Andy Bockelman: 5 films from 2012’s 4th quarter
January 10, 2013
Steamboat Springs — With another year in cinema in the books, the time has come to look over the offerings of the past few months. The fall and winter movie seasons of 2012 were of little difference compared to any other year. We got the usual amount of highbrow, lowbrow and plenty right smack in the middle of the road. Here's a glimpse of some of the films that already have made it to DVD or are playing at Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas.
2 out of 4 stars, on DVD
A writer (Bradley Cooper), who has yet to find any professional success, is on the verge of giving up — until he discovers a brilliant, unknown manuscript that has been hidden for decades. When he passes the masterpiece off as his own, his meteoric rise to fame and fortune is all he ever dreamed, but he is no longer able to ignore his conscience once the true author (Jeremy Irons) shows up in his life.
For a movie about literary genius, this promising tale is disappointingly mundane, with only Irons' performance making an impact as the man who's lost everything only to have someone else reap the rewards he deserves. As a story within a story, it's especially pointless, with Dennis Quaid wasted as the writer who presents this whole scenario during a reading of his own book.
3.5 out of 4 stars, on DVD
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Financial wiz Robert Miller (Richard Gere) is about to make the biggest deal of his career: one that will allow him to step back from his business empire and spend more time with his wife (Susan Sarandon). However, his plan hinges on getting around an audit that would reveal fraudulent accounting involving millions of dollars. Miller's woes only worsen when he is involved in a fatal car crash and must scramble for an alibi to save face with the police.
Gere has one of his better performances playing a spectacular liar, someone whose immediate instincts in covering his tracks makes you wonder what else he might be hiding, yet his self-justification that everything he does is for his family and employees shows that there really are no easy answers when it comes to cases like these.
‘Trouble with the Curve’
2.5 out of 4 stars, on DVD
Baseball scout Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood) has sought out the top talent of the diamond for years as part of the Atlanta Braves organization, but with his eyesight failing him, his superiors are starting to question his judgment. As a result, his estranged daughter (Amy Adams) is wrangled into accompanying him as he makes his rounds checking out prospective players.
As in "Gran Torino," Eastwood as a nasty old crank whose grunts and growls have 1,000 different meanings isn't a side of the film legend everyone will like, but combined with Adams as his uptight attorney daughter Mickey — named after the slugger Mr. Mantle, of course — it makes for a decent parent-child bonding movie.
3 out of 4 stars, nominated for 2 Academy Awards, on DVD Feb. 5
Pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) becomes a national sensation when, during a commercial flight, equipment on his airliner malfunctions and he manages to pull off a near-impossible emergency landing. However, further examination of the hours leading up to the crash lead authorities to believe Whip may have been the cause of the crash due to a high level of intoxication.
Washington gives a typically commanding performance as a man whose myriad vices are finally starting to catch up with him, and while most may see him as the hero whose bravery saved 96 people, others, including himself, view him as the drunk whose negligence killed six. Not every part of this character study is necessary as we journey along with a man through his own personal hell, but the choices he makes hit home just the same.
4 out of 4 stars, nominated for 12 Academy Awards, now playing at Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas
In early 1865, the United States still is torn asunder by the Civil War, and President Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his Cabinet are doing all they can to negotiate peace between the Union and Confederacy. At the same time, Lincoln continues to push for the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and the abolishment of slavery in the nation.
Day-Lewis is simply flawless in his portrayal of one of the country's greatest and still most controversial leaders, heading an equally superb supporting cast that includes Sally Field as first lady Mary Todd Lincoln, David Strathairn as Secretary of State William H. Seward and Tommy Lee Jones as Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, among plenty more fine acting. Steven Spielberg may have taken years in getting all the pieces together, but it was well worth the wait for such a monumental movie.
Andy Bockelman is a Craig resident, freelance writer and Denver Film Critics Society accredited film fanatic who occasionally reviews movies playing in Steamboat Springs.