PRECIOUS      Rating:   9
On the upside, this is a movie you will be talking about as you leave the theater, and probably for days after. It’s powerful, it’s dark and dirty, it invades the deepest bowels of urban depravity and it’s about reaching inside the victim of horrible circumstance that 99.99 percent of will never have to experience (thankfully).
On the downside, it’s not for people who want to walk out feeling good, as it is one of the most depressing motion pictures I’ve ever seen. But, kudos to the director, writer and actors who pull off a tremendous job. Gabourey Sidibe plays the lead role, an overweight teenage girl who has born two illegitimate babies, stripped of self esteem by an ignorant, selfish, violent mother powerfully played by MoNique who is deserving of an Oscar nomination along with Sidibe.
Meanwhile, see if you can identify Mariah Carey who plays a significant role. It took me a few minutes to realize who she was. Her performance showcases her as a superb acting talent as well as a pop diva. I was amazed.
The movie drags slowly, following Robert DeNiro’s every move as he travels the country trying to unite with his adult kids for Christmas for the first time as a widower. A lot of deep feelings and messages that many families might relate to. DeNiro, as always, is superb, but don’t expect any Oscars this year. Drew Barrymore also stars as one of the daughters.
It’s about compassion, loss, love and the need for family bonding. Worth seeing.
BLIND SIDE Rating: 8
Probably the best acting role for Sandra Bullock ever. Based on a true story, the Bullock character is an upscale rich-bitch who inadvertently meets a giant black homeless kid from the ghetto and rebuilds his self image until he becomes a good student and a star football player. Quinton Aaron, who has done a few movies as well as appearances in Law And Order shows on television, does a credible job playing Michael Oher.
It’s an old worn-out plot where the underdog is given a second chance at life by a caring philanthropist and succeeds, making everyone feel good.
INVICTUS   Rating  8
Another Clint Eastwood gem but not on the same level as The Unforgiven or Million Dollar Baby. This is a good movie, not a great movie. Morgan Freeman will undoubtedly be nominated for a Best Actor portraying Nelson Mandela. Matt Damon probably reached the pinnacle of his acting career, well deserving of a supporting Actor nomination for his role as a rugby team captain for South Africa.
The upside: Great acting, an interesting exposure into the divided worlds within South Africa, revealing scenes about the sensitive and forgiving Mandela, and lots of action on the rugby field.
The downside: It’s more about sports than it is about the struggle of Mandela as most of the story focuses on rugby as the catalyst for mending the nation’s wounds. The handheld camera on the rugby field is enough to drive the viewer insane, as it is almost impossible to make out what is happening with the constant blast of herky-jerky close-ups.
Next: The Road starring one of today’s finest actors, Viggo Mortensen. Then, Up In The Air with George Clooney, touted as a possible Oscar nominee.
With the Oscar race in full gear, this is the best time of the year for movies, if you love the cinema.