• Monthly Movies,  Movies

    Monthly Movies – August 2015

    Selected films that I remember watching in August.

    August

    The Wind Rises (August 2015) – I cried. I love Hayao Miyzaki. Beautiful.

    John Wick (August 2015) – I saw this in August. Loved it. Can’t wait for the sequel.

    The World’s End (August 2015)- Hot Fuzz was better.

    Only Lovers Left Alive (August 2015) – Tilda Swintonw + Tom Hiddleston = Love.

    The Grand Budapest Hotel (August 2015)- Gorgeous. Ralph Fiennes in one of his most lovely roles. Lovely Saorise. Wes Anderson at his best. This may even eclipse my love for Rushmore and equal to Fantastic Mr Fox.

  • Monthly Movies

    Monthly Movies – May 2013

    For the last couple of months, I’ve been watching mostly TV and rewatching movies and shows. I don’t think I watched a new movie for almost two months until War Horse.

    War Horse (18 05 2013) – Review Here.

    Kinky Boots (25 05 13) – I remember seeing the trailer for this back in 2005 o 2006. I’ve liked Chiwetel Ejiofor since Dirty Pretty Things and the man should be more famous. He is wonderful in this film. It is fun and underrated. The romance aspect of the movie is a bit trite and boring though. It should have just focused mainly on Ejiofor’s character Simon/Lola and the friendship with Charlie Price. I would still recommend this film just for people to see Eliofor.

    Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (26 05 13) – I could have watched something funnier, but I just wanted something to knit along to for a Sunday night. Since I’ve read the book and seen the original Swedish movie, I thought it would require less attention. I’ve had the movie for awhile too because I adore Daniel Craig. I would watch a whole movie of him and that cat. It was interesting and realistic to see people smoking for once in an American movie. In any case, great acting all around. While I loved Noomi Rapace’s acting, Rooney did a great job here too. She was physically very Lisebeth. I felt the Mickael/Lisbeth hookup was rushed in this film compared to the other one, but these two actors had more chemistry than the first film. I was not crazy about the music. They changed the ending and some of the details, but they elaborated on the ending a bit more. Then it ended rather abruptly just like in the book. I think overall, the Swedish version does edge out this one. I’ll watch the sequel, but I really only liked parts 1 and 3 of the series.

    Notably Rewatched

    Howl’s Moving Castle – Hayao Miyazaki is one of the few people I consider geniuses. His movies touch me and make me feel good without being too contrived or cliched. He really captures imagination and creativity. I’ve been rewatching a lot of his movies in the last year, and not sure which to pick next. Though none of them can do wrong. The movie reminds me that I should read the book one day.

  • Monthly Movies

    Monthly Movies – March 2013

    Taken 2Taken 2 (01 03 13) – Liam Neeson is awesome. I liked the hand on hand fight sequences, but I found the plot and villains of this one even weaker than the first film. Istanbul definitely feels less dark than in Paris. As with most sequels, it was not as good as the first, but it was still good to watch Neeson taking names and shooting guns. I honestly think his Bryan Mills is a better action character than most. His name isn’t exactly as good as some others, but he makes up for it with experience, dedication, and awesomeness.

    SkyfallSkyfall (05 03 2013) – A stranger spoiled me on this film in passing and didn’t know it. That really irked me because the movie was not even on DVD at the time. People shouldn’t spoil others on films that aren’t even 3 months old. That irritation aside, I found this movie slower paced than other Bond movies which is why a lot of people disliked it. I liked it because of the focus on characters. I adore Judi Dench so watching more of M was fine with me. I usually like Javier Bardem, but Judi overshadowed the guys in this including Ralph Fiennes (who is only 5 years older than Craig – not the same dynamic). What a good cast though and they even had adorable Ben Whitslaw. Not crazy about the two Bond girls though. There were definite plot holes, but oh well. This was leaps better than the mundane Quantum of Solace, but it won’t really replace Casino Royale. I still love Daniel Craig aka Mr. Rachel Weisz as 007 though.

    The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (09 03 2013) – This felt exactly like the book: slow and anticlimactic until they improved it by adding that one big scene. Honestly, I think the director Bill Condon has made a movie that has surpassed in its writing. I don’t like the story or the characters so I rolled my eyes as usual, but they have made a movie which has respected the fans and the material. I found out Condon made Kinsey which I liked; I do think these are the best films in the series. Still, I hope Michael Sheen did some nice things with his pay cheque as he is the only actor from this that I would follow anywhere.

