As I walked into the theater to see "The Artist" I realized two things: I would be watching the front runner for Best Picture in next weeks Academy Awards show and the average age of the audience dropped to about 75. At about 24 million in box office dollars, it is no blockbuster, but for a black and white silent film it tells a powerful story. The movie begins with about 25 seconds of complete and uncomfortable silence, other than the sound of false teeth chewing on popcorn, but the beautiful musical score (another oscar win) kicks in to help tell the story of the dashing silent film star, a chance encounter with the rising star Peppy Miller, and the beginning of the era of "talkies." Highly recommended if you like "Singing in the Rain" and like last years winner "The King's Speech," the academy voters are correct to give "The Artist" this years top honors. 5 stars out of 5.
Remember Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008)? Me neither. Journey 2 was a memorable adventure with some nice scenery and a plot with twists and turns from some of the best stories in history. Our heroes make their way to Mysterious Island where the bees and ants are large and the elephants and **spoiler alert** sharks are small. A Volcano spews molten gold as they race time to find the Nautalis, Captain Nemo's submarine. Corny, check. Predictable, check. A nice set-up for Journey 3, based on Jules Verne's From the Earh to the Moon, check. 4 stars if you are a 12 year old boy or occasionally act like one.
Part Money Pit, part Jurassic Park, We Bought a Zoo is based on a true story in which the main characters are apparently some of the sexiest people alive. Matt Damon (Sexiest Man Alive - 2008) gives another excellent performance as a single Dad who wants to move to the country. He finds the perfect house, but it's complicated, it comes with endangered zoo animals and a staff of zookeepers including Scarlett Johansson (SWA - 2006). Elle Fanning gives her finest performance since Super 8 and Cameron Crowe directs another winner. 4 stars out of 5.
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to enjoy a Tom Cruise movie without the mental picture of him jumping on Oprah's couch. Speaking of mental, Tom Cruise gives his finest performance since Top Gun (1986). The supporting cast is great, the locations are spectacular and the plot is ludicrous. 4 stars out of five for an enjoyable holiday movie classic.