"Anything can be good. Even ‘Last Action Hero’ could’ve been good. There’s an idea somewhere in almost any movie: if you can find something that you love, then you can do it. If you can’t, it doesn’t matter how skilful you are..." Joss Whedon
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
As the first installment of a three-part film series based on the 1937 novel by J.R.R. Tolkien, this epic fantasy adventure film, directed by Peter Jackson is set in Middle-earth sixty years before The Lord of the Rings. In this story, hobbit Bilbo Baggins accompanies the wizard Gandalf and thirteen dwarves on a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from a dragon. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, and critical responses were largely positive with a 65% ‘Fresh’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and the site’s main consensus reading "Peter Jackson’s return to middle-earth is an earnest visually resplendent trip, but the film’s deliberate pace robs the material of some of its majesty."
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Based on the Swedish novel of the same name, this American mystery thriller film, directed by David Fincher, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, tells the story of a journalist’s investigation in the disappearance of a woman from a wealthy family forty years earlier. Critics gave the film highly positive reviews, applauding its dark, grim tone and praising Mara and Craig’s performances. Rotten Tomatoes reported an 86% positive reviews, stating "Brutal yet captivating, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the result of David Fincher working at his lurid best with a total commitment from star Rooney Mara."
The Great Gatsby
This adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel, directed by Baz Luhrmann, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Toby Macguire, and Carey Mulligan, follows the life and times of millionaire Jay Gatsby and his neighbor, Nick. The film received mixed reviews, but as A.O. Scott of the New York Times, who felt the adaptation was a "lot of fun", said, "the best way to enjoy the film is to put aside whatever literary agenda you are tempted to bring with you."Ty Burr of the Boston Globe reserved special praise for Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance, saying "Magnificent is the only word to describe his performance – the best movie Gatsby by far, superhuman in his charm and connections, the host of revels beyond imagining, and at his heart an insecure fraud whose hopes are pinned to a woman."
The Last Ride
Directed by Harry Thomason, this film is centered on the final days of Hank Williams’ life when he was being driven to his New Year's Eve and New Year's Day shows in West Virginia and Ohio. It is mostly fictitious and has a decidedly low budget without any of his songs even being sung by Williams himself, but it still holds interest for those who have wondered about his tragic life and mysterious death at the age of 29.
Zero Dark Thirty
This war-thriller film, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, starring Jessica Chastain, dramatizes the decade-long manhunt for Osama Bin Laden. Chastain won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress-Drama in the movie that generated controversy with its graphic depictions of torture. Manohga Dargis of the New York Times said the film “shows the dark side of that war; it shows the unspeakable, and lets us decide if the death of Bin Laden was worth the price we paid.” David Denby of the New Yorker said the virtue of the movie “is that it pays close attention to the way life works; it combines ruthlessness and humanity in a manner that is paradoxical and disconcerting, yet satisfying as art."