Mike at the Movies

Mike at the Movies

“Dead Man Down” (R) *** Revenge is not necessarily sweet. As someone in this film remarks, “You’ve found that, when it’s over, it won’t mend your heart.” Everybody in this decent revenge film wants revenge: Victor (Colin Farrell), Beatrice (Noomi…

Mike at the Movies

“Quartet” (PG-13) ***** Hey, kids! Ignore the fact that all the cast members are over 80 and the setting is a retirement home for musicians. This movie is not a drag. Allow your folks to take you to this great…

Mike at the Movies

“Side Effects” (R) **** I will admit I’m a sucker for involved, clever plots with multi-dimensional characters. So this film is already in my Top 10 list except for one character, who predictably fails to do anything but be his…

Mike at the Movies

“Silver Linings Playbook” (R) **** With Jackie Weaver as a lubricant for a messed up group of characters, this is a triumphant little movie. Bradley Cooper as a disturbed bipolar mental patient, Pat, under a restraining order to stay away…

Mike at the Movies

“Zero Dark Thirty” (R) **** This is not a fun picture. It is deadly serious, as it should be. It is, at bottom, a story of obsession. The DCIA (James Gandolfini) asks Maya (Jessica Chastain and anonymous because she’s still…

Mike at the Movies

“Les Misérables” (PG-13) ***** What a surprise this film is! It takes an epic story and focuses on the intimacies in it. As a result, it is still epic, though not as overwhelmingly as you might expect. At times it…

Mike at the Movies

“Anna Karenina” (R) **** It’s not fair. Nobody should be able to look so fabulous from so many angles as Keira Knightley does in this film. Okay, so the director, Joe Wright, gave her plenty of opportunities to look fabulous,…

Mike at the Movies

“Lincoln” (PG-13) ***** Never before have I seen a better portrayal of American history, American politics or a better delineation of character in a film of any sort. I say “any sort” because this film is so good that it…

Mike at the Movies

“The Sessions” (R) ***** The story of poet and writer Mark O’Brien is so singular that it is hard to draw generalized lessons from it. Paralyzed by polio at the age of 6, he was put into a nursing home…

Mike at the Movies

“Argo” (R) ***** Watching this film is like watching a classic opera: You know how it’s going to end, yet every measure is enjoyable. Ben Affleck directs and stars as Tony Mendez, the legendary CIA “exfil” (exfiltration) expert who is…