  • Monthly Movies

    Monthly Movies – February 2013

    The BodyguardThe Bodyguard (10 02 13) – Kevin Costner is good looking in this though I was not of fan of those high waisted trousers. Oh, the 90’s. It is a sad movie to watch because of Whitney Houston. She looked wonderful in this movie and I was reminded by her beautiful voice. The plot was melodramatic. I actually found myself a tad bored of it, but kept at it because of the actors and to see the ending. Rachel was very annoying. This is an utter cheese fest. I read that this was panned, but Roger Ebert, like me, believed there was some chemistry between the actors. Costner’s character and in a lot of roles I see him, is very restrained, but that does not mean he is cold.

    Game of Thrones: The First Season (11-12 02 13) – Review here.

    Notably Rewatched

    InceptionInception (04 02 2013) – I primarily rewatched for the suit porn of JGL and Tom Hardy. Then I followed it up with a “BBC Horizon” documentary on dreams. Good themed viewing. I don’t list documentaries as much anymore because in general I forget. I don’t watch that many docs. Anyway, Inception is great even if you just watch for the visuals. It may be my favourite Nolan film.

  • Monthly Movies,  TV

    Monthly Movies – January 2013

    The Dark Knight RisesBatman: The Dark Knight Rises (03 01 2013) – This was long. I think I got a headache from watching it. Batman (DCAU) is part of my childhood, but Nolan’s Batman will never be my Batman. I can’t imagine Batman giving up for eight years in seclusion or even saying goodbye to Alfred. Nolan really made sure Batman lost everything though: his money, his city, his identity, Afred, but I did like the ending of this film. This film felt like two films though. There was perhaps a little too much going. I thought the casting was great in all parts. I like Tom Hardy, but I wasn’t really in love with his Bane voice or his portrayal until the very end. Marion Cotillard is amazing in anything. But really, the stand out for me was Joseph Gordon-Levitt whom I continue to adore and have since “Third Rock from the Sun”.

    A Young Doctor's NotebookA Young Doctor’s Notebook (17 01 2013) – This is a TV mini series. I don’t watch enough TV or movies nowadays for them to get separate posts. This four 22-minute episode series stars Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe playing older and younger versions of a Russian doctor the 1934 and 1917. It is based on stories written by Mikhail Bulgakov (one of Radcliffe’s favourite authors). The plot is rather thin, and it’s more a psychological analysis of the doctor. Hamm and Radcliffe talk to each other as the former reminiscences about his earlier self. It’s on the gory side and there are a couple of sexual situations (no nudity) with Radcliffe aka Harry Potter. While I don’t imagine Radcliffe when I read the Harry Potter books, he is still one version of Harry so it weirded me out to see him in those situations. Still, there is some really dark funny moments for it, but this series is not for everyone. The ending is dark which is typical of Russian literature. Not really a light series.

    ScandalScandal (22-23 01 13) – I watched all of season one and caught myself up to date with the episodes of season two. This is an addictive show, and I have not really liked Shonda’s writing, but her team is doing a decent job of the writing. The serialized procedural aspect is not often interesting and usually all about sex scandals. A couple of the characters are a bit flat. Of course with a lot of shows I watch, I overlook the writing for the actors. Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn have some best on TV. I am definitely an Olitz shipper. I also adore Olivia Pope’s wardrobe. Good show.

    Cloud Atlas (29-31 01 2013) – Movie and book review posted here.

    Notably Rewatched

    Sliding DoorsSliding Doors (earlier in January) -I skimmed this to all my favourite i.e. all the scenes with John Hannah. I’ve seen this film at least four times. I do see the gaps in the plot and the timeline, but it is a dramatic rom-com so I can’t be too hard on it. This is still the only movie where I find Paltrow tolerable, but is very thin in this movie.

  • Monthly Movies

    Monthly Movies – December 2012

    LabyrinthLabyrinth (11-12 12 12) – Wow, I loved this movie. I missed out on this classic growing up. Apparently it did poorly at the box office and with some critics. In any case, I’m sad that Jim Henson was disappointed that this tanked. I like Henson’s works on the Muppets, but this is in a different league. It’s slightlt dark, fun, and classic tale of growing up and friendship. Also, DAVID BOWIE! He wears really tight pants in this that should make this film PG-13. He is one of the only men I can think of who looks good with that much makeup. I prefer Bowie with short hair, but his wardrobe was rocking it. I really wouldn’t want to show this to any young girl because there seems to be a lot of sexual and romantic tension between a 15 year old girl and a Goblin King who looks twice her age (and probably way more since this is fairy tale). I often find myself being tempted by the villain and in this, I did want to spend forever with the Goblin King. Too bad the baby was in the way. I’ve seen Jennifer Connelly in only a couple of movies, but she was pitch perfect here. She demonstrated that growth of a young girl to a young woman seamlessly. One thing I like about 80s films is there are a lot of great teen actors and teen stories. Also, the special effects in this were excellent and it reminded me of a time when effects weren’t just on the computer. The puppets really helped make this very real. I could write more, but it’s almost a perfect movie for me in many ways.

