Directed by James Bobin, 2011
Even if your total exposure to the world of the Muppets has been in a few old reruns of The Muppet Show, this movie is fantastic. It's hilarious and heartachingly nostalgic, with exactly the right amount of schlock and zaniness. Jason Segel and the writing team did a bang-on job of recapturing what made the Muppets so special. Plenty of fan nods and celebrity appearances round off this perfect Muppet escapade. It doesn't get better than this.
There Will Be Blood
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007
I'm really late to the game with this flick, but I finally watched it on DVD. I really didn't get this movie. Daniel Day-Lewis puts on a terrific performance, there are a few interesting clashes between his character and his devout nemesis Eli--played creepily well by Paul Dano--and the cinematography and scenery is beautiful, but otherwise, I didn't feel like there was much to the story or characterization. I didn't care about Daniel's motives, didn't understand or perceive the changes to his character...didn't really care about anything. I kept waiting for the shoe to drop, and it didn't. There were no real stakes, as far as I could see, and the conflict was minimal. Overall, a bit of a disappointment. Not exactly cheery holiday viewing, either.
Conan the Barbarian
Directed by Marcus Nispel, 2011
Jason Momoa's muscles star in this reboot of the classic Barbarian franchise penned by Robert E. Howard. The writing is...well, I'm not sure there was much writing involved. I could pretty much predict every single line out of Conan's mouth ("I don't want your gold...I want your head!") and though the field was left wide open for jokes, fandom nods and even--gasp!--character development, most of the film is devoted to a crimson-colored splish 'n' splash. There was a lot of fighting, and people in Conan's universe are apparently walking water balloons filled with blood. Blunt force trauma? BLAMO! Blood gush! Sword slice across the shoulder? SPLOOSH! Ruined your new armor! Got a paper cut? SANGUINE TSUNAMI! Rewrite that paper, Billy!
I did rate this above the critically acclaimed There Will Be Blood, however, because JASON MOMOA. ABS. RIPPLING TORSO. THOSE ARMS. THOSE EYEBROWS. With a special appearance by his shapely, muscly butt! (That alone should get people flocking to Netflix...)
Also, I've become a sucker for Stephen Lang, one of the only GPILFS on my list of Older Men I Might Procreate With If The World Ended.