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Quickie Review: Dolittle

I often skip the “kids movies” since my nieces and nephews have aged out of them. But I will generally make an exception for animation, musicals and anything with Robert Downey Jr. Dolittle has the latter. After years of playing Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes, and other PG-13 and R-rated characters, Downey wanted to make something his younger kids could see. Thus, we have Dolittle – a sweet, harmless, sometimes goofy film reminiscent of the family-friendly comedy adventure films of my youth. It won’t displace the 1967 Rex Harrison version (with music!), or Eddie Murphy’s 1998 take on the classic tale; but for a new generation, this re-imagining of the doctor who can communicate with animals is superficially satisfactory. It’s got enough heart and animal shenanigans to entertain the kids and placate most of the adults in tow.

Brooklyn

Brooklyn is a beautifully crafted old-fashioned story about a young Irish immigrant coming to America in the 50s. Saoirse Ronan (Hanna, The Grand Budapest Hotel) plays Eilis who is struggling to find her place in Ireland and jumps at the chance to emigrate when Father Flood (Jim Broadbent) offers to set her up with a job and a place to live in Brooklyn. The excellent script by Nick Hornby (About a Boy, An Education) adapted from Colm Tóibín’s 2009 novel deftly mixes comedy, tragedy, and romance, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Iron Lady

Meryl. I think she deserves to be known by one name by now. What an actress! What an amazing variety of roles she has played in the past few years: It’s Complicated, Julie & Julia, Doubt, The Devil Wears Prada, Mamma Mia! and so many others. Now she brings us another of her memorable performances as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. Unfortunately, it is not all that good a movie. Yes, Meryl is her usual great self, but Maggie just is not likable or layered. And the script does not help.

Another Year