Monday, January 16, 2012

A Winter Movie Post

Tonight the Golden Globes were presented in Hollywood to honor 2011’s film and television.  Watching the award’s show isn’t really a priority for me. I like knowing who or what received the honors but I don’t like all the extra entertainment that makes the ceremony 3-4 hours long. Sometimes, if I’m very interested, I’ll record the show and fast forward all the extras.  This year however, I didn’t have much of an interest.  Many of the movies nominated weren’t shown in more than a theatre or two in Los Angeles before being nominated.  It seems odd that they can be nominated even if no one has really seen them.

Since my winter break lasts a month, I’ve been to quite a few movies.  I love going to the movies when I’m on vacation.  Unfortunately, since my breaks coincide with kid breaks, about half the movies out while I’m on vacation are kids’ movies.  I did manage to catch some good flicks…

J.Edgar – Leonardo DiCaprio was outstanding as Hoover.  I can’t say it was a great movie because Hoover was such a sad, angry little man which was depressing, but it was very interesting and very well done.

New Year’s Eve – I must admit, I had no desire to see this movie.  Some friends and I went to see “Valentine’s Day” a couple of years back and it was awful.  NY’sE seemed like a very similar, ensemble-cast romantic comedy.  I was finessed into seeing it, convinced I wouldn’t like it.  But actually, it was kind of cute.  Not an award winner, but it did entertain me for the two hours. 

My Week with Marilyn – The story of Marilyn Monroe’s 1950’s trip to London.  The movie was well done, and I thought Michelle Williams did a great job playing Monroe.  It was a nice movie and not too long or drawn out.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – Since my alter ego is an international spy, I liked this movie a lot.  It is based on author John le Carré’s George Smiley books.  It takes place in London during the Cold War where Smiley is tasked with finding a double agent in MI6.  It’s slow moving, and you must pay very close attention because there are a lot of characters and flashbacks.  I found it fascinating.

We Bought a Zoo – Based on a true story, a widower decides to move his family to the country and buy a dilapidated animal park.  Matt Damon makes my heart go pitter patter, so I would have liked this movie no matter what.  However, it was a very nice movie.  The little girl who played his daughter is adorable and the animals are the stars of the movie.  I’m a crier at anything sentimental so I cried during the entire last half of the movie.  It would make for a really good family movie night.

War Horse – WOW!  This movie was incredible.  Based on the Broadway play which is based on the book, Steven Spielberg directed this movie about a boy and his horse.  It is epic!  The movie spans the time of the birth of the “war horse” to the end of World War I.  The horse is amazing, and the boy trains him to be even more amazing.  The horse is then shipped off to war where he continues to be amazing throughout the war.  Being a horse lover, I cried like a hundred times during the movie.  If you are an animal lover, bring a tissue.  I’ve heard the reviews say that it is very gory, but I thought the war scenes were quite tasteful.  The gore is implied more than shown…in my opinion.  GO SEE IT!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – I read and LOVED the Stieg Larsson trilogy which begins with TGWTDT.  The trilogy was so freaking exciting that it has basically ruined every other book I’ve read since – I can’t seem to get that adrenaline feeling back that I had reading those three books.  So this movie was highly anticipated.  I saw all three of the Swedish films, and they were so well done and so true to the books.  I was a little weary of “Hollywood” remaking it as they always seem to mess up the great books, changing details that shouldn’t be changed.  Alas, this version was also quite true to the book.  There were a few minor changes or things left out, but that is forgivable.  Journalist Mikael Bloomkvist (Daniel Craig) and quirky P.I. Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) solve the “murder” of Harriet Vangar.  The cinematography is gorgeous and haunting.  I went home and ordered the three books from the library again, feeling the need to read them again.  So good!

Joyful Noise – Ehhh, this was the only movie I’ve seen so far this winter that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy.  I probably wouldn’t have seen it, but my mom was in town and wanted to go. Dolly Parton and Queen Latifa play a pair of church choir singers.  The movie and the music are pretty churchy, but it was well sung.  If you’ve seen the preview, you’ve basically seen the movie.  I do need to mention that I did cry at the end of this one too, but that’s just because I’m a big baby, not because it was emotionally riveting.

Descendents – Again, because it stars George Clooney, I’d probably have liked Descendents regardless.  Based on Kaui Hart Hemmings' book of the same name, a work-a-holic father must begin parenting his two daughters after his wife is involved in a very bad boating accident.  Hawaii is a main character in this movie as the family visits three of the islands for various reasons.  It wasn’t a fast paced movie, but it was very real – issues that real families face.  I saw this movie twice -once with friends and once when my mom came into town as, ironically, it WASN’T playing in Hawaii.  I think this is a tear jerker for most, but after the death of my dad in Hawaii and the spreading of his ashes in the ocean on an outrigger, this movie hit very close to home.  I was a mess…both times!  While writing this, George Clooney received the Golden Globe for this movie.  He did a good job, but I think Leo should have won.  Sorry George.

