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Lots of wonderful films in 2012, and 2013 is starting off very well also. While most of the films mini-reviewed below were actually produced in 2012, I am just getting to them now.

Les Miserables ***

Actually, I think we saw this just at the end of 2012.

I suppose folks who are new to it (is that even possible?) will probably enjoy this Les Mis.

But I can’t think of much else good to say about the film.


Promised Land***1/2

I was hopeful that this film about fracking and the damage that it can do to the land and to the communities who see it as a way to gain some advantage from their (family) land would be good.

The story was written by Dave Eggers, one of my favorite authors (What Is the What, Zeitouns, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), but something must have happened between the writing and the final production.

There’s much to like in the film, the acting, the portrayal of the issue, especially the length to which large corporations will go to have their way, and the plight of communities who are suffering are well done.

Spoiler Coming: But ultimately, the choice to make Promised Land have a happy, romantic ending detracts from what is otherwise a good effort to explore an issue we need to know more (about).


Rust & Bone (De rouille et d’os)****

A small film that probably won’t be around too long, which is a shame.

It grabs you and holds you. The acting is superb, the characters are fascinating, and the story is both unusual and gripping, tho occasionally improbable.

I definitely liked it.


Zero Dark Thirty****1/2

I almost didn’t see this film because of what I was reading and hearing about it.

That would have been a mistake.

It’s very good.

Even though we know the outcome, or perhaps because we know the outcome, there is time to focus on what it takes to get there.

For me, the movie is not about torture, tho there is torture in the early part of the film (how could there not be in an honest film made about seeking bin Laden?).

But the film does not say that finding him and killing him was because of information gained from torture.

Rather, the message I got was that it took painstaking work over a long period of time to track him down and finally get him.

There are heroes in this film whose names we will probably never know and some we do know.

I’m glad I saw it.



I’ve been waiting for this film to open in DC, especially because so many reviewers put it at the top of the best film lists for 2012.

They are correct.

It’s a tough film, the story of an aging couple and how they face difficult, end of life issues.

The acting is outstanding, the portrayal of what that stage of life can be is realistic and difficult to watch, and there is much to think about and discuss after seeing Amour.

I’m not sure that I would urge everyone to see it, but I hope it is in fact widely seen and discussed, especially by couples and families.