If you don’t happen to live in New York or Los Angeles, this weekend is your first chance to get out and see a trio of awards contenders. Trying to figure out which is worth your time? We’ve got you coverend
Saving Mr. Banks
Director: John Lee Hancock
Cast: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Annie Rose Buckley, Bradley Whitford, B.J. Novak
The Verdict: 5 out of 5
The simple truth is that Saving Mr. Banks is a delight to watch. It’s a movie which is undoubtedly aimed at the mass audiences, but is also plenty sharp thanks to a good script by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith, strong directing by John Lee Hancock, and a great cast headlined by an spectacular performance by Emma Thompson. It walks that line between expectation and pleasant surprise with near perfection, especially due to some tremendously fun interplay between the present story and flashbacks to P.L. Travers’ up-and-down childhood. There are moments where the plot lags a bit, or where the story goes just a bit too melodramatic, but these issues quickly fade in the face of the quality presented by the rest of the film. This movie is a ton of fun for Poppins aficionados and initiates alike.
Director: David O. Russell
Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Louis C.K., Robert DeNiro
The Verdict: 4 out of 5
American Hustle is a great date night movie for couples looking for some slightly more sophisticated fare that’s still plenty playful, a generally clever movie that very pleasingly presents itself as a piece of folklore, and another very solid entry from David O. Russell. Jennifer Lawrence is the only true standout in an excellent ensemble, but the performances are universally strong throughout the movie. There are some plot and pacing issues, as well as a couple camera quirks, but this shouldn’t be nearly enough to scare of anyone who was considering seeing this movie.