Get ready because 2 of the best movies of the year are coming out this week, starting with Director Ang Lee’s latest film, “The Life of Pi.”
“The Life of Pi” is based on a popular book of the same name but the less you know about it going in, the better off you will be. Yes, it is about a boy who ends up shipwrecked with a Bengal tiger, but it also explores big questions about spirituality and life and death and the spin we put on it all. Even if you don’t appreciate the hippy-dippy-cosmic stuff, “The Life of Pi” is worth it just for the visual spectacle of it. I have some minor gripes about the ending but they are all completely overshadowed by the pure beauty of this film, so I have to give “The Life of Pi” an A+.
Also out is “Silver Linings Playbook,” starring Bradley Cooper as a man learning to cope with his bipolar disease.
Pat Solitano is fresh out of a mental institution and desperately trying to reconcile with his wife when he meets a kindred spirit in the form of Jennifer Lawrence. I know it’s hard to image Bradley Cooper nailing such an emotional role but give him 5 minutes and you’ll forget he was Sexiest Man Alive last year.
In fact, Bradley will probably get a Best Actor nomination for this. I’ll be shocked if Jennifer Lawrence also doesn’t get nominated, though I’m a little bummed the part didn’t go to an older actress. Even with the mental anguish and painful family fights, “Silver Linings Playbook” manages to be uplifting and even funny and that’s why I’m giving it an A.
In fact, I’m calling it this year’s “As Good As It Gets,” but better looking and sadly, without the dog.
There is also a family friendly movie out there, “Rise of the Guardians”
“Rise of the Guardians” stars Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman and Isla Fischer as Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy who band together to battle evil.
Years ago, writer William Joyce’s daughter Mary Katherine asked him if Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were friends, so he started her telling her detailed stories about them. According to Joyce, they were actually holiday super-heroes, responsible for protecting the children of the world. This led to a book series and now the 3D holiday film “Rise of the Guardians.”
This time, Jack Frost has joined the Guardians while they protect the kids from Pitch Black, who wants to pollute children with fear and nightmares. Yes, it is a broad story to tackle since “Guardians” the movie has to explain who the guardians are before it can even get around to fighting the bad guy. It tends to beat you over the head with its message, too. FIND YOUR CENTER! PROTECT THE CHILDREN! But Alec Baldwin makes Santa a cuddly swordsman and Hugh Jackman’s Easter Bunny is a furry tough-guy. I have a crush on the Easter Bunny now, which is weird, right? Isla Fisher’s Tooth Fairy FINALLY explains why she collects teeth but the heart of the story lies in Chris Pine’s lonely Jack Frost.
Despite the broad story and some big inconsistencies, my daughters and I loved this movie so I have to give “Rise of the Guardians” a B. There’s also a loving tribute to Joyce’s daughter at the end of the film, because Mary Katherine died of a brain tumor 2 years ago. My kids didn’t catch the tribute but it reinforced the movies message to me. After all, as parents we are Guardians in our own rite and sometimes the BEST we can do for our children is to offer them wonderment, some sweet dreams, and a little fun.