Shame – Actor Michael Fassbender plays a sex addict.  His sister (Carrie Mulligan) is messed up in other ways.  It’s basically artsy porn, which is fine.  I’m just thankful I didn’t take my mom to see that one.

With one week left of vacation, there are three movies that I still want to see…
Contraband – with Marky-Mark Wahlberg
Haywire – Another spy movie
Iron Lady – Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher

Did you take in any movies this winter?


  1. I don't know when I went to the cinema last. It's not decades, least I don't think it is anyway.
    The le Carré I'd like to see if only to check if it matches Alec Guinness and the '79 BBC rendition.
    I'd like to see the 'play' of Warhorse not so much the film. I've heard some spectacular reviews of the stage play. It could run and run for years, they were that good. It has puppets for horses !!!!.
    Well, they didn't lynch Ricky Gervaise, always a fervent hope. They were making noises in that direction last year, when they didn't like some Brit git taking the piss out of them.

  2. WOW, Ive just realised how little i go to the movies now that Ive seen your list. LOL
    However I agree I loved Warhorse... my son is reading the book now. ANYTHING with Matt Damon in I love -- oh apart from Brothers Grim.
    I loved the swedish Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, so good actually I have no desire to watch a Hollywood remake.
    thats it for me.. I haven't seen the others, nice blog post.
    Jennie. x

  3. I'm glad that you said that TGWTDT was good. I was also a little worried. But my question is, why remake it at all? I have no problem reading subtitles.
    I really want to see Iron Lady. That should be great!

  4. @vince - yes! I can't wait for war horse to come out to LA. It looks magnificent. Who knows when that'll be though since its run in London and on Broadway is going so well. They sure did want to lynch Gervais last time around, but the commentary on last night's show is all about how he wasn't cutthroat enough.

    @jennie louise - how's the book? I'd planned on seeing Hugo as I read that one to my students and it's brilliant, but there were some malfunctions to the movie the day we went and we had to leave the theatre.

  5. @mark - that's how I felt when I heard about the remake. But I WAS pleasantly surprised.

  6. Thanks for the movie reviews..I miss Grandma J's weekly matinee reviews...I don't get to the moives much but I did see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo...I too loved all 3 books and saw the Swedish moives...I was also wary, but thoroughly enjoyed it! I like this Lisbet better- she was more how I had visioned her while reading...but I like the other Mikael as he was more rugged and not so gorgeous as "James Bond."

    Enjoy your Monday off!

  7. Oh...yes one more thing...those 3 books have ruined every book I have read since also!!! Nothing compares and I find myself needing some suspense.

  8. That zoo movie had me crying like a baby. I would love to visit their zoo!

  9. @marey - I've heard a few others say the same thing about lisbeth. They felt the Swedish one was too old. I thought they both did a good job. Yah, I agree that Mikael wasn't written to look like James Bond, but I'm not complaining. :)

    @becky - I thought the same thing, especially since the movie takes place just outside of Los Angeles, but when I looked it up the zoo that this story is based on is actually in Southern England. Yep, blowing my nose type crying!

  10. I'm proud to say I saw 2 of your movies! I still want to see War Horse. How are you liking (or not) Hunger Games?

  11. @jlo - ehhh, it's ok but not a genre I like reading. I'll read the first one for bookclub but won't be reading the rest.

  12. I have not seen any of those movies. I am not even sure most of them have made it over here yet. I am still waiting to go see The Muppets. So you have review on that one?

  13. Also I was going to say that I would like to see Joyful Noise because Dolly Parton is in it... but I didn't want all the religious stuff. So maybe this is a rental once it hits the cheaper weekly section.

  14. @hula - no didn't see the muppets yet, although I am a fan. I figured I'd watch it at a later time, maybe for a reward for my kids at the end of the year.
    Dolly is adorbs, like usual. But it is churchy! Yah save your money and rent least I got to use a gift card for our theatre tix!

  15. Her concerts have very religious parts to it, but I didn't seem to be put off, mainly because I know she is open and loves everyone, that she isn't singing the songs to "convert" the "sinners", if you know what I mean. And in a sense it became a more intimate show because she really gave you peak at her soul.

    It might be alright since Queen Latifah is a lesbian and Dolly Parton is a female drag queen.

    I am not sure I can handle it in a movie, though. On the flipside, I love traditional christmas carols.

  16. I really want to see the Zoo! I wanted to see the Muppets, but no one would go with me.

  17. I tend to see movies once they reach netflix. I am going to see War Horse, as Mr BC and DD2 saw it last week and said it was wondrful.

  18. Well. I have seen absolutely zero movies.