The Blind Side works as effective, old-fashioned, Hollywood-style sentimental schmaltz. It's well directed by John Lee Hancock (The Rookie, which is one of my favorite sports films) even when the script and musical score tag-team your emotional reserves. The story is certainly inspiring and uplifting, and Sandra Bullock's Oscar-winning performance definitely commands the screen. I just couldn't help but feel that it would have been an even better film had it been shot with rough 'n tumble hand-held cameras, with no music, and with half as much grandstanding. Still, it was entertaining and not bad by any stretch.
I completely loved The Fantastic Mr. Fox. What a wonderful movie. The voice performances were slyly humorous and the witty screenplay by Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach was a delight to listen too. Obviously, this being a film by Wes Anderson, the ultra-precise technique and visual design was a wonder to behold (as always), and the attention to detail in regards to the costumes and animal design was eye-catching. I really enjoyed the whimsical score by Alexandre Desplat; the main theme really stuck with me. Bummed I missed this one of the big screen.
I've been a fan of Pedro Almodovar's films for a long time, and had the chance to take a class while in college that was devoted to his entire body of work. Ever since then, I find it impossible to miss whatever he's recently cooked up. His latest excursion into sexual obsession (a common theme for the filmmaker) is Broken Embraces, a steamy, complicated, and enormously satisfying neo-noir with a smoking-hot performance from Penelope Cruz. I don't want to give away too much of the plot of this tricky, meta-movie-movie, but I will say that Almodovar has made one of his best films in years. It's a crime that Cruz's performance was overlooked at last year's Oscars; this is the performance that she should have been nominated for. Utilizing his customary visual palette of bold, rich colors and vibrant cinematography, Almodovar mixes sex, jealousy, love, and deceit into a sensual brew that pays off big-time by the end.