    Just a GigoloJust a Gigolo (16 12 12) – The things I do for David Bowie. Apparently, this movie was panned and even everyone associated with it is embarrassed. It is not a good movie. David Hemmings said that he wanted an ironic and tongue in cheek take on interwar Berlin. It is actually both these things, but in the package of a very slowly paced and badly written story. It does have its funny moments. The mauseoleum scene had me laughing out loud. The problem is that it wasn’t funny enough and the movie felt emotionally disjointed. The protagonist Paul is the opposite of Davie Bowie: repressed, awkward, and frigid. His acting isn’t that bad in it, and if you’re a true Bowie fan, you can at least appreciate he looks very good in this film. The film itself had good historical details, but I’m grasping here. Marlene Dietrich’s last two scenes weren’t all that either and the ending was depressing. I don’t recommend this unless you really want to see David Bowie looking good in 1920’s clothing.

    From up on Poppy HillFrom Up on Poppy Hill (27 12 2012) – While this is not one of the best of the Ghibli films, it is a lovely film. The animation is wonderful as always and so is the music. The story did make me cry or that could have been because I was sick and thus, moody. The plot is weirdly melodramatic, but it is touching in terms of friendship and also as a picture of Japan in the 1960s. Definitely a must for any Ghibli fan.

    Notably Rewatched

    SabrinaSabrina (11 12 12) – Gosh, I love Audrey Hepburn. Her smile is amazing. No one in movies has a smile like hers anymore. She is radiant in black and white filmography too. This isn’t one of her best movies and in general, this movie isn’t even that good. Still, this is early Audrey and thus, very charming resplendent in a lovely Givenchy wardrobe. Billy Wilder always makes things at least somewhat fun. He’s one of my favourite directors. The ending is romantic too.

    Funny FaceFunny Face (11 12 12) – I was sick so I had a Audrey Hepburn marathon. I noticed that in both Sabrina and Funny Face, she gets kissed very early on. I forgot they use to do that a lot in older films where the kissing comes early on and the final scene is usually good old fashioned embrace. Audrey is adorable in this film and allegedly, this bookish character is one of the closest to the real Audrey. Even the transformation of the character from nerd to supermodel showcases how her beauty goes from cute charm to classic elegance. As a musical, it’s mediocre since the songs aren’t very memorable. I’m not a big musical person in the sense I obsess over them, and I do like them. I just don’t memorize the songs or rewatch them a lot. The memorability is that this movie was shot on location in Paris and other visuals. I adore Fred Astaire. He is my favourite dancer so this pairing of him and Audrey worked for me. When I watch Audrey movies, I’m often envious of her wardrobe. In this movie, I was envious of the wardrobe and the fact she got to dance with Astaire. He is quite funny in this too. I love the movie pokes fun both at the fashion industry and counter-culture. Definitely one of my favourite Hepburn films along with Roman Holiday, Charade, A Nun’s Story, and Two for the Road.

  • Monthly Movies

    Monthly Movies – November 2012

    This was a busy month for movies because I was finishing a sweater so I had lots to do while watching films.

    Whisper of the HeartWhisper of the Heart (04 11 2012) – Another lovely and wonderful Ghibli/Miyazaki film with great soundtrack and music. There are cute allusions to other Studio Ghibli films as well. At the core, this is another coming of age story with themes of growing up, first love, unrequited love, and hope for ever lasting love. The story is about trying to find yourself and having faith. I didn’t know when I started this that the spiritual sequel would be The Cat Returns which is the film I planned on watching after this any way.

  • Monthly Movies

    Monthly Movies – October 2012

    The AvengersThe Avengers (October 28th 2012) – Finally got around to watching this. I even had a dream about this movie last month. In the dream, I was tempted to side with Loki and I kinda was during the movie if only because Tom Hiddleston is very charismatic and really steals all his scenes. The only other person to rival him in the cast charisma was Robert Downey Jr. I liked the other actors OK, but they really didn’t hold up to RDJ and TH. Otherwise, it was a decent action flick and Whedon’s script made sure all the Avengers had a vital role in the climactic scene. It wasn’t as funny as I thought it would be, and I felt the team was good, but perhaps needed another member to balance it out. Colbie Smulders impressed as well, and I wish she got more roles than just being in “How I met your mother”. She needs a get a bigger role in the next Avengers movie; I’d be willing to ship Maria Hill/Captain America. All in all, very few directors could have done as well with this movie than Joss Whedon and the supporting character death count was low for Joss too so yay. Fun stuff.

