Over the break, the Daily Beacon's Arts & Culture editors spent their time sleeping, watching bad made-for-TV movies, and seeing as many films in the theater as financially feasible. These Christmas movies covered the cinematic spectrum; from excessive biopics to understated tall tales, this holiday season brought a slew of engaging and challenging films to audiences – whether they were ready for them or not.
Claire's Take: Martin Scorsese's latest project is disgustingly excessive – and that's how it is supposed to be. The film portrays the real-life story of Jordan Belfort (played excellently by Leonardo DiCaprio), a Wall Street con man who made millions of dollars ripping people off. The film is also excessive in its length, with a run time of just over three hours. It is at times incredibly hilarious, but after the two-hour mark, Belfort's greed and Jonah Hill's voice start to wear on you. You will leave the film with the strong urge for a shower. (9/10)
Claire's Take: Disney's "Frozen" is visually spectacular, and it shines with an incredibly musically gifted cast which includes Broadway actress Idina Menzel. The plot is also refreshing, complete with a character twist and a slightly "Brave"-esque ending. "Frozen" is a bit of a divergence for Disney, and they did a better job giving girls more well-rounded princesses that they should actually aspire to be. (8.5/10)
Cortney's Take: "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" brought to the screen exactly what was expected, plus a little more. With such high standards set by the original film, the sequel was just different enough to stand out.The original cast was great, as well as the new faces. The standout of the newbies was Kristen Wiig, the love interest for the stupid yet sweet Brick Tamland. Wiig brought the same randomness as Brick's portrayer Steve Carrell, yet had enough uniqueness to create a perfect pairing of the two. What this sequel lacks in memorable ridiculous quotes, it gains in substance. Will Ferrell was presented with opportunity to take Ron Burgundy to a level of maturity through the idea of having a real family. Was "Anchorman 2" enough to support a third addition? Maybe not, but it definitely deserves a spot among the best comedies. (8/10)
Claire's Take: "Walter Mitty" is remarkable for its sheer storytelling ability. The plot seems more like a tall tale, and much of its beauty is found in its rich impossibility. Mitty transforms from a shy daydreamer into a rugged adventurer through events that, while improbably put together, remind us not that our dreams can become a reality, but that it is a mistake to stay in our dreams and forget to live. It is that spontaneity, that sense of adventure in Mitty, that makes this film both complex and entirely accessible. (8.5/10)
Claire's Take: The Coen brothers' subtle portrayal of a folk singer (Oscar Issac) is a softer contrast to the sometimes bloated blockbusters of the holiday season. The music drives this film and is excellently executed by the likes of Marcus Mumford, Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan. Isaac plays the angst of his character with snarky humor, and seeing him navigate the folk scene in the 60s is entertaining, if a bit melancholy. (9.5/10)
Cortney's Take: "American Hustle" is possibly the best film of the holiday season. It touches on human relationships and interactions that the common person does not usually experience, yet it does this in an understandable way. The characters are relatable in their innate sense of morality. The exceptional cast takes risks to bring the individual personality through on screen and performs above the standard set for them. (9.5/10)