Wednesday, July 20, 2011

You win some and....

You lose some.

This week was another week of movie watcing...and most of the movies I must say bit the dust unfortunately. I had high hopes for each of them but ...alas they didn't make my cut.

Many of you enjoyed the post I did on the movies I'd been watching last week and offered up some suggestions for further viewing.  I thought it might be fun to keep the conversation going and offer up a look at what's been gracing my screen this week and perhaps I'll resume my role from the high school magazine I worked on and offer up some of my thoughts and opinions on the films of the week.
I pulled a lot of weight in the "Mercredi Expression" in my Junior and Senior years in high school including a series I did on the lives of some of the teachers and staff at the school. My husband still laughs uproariously at the Keener articles I wrote after shadowing my favorite teachers and asking them totally banal questions such as "what were your favorite books" etc.

I know, I know...

teachers pet much?

I do remember one article I wrote about the movie the Four Feathers starring Heath Ledger. I was cool and scathing about a movie I was no where near enough mature to understand or appreciate. I wanted the Knights Tale...

Anyway, these are my humble thoughts and the scenes that (despite the movie over all) still captured my imagination...

So shall we just dispense with all the bad movies first??

Alright then...

First on the chopping block:

Definitely Maybe.
Starring Ryan Reynold and Isla Fischer, .

I definitely maybe didn't care for this movie. It's the story of a "modern" romance which basically means it's about a guy who dates around with several women who date around with several men and somehow circle back around to each other till they find "true love". Sorry I ruined it for you...
I did however enjoy some of the set designs particularly for the student apartments of April (played by Isla Summer) it reminded me of my own student days although I wasn't quite as cute as her, didn't have cute clothes like her but I do like to think I had a sense of humor like her and could verbally spar as well as she.

Next up, something completely different: Valkyrie
Starring Tom Cruise

Okay, at first glance this film wasn't completely terrible. (although I really am not a fan of Tom Cruise). After mulling it over for a few days though I must say it really doesn't sit well with me at all. And not because of the strange combinations of British, German and American accents thrown together unbelievably. I felt that the film oversimplified the whole story and never took the responsibility to delve into the difficult questions such as "would the insurgents have plotted to assassinate Hitler if they had  still been winning the war?" "what did the insurgents plan to do with the country once they had control of it other than keep Britain from destroying them?" The issues surrounding "the final solution" are hardly mentioned and don't appear at all to affect the rather political decision making of the insurgents. Then this merry band of mavericks is lead by such an all-American-type hero;  that what is actually a  very grey story becomes too  black and white. Our (north American) sensibilities are imprinted on this morally ambiguous tale and something that could've delved deep into the psyche of the German people under Hitler's regime instead comes off as an action movie aimed no higher than to sell tickets.

And from what I gather from other reviews it didn't even sell very many at that....

Shocking, I know...but I'm afraid "Becoming Jane" starring Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy belongs on the bad list....

I know, how shocking perhaps that I did not like this film based on the life of Jane Austen. Very very loosely based might I add.

Right off the bat I was chagrined to find it another version of a perfectly good "Austen" tale feeling the need to sex itself up. Call me old fashioned, but it's a particular pet peeve of mine when a story invents a sexuality for itself that it never needed to have.
Suddenly this celebrated author who somehow managed to give us a world of literary romance not raging with hormones is turned into a repressed young woman who can only have her "horizons...widened" by the n'er do-well but utterly charming James McAvoy. Only then will she become a fully actualized woman, let alone brilliant writer.


and at the bottom of the pile sits The Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt.

And even they couldn't save this crashing ship. It was a good movie until suddenly it wasn't any more... and instead became a total train wreck of sci-fi door portals, power-bestowing fedoras and magical notebooks....
Matt Damon and Emily Blunt who play lovers who's  magical notebook plans don't pan out, play most of the movie like swimmers struggling to keep their heads above water and convince us that this movie isn't ask hokey as it actually is. They do a manful effort at it and give us some pretty decent scenes of chemistry and dialogue...but unfortunately the plan was already written for this movie to fail poorly....I'm not sure if any adjustments could've saved it frankly.

and that's as scathing as I get... I promise.

... I'm usually so much more forgiving, but if I'm going to give 2 precious hours of my time... well I have expectations.

The following movie far exceeded all of them.

Emily Blunt was back in "The Young Victoria" and it swept me off my feet. Luckily I had read up some history on the life of Queen Victoria from her younger years as she became queen and that helped me not to be too lost cause things happen rather fast and it is assumed that the audience understands a good deal more than they likely do about British politics of the mid 19th century and royal protocols.

Aside from all of that, and perhaps especially because we've all been watching another pair of recent Royal newlyweds with such adoration, this love story came off as very touching and sweet. Emily Blunt brings youth and charm into the historical figure that I had previously only associated with the well known portrait of a rather frumpy old lady who was "not amused". ... oh yes, I like this very much.

Anyone think I was too harsh? Dead wrong? Or have new suggestions for my Summer of Cinema????


  1. Hey Ash!

    I don't know if you've watched any Studio Ghibli movies with the family, but I'm pretty sure you would love them.

    Here's a trailer for the latest one:

    I prefer the original Japanese versions (w/ subtitles), but they do well with the dubs so not much is changed with the translations. Disney bought the N. American rights to the movies so they shouldn't be too hard to find.

    Try My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, Howl's Moving Castle, Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away... they're all amazing.

    Here are some more trailers!

    These will get you out of any movie funk!


    PS: I love reading your blog!! You are looking so well!

    PPS: For something non-animated, try some Wes Anderson movies. All gold!

    Especially Fantastic Mr. Fox, but that one is animated after all. (:

  2. I agree with all the cuts on your chopping block (of those I have seen) and I agree with Young Victoria being fabulous.

  3. I'm glad to know your opinion on all those movies since they have all interested me at one time or another when we browse the movie store trying to decide and trying to find a good one. =)

    I really do want to watch The Young Victoria, I've heard nothing but good about it. Now, to find a free night for a movie...=)

  4. I like your critiques! I've seen all of the above except Valkyrie and Young Victoria (and I am interested in watching the latter). We just recently watched the Adjustment Bureau in an effort to find some mindless type entertainment. I enjoyed the first bit, but when it started to wrap up I was disappointed in its ridiculous-ness (all-powerful fedoras? really!?).

    Unfortunately I havent seen any good new movies to recommend, but I can recommend some of our favorite oldies:
    -Waiting for Guffman
    -Best in Show
    - A Mighty Wind (these 3 are Christopher Guest classics)
    -the Wrong Guy
    -the Big Lebowski

    These are just a few. :)

  5. Oh, Becky, we were trying to remember the title of Waiting for Guffman!!!! We could only remember the title of the play "Red white and blaine" and we only ever say 15 minutes of it and laughed our heads off! Thanks so much! and the Wrong Guy is one of my top 10 movies of all time! we quote it all the time!

  6. Young Victoria was an awesome movie and one I would watch again and again.



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