By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Wed, December 01 2010 - 8:57 pm
movii parvae et interrupti
Dec. 1, '10 Red Riding 1974: A little too sadistic for my masochism. Doesn't mean I won't see the second of the trilogy!
Dec. 2, '10 After.Life: Just too weird. Does she or doesn't she? And what's with the immature swipe-everything-off-the-table ploy when something happens that you don't like? Lack of imagination?
Dec. 3, '10 Iron Man 2: What - did he regress even more? Well, I guess that just happens when you think you are dying? I really wanted to see this on the big screen, but those wonderful holographic effects are better than ever, even on a small one.
Dec. 4, '10 Boogie Woogie: Cold comedy about the world of Art.
Dec. 5, '10 Into the Deep: The kind of documentary that makes you drop your jaw at your own ignorance of America's economic history and so obvious a subject as Herman Melville. Now maybe I can finally brave the deeps of Moby Dick. (Actually I tried to read it half a lifetime ago and failed. Maybe I'll get it on my Kindle and spend the next ten years reading it in the deep of night!)
Dec. 6, '10 Moby Dick: Powerful film. Were those real whale deaths in the mid-fifties movie? Very psychologically interesting, what with Starbuck turning... oops! Don't want to ruin it for you!
Dec. 7, '10 The Red Violin: Epic around an object. Been done before with a painting as the subject. Very interesting, but the end? Didn't build up enough sympathy or rationale for that ending, in my book. And too many people didn't play the violin before they bought it. Real musicians know that it is sound that counts.
Dec. 8, '10 Red Riding 1980: Heroes going... but no, I don't want to ruin it for you. I'll let it ruin itself for you. Is this more like real life? Probably....
Dec. 9, '10 Please Give: Too much about death and the misfortunate to be ha-ha, but involving. Offers a lot of psychological insight without blocking the growth of your own thoughts about the nature of man. Hmm... a comedy? Why do we divide the theatre between comedy and tragedy? Isn't it just a matter of which character we empathize with?
Dec. 10, '10 "Don't Look Now": There's realistic creepy, and that's bad enough. Then there's supernatural creepy, and that's too bad. I don't like it.
Dec. 11, '10 Red Riding 1983 (or whatever): We must be compulsive, or we might not have watched this third of the trilogy, and we got fed up pretty quickly. Accents difficult for us, and watching this movie has been like solving a jigsaw puzzle or looking at a messy pieced landscape.
Dec. 12, '10 Four Christmases: How complicated life has become! And no more rational, evidently, or what would there be to laugh at?
Dec. 15, '10 The Sum of Us: Sweet, tender family film. With a twist.
Jan. 8, '11 The Perfect Murder: Or everything but. Wonderful colorful views of India, and this one calls for a bigger TV screen, at least. Odd and whimsical.
Jan. 9, 11 Frantic: A thriller which thrills but the moral of the story? Well, to my mind very practical, but watch it and see!
Jan. 10, '11 White Ribbon: This director seems finally to have made static scenes have emotional movement. Really lifelike in its refusal to tie up - ha, ha just realized I kind of made a joke.
Jan. 11, '11 Hope Springs: Huh? What do Americans think the English think of us? That we would rather kill ourselves quickly, hopefully taking out a few others with us than slowly, from lung cancer? How is the female lead endearing? Am I crazy, or is the film industry crazy? Last night I wrote blandly that we enjoyed this film. And after the first insanity, we kind of did. But really, would you want your young, impressionable daughter or son to see it? A big black X for all-too-plausible bad behavior.
Jan. 12, '11 Backdraft: Super-thriller for those who want to feel warm in two feet of snow, and sit on the edge of the sofa.
Jan. 13, '11 Abandoned: Just not a good enough script to be really exciting. She's sick, all right, but not - well, you can do way better than this for a thriller.
