Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Movies Watched in 2009

These are the movies that I personally watched, with various combinations of our family members. That means, no, our younger children did not watch all of these with us!

Miss Potter--delightful movie about Beatrix Potter, the author/illustrator of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and many others. Inspiring.

Behind the Mask-- At A Hen’s Pace review here.

The Merchant of Venice—we watched this because it’s Shakespeare, and we had just read Lamb’s version. The acting was good, but there was too much nudity and a homosexual subplot that isn’t in the Bard’s tale. Yech.

Mulan—had to watch this one, since our theater group is putting this on as our next show! She's not my favorite Disney princess. This one's more of a boy's movie, with soldiers, battles and comedy provided by a horse, a cricket, and a dragon (voiced by Eddie Murphy) that kept my younger two giggling all the way through.

Slumdog Millionaire--if you missed this one, you need to see it. There is a torture scene at the beginning that is hard to watch, but get past that, and this is a wonderful movie on so many levels. Blondechick17 claims it as her favorite ever.

Death at a Funeral—a British slapstick comedy, complete with mistaken identities, bathroom humor and naked male bottoms. Can't officially recommend it. But we laughed a lot!

Lars and the Real Girl—now this was an interesting movie that all my therapist friends need to see! Lars is a repressed Scandinavian (a household joke to start with, since Papa Rooster is 50% pure Norwegian) who has issues to work through, so naturally, he orders an inflatable woman friend to work through them with. Sounds perverted, of course, and that's what everyone thinks until they realize otherwise, and then this becomes the story of a small town that humors and loves Lars to health. I wouldn't mind seeing this one again.

Jerusalem—we watched this with friends who love and own this movie. It’s long, it’s slow, and it’s subtitled, but it is achingly beautiful. It is based on the true story of a group of Norwegians who sold everything and followed a compelling preacher to join a commune of American immigrants in Jerusalem. It examines aspects of faith in those who left everything, and in those who stayed behind. Beautiful and moving.

Mamma Mia--our kids liked this one better than we, the grownups, did. As musicals go, this one was cheesy, had very little plot and no really memorable numbers. WE thought.

Bullets Over Broadway--this is one of Woody Allen's best, I think. The first line is "I am a writer"; the last line is "I am not a writer." It explores the question of what it means to be an artist, and to what extent humans should sacrifice for the sake of art. Thought-provoking in many ways. However, a lot more language and innuendo than we remembered, and I don't think our teens got enough good out of it to offset the bad.

My Cousin Vinnie--I can't help it; I love this movie despite the language and a few other problems. It's about a couple of New Jersey boys who get arrested in the deep South and wind up accused of murder. They call in cousin Vinnie Gambini, who just passed the bar exam (finally) and has never tried a case before, to defend them. Marisa Tomei won an Oscar for her role as the gum-smacking, New Joisy girlfriend whose knowledge of auto mechanics wins the day; her 80's fashionista outfits are a hoot! She's the main reason I like to rewatch this.

Clockwise--this is another one we love to rewatch, and it's perfectly fine for the whole family. John Cleese plays the always-prompt, planned-to-the-minute headmaster of a British public school. He's been invited to a conference to receive an award and give a speech, and once he leaves his own school, everything goes horribly, hysterically wrong as he tries to get to the conference on time.

The Curse of the Were Rabbit (Wallace and Gromit)--silly, clever, funny!!

Seven Pounds--Will Smith's character feels so guilty for causing 7 deaths in an auto accident, that he makes amends by killing himself, after selecting 7 deserving people who will be organ donor recipients. Well-done, but morbid and depressing. Christians know the message is wrong--there IS forgiveness available--but this movie is a powerful example of what happens when we set ourselves up as the arbiters of justice, instead of God.

The Importance of Being Earnest--oh, such a satisfying blend of wit, comedy and propriety. I could watch this over and over--and have! Oscar Wilde at his best.

A Christmas Carol--this was the most recent musical version, a Disney production with Kelsey Grammar as Scrooge. We love the old Scrooge, the Musical (with Albert Finney in the title role), but this one was really good too, a little lighter and happier.

Julie & Julia--At A Hen's Pace review here.

