Warhorse – stilted acting, cliche ridden in word and image and without a single honest emotion. Some people will love it.
Mission Impossible -Ghost Protocol – proves that Tom Cruise can still deliver the goods and director Brad Bird is bankable for live action even if his animated greats (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) had more plot and humanity. Great scenes on the Burj Khalifa (esp. in IMAX). Drags on in a peculiar effort to connect with story elements from the previous MI that no one cares about or remembers. For plot reasons, the final scene should have been in San Francisco not Seattle.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Overall, Daniel Craig doesn’t James Bond it, although at times one wonders whether he is just pretending to be scared. Rooney Mara is good although I prefer Noomi Rapace who was both tougher and more beautiful, as the moment required. Fincher is the better director and the supporting cast is excellent. Lisbeth Salander rings strong in my imagination and I would watch more adaptations.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - excellent performance from Gary Oldman as Smiley. At something like 8 minutes in I realized that the lead character had yet to speak. It was good but I defy anyone to make a great movie from the Le Carre book, too much is interior. How many viewers will know, let alone appreciate, that many people once did prefer communism for aesthetic reasons?
The Descendants – George Clooney has limited emotional range but it suits him in this role where part of the point is that his character is too boring, methodical, and unemotional for his thrill-seeking wife (why did these two ever marry?) and his now needy children. Excellent performances from Robert Forster and supporting cast and a plot that is involved without being contrived. The contrast between external paradise and internal misery was delightfully disconcerting.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – started out strong but by the time it ended I hated it. Every element of the movie is manipulative; 9/11 is used as a prop (like using 9/11 to sell life-insurance), the parents are perfect even when the story demands imperfection and the kid is weirdly unlikable. Finally, the movie has a happy ending, which made me sad.