Jan. 14, '11 The Bad Seed: I read the play forty years ago and remembered what it was about. I bet the ending is different, though. I'll have to go back and read the play again. It is basically a stage play. Compare it to Black Swan and see how far cinema has come!
Jan. 15, '11 The Girl Who Played with Fire: Number two of Stieg Larsson's trilogy, another masterful story. I can't recommend the books highly enough, and the movies don't fall short.
Jan. 16, '11 Monsoon Wedding: Wonderful. Some images I will never forget, so charming and magical are they. Also an example or two of fine moral courage.
Jan. 17, '11 A Cry in the Night: One film that even Meryl Streep cannot manage to save. Maybe should have been a documentary. No better than okay.
Jan. 18, '11 Duplicity: Amoral fun in which you can comfortably laugh at all the characters. Nobody should have won - more I will not say!
Jan. 19, '11 Citizen Kane: My third viewing of this highly rated movie. I'm trying to figure out why so many see this as Number One. The cinematography is wonderful. The acting is often mannered and/or over-the-top. But I often snoozed, the way I would in a documentary. And the failure to deal with Kane's response to the deaths of (oops, don't want to ruin it for you!) seems like a gaping flaw.
Jan. 20, '11 The Milk of Sorrow: Steeped in one mood throughout, like a short story. Visually beautiful and interesting characters. Really bizarre circumstance.
Jan. 21, '11 Planet of the Apes: Lord, I waited forty years too long to see this movie and either I've outgrown it or the movies have or both. The end was almost worth waiting for, though.
Jan. 24, '11 The Namesake: Another great Indian film from the same director as Monsoon Wedding, this time set in India and America. Very moving.
Jan. 25, '11 Amelia: If you want to preserve the mystery surrounding Amelia Earhardt's disappearance, don't see it! I do recommend it though. Much of it is bathed in the same golden light as Nair's other films. (Don't like it as much as the others we've seen lately, though. Not as much life!)
Jan. 26, '11 Last Stand at Saber River: Never underestimate Elmore Leonard's ability to conjure up another bad guy! Good (bad) entertainment.
Jan. 28, 11 Georgia O'Keefe: Living in Santa Fe for thirty years, I heard a good deal about Georgia O'Keefe and have seen some of her art. Some of it is wonderful. This movie, thoroughly worth watching, will fill in some more detail about Georgia. I did not realize she knew Mabel Dodge Lujan!
Jan. 29, '11 Silverado: A fine shoot-up!
Jan. 30, '11 Older Than America: One of those "inspired by real events" movies which makes you wonder how much of it was "real" events. I rather enjoyed the mix of spirits.
Jan. 31, '11 ? I forget. Maybe it will come back to me.
Feb. 1, '11 Box of Moonlight: The title turned me off (an unfortunate combination of poetic and not!) but I tried to watch it anyway. You can show stupid people doing stupid things if the dialog is clever and interesting, but it wasn't. I stopped watching. If I'd been in the theatre with someone who wanted to stay, I probably would have gone to sleep.
Feb. 2, '11 Library closed so we watched two on TV. Lonelyhearts good Lord there were bitter nasty characters in that one! But worth seeing once, maybe. Five Easy Pieces was another one with a cast of unforgettable characters. Well worth seeing more than once! (Not for the piano playing, though. What she finds moving I find wanting.)
Feb. 4, '11 Seven Years in Tibet: I must have seen it years ago unless that Tibetan who worked at Cloud Cliff Bakery was in more than one movie! Why more of it didn't stick with me, I can't imagine, because it was a pretty interesting flick! I'd like to see all that magnificent scenery again on the big screen.
Feb. 5, '11 Hysterical Blindness: Ay, yi, is that how Mira Nair views Americans? I'm beginning to think she has cultural bias to the point of blindness. Or maybe I'm just putting too much emphasis on one film. I was impatient with the well-acted main character from the beginning. Almost walked out on this one. Just too painful? I really was hoping for a little broader use of the title subject, but what was I expecting, a documentary?
