Busyness, forgetfulness and general laziness prevent me from posting these on time.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Rouben Mamoulian) **** - This is my pick for my Halloween movie this year. The 1932 adaptation of the classic chiller features an Oscar-winning performance from Fredric March as the both characters. It's surprisingly racy and disturbing for its time which they got away with because it's pre-code. This was my second viewing of it and I just now noticed how inventive some of the POV camera angles were.
Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay (Antoinette Jadaone) **** - A documentary/mockumentary about Lilia Cuntapay, a character actress who has appeared in numerous Filipino films, mainly in horror movies playing creepy old women, ghosts and ghouls. This film goes into very surprising directions. It takes a little while to realize it's not really a full-on documentary. It's a weird hybrid between a career retrospective and a Christopher Guest film. Indeed, I would call this the best Christopher Guest film Christopher Guest didn't direct. It is often very funny, at times heartbreaking and even moving...sometimes all at the same time. You're guaranteed to fall in love with this scary-looking old woman. It's a real must-see.
Wreck-It Ralph (Rich Moore) **** - This is probably the best PIXAR movie PIXAR didn't do. That's a huge compliment. Well, the plot is, well, it's basically Toy Story with video games but that's not a bad thing at all. Wreck-It Ralph is a bad guy from a video game who wants to be a hero and of course complications ensue. It results in one of the most engaging, sweet, moving gorgeously animated films of the year. I'm no gamer and I have a fairly limited knowledge of video games though I caught a few references here and there. That being said, video game buffs will find tons of enjoyment here while non-gamers will simply be swept away by the story. A fantastic score too! Man, it's a strong year for animation.
Skyfall (Sam Mendes) **** - I've heard people say this is the best Bond film since Goldfinger. They are right. It ticks off everything a Bond movie should have: Outrageous, eye-popping action scenes? Check. Sexy ladies? Check. A great villain? Check. A good dose of humor? Check. A great theme song? Check, check, check and check. Add to all those checks is a more emotional hefty, rather complicated story and all of it shot by the great Roger Deakins. Seriously, as a cinephile, some shots here are jaw-droppingly gorgeous. This is Sam Mendes' first foray into pure action popcorn and winning an Oscar for the overrated American Beauty aside, I will argue that this is probably his best film work (from at least the ones I've seen) since he just dropped the need to Oscar-bait and concentrated to make a good film. And he did. Hope he goes into this direction from now on!