A relatively light week in movie-watching with two very solid rentals.
Greenberg (2010). It's an unusual drama about Roger, a man with behavioral issues (not entirely unlike Asperger's) who tries to stop living in the past. No one likes him. He's abrasive, selfish, impulsive, and many are not afraid to tell him. But one woman, a free-spirited caretaker named Florence, warms up to him and the two form an unlikely bond. Ben Stiller, in a welcome departure, is remarkable as Roger, a character so polarizing that the film could have sunk if handled carelessly. Greta Gerwig is a revelation as Florence; she finds the right balance of assertiveness and naïveté. It's a charming performance. Greenberg is a smart, engaging little film, also featuring strong supporting work from Jennifer Jason Leigh and Rhys Ifans. 3.5/5
The Fighter (2010), a Best Picture nominee and box office crowd-pleaser, is a stunning showcase for Christian Bale. It's a fantastic, visceral performance, well-deserving of the win. Amy Adams was much more heartbreaking to me than Melissa Leo; Adams really sold that tough-as-nails bravado and her scene with Bale on the street toward the end was as strong as anything she's ever done. It's a very good film, especially in the last act, as Bale, Leo and Adams got the chance to step back and see how they were damaging Micky Ward. The kid was torn apart - he had loyalties to every single one of them. Wahlberg fully commits himself to the role of Micky, but unfortunately was overshadowed by his showy supporting cast. The Fighter, while not exactly Best Picture material for me, was a nice stretch for the talented David O. Russell. 3.5/5