My Reviews of “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, “The Artist”, & “Prometheus”. Should You Watch Them?

“Everything will be alright in the end, so if it’s not alright, it is not yet the end”.

That is the philosophy I’m taking as 2012 winds down and we head into the new year.  I like watching movies and since I have a lot of extra time now, I’ve watched a few more movies than usual.  Now, I just find myself falling dozing off and having to watch them over again!  Recently, we watched “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, “The Artist”, and “Prometheus”.

“THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL”

That quote that I started my blog with today is the philosophy of the 2012 British comedy-drama, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, which stars some of the respected actors and actresses working today:  Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, and Tom Wilkinson.

Made for only $10 million dollars, it now among the highest grosses movies of the year in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.  To date, it has a box office total of $134.4 million.  And, several of the of the actors have been nominated for awards including Dench, Wilkinson, and Smith.

Various misfortunes bring all of the characters together with the chance to start their lives over by taking a trip to a hotel in India.  Evelyn (Dench) sells her house to cover her late husband’s debt, Graham (Wilkinson) spent his first 18 years in India and went away to be a high court judge, but there’s something from his past that convinces him to take the trip back to settle an old score, Muriel (Smith) needs a hip replacement, but she doesn’t feel she can wait six months and heads to India for an experimental procedure, and Douglas and Jean are there because they invested in one of their daughter’s financial deals and lost their savings.

Once they arrive in India, they realize the hotel is not what was advertised and they deal with the new culture and the fear of having to go back home.  The young, inexperienced, yet dedicated hotel manager, Sonny, is played by Dev Patel, who gained fame in “Slumdog Millionaire”.

“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” is a heartfelt movie that makes you laugh, cry, and think about getting old and having to start over.

The only downside to the movie is that it cemented the fact that I never want to visit India.  Sorry, India.

GRADE:  B+

‘THE ARTIST”

I may be one of the last people to watch the movie that dominated last year’s award season.  “The Artist” was nominated for ten Academy Awards and it won five including “Best Picture”, “Best Director”, and “Best Actor” (Jean Dujardin).

It also won three Golden Globe awards, seven BAFTA (Britain’s equivalent to the Oscar) awards including Best Actor (Dujardin), and six Cesar Awards in France (including director and Best Actress Berenice Bejo).  It’s now the most awarded French film in history.

The $15 million dollar movie has earned $133.4 million in box office receipts.

The French romantic comedy-drama tells the story of an older silent movie star that doesn’t want to embrace the future of movies when “talkies” were introduced.  His star fades as the world goes crazy over the new movies with sound.

Interestingly enough, the movie was featured in black and white, but was shot in color.  And, most of “The Artist” is silent, except for two scenes with sound.  One is a nightmare sequence and the other is the final scene where three characters speak.

“The Artist” deserved every award it won and probably many of the ones it didn’t win.

GRADE:  A

“PROMETHEUS”

Director Ridley Scott’s fifth installment in the “Alien” franchise stars Noomi Rapace (star of the Swedish “Millennium” series, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played With Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”), Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, and Logan Marshall-Green.

The $130 million movie has a worldwide box office total of $402.5 million.

Even if you’ve never seen one of the “Alien” movies (like me), this is a stand alone motion picture for fans of science fiction.

The story opens with a very buff humanoid drinking a dark bubbling liquid as a spacecraft hovers above a waterfall.  The creature begins to disintegrate and he falls into the cascading water below.  The effects are too cool.

The movie fast forwards to 2093 and we’re abroad the space vessel, Prometheus, landing on a distant moon LV223.  The archeologists and other scientists aboard were directed there by a star map found years early in Scotland.

We learn that Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace) is sterile, but after having sex with her boyfriend, Dr. Charlie Holloway, she is pregnant.  All hell breaks loose as the scientists explore the distant moon with snake-like and other alien creatures wiping out several members of the crew.

The most intense scene is how Dr. Shaw handles her pregnancy.  Let me just say that the scene was very dramatic and you’ll wince with pain watching it and thinking about it.  And, it’s a good thing she made the decision that she made.

I can’t say whether “Prometheus” is a good “Alien” movie, but it is a great science fiction movie.

GRADE:  B

Anthony

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