And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

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The biggest star of Everest is the mountain itself. So if you plan to see the movie, you’ve got to spring for the IMAX 3D. Bring popcorn – and oxygen! In many ways, the movie is reminiscent of Gravity (which I liked visually, but disliked narratively), only this time, the action takes place on a mountain instead of deep space. It’s an immersive experience that offers a glimpse into what drives certain adventure-seekers to pay big money to forego hot showers, oxygen, and terra firma, in a potentially fatal effort to summit the world’s tallest peak. The movie is based on the true story of one deadly day on the mountain: May 10, 1996. Climbers from two expeditions got caught up in an unexpected, violent snowstorm while making their final ascent toward the summit.

The Book Thief

The Book Thief opens with a voiceover by Death, so you know from the get-go that all is not right with the world, or with the story that’s about to unfold. But it’s not a suffocatingly dark movie. In fact, I tend to describe it as ‘Anne Frank light.’ The central character, Liesel (Sophie Nélisse), is a pretty, spunky, and courageous young girl who’s sent to live with foster parents (Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson) in Nazi Germany in the late 1930s. She becomes obsessed with books, even before she learns to read them. Those books – and the power of words in general – become central to Liesel’s relationship with her foster father and others, including a Jew that the family hides during the height of Hitler’s purge.

War Horse

A boy and his horse are at the center of this Steven Spielberg family drama, adapted from the Tony winning stage play, which was an adaptation of a children’s book. It is a typical Spielberg film, tugging on your heartstrings to the emotive strains of John Williams. Set in the beautiful English countryside, a strapping young lad, Albert, witnesses the birth of an amazing horse and watches as he matures into a gorgeous thoroughbred. Then in a stroke of luck, when he comes up for sale, Albert’s father is crazy enough to buy him, instead of a plough horse, which is what they really need. But unfortunately, World War One soon separates the young man from his beloved steed named Joey, and the film follows this incredible animal’s odyssey through the war and finally (and miraculously) back to his favorite human.