I've been fortunate enough to squeeze in three movies over the past couple of weeks (between marathons of Star Trek: Voyager with the wife). I hope to watch The Wrestler soon, but since I began a three-week teacher training course today, it will be difficult. Anyway...
Defiance was pretty good. Very inspiring. Some things seemed a bit unclear to me at first, namely the Bielski brothers' motivation and background. But it's a good, true story, and Daniel Craig's fine acting job is outshined, in my opinion, by Liev Shreiber's performance as Zus (pronounced "Zoosh").
Gran Torino was a must-watch for me, as I enjoy old actors playing mean old men. And Eastwood's Walt is mean. The movie was a little predictable, but it was still enjoyable to watch, though if it had been anybody but Eastwood I would not have watched it. Clint's still got a bit of The Man with No Name and Dirty Harry in him, thankfully. Maybe we need that in these hyper-P.C. times.
As far as I know, Outlander went straight to DVD. It's "Beowulf meets Predator," according to the coverbox art, and that's a pretty accurate label. I usually hate those kinds of labels, but here it's perfectly applicable. Good casting, with Jim Caviezel as a kind of Space Marine-slash-planetary colonizer, John Hurt as the Viking cheiftain (who'd make a magnificent Gandalf!), and Ron Perlman playing one of the meanest Vikings you'll ever see. The special effects are good, with a couple of exceptions; and the script is straightforward, lean, though a little overly sentimental at times. The great thing about this film is the plot itself; it's so well-thought-out, and the story so well-executed, that it almost cannot help but be a good movie, casting and special effects aside. The worst thing was some of the character naming... "Boromir?" I mean, really.