Friday, November 30, 2012

Jack: I love getting tossed in a sack and shoved through a magic portal.

Santa: Oh, good, that was my idea!

Over the holiday weekend, I got a chance to see both Silver Linings Playbook and Rise of the Guardians.

My mom came into town for Thanksgiving, so Wednesday night I introduced her to the Alamo Drafthouse. While she was not used to eating in the dark, she enjoyed her first Drafthouse experience and we both really liked Rise of the Guardians. I had heard a bad review on the radio and was not sure about it, but it ended up being fantastic.

When the Boogeyman, aka Pitch, tries to take over the world, the immortal guardians must join forces to stop him before children stop believing in the guardians and they disappear. If you have not already figured it from the picture, the group of guardians is comprised of Santa Claus, Jack Frost, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and the Sandman voiced by Alec Baldwin, Chris Pine, Isla Fisher and Hugh Jackman respectively (the Sandman does not speak) and the Boogeyman is Jude Law. I also quite enjoyed the elves and the yetis, who help Santa in his workshop.

While the plot was fairly predictable, my mom and I both thought that it was funny and very entertaining. It was visually beautiful, the dialogue was witty and it is just a great holiday adventure for the whole family.

On Sunday, after my mom went home, I took myself to see Silver Linings Playbook, which has been getting fantastic reviews since it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Even before it was released, I had wanted to see it for two reasons: 1. I love Bradley Cooper; and 2. It was filmed near where I grew up outside of Philadelphia and the trailer featured a diner that my friends and I frequented in high school. It totally lived up to expectations and is probably one of the best films of the year.

Cooper plays a bi-polar former history teacher, Pat Solitano, who has just been released from a mental institution and is set on getting back together with his ex-wife. He meets Tiffany, played by Jennifer Lawrence, and she agrees to help him if he helps her with a dance competition. Pat has also moved back in with his parents who are big Philadelphia Eagles fans and his dad thinks that Pat is his lucky charm. He keeps trying to get Pat to watch games with him because, of course, they are America's team :)

Along with Cooper and Lawrence, the cast includes Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Julia Stiles, John Ortiz and Chris Tucker and all of 
performances were fantastic. Each of the characters has their own quirky quality but the whole cast works together well. I would be very surprised if this film did not get a few Oscar nominations in January.

Silver Linings Playbook did make me a little homesick for Philly, but I highly recommend both of these movies. I have not been able to get to the theater as often lately, but these were two films that I wanted to make sure I saw and I am really glad that I did.