  • Monthly Movies

    Monthly Movies – August and September 2012

    I only saw two things in August: “Northanger Abbey” 1986 (24 08 2012) and “Pride and Prejudice” 1980 (27-8 08 2012). Both reviewed in Austen Adaptations.

    September

    Best Exotic Marigold HotelThe Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (08 09 2012) – I knew I would love this movie when I heard about it. Stellar cast, lovely setting, and touching storytelling. It had some slight moments of cheese, but it is such a nice feel-good movie.

     

    IntouchablesIntouchables (09 09 2012) – I have a European friend who recommends a lot of French movies to me because i have generally always liked French movies. She told me about this one when it came out on DVD in France some months ago, and since it has taken the theatres here in NA, I finally got around to it. The version I saw did not have subtitles which means I understand most of everything in the movie, but not all the little nuances. Still, you don’t really need to know a lot the language since the humor and beauty of this film comes from largely from what you see and from the actors. The two actors have expressive faces and Omar Sy is one good looking man. A lovely human film.

    Father GooseFather Goose (23 09 2012) – Got this for Cary Grant. I’d never heard of this film before. It stars Leslie Caron too. It’s a bit slow paced and not the best classic or Grant movie, but it has its cute moments because of Grant. He is decidedly undapper in this role. He is not as suave and very Bogart actually. The girls in the movie are rather annoying at times though.

     

     

    Notably Rewatched

    My Neighbor TotoroMy Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away (09 09 2012) – Hayao Miyazaki is a genius. I only use the word genius rarely. To me, Miyazaki is one because he puts down in words, film, and animations such things that are part of all of us. He is able to capture emotions from when we were younger and there is such a beautiful optimism and realism in his works. Spirited Away I really can’t stress out how much I love his movies. Totoro is light and amusing. It has no real plot other than being a wonderful time with some fun characters. Spirited Away is amazing in every way and the most romantic of all of Miyazaki’s works, and in some ways, one of the most real in terms of growing up.

  • Monthly Movies

    Monthly Movies July 2012

    Magic MikeMagic Mike (29 07 2012) – Generally, I don’t really go to movies in theatres anymore because I can wait for the DVD. I also am use to watching movies alone, but the hype for this movie and how fun it was got to me. So I gave in and thought it would a good idea to go with a good girlfriend of mine and her friend too. It was fun; the dance sequences were very good. I went in going for Channing Tatum and left not feeling very impressed with anyone else. Most of the other dancers were not explored. Matthew McConaughey was standard greedy, unctuous business owner. The soundtrack was decent, but other than that, this movie doesn’t have much going on aside from the dance numbers. There was too much plot. I would have preferred just to watch a long music video of male strippers. It really was the only good thing about the movie. I knew going in that Cody Horn would probably not be good. In the scene where she sees him dance on stage, she looked angry and bored. I don’t think that was what the actor was going for. She was boring and had no chemisty with Tatum. While heis not the most talented actor ever, he is charismatic and has decent chemistry with many of his past co-stars, but with Horn, they had none. There was too much plot, and I kept thinking, “Forget this emoness and talking, let’s go back to the dancing”. Also, the writing was a bit lame. Why were the college guys in the sorority scene? Secondly, I have liked Steven Soderbergh in the past, but with The Girlfriend Experience and this, I have not been overly impressed with his work lately. His casting and certain visual choices leave some things to be desired. This movie had some very yellow scenes. I guess it was to emphasize the atmosphere and the location of Florida, but it was too golden sometimes. In any case, who cares about acting, plot, direction, and cinematography? The only reason I and any woman (or gay man) would see this again is for the dancing and the grinding scenes.

  • Monthly Movies

    Monthly Movies June 2012

    A lot more movie watching this month due to a heat wave and knitting.

    Sherlock Holmes Game of ShadowsSherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows (13,15 06 2012) – Had some decent action sequences, but didn’t seem to have the impact of the first film. I do like the chemistry between RDJ and Jude Law though. I am not a huge JL fan, but I feel he is a great Watson. I love his and Martin Freeman’s the best, and he slightly edges over the latter by being a tad more badass. It was also surprising to see Lane Pryce as Moraiarity and to watch Lisebth Salander as a gypsy. All in all, an ok sequel, but I will keep watching.

