A Mighty Heart: Honestly, it’s just so good to see Angelina Jolie in something other than a tabloid or a big-budget, broad-stroke, hopeful blockbuster. This movie allowed her to interpret a character with some depth, and it was a nice reminder that she is—whatever else she may or may not be—a woman of acting talent. It reminded me of why I fell in love with her in Girl Interrupted. A far overdue pleasure. (And of course a sad and tragic story)
The Year of the Dog: Here, Molly Shannon gets to demonstrate the deeper ranges of her talents. This is a strong performance that may force us to think differently of her, although I’ve always sensed a certain tragic understanding beneath many of her SNL characters. She gets something. This is Mike White’s directorial debut. (He also wrote it.) Some of his previous work is pretty lackluster in my opinion, but he was also a writer on Freaks and Geeks, the quickly canceled and now—in my opinion deservedly--uber-appreciated television series. I have an annoying habit of, three minutes into a film, listing the three possible plot outcomes with a self-satisfied roll of the eyes. The Year of the Dog made me look stupid. If possible, go into this one cold. Don’t even read the DVD cover.