, I did enjoy this film. It was heartfelt, humorous and relevant. The themes of advancing technology, the inevitable fate of our environment and the steady increase of human laziness and obesity makes the film easily enjoyed by adults and a great lesson for children to learn ASAP.
5. Traitor - Somewhat predictable, yet the subject matter was complicated and the characters were fully-developed. I enjoyed this film much more than I thought I would. It didn't offer a right or wrong, it didn't oversimplify yet it was easy to understand, it didn't offer easy choices instead offered reasons as to why choices were made. It was also a film that was able to show the problems with America's terrorist policies, yet wasn't anti-American (nor was it anti-Muslim). Don Cheadle's performance is mesmerizing and powerful- I'm surprised he didn't receive more accolades.