Sunday Short Reviews

Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…

Being that I’m not much of a sports fan, or even a sports movie fan, I was surprised at how interesting I found Moneyball. The fictionalized account of how Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane assembled a winning team on a low budget using computer-generated statistical analysis is well-written, well-acted, and delves into a side of baseball rarely seen on film: the behind-the-scenes strategies involved in the sport. The cinematography and softly toned score both reminded me of The Social Network, another film with screenwriter Aaron Sorkin behind the script, and in the end, I think Moneyball succeeds in being an entertaining and engaging character study, as well as a kind of history lesson, chronicling a pivotal moment in how America’s national passtime is played.
3.75 out of 5

Martin Scorsese proves that he can play to any audience with his most atypical film to date: Hugo. Both a steampunk story about an orphan who lives in a train station winding the clocks and trying to repair an automaton and a love letter to the bygone days of early cinema, Hugo is a terrific film that kids will enjoy for the visuals and film nerds like me will adore for the depictions of historical moments in filmmaking. Asa Butterfield’s performance as Hugo is passable, but I found he didn’t give the protagonist much more personality than your typical sad orphan, but the supporting cast including Chloe Grace Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen, Richard Griffiths, Ray Winstone, Jude Law, Ben Kingsley and Christopher Lee all deliver great performances and make the world of Hugo feel real. This is Scorsese’s love letter to cinema, and it’s one that I think we can all enjoy through this contribution to the world of the movies.
4 out of 5

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
I’ve taken to calling this film Extremely Cheap and Incredibly Cloying, because that’s exactly how I feel about it. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is far too heavy-handed for its own good, and it felt to me like the movie was desperately trying to tug at the heartstrings in whatever way it could manage. The story centers on a boy named Oskar who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome, as it’s clear that he experiences the world differently than most people. After his father (played by Tom Hanks) dies in 9/11, Oskar finds a key in his dad’s things and embarks on a city-wide quest to find the owner and with them the last thing his father left for him. The problem, however, is that because the main character has such difficulty with social situations that he’s unrelatable, the filmmakers felt the need to include a completely extraneous and annoying voiceover track. And that’s only the first stumbling block of many when it comes to this movie, which effectively uses the still all-too-recent events of 9/11 for cheap tearjerker moments. It’s telling when the best performance of the film is delivered by Max Von Sydow’s character, who effectively upstages all the overdramatic mush without saying a single word.
2 out of 5

See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!

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