Of course, the year isn't over yet. There's still time to take in a movie -- and David Edelstein has a few helpful pointers:
Many people use the time between Christmas and New Year's catching up on movies, but there are so many -- what film is worthy of the $357 popcorn and Cokes?
Two weeks ago, I told you about the year's two best films: the inter-species romance "Her," which doesn't open nationwide 'til January 10; and "American Hustle," which you should hustle to see -- Hey, someone put that in an ad!
Speaking of shameless hustlers, Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone team up for "Grudge Match." Didn't see it.
Speaking of antifreeze -- no, cheap segue -- my daughter is a Justin Bieber "Belieber." Don't retire, Justin! The self-made doc "Believe" is a brilliant commercial for this visionary performer.
Listen, haters: He's an angel from on high, but also humble, a guy in a room writing songs from his heart. It's hard! So few words rhyme with "girl!" "Squirrel." "Hurl."
Speaking of hurl, "Labor Day" is so bad it's amazing. Convicted murderer Josh Brolin takes Kate Winslet and her kid hostage, then he . . . oh, God, it's too terrible . . . he teaches them to make pie crust. He does home repairs. He makes love to Kate (though he ties her up so she can pass a polygraph saying he held her against her will). Pie and bondage! Yum!
You want more positivity?
"Anchorman 2" is a bloated sequel, but the bloat jiggles amusingly, like Santa's belly -- oh, what a simile!
Ben Stiller's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is vaguely inspired by James Thurber's story of a middle-aged desk jockey who's a hero in his mind.
It's sweet; some people like it. But it's a little dull.
Here's the biggie: "The Wolf of Wall Street." Three hours of horrible people doing horrible things, shot by great director Martin Scorsese as if it's a whop-bam-boo concert movie, only there's no singing. But there is cheating! Stealing! Fornicating! Pill-popping! Buying cars! Fornicating! Pill-popping!
There are serious critics who think it's the great American comedy of excess, and Leonardo diCaprio certainly works his buns off giving this penny-stock fraudster stature.
But at the risk of being a party-pooper, I think it's killingly monotonous.
Still, after you see what these people spend, you won't feel so bad about the $582 you dropped on popcorn and soda.
For more info:
- "Grudge Match" (Warner Brothers)
- "Believe" (Open Road)
- "Labor Day" (Paramount)
- "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" (Paramount)
- "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (20th Century Fox)
- "The Wolf of Wall Street" (Paramount)
More from David Edelstein:
"American Hustle" and "Her": Two great American comedies
Edelstein on the intense "All Is Lost"
Edelstein on the powerful "Short Term 12"
"Gravity" both cornball AND amazingly incredible
The scariest movie of all time
Fighting back against talkers and texters at the movies
"Elysium" and our obsession with apocalyptic movies
Much ado over Joss Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing"