Something's Gotta Give (2003) **1/2- Ultimately a bit of a missed opportunity. Too bad. Check out my full review.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Extended Edition) (2001/2) **** (Second Viewing)- For me at least, this is the definitive version of the film that started all this Ringsy madness. Never really gets old.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Extended Edition) (2002/3) **** (Second Viewing)- Ditto. You see where this is going...
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) **** (Third Viewing)- If I tell myself I'm not obsessed, it must be true, right? Right? Heh, heh...
OT: Our Town (2003) ****- A highlight in an amazing year for documentaries. This does fly by at a breezy 77 minutes (which some may take issue with), but it grabbed me almost instantly and didn't really let go for the entire time. Being as I am into drama and theater, I did feel a sort of personal connection with it. That does not at all make the film any less potent; in addition to showing each subject in a fully rounded fashion, OT is a living, breathing testament to the (underrated) value of the arts.
To Be and to Have (2003) ****- Another of the cream of the crop of this year's extroardinary docs. This is, in a way, a calm mediation on inter-generational respect; it is indeed the mutual respect that makes the subjects of the film, a dedicated schoolteacher and his students, enjoy coming to school so much. Imagine that. However, it is really the more specific episodes involving the children that encompass most of the warmth and humor that has made the film so deservedly loved.
Big Fish (2003) ***- This isn't quite Tim Burton's masterpiece, as some had claimed (I admit I have a soft spot for Sleepy Hollow), but it certainly is a nice milestone to put on his resumé. The film succeeds primarily as a whimsical, mystical tone poem. The tales it guides us through are somewhat intoxicating, as the visual liveliness never really lets down. What dissapointed me is that we all knew Tim Burton could do that without really breaking a sweat. He misses out some on the relationship between the father and the son; on top of this, the protagonists all seemed completely one-dimensional. But if you figure in a final act that is genuinely moving and the spell the visuals cast, Big Fish is an overall success.
The Mothman Prophecies (2002) **- Still not quite sure how I got suckered into seeing this one. If you're looking for some "fun crap" that will hold your attention on a rainy day-- well, I guess this one fits the bill. Other than that, the only real reason to see this is Laura Linney's performance. This film takes up most of its time convincing the viewer that this is a supernatural whodunit/mystery, but towards the end it awkwardly morphs into a fable about dealing with death. While I appreciated what the filmmakers were trying to do by adding that extra-thin layer of depth into the film, the whole thing is too messy, and the focus of the film is too meandering, to add up to anything meaningful.