Grab your popcorn and drink and let’s talk.
by Waitsel Smith
I’m not particularly happy with this year’s selections. There is always promise at the beginning of a year; and then, once the films arrive, more times than not they’re disappointing. One of the exceptions is Saving Mr. Banks, which I found to be better than expected, and perhaps the best film of the year, though it is by no means a great film. Another surprise was The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, which is not like the story upon which it is based, nor is it like the Danny Kay original; but it is entertaining in its own right.
There were a lot of frustrating, victim-based films, including Gravity, Captain Phillips, All Is Lost and Prisoners. You had to have a lot of patience, some strong fingernails and, if you saw these in a theatre, some self-restraint to keep from yelling at the characters on screen; but some of these films do pay off.
There was a plethora of black social films, such as 12 Years As A Slave, The Butler and 42 – all, basically, paying homage to Obama’s presidency, which represents how far the black man has come in this country. 42 was the stand-out, in my opinion.
There was a handful of hero films, like Ron Howard’s Rush, Man Of Steel, Oblivion and The Wolverine – though the heroes aren’t always likable. Howard’s film is a masterpiece of filmmaking, but the characters and story left me flat. Man Of Steel was the highlight of the sci-fi offerings, breathing new life into one of DC Comics’ original heroes.
Of particular delight was the new Disney Animation film, Frozen, in which the animation begins to bump up against reality; but with incredible music and imagination, it stays firmly in the realm of make-believe. There was also a new entree into the world of William Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing, a perennial favorite of Shakespeare buffs, but with a very sophisticated twist. That’s my overview. Now, roll the film…