Feb. 7, '11 Truman: About the President Harry S. Had no idea of some of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering or that President-elect Eisenhower - but no, wouldn't want to ruin it for you!
Feb. 8, '11 Gaslight: I remember being told about this movie when I was a child, and it has always held a fascination for me. Finally saw it, and am even more fascinated! I love it!
Feb. 9, '11 The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest: The third of the "girl" trilogy by Larsson, and another very good film. But ah, I read the book very recently and the film is sooo foreshortened and abbreviated! I don't remember the other films being like that but maybe I just had time to forget. At any rate, well worth seeing. The book has just that much more stuff in it that it should be read. In fact, if you have time, read the book first. I'm sorry that the trilogy is over. So well done I don't know if we will be able to bring ourselves to watch the American version.
Feb. 10, '11 Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring: Beautiful and simple. So natural is the setting I wish I had seen this in a movie theatre big as life.
Feb. 11, '11 Good Night, Mister Tom: Fun to see John Thaw in a role other than Morse, but it's kind of similar after all. A good family Masterpiece Theatre creation.
Feb. 12, 11 The Bear: I think this director maybe picks the movies he wants to film so he can be in gorgeous terrain. We enjoyed this film, but I was more than ready for the bears to hibernate by the end. Makes you a little envious of bears. They get to enjoy the warm weather and check out for the winter.
Feb. 13, 11 Lawn Dogs: Interesting in beginning and cool end, but what a pile of unsavory trite nonsense in between!
Feb. 14, '11 The Tailor of Panama: High farce. A surprise from LeCarre, but then I haven't read him in years.
Feb. 15, '11 Twelve: Cold. Boring. I don't think we watched it for twelve minutes. It wasn't pornography, but it sure didn't seem to have any socially redeeming value. Of course, we saved ourselves from it, so who knows.
Feb. 16, '11 Welcome to the Riley's: Maybe I could fault it, but why would I want to? Warm and interesting. Believable with (mostly) likeable characters.
Feb. 17, '11 Kolya: Czechoslovakia and Russia intermingle in the characters of this film set in the late eighties. Enthralling in a gentle kind of way. Coming-of-age film about a sixty-something musician.
Feb. 18, '11 Little Fish: What an inbred mess of a plot. Not that it isn't well done - no danger of falling asleep. But whew! Another practically almost soulless set of materialists. Suffering! And angry! Worse than a nightmare, honestly, because deader.
Feb. 19, '11 Private Benjamin: I'm sure boot camp is never this fun-ny. Light laughs.
Feb. 20, '11 The Piano Teacher: Portrait of a very troubled woman. What is with these Europeans who live with their parents forever? It seems more the norm there. Well, probably not, but here is one woman who should get away from her mother. Almost like a monogram, with this director's trademark static moments.
Feb. 21, '11 Lars and the Real Girl: Much more benevolent treatment of mental illness here. Sweet. Great definition for "being a man."
Feb. 22, '11 Money Never Sleeps: Do you believe the last scene? I'm not sure I do!
Feb. 23, '11 I Am Love: Interesting use of distance and space in this movie. The most sensual love-making scene I have ever seen on the screen, although much of it is metaphorical. But although non-judgmental, the message is crystal clear.
Feb. 24, '11 A Place in the Sun: Pretty faithful to the novel, An American Tragedy, now I feel I should reread it to see if the first love is really as - oops! wouldn't want to ruin it for you!
Feb. 25, '11 The Kids Are All Right: Nobody in that family is all right, and a brilliantly portrayed Nick takes the cake. Not only is she an insufferable snob and oppressively controlling, she gets to be self-righteous, too! Well, okay, (grudgingly) the kids are probably going to be okay.
Feb. 26, '11 Secretariat: Great horse, great story, and some surprising great faces, too! Loved it.
Feb. 27, '11 Shine: Ah, the gift of genius in the arts! That goes for film-makers, too!
