I figured I'd bring back the capsule reviews now that I'm seeing way more movies and we're getting into the fat part of the fall film season. I'll still try to update the sidebar, if only for posterity's sake.
Movie: A Mighty Heart
Director/Studio: Michael Winterbottom / Lionsgate
10 Word Review: Daniel Pearl's widow gets not-undeserved hero's treatment; could've hit harder.
Best Thing About It: Due to the fact that the movie is almost exclusively concerned with showing us Marianne Pearl as a beatific, strong, wordly widow, the movie rests entirely on Angelina Jolie's shoulders. She delivers, certainly -- it's easily the best performance she's given in nearly a decade -- but I have to wonder what she could have done if the film had challenged her more.
Worst Thing About It: With Daniel Pearl's death being so widely known before the movie even begins, the movie flirts with a lack of tension, which you'd think would be impossible. But that's what happens when your main character has nothing to do but sit at home and wait by the phone. You don't have to Hollywoodize this story to make it compelling, but you do have to dig into the characters a bit more than this movie does.
Best Performance: Jolie, certainly. Though I was also partial to Archie Panjabi as Marianne's closest confidant.
Oscar Prospects: If the right pieces fall into place, I could see Jolie nabbing a Best Actress nom, but already I'm seeing her pegged as the "celebrity" entry, as in "Well, such-and-such Deserving Indie Contender might get in. That is, if they don't value celebrity over merit and nominate Angelina Jolie." That kind of sucks if she gets pegged like that, because it's a better performance than that kind of statement implies.