3 Jan 2012

Monthly Movies: Dec'11

Not much time for movies in December (2 were seen in the same week)... unsurprising considering how busy it gets during that month! A period courtroom film, a holiday-themed rom-com and an action piece: quite diverse! :p

The Conspirator.

And yet another film which we got in Spain about 11 months after its release in the U.S., NOT FAIR! To be fair, I guess they didn't consider this to be subject matter that would be of any particular interest to Spaniards (trial of conspirators in President Lincoln's murder, Constitutional Rights...), I sure didn't expect it, and so was very surprised to find myself in an almost packed room! Robert Redford is a name that guarantees quality, as any decent cinephile would know. And once again he doesn't disappoint! It's basically a thrilling defence of our Constitutional Rights against their abuse during wartime (sound familiar?) disguised as a courtroom drama disguised as a period piece... brilliant!
The story starts with President Lincoln's assassination by actor John Wilkes Booth, simultaneously with the attempted murders of the Vice President and Secretary of State (now there's a piece of the history I didn't know!), the escape of the culprits and the capture of all but one. We then move into the trial of Mary Surratt (beautifully played by Robin Wright), mother of the lone escapee, who is accused of being part of the Conspiracy because these gentlemen were meeting with her son in her boarding house so of course she knew all about it and was guilty (opinion of the Secretary of Defence who's behind it all, the Prosecutor and pretty much all the generals who are the judges since they got a military court instead of a civil court, Constitutional Rights violation number 1). James McAvoy does a brilliant job as the lawyer Captain Frederick Aiken who gets strong-armed into defending her by a Senator and finds himself up against the power of the government who are determined that she be found guilty by any means necessary. Needless to say his representing one of the people "responsible" for Lincoln's death does wonders for his standing amongst his peers... :s
I found myself completely enthralled by this story, by the characters, by the drama and wasn't sure of the outcome even at the very end. I would definitely recommend it to any who are interested in either period films or stories about injustice and abuse of a person's rights by an all-too powerful government.

New Year's Eve.

Which I saw on Christmas Day! Going out for a movie after lunch on Christmas Day -my Dad and his three crazy daughters- has been a tradition we've kind of followed in my family since we moved to Spain. It started one year a James Bond film came out just before Christmas, and we've kind of kept it going unless involved in a big family reunion in Valencia. This year I was astonished to find ourselves waiting in the longest line I've seen in the cinema here since... well, last century! Fortunately we managed to get in in time for our show, in a pretty full room. The audience in general seemed to like it, in any case there were lots of laughs at the right moments, with my sister complaining at how loud mine were! :p
This will never make any "best of" list, but it was a nice fun choice. The interwoven stories (à la Love Actually) were engaging, the actors gave some pretty solid performances, loved seeing Lea Michelle outside of Glee, and it was a hoot seeing Bon Jovi on screen again! I think my favourite storyline was Hillary Swank's, with the whole organising of the Ball Drop at Times Square thing (plus her ending which I won't spoil here).

Mission: Impossible. Ghost Protocol.

So this is the one we'd originally intended to see on Christmas Day (as being the closest thing to a Bond film out there), but my cousin vetoed it. So we went the day before my sister headed back to England.
While it was much better than the 3rd Mission: Impossible, and I enjoyed the actors' performance (even Tom Cruise), in a way I found it to be a bit boring! Is it possible to be bored and entertained at the same time? Odd result for a high-thrill action flic, I know! But what can I say, it's like techno music to me: to much of the same thing (either boom-boom-boom sounds or just constant chasing scenes with explosions and stuff) bore me! I've read somewhere online that if you get a chance to go see it in the IMAX then go for it, otherwise wait for the dvd. I don't know about the IMAX (there isn't one around here), but I'll second that wait for the dvd bit!


  1. I went to see "Women of the 6th Floor" in French and Spanish the other day and enjoyed it a lot. Another rom-com but I really thought it was good. Thanks for the reviews, Cris! :-)

  2. We saw New Years Eve as well and I thought the same thing - cute movie, but not one I'd buy to watch again. I'd like to see Mission Impossible, but I'll probably wait until I can get it on On Demand!

  3. Glad you enjoyed New Year's Eve which, well, didn't get great reviews! Am thinking of seeing MI:4, but haven't seen any of the others, so am unning and ahhing over it.

  4. DJan, I don't believe that one came out here! Alicante really just gets mostly commercial Hollywood stuff with some Brit thrown in (plus Spanish movies of course). Only once in a blue moon do we get something French! (which annoys me to no end!)

    Juliette, I don't know a single lightweight romcom that got really good reviews! If you go in knowing what to expect then you can enjoy yourself! As for MI4, no need to have seen the others, but I wouldn't recommend spending the money on it unless you've got an IMAX nearby... follow Kim's sage lead! ;o)


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