Moneyball (2011), dir. Bennett Miller
A wonderful baseball movie that takes more than a few liberties with history but nonetheless tells a solid story. Any fan of baseball will love the winning-streak sequence.
Contagion (2011), dir. Stephen Soderbergh
Realistic, slightly scary and moderately engaging. Fine acting all around but it has the dampened feeling of a Message Movie and I cannot figure out what the message might be. Soderbergh is so much better when he has his tongue in his cheek (Out of Sight, the Ocean’s movies).
50/50 (2011), dir. Jonathan Levine
Though it falls short of the year’s best, I am still impressed with the balance of humor and drama, particularly in Seth Rogen’s work. Rogen is laugh out loud funny, while the rest of the film has about as much bite as can be expected from a movie about cancer that still wants to sell tickets.
The Help (2011), dir. Tate Taylor
Chock full of horrendous stereotypes, distasteful melodrama and a Big Message to take home with us. Through all of that, Viola Davis was wonderful and will (rightfully) get some Oscar attention. Oh, and I think that I would smell human feces in my pie before I ate it.
30 Minutes or Less (2011), dir. Ruben Fleischer
College sophomore boys rejoice. This movie was made for you.