The Blind Side (2009)
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron
Directed and Written By: John Lee Hancock
Bottom Line: Director John Lee Hancock’s return to inspirational sports movies (he directed the 1998 Dennis Quaid feature The Rookie as well) is largely successful, though ultimately nothing we haven’t seen before. Sandra Bullock is very good, but an Academy Award is a stretch (Carey Mulligan’s performance in An Education is well beyond this). Still, The Blind Side is a solid and moving (and somewhat fictional) film that will make you laugh, will make some cry, and will warm your heart…just don’t expect anything new.
Män som hatar kvinnor (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) (2009)
Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Sven-Bertil Taube
Directed By: Niels Arden Oplev
Written By: Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg
Bottom Line: Sweden strikes again! While not as enthralling as 2008’s Let the Right One In, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a great murder-mystery film that leaves you on the edge of your seat as you wait for all the pieces to fit together. Be warned, however: this is an uncompromising film full of murder and rape with several scenes that are just brutal in their violence. That said, it’s completely engaging with a superb performance by Rapace who plays the title character (and what a tattoo it is).
The Men Who Stare At Goats (2009)
Starring: George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, and Jeff Bridges
Directed By: Grant Heslov
Written By: Peter Straughan
Bottom Line: The Men Who Stare at Goats is a very funny premise that misses the mark more often than not. A large portion of it’s failure has to do with Ewan McGregor’s character. He, of all the characters in the movie, is the ground for the audience except he buys into the craziness far too easily and quickly. That leaves two hours or so watching silly people run around and do silly things. The joke does get tiresome. The remarkable thing is that this is loosely based on true events and I, somehow, actually believe in that possibility.