Debbie Elbin's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Les MisÚrables
½

I remember the show on Broadway was overly long and sadly too this foray on film. The large musical numbers are still sensational, but I'm sorry, I prefer Susan Boyle to Anne Hathaway. Tom Hooper's direction is outstanding as he manages to open up the often suffocating non stop lyrical score by interspersing it with stellar shots as the camera moves away from action and over the landscapes surrounding a convent and Paris the 19th Century City. Has anyone else noticed that the roles that used to be performed by Carol Kane are now always performed by Helen Bonham Carter?!

Lore
Lore(2013)

Jane Campion visuals, only Jane does it so much better; "Two Women" derivative, although there is little to compare, why did this story have to make it to the screen? It is an affront to show these healthy and robust survivors, besmudged with some grime to show the passing of time, when there was little left for any one. Rubbish!

Lincoln
Lincoln(2012)

What extraordinary performances, especially by Daniel Day Lewis and the surprisingly good Sally Field! Watching this right after the elections gives it the additional poignancy of the topics covered, the abolition of slavery and who should have the right to vote. It took six years to come up with this script and it shows. Masterful on all counts!

Life of Pi
Life of Pi(2012)
½

"Life of Pi" is no "Crouching Tiger"... This way-too-long-I-get-it-already film begs the question: Is 3D a must for every director to use these days? Does it enhance or detract?
Seriously, if you like the premise of the story, you will like the film. But if you like your fantasy pure and to make your own decision as to whether its a 'true' account or allegorical (a la Bible), the ending makes it way too 'on the nose' - which hardly makes it a religious experience, but rather dogma.
The 3D is adequate but often creates images that are not the right size as far as the perspective goes.
Overall very disappointing.

Rundskop (Bullhead)

Fresh, beautifully executed, Matthias Schoenaerts is amazing. If the Academy hadn't made a political pick for the Oscar in 2012, this would have won!

Quartet
Quartet(2013)

Yes, it's sweet. Yes the performances are wonderful. And yes, I feel like I've seen this before...

Argo
Argo(2012)
½

Thoroughly entertaining, if not necessarily factual, Ben Affleck pulls it off! John Goodman and Alan Arkin are given the very best lines. Pure enjoyment!

Silver Linings Playbook

What has happened to the David O. Russell of "Three Kings"? Hollywood fare: vapid and for those who don't want a message or a thought, "Silver Linings Playbook" is the perfect definition of a movie, but not of a film...

The Sessions
The Sessions(2012)
½

John Hawkes deserves an Oscar for his performance as "Mark". A poignant romp through awareness of not just the life of the disabled, but of one's self, this film has the wittiest dialogue and yet the overall warmth and kindness that were thought to have been abandoned by film makers recently. Although Helen Hunt and Bill Macy deliver, their names aren't needed and casting them is distracting and seems slightly out of place. Other than that: simply wonderful!

Cloud Atlas
Cloud Atlas(2012)

If you haven't walked out during the first hour of confusing information, you might get into a film that is visually stunning. Using the cast in multiple roles is more fun as a mystery to be unravelled than the story is to follow. If ultimately cannibalism whether a la "Saylont Green" or a far more primitive society is in our future, I fail to see where the message of hope lies: in revolution and the overthrow of government? How poignant in an election year!

Mud
Mud(2013)

After a very sparse Cannes competition line-up, "Mud" stood out like a sore thumb. Wonderful performances by the kids, a compelling Matthew McConaughey, I gladly went along with Ellis and Neckbone on their Southern adventure.

The Flat
The Flat(2012)

A wonderfully crafted and very personal documentary, that should speak to a whole new generation post the 'silent' one! Goldfinger does a superb job of dealing with unanswerable questions, peeling back the onion layers and trying to get to the truth and some sort of conclusion. That there can't be one and all is left is speculation, is what makes this film so compelling and powerful. Everyone who sees it will judge it based on his/her own personal experiences.

De rouille et d'os (Rust and Bone)
½

Sadly, "Rust and Bone" is far from "The Prophet". An Orca killer whale trainer is simply too far removed from my daily encounters and the VFX were used too abundantly to engage me in this story, which in the end is what it's about. It didn't allow me to engage, although Schoenaerts is a talent to be watched and followed!

The Sapphires
½

Love that this is based on a true story. And it's fascinating to see the Aboriginal people taking on the acts of 1960's US black performers even though their origins and spirits are far from the same. The music is great, the performances super and in the end you feel good and want to dance!

Amour
Amour(2012)

"Amour" is not a movie that one can 'like'. Instead it is a powerhouse. Electrifying performances, superb direction, there isn't a frame that's extraneous. In spite of the slow, claustrophobic and isolating agony, which is all too reminiscent of going through the death of a loved one oneself, one is a part of the inevitability that is the end of the cycle of life and the hopelessness of how to get there together. It is extraordinary that Michael Haneke has made two astoundingly beautiful and so very different films in a row. Nothing but kudos - and hopefully the 2013 Foreign Oscar!

Hyde Park on Hudson

An over the top attempt at who knows what. This is no "King's Speech", nor much of anything else. Save your money!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

WOW! Rooney Mara. Remember that name. Quickly. Because she IS Lisbeth Salander. And who knows how many other characters she will have in her in the future. Powerful stuff. The fastest 2 1/2 hours of screen time ever. Another Fincher winner. Hats off: 5 stars!

Hugo
Hugo(2011)

It's complicated... and could be shorter. But "Hugo" is a feast for the senses and the eyes. Should it have been shot in 3D? Doubtful, because it detracts from the story. Is it a film for kids? Doubtful, because it's awfully long and complicated. But score a 10 for film preservation and a tale behind it!
Ben Kingsley is superb, Sasha Baron Cohen is hilarious, his adlibs will flip you out! All in all, a very worthy holiday pic for the entire family after that Thanksgiving turkey.

Coriolanus
Coriolanus(2011)

Redgrave. Brilliant. 'Mommy Dearest' doesn' t come close! Missing 5th star is for the overzealous gore and often unintelligible language.

Margin Call
Margin Call(2011)
½

I was unfortunately continuously distracted by Zachary Quinto's waxed eyebrows... But seriously, my biggest problem with the film was the script: I didn't give a damn about any of the characters - and clearly they didn't give a damn about me either, victim of Wall Street's shenanigans, just like all of us. Shark pool next?

We Have a Pope
½

What a wonderful film. Shame that it didn't get more recognition in Cannes. Cloaked in humor, this is nonetheless a serious look at a religious leader's internal quest for personal truth. The humility shown is precisely what the Church needs, but... it's merely a film... Michel Piccolli at his very best!

The Artist
The Artist(2011)

Douglas Fairbanks Jr? Gene Kelly? Maurice Chevalier? Why not all of them rolled into one?! A superb film, original, warm and fuzzy without being sentimental. Full of surprises and oh, why go on and on: It's a delight!

The Tree of Life

It is a shocking embarrassment that this film won the Cannes Film Festival this year. Kubrick did it better, when it came to the grandeur of the Universe. And the grandeur of Man. The casting is pretentious and misleading. In short, this conversation between two fellow audience members after the film sums it up beautifully: WOMAN 1 "So actually which brother died?" WOMAN 2 "Does it really matter?" Well, NO!

127 Hours
127 Hours(2010)

All (feathered) hats of to Danny Boyle who has got to be THE most visual storyteller on this planet. Breathtaking footage and a powerful performance from Franco, Boyle's direction blends reality and hallucination seamlessly.

The Social Network

Aaron Sorkin managed to write a riveting and quite brilliant screenplay out of a basically nothing story. I want him on my next film! Oscar for best adaptation please!