War Horse (Steven Spielberg) **1/2 - This is the type of film director Steven Spielberg can pretty much do in his sleep. It is extremely old-fashioned style of filmmaking that's so predictable and by the numbers, it borders on parody but goshdarnit, it is beautiful to look at and entertaining to boot. The film strongly reminds me of a John Ford picture though nowhere near as great. Though it's not a bad film by any means, I felt this is sort of a regression for Spielberg of sorts whose filmography of the past decade is eclectic, intriguing and interesting (even his perceived failures).
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (Stephen Daldry) ** - The good news: This film is somewhat of an improvement from director Stephen Daldry's two previous works The Hours and The Reader
but the bad news: it's still not very good. I lowered my expectations
for this one so low that I actually didn't find it as nearly as
offensively bad as many people have said but the film definitely wears
out its welcome after a while. Thomas Horn is very good as the lead
character. I thought there was nothing wrong with his performance but
it's the character who I found a bit grating and this is coming from
someone who has touches of whatever quirky spectrum that this character
has. It would have been fine if it focused on how a quirky kid comes to
terms with loss but the 9/11 element gives it a bit of an aura of
self-importance which I found a bit off-putting.