The Godfather--our teenage sons have asked so many question about the Mafia lately, that it seemed time to watch this with them. Bantam18 found it so disturbing he couldn't finish it; "this is evil!" he exclaimed vehemently. And it is, pure evil exposed for what it is. The chilling part is to see how one choice leads to another and another until a good man, determined to walk apart, becomes the murderous godfather of a mob family empire. (Here is a commentary on what Christians can gain from watching this movie.) I think it was good timing for B14.

GI Joe--Eh. Kinda fun, in a way, but too violent, with not just shooting and explosions, but multiple stabbings. And the violence was non-stop. I was disappointed that it wasn't more kid-friendly.

Cold Comfort Farm--this was the second time watching this one, and I enjoyed it a lot more than I did the first time, years ago, when I just didn't get it at first. But if you like off-beat comedies, this is a good one! It's about a young woman who goes to stay with relatives who are the weirdest bunch of country characters ever. The ending is unabashedly happy, and the comic moments are many, but strange. I'd watch it again--it's the kind of film that has more to notice each time.

And that's it! If you have movie recommendations for our 2010 list, let me know in the comments!!


Heather said...

Loved Miss Potter, watched Merchant of Venice ages ago and decided not good for the kids (on the other hand we have watched several Shakespeare comedies this year-- recommend Much Ado About Nothing and my fave Twelfth Night). Watched part of Rozencratz and Gildenstern are Dead with the kids yesterday-- lots of stuff to skip but the concept makes for interesting discussion. I enjoyed Mulan more than most Disney but then I don't like Disney and am not into girly girl stuff. Have been pondering watching Death at a Funeral as Netflix keeps recommending it so adding that. My sis-in-law told me we must watch Lars and the Real Girl so I need to remember that one. HATED Mamma Mia-- the message, the plot, the music, everything. Added Clockwise to my queue-- we love John Cleese and haven't seen that one. Wallace and Grommit is ALWAYS good. Glad for your comment on Seven Pounds-- almost watched it a few times but skipped it and am now glad-- don't like the message and my mom just passed this summer and donated everythign (praise the Lord) and I suspect it would be too much for me emotionally. Just watched The Importance of Being Earnest last week and can't believe I had never seen it. Brilliant! Already have Cold Comfort Farm in my queue and now glad I do. Prob see GI JOE soon but not in a big hurry.

Would heartily recommend Penelope if you haven't seen it, and The Golden Boys (both available on Netflix download play if you have Netflix.) Penelope is a lovely, sweet, unusual fairy tale with beautifully done surreal cinematography. The Golden Boys was listed as a romantic comedy but was more of a fun and sweet and thought provoking period comedy. Also just watched Neverwas which was the first movie to make me cry in a long time but in a sweet and wonderful way (and I hate crying at movies). It really was excellent-- great cinematography and a wonderful full plot with the perfect actors.

nroys said...

I'd like to hear your take on 2012, Avatar and Knowing. Thanks for the insights. I'll be watching several of those you suggested.

Papa Bear said...

From what I've seen of your sense of humor, you just might enjoy The Reduced Shakespeare Company - The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

Jessica said...

I second both Penelope and the Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged. (Saw the second live and it was hilarious.)

I've just requested both Clockwise and Cold Comfort Farm from the library. The first has John Cleese, the second Stephen Fry - sounds good to me!

Have you seen Stranger Than Fiction? That's one of my favorite recent movies. There is premarital sex (implied, not shown). But the plot is metafictional and just about perfect. And just at the very end you think they've taken the easy way out and ruined the whole film, but then there's an explanation that makes it all right again. It's close to perfect in terms of plot, I think.

If you want a romantic comedy, I recommend "Return to Me". It's my favorite because - unlike most romantic comedies - the hero and heroine are kind people. Most romantic comedies use huge personality flaws as the source of conflict, but this one doesn't. It also has a hero and heroine who have friends and family who they love and who love them - another unusual thing in romantic comedies, I think. I will warn you: the beginning is horribly sad.

If you haven't seen A Man For All Seasons, see that.

Hmmm, what else?

The Scarlet Pimpernel, the old one with Anthony Andrews and Ian McKellan. Just excellent all around. Romance, adventure, true love!

Enjoyed reading your reviews!