Festive Films: A Final Review

06/01/2012 12:23 GMT | Updated 05/03/2012 10:12 GMT

When I discuss Tom Cruise films with certain people they immediately announce a disliking for the man and thereby declare no interest in seeing his films. I ask why and get pointed in the direction of his beliefs in the controversial practice of scientology, his outburst on the Oprah Winfrey show, and his alleged suffering from what can only be described as Napoleon/small man syndrome.

That said, the man makes good films, and I try to direct peoples attention to some of his work, and start with the role he played in the film Magnolia. Not as widely known, in Magnolia, Cruise shows all his dexterity as an actor, playing a deeply troubled "life guru," who's façade of confidence and exuberant sexual openness was inherently transparent. There has never been any doubt over Cruise's acting ability.

Mission Impossible 4 is all you would expect it to be. Rip roaring from the start, this is a blockbuster that gives blockbuster its name. Big budget, big sets, stunts and expensive cars, little has been left to the imagination. This film has a lot going for it, especially if you see it in IMAX, as I did. It is worth noting Cruise performs all his own stunts, some of which are truly breathtaking. If you want to escape for a couple of hours and immerse yourself in spy-world, then you cannot really go wrong. The plot is just about tight enough, yet it is everything else that happens in the film, which makes it worth seeing. If that makes sense...

I give Mission Impossible Four: Ghost Protocol: 7/10

From one strong leading man in Hollywood to another, Daniel Craig. His latest film, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, an adaptation of Steig Larsonn's book, shows him playing a less beef-cakey character for a change. As a journalist who has a keen eye for corruption and investigation, he demonstrates more fragility and vulnerability in this film than that of roles he has played in the past. Rooney Mara, who plays his steely understudy, compensates for such vulnerability. The film is a massive hit, and does justice to the novel, weaving us through a narrative that uncovers everything from Neo Nazism to incest. It is worth pointing out that this film is not for the faint hearted!

I give The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: 9/10

The Descendants, George Clooney's latest film, is worth seeing on the basis of good acting, and that alone, for anyone in their right mind would not 'enjoy' the storyline per se. Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller, who play Clooney's children do a wonderful job in helping expose a family teetering on self destruction yet with room for optimism and reconciliation. The film centre's on Clooney's dying wife and the revelations that are unearthed as this is happening. A harrowing story is given moments of light relief through rare forays into the comedic side of Clooney and that of his two on screen daughters.

I give The (depressing) Descendants: 8/10