Mini Movie Reviews: Zero Dark Thirty, Side Effects, and

zero dark thirty, side effects, admission

Zero Dark Thirty: This movie, about the search for Bin Laden, was fascinating and suspenseful. Like almost everything I’ve watched lately, it felt too long, possibly because there are two really compelling parts to this story: the actual search, and then the mission itself. Either of those stories on its own would have made for an interesting movie, but together they were pretty lengthy. Despite that, this movie is quite good – in large part due to Jessica Chastain, who basically stars in every movie nowadays (and not without good reason). As Maya, the CIA agent who ultimately finds Bin Laden, Chastain simultaneously portrays someone who is bad ass enough to stick to her convictions, but who also seems as confused and unsure of herself (and the methods she employs to find the truth) as any ordinary person would be. Grade: A-

Side Effects: I thought I would enjoy this movie more than I actually did; from the previews, I was hoping for some twisted-but-fascinating psychological drama. Instead, I got a movie that was mostly quiet and slow. There was nothing bad about the film per se – it’s well-acted and suggests some thought-provoking questions about modern medicine – but it just underwhelmed me. It also wasn’t too difficult to figure out what the big “twist” at the end was. I kept hoping for some cool reveal but, nope, it turned out pretty much how I suspected it might. Finally, I feel like between this movie and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I’ve now seen Rooney Mara portray the same character twice – the vacant, vulnerable, sullen girl. I hope she does something different for her next role. Grade: B

Admission: Where Tina Fey and Paul Rudd lead, I will follow, but I wish this movie had been better than it was. Admission is pretty much your standard issue romantic comedy, and while I love me some romantic comedies, I wish it had been a bit more inventive or clever than it was. Also, Fey’s character, Portia (who works as an admissions officer at Princeton) does something toward the end of the movie that I found pretty irredeemable, and that sort of turned me off from the film. However, despite Admission’s flaws, watching Paul Rudd be adorable for 1.5 hours is well worth the price of a ticket. Grade: B+

Image Sources: 1 / 2 / 3

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