Feb. 28, '11 The Curse of the Jade Scorpion: Cute.
March 1, '11 Inspector Bellamy: Maybe this inspector and some others whose approach I have read in French mystery novels reflect the French judiciary, who have a completely different system from ours. More dialogues in search of the truth.
March 3, '11 Carrie: Another movified Theodore Dreiser novel, as it happens one of my favorite novels, Sister Carrie. No movie can replace the book, of course, and since we couldn't see the ending on our stuck-up DVD, I really can't comment.
March 4, '11 Mr. and Mrs. Smith: Nonstop action and funny if you can divorce yourself from the slaughter. You are meant to, and I for one did. It's all just nonsense anyway.
March 5, '11 Crosscreek: A mostly gentle flick about an author I should have read as a girl. I saw The Yearling on the shelf often enough but never picked it up. High time, and I'm kind of looking forward to it now I know it is set in Florida.
March 6, '11 Raging Bull: So well done! Too bad it is about a world I have trouble being interested in. And I hate seeing men get macho with each other. Dysfunction abounds.
March 7, '11 The Extra Man: I'm ambivalent about this one. It has some interest, but at times I got restless and it seemed pointless. The young lead seems too mono-affective. Not a boo, but not a triple yay either.
March 8, '11 The Falls: Crappy dialog, but it promises lots of falls and it delivers. Muddy noir. Thumbs down.
March 9, '11 Greenberg: No more heroes. Now no more anti-heroes. This antitagonist (my invention for the opposite of protagonist, not to be confused with antagonist) is a sadsack crank. I wanted to leave during the party. Booring.
March 10, '11 Suddenly, Last Summer: Whew! Now, that was a great movie! I was full of foreboding and anxiety almost from the beginning. The language is beautiful.
March 11, '11 Factory Girl: Ouch. This is a story that hurts an admirer of Andy Warhol. Or any human, really. Sad, sad tale.
March 12, '11 The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood: Mixture of comedy and abusive family pathos and what could be comfortable wealth.
March 13, '11 The Path of the Wind: If I were lying catatonic in a hospital bed listening to this movie, I'd die to get away from it. As it is, forgive me, I just stopped watching. Dialog lame.
March 14, '11 The Oxford Murders: The hero too easily discouraged by argument to be the rabid investigator here. Or something. It's missing something. Maybe heart. We did enjoy it, though. Kinda.
March 15, '11 Don't Say a Word: Whew! Good all-American thriller that even tried to jerk my tears at the end. Impressive, really!
March 16, '11 The Secret in their Eyes: This is a good'un. Twist, twist, twist!
March 17, '11 Before Night Falls: If you wonder how the common man felt about the Cuban revolution, this film may not help you. The uncommon man makes it clear that Castro could be a real bigot! Some surprising faces here!
March 18, '11 Notes on a Scandal: What a small narrow gem of a movie this one is! Brutally honest acting.
March 19, '11 :
March 20, '11 November: Put the pieces of the puzzle together if you can. Experimental.
March 22, '11 Murder by Death: Consumately silly. I enjoyed some of the jokes, but in fact was lulled to sleep by the film.
March 23, '11 Howl: What made Ginsberg a household name. Wonderful combo of documented word, documentary and animation.
March 24, '11 Empire of the Sun: Whew. This is one to cry about. A successful epic endeavor.
March 25, '11 Raintree County: Dang! Another book I'll have to reread. Read it in high school. Enjoyable movie, but loooong.
March 26, '11 Croupier: We enjoyed this low-key deadpan tale and the peek at the inner workings of a casino.
March 27, '11 The Sicilian Girl: (Literally, the Sicilian rebel.) Based on a true story, this is one of those movies that make me feel I have my head in the sand. What was so important in my life that I didn't hear about this when it happened? Work, work, work, I guess. This is a must-see really. What the mother does at the end? Really happened. The bad part, anyway.
