Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (PG-13) The most anticipated film of the year, and it is a blockbuster in every sense of the word, certain to smash box office records all over the world. The finale of the series is the best yet, an epic that tantalizes, amazes, and ultimately satisfies. If it's not a contender for the Best Movie Oscar, it damn well should be. It's the film event of the year, if not the decade. Don't miss it.
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Midnight In Paris (PG-13) This is Woody Allen's best film in decades, a charming and delightful story of a group of people who interact in Paris. Allen has crafted an absorbing script, and as usual his deft camera work allows the actors to mine their considerable talents. Owen Wilson turns in an Oscar worthy performance -- Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, and Carla Bruni co-star. Go and enjoy this master filmmaker at his best.
The Artist (PG-13) A silent screen star circa 1927 realizes that the coming "talkies" will end his career; meanwhile, a young extra dreams of stardom. This Weinstein offering, certainly outside-the-box, is an example of a production company taking chances and succeeding – the film is a wonderment, where-in actors shine, lighting and costumes rule, and there isn't a special effect or 3-D frame in sight. A terrific, must-see film.
The Descendants (R) We have our early Best Actor favorite and he is – ta da — George Clooney, who turns in a flawless performance as a father forced to consider selling his family land in Hawaii after his wife suffers an accident and lapses into a coma. Written and directed by Alexander Payne, whose Sideways also exhibited his ability to make profound films with a light touch. From the Kaui Hart Hemmings novel, this film is one of the year's best. Judy Greer, Matthew Lillard and Shailene Woodley are all brilliant in co-starring roles.
Moneyball PG-13) Baseball fans never dreamed that the 2003 book about Billy Bean could actually be made into a movie but Bennett Miller has done just that, and Brad Pitt turns it into an Oscar-worthy vehicle. Casting Philip Seymour Hoffman as Oakland A's manager Art Howe was a stroke of genius.
Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol (PG-13) We know, we know, it's hard to fathom that Tom Cruise can be such an effective macho guy. In this episode his character, Ethan Hunt, goes undercover after the IMF is shut down. His mission: clear the good name of the agency. Guess what? It rocks, a mesmerizing action ride so intense that it ranks among the year's best. Don't miss it.
War Horse (NR) Steven Spielberg probably won't be nominated for Best Director (he's never won an Oscar) but this film will lead the league in the Tears Shed category for sure. Bring hankies and enjoy the East Hampton resident at his best.
Detective Dee and The Mystery Of The Phantom Flame (NR) Chinese director Tsui Hark turns in a masterful murder mystery that should garner a best Foreign Film Oscar nomination. Set in ancient China, it is a who-done-it with many layers, incredible intrigue, and chilling scenes.
Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (PG-13) The prequel to the popular Planet movies in the late sixties and seventies (and the remake as well), this film uses actual apes instead of Charlton Heston et all. The technology is awesome, though, and the human actors ain't bad, either. Starring James Franco, John Lithgow, Brian Cox. Look for Andy Serkis as Caesar – he played Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Bridesmaids (R) Judd Apatow's latest takes an interesting turn from his usual – in which overweight ugly guys get incredibly good looking girls and make stupid jokes. Apatow, the producer, lets the girls take over in this one, and thanks to a smart and sassy script by Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig (who also stars) the movie has sparks of serious laughter and a thing or two to say about love, friendship, and feminine sensibility. Of course, it's gross and stupid in some spots, but that must be Apatow putting his two cents in. All in all it's a great Girl's Night Out movie.