grown accustomed to the rhythm of today's assembly-line excuse for romantic
comedies. They need to see what having your heart stirred is supposed to look
What makes this such a wonderfully entertaining movie on the subject of baseball economics and statistical analysis is its beautiful balance between wonky subjects and the romance of the game, told with a great sense of humor. "Moneyball" touches all of the bases.
What makes that happen is Brad Pitt's sublime, soulful performance as Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane and writer Aaron Sorkin's deft contributions to this rich human story of old-fashioned American ingenuity transforming the American pastime. Director Bennett Miller ("Capote") scores with a classy picture for adult audiences with a brain.
This year's funniest movie, from star and writer Kristen Wiig, is an intelligent, foul-mouthed comedy created by women that became a smash. Wiig's heart always shines through the naughty parts, her physical comedy is brilliant and the voice of the modern woman rings true. For those who say women haven't been fighting for respect just so they could talk dirty, I say: Get over yourself and recognize funny when you see it, such as Melissa McCarthy's scene-stealing role.
6. Win Win
Paul Giamatti cemented his status as cinematic everyman in "Sideways," and in "Win Win," he's the perfect choice to portray our national sentiment of "Hey, I'm doing the best I can here, but can I catch a break or two?"
That malaise -- and his character's moral slip-up, that one moment when an honest lawyer doesn't listen to his better angels -- is portrayed in the most amusing way possible in this excellent human comedy. Writer-director Tom McCarthy ("The Station Agent," "The Visitor") realizes that we had better be able to laugh at ourselves, or we'll spend too much time crying.
7. X-Men: First Class
This movie is proof that movies based on comic books can mutate into serious works of art, as well as seriously entertaining, whiz-bang summer blockbusters. This movie is great, and it's great fun as it mixes an action-flick mindset with clever comedy and bold, brainy storytelling. The most novel concept: populating a comic-book movie with people who can act. Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence (as Magneto, Dr. Xavier and Mystique, respectively) bring the fantasy to life.
8. Source Code
I love science-fiction movies that revolve around outlandish ideas and make me suspend my disbelief and end up rooting for the impossible. I love "Source Code," with Jake Gyllenhaal playing a U.S. Army helicopter pilot who wakes up in the body of another man, with the chance to stop a bomb from blowing up. The tick-tick-ticking of this plot device is absolutely Hitchcockian, and the picture is smart, funny and more romantic than I could have imagined. Filmmaker Duncan Jones ("Moon") shows he knows how to build a mystery, parcel out clues and keep an audience guessing until the end.
In what came to be known as "the cancer comedy," Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers the kind of performance that's so authentic and funny and touching -- but in a non-flashy way -- that it won't be nominated for any awards. But that
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