March 28, '11 Three Days of the Condor: Well, after seeing all the unheard and unimaginable stuff that really does happen, why not this? A thriller more believable now than when it was created, perhaps.
March 29, '11 Princess Ka'iulani: A brief history of the takeover of Hawaii by the USA centered around the princess who should have been queen. Some romantic fiction thrown in (along with some upper lip work I bet) but certainly entertaining.
March 30, '11 Miss Potter: Charming and heartfelt as her drawings, with some of her misfortunes included.
March 31, '11 All Good Things: Would everything have been different if...? Well, maybe this is a "true" story, but something's missing. Essential communication between humans, for one.
April 1, '11 Two Days in the Valley: Siskel and Ebert gave this one two thumbs up. I was just beginning to think maybe they had made a mistake, when no! Four thumbs up!
April 2, '11 A Blueprint for Murder: We enjoyed this whodunnit with a suspenseful ending.
April 3, '11 The Last Train Home: A documentary that starts with issues of getting home for the holidays, but ends up being oh so much more. A documentary that didn't put me to sleep even though I was sleep-deprived.
April 4, '11 Closer: Interesting. Kind of approaches pornography but seems to have a lot of psychological validity. Is the title a triple pun? The American turns out to have the most - but no, don't want to ruin it for you!
April 5, '11 Paris, je t'aime: "How do I love you?" Let a bevy of talents count the ways!
April 6, '11 You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger: Oh, my, this one is ironic and amusing! What follyful April fun!
April 7, '11 The Birth of a Nation: Spare yourself this eternal homework assignment in bigotry!
April 8, '11 Lemon Tree: An interesting portrait of a border dispute. What border? Watch and see!
April 9, '11 Glengarry Glen Ross: This horribly good movie made me more anxious than Laurel and Hardy when I was six, or crime thrillers now. Well done, and boo!
April 10, '11
April 11, '11 Tinker tailor soldier spy: First two parts of a mini-series. I fell asleep. Boy, this one dawdles around a lot!
April 12, '11 The American: We liked this level treatment of a very unsavory profession. Or do I just love George Clooney and he can do no wrong?
April 13, '11 Withnail and I: Weird, funny, unbelievable - one bizarre character, Withnail.
April 14, '11 Leaving: What starts out unconvincing ends up appalling. Somehow the title is overly understated. Ha.
April 17, '11 Dogtooth: The strangest film we have seen in a long time. Lunacy in the name of love.
April 18, '11 The Banger Sisters: Zany and endearing, but don't expect "truth!" Well, in some ways you can.
April 19, '11 The September Issue: A wonderful documentary about the publication of one issue of Vogue, featuring two very savvy professionals.
April 20, '11 La Chevre: Not-so-sublimely silly, but full of chuckles - albeit sometimes reluctant ones.
April 21, '11 Please Vote for Me: Documentary about a grade school class monitor election in China. Unbelieveable! I don't even remember our high school elections being like that, but then I was out of it. How much of these kids disingenuity is their parents!?
April 22, '11 Bewitched: Somehow I suspect this whole film was built around Nicole Kidman's cute nose twitch, and deservedly so, but Will Ferrell is one of the funniest guys around today also. Even the male audience loved it!
April 23, '11 Inglourious Basterds: This one had my heart beating fast. Brutal with polish as only Tarantino and the Coen brothers can be.
April 26, '11 Once Bitten: So much fun to see vampirism mocked! Fun with a noteworthy dance interlude.
April 27, '11 The Cove: The understated but somewhat sinister title does not betray the content of this documentary. Another one that must be seen. These guys (and one female diver) are amazing adventurers.
April 30, '11 Colors Straight Up: Watts up, Hollywatts, and a story of inspiration that could have come out of the ghetto in the sixties. There is another pun in there that I have forgotten. This is all about giving young people something other than a double negative to help them grow.
May 3, '11 Dinner for Schmucks: Comedy, but the message that at least the "idiots" could make their lives interesting without the smart dudes comes over loud and clear. Who are the schmucks, anyway?