     

     

    Black SwanBlack Swan (15 06 2012) – Yes, I finally saw this. What a trip. This movie was creepy and messed up. There is a reason why I haven’t watched Darren Aronofsky movies until now. I don’t watch horror films in general and this borders on that with psychological thriller. I found this movie was a tad too long. As a ballerina movie, I prefer The Red Shoes. I think it was worthwhile to see BS because it seemed everyone I knew had seen it. Why are there two major film works about the nature of ballerinas and self-destruction? I guess it is a harsh art form. The dance sequences were good. I liked the Black Swan stage dance the most. Good casting with all the females. I’ve watched Natalie Portman in a number of roles. She has been an ingenue for a long time. Since The Professional, her role as the innocent beauty has been cemented. She is the most innocent and fragile in this movie and also the reverse. It’s not really a surprise she won the Oscar for this role. I’ve liked Mila Kunis since “That 70s Show” and am glad she got this role to elevate her career. I do think some images from the film are memorable enough and it does stay with you.

    ShameShame (20 06 2012) – Ahh, Michael Fassbender, how I adore thee. This movie lives up to its hype, it was well shot, had great acting, emotionally difficult to watch, and had a fantastic soundtrack. It was also very realistic in its awkwardness and depressing tone. Most of the sex scenes in this movie are very unsexy. The more you watched the film, the sadder it became. Like Ebert, I found this movie great, but I doubt I will watch it a second time because of how real it was.

     

    CleopatraCleopatra (21-22 06 2012) – The most expensive film ever made. Epic, lush, and with a star studded cast, this was probably one of the last epic films of the pre-1970s film era. It’s always fascinating to watch such films before computer generated graphics. Rex Harrison was the right Caesar. Richard Burton was over the top, but Elizabeth Taylor looked fantastic. She was gorgeous and had such an amazing wardrobe. I believed the Cleopatra romance with Caesar but, I didn’t see how Cleopatra fell in love with Mark Anthony. I guess it was just love at first sight for both of them. Octavian is an ass through this whole film and oddly flamboyant for a general. This movie flopped at the box office and no surprise because while extremely well done, it was too long. I had to fast forward through some of the second half. It was dragging. Unlike say “Ben-Hur” or “The Ten Commandments”, this movie doesn’t have the Christian connection which probably made audiences less likely to watch it all the way through. I’m glad I watched it, but I don’t think I could rewatch it just because it really wore on.

    BeginnersBeginners (25 06 2012) – A sweet, slow and reflective film with a great cast. How can Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor ever be wrong? It was also lovely to see M√©lanie Laurent again after “Inglorious Basterds”. Plummer is lovely, but Ewan is so quiet in this role. I rarely have seen him so vulnerable. Also, I liked the Jack Russell terrier.

     

     

    Death on the NileDeath on the Nile (25 06 2012) – This should have been called Deaths on the Nile. This was a bloody one. I don’t remember much of prequel Murder on the Orient Express, but I think I saw it. I any case, I know I have seen this Poirot before. It’s an amusing film like most Christie adaptations are. They shot it on location in Egypt and it looks good. The costumes and the cast are the best parts. Angela Lansbury’s character spends the whole thing drunk. David Niven looks only about ten years older than he did in he 1930s; I do like the Niven. I found Mia Farrow believably English in this too. I also like Poirot pops up everywhere and randomly eavesdropping on everywhere.

  • Monthly Movies

    Monthly Movies May 2012

    Escaflowne the movieEscaflowne: the movie or Escaflowne: Girl in Gaea (05-06 05 2012) – I am trying to remember if I watched this film before, and I don’t think I did. I did watch all of the anime in the 1990s though. It is probably one of my favourite animes in terms of how memorable it was for me. The visuals and soundtrack in this film are good, just like the anime was. Hitomi is a tad emo in this though. There were some weird monologues going on and a lot of rushed characterizations. Folkien was two dimensional and everyone kept talking about how sad they were. Still, this is a decent intro to the anime series in that it only makes you want to watch the anime again.

     

    She's the ManShe’s the Man (23-24 05 2012) – Notably Rewatched. ALl the genderbending and crossdressing from the Heyer novels reminded me of this. I really like Twelfth Night so I watched this a couple years ago. This movie is cheesy but underrated. It has a cult following in a way. It is a feel good movie and is immensely rewatchable.

    I only watched one new movie this month. I was taking a certification so I was in school for most of this month and my hobbies suffered. Still, I am watching less movies nowadays. I prioritize reading and knitting over films now. Furthermore, I tend to watch more tv shows. I think the quality of TV has actually improved over the years so I follow more shows.

    I do still like watching movies, but I can live without watching too many. There is a difficult in that I hoard films so I have a large queue of unwatched movies.