1 Feb 2010

Monthly Movies: January'10

A philosopher in Roman Egypt. A famous woman pilot. A father trying to reconnect with his children spread across the country. A couple looking for the perfect place to raise a family. An inspirational rugby match. Mastering the art of French cuisine. A movie director going through an existential crisis. The original (and most famous) sleuth.

Lots of movies (I can't believe last week I actually went 3 nights in a row!) and lots of diversity in the subjects! But I can tell I'm no longer in Liège: almost no non-US/UK movies (except for one, and that was filmed in English), sigh! Oh well, at least we're entering my favourite part of the year: that of excellent films hitting the screens in such abundance that it's almost Solomonic having to choose between them because you know you can't possibly catch them all (but I'm doing my best, lol!)
(clicking on the names will either take you to my previous review or the IMDB page)

A couple of weeks later and she's still got me thinking! I like that. This is one I'll definitely want to watch again when it comes out on dvd, maybe even buy it.

Time for another biopic! Hollywood never seems to tire of these, huh? Oh well, then it's a good thing there are so many historical figures out there who lived such interesting lives that I am more than willing to see them transferred to the silver screen! And Amelia Earhart definitely qualifies for the category "interesting/adventurous life"! And although my Dad sometimes complains a bit when I drag him to see movies that "we already know how they're going to end", I say "it's not the destination that counts, it's the journey!" (I used to tell my mom something similar when she wondered why I enjoyed MacGyver so much since we knew he was always going to solve the problem, the key was in the how!)
I'm still not a big fan of Richard Gere, but I have to admit he wasn't half bad in this one! Ditto Hillary Swank (who for some reason is an actress who usually grates my nerves), she really fit well in the part, and they were very convincing together. Another pleasant surprise was seeing Ewan McGregor! Didn't know he was in it. And got a kick out of his character being Gore Vidal's father (who's present as a kid). I've read and enjoyed so many of his (historical fiction) books! But what really sells this film is the passion of the aviator for the freedom flying brings her. The wonder of flying over this crazy planet of ours, seeing things from above (allowing for some gorgeous visuals). I'm glad this got selected for the VOS series, or I might have missed out on it completely! 
PS: when I got home I really wanted to put the ST: Voyager episode "The 37s" in the dvd player to re-watch their version of what happened during Amelia's final fateful flight. ;o)

Hat's off to Sam Mendes for bringing us this little gem! What a lovely movie! What a fun idea for a trip: a pregnant couple are looking for the perfect city (close to family/friends, with a good atmosphere) to live in to raise their child (I wish I had a job that would allow me to go live in any place I felt like it!); and a really goofy, funky group of people (great actors, looooved Maggie Gyllenhaal) they meet up with along it! A slice of life you might say. It makes for a very sweet road trip movie. Very enjoyable.

Very sad, and yet sweet. Very moving. And depressingly realistic. The average Spaniard wouldn't believe this film, would think it a complete piece of fiction! No way would a child say "thx for coming this far dad, but I can't see you 'cause I'm busy/working/leaving so please go away now". Even knowing as I do how so many families in the US are completely disjointed/broken/distanced etc., I have a hard time believing it. Except that I've seen some behaviour in my own Stateside family to know that this doesn't hit too far off the mark. (another reason I'm glad I wasn't raised there!)
It's the first time in a while that I've enjoyed Robert DeNiro. He rings so true as this poor lonely widower, trying to find a way to reconnect with his kids (spread across the country).

Never thought I'd be so excited for a sports match (at least one that wasn't a live feed of Nadal or the Spanish soccer team during the World Cup, lol!), but the Springbok matches during the 1995 Rugby World Cup had me on the edge of my seat!!! Bravo!
So, Clint Eastwood's new movie. Not what I expected! Nor what I would have expected from a movie  centred around the figure of Nelson Mandela (an absolutely wonderful Morgan Freeman!). But then, if you can't figure out how to distil an incredible man's life into a 2h movie, isn't it an excellent option to highlight a rather unique moment? One that's very telling of the man's philosophy and view of life? It just feels rather odd though, that -albeit very inspiring- it mainly works as a sports movie! Must have something to do with the structure (I don't know enough about the art to go more in-depth than that). Perhaps the co-protagonism of Matt Damon's character, Pienaar the captain of the Springboks (woah! barely recognised him!).
One moment that gives gooesbumps is the recitation of the Henley poem "Invictus" that Mandela said so inspired him during his captivity. Although dubbed in Spanish, the final lines resonated (in English, my brain sometimes does simultaneous translations like that) in my mind:
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

I'm looking forward to the chance to seeing it again, undubbed! (but probably on dvd for the 2nd viewing)

Just as good Even better the second time around! :o)
I particularly enjoyed it 'cause I took a friend visiting from Belgium to see it, and she just loves food! She's always inventing little dishes, modifying recipes, remembers visits/trips/events based on what was eaten. She used to put together these fabulous dinners a couple of times a year in Liège. I couldn't believe she hadn't seen this, and since it was the VOS (undubbed) movie of the week, well I knew we had to go! Hehehe... when we walked out she was talking about trying out some of the cooking tricks mentioned in the movie and was wondering if Julia Child's "French Cooking for American Woman" existed - translated to French! ;o)

What a show! But still rather odd... it's kind of all over the place. Which I guess could be expected in a movie about a movie director in the midst of an existential crisis who seems to see the world as he imagines it (with fabulous music and gorgeous women in costumes and dancing) rather than as it truly is.
Impressive. Gorgeous. Bombastic.
My favourite? Marion Cotillard, hands down! Well, among the women that is. Daniel Day Lewis has no rivals on this screen! ;o)
What more to say? (other than watching dubbed musicals is worse than dubbed other movies because you hear the actual voices when they sing, and then contrast that to the dubbed dialogue, argh!!!) Well, if you don't like musicals you probably won't like this. And if you insist on a clear-cut plot, tampoco. But if you like a bit of craziness, can appreciate some wonderful actors, and want to feast your eyes and ears: go for it!

I am so hoping this gets included in the list of movies shown in VOS soon, I want to see it again! So much fun...

More next month! Including (hopefully) some of the following: Precious, The Hurt Locker, Up In The Air, Celda 211, L'Hérisson, A Serious Man, Das Weisse Band... oh my! Am not going to have trouble trying to find the time and money for all of these! :s


  1. Julie/Julia....I can't wait to see it again...I'm buying the bluray...smiles

  2. Glad you noticed that Rob was trying to mirror Guido's reality. I still don't like Julie and Julia though :)

  3. Not like Julie and Julia, Andrew?! Must be because of Julie... she is a bit grating! :p
    I'll admit to having qualms at certain points in the movie (and certain elements get on my nerves), but taking it as a whole as I watched it, I still loved it! I think that Meryl Streep and Stanly Tucci are largely responsible for that... (that and although I don't do much, I do enjoy cooking!)


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