May 4 - 6: We have had a lot of trouble with DVDs lately. We saw some TV shows during this time (on DVD - Rosemary and Thyme) which we enjoyed, but I'm trying to limit myself to non TV items. Having said that, I guess I have written about some stuff that originally appeared on TV. Oh, well.
May 7, '11 Small Island: A story of Jamaicans in Jamaica before and England after World War II. We enjoyed this story and the actors in it.
May 8, '11 The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman: Groundmaking, maybe but kind of disappointing. The old lady make-up (as so much old folk makeup during that period) was awful, and the scratchy voice of her narrating her tale, though perhaps authentic, was maddening. Maddening! Still, an interesting account of one black woman's experiences.
May 9, '11 Inhale: Displays a really seedy side of life. The darkness of the cinematography emphasizes it. Interesting but depressing.
May 10, '11 Mile 8: Really for younger folk than I, but interesting to see a little of Eminem's tale, and now I know what he looks like! Lots of trash-talking without the sports.
May 12, '11 Everything is Illuminated: Bizarre in an off-putting and endearing and magical way.
May 13, '11 Death Becomes Her: Saw this and didn't like it when it came out, and either my humor is now more declasse or I've gotten more used to nasty visual effects. A whiff of Jonathan Swift.
May 14, '11 Desk Set: Hah! New age - then, and I don't mean the Age of Aquarius. The prescient thing is, I have some of the same troubles with the Internet as... well, don't let me ruin it for you. Romantic comedy. Zesty.
May 15, '11 Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus: As off-the-beaten track as Diane Arbus' work. Much more furry fun for us, though, than for Robert Furry er, I mean Downey, Jr. I bet.
May 17, '11 Hello Again: What good is an after-death experience if you can't remember it? Oh, yeah, it's good for some laughs. Being clumsy myself, I guess it is consoling to see someone worse. Or is she?
May 18, '11 Ocean's Eleven: Love these techno con plots with a starstudded cast!
May 19, '11 Bad Girls: Bad girls, bad film. Fun to look at the pretty girls, but as my partner said, if the dialogue couldn't be better, at least they could have shown more skin!
21-22 or thereabouts Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen: Consistently up to fun and crime. If you can't live without Julia Roberts skip the last one.
May 23, '11 Birth: Skates quite dicily along the braided tightrope of feeling and reason and convention.
May 24, '11 The Man with Two Faces: Saw this on TV with commentary, and found it quite interesting that three months after it was made the censors (FCC? Studio self-censorship? Duh, was I sleepy?) would have made this perp pay - but no, I don't want to ruin it for you!
May 26, '11 Social Network: The story of Facebook, more or less. So nice to know that nerds can have a sense of humor, but it's too bad this one didn't have the muscles to laugh at jokes or the temperament to get relaxed pleasure from them. Too bad he's an asshole, but he's a cool asshole because he's caught with his pants down. Can't feel sorry for him, though, because it's hard to feel sorry for a - oops, don't want to ruin the story you probably already know! Hey, great film! Really!
May 28, '11 Murder by Num8ers: Title didn't fit with the film in our view. Definitely not an A film, but still entertaining. Why, oh why did they make us look at that awful haircut?
May 29, '11 The Pregnancy Pact: Okay film with lots of questions and precious few answers.
June 3, '11 The Ice Storm: One of the best movies I'd never heard of.
June 27, '11 The Hurt Locker: It hurts to watch it. Shows how a person can be so accustomed to danger that - well, I hate to ask you to hurt yourself, but watch it!
June 28, '11 The Notebook: Well, put your two thumbs up with plums on them! Over-the-top romantic and way too reactionary in its rich white/serving black setting. Sappy music, etc., but still --
June 29, '11 Multiplicity: Well, we laughed. This one might be one that was more fun to watch than to make. Must have been exhausting to play all those roles.
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