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What films have you seen recently?


Hazel
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How To Train Your Dragon - Hiccup in the young son of a Viking chief on an island plagued by various dragons, the most fearsome being the Night Furies. Hiccup is a useless Viking and dragon-slayer until he makes friends with a night fury and learns how to build relationships rather than fight. I really enjoyed this, the animation is wonderful, the dialogue is funny and it's just a good, solid piece of story-telling without any forced mawkish crud.

 

Inception - Dreams. Limbo. Kicks. Not my kind of film. I did not like this at all however 2 stars for the cast.

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I recently read the Robert Harris book and then saw the film as well, Binker.

I thought the book was clever with the ending

and its various meanings of ghost writer

 

The film dealt with the ending quite successfully (although I can't imagine all those people passing a note to the ex-Prime Minister's wife without anyone looking at its content).

The other thing that surprised me, but maybe this was me not reading the book too clearly, was when the setting was Martha's Vineyard I imagined a sprawling New England style wooden boarded property rather than a grey concrete modern build.

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Just been to see HP and the Deathly Hallows Part I. Loved it but then I am an HP fan. But I do think splitting the film into two has allowed more detail from the original novels to be portrayed. Only one niggle and that's the transfer of Harry with Hagrid at the beginning - too long and involves going on dual-carriageways which wasn't in the book at all - grrrrrr!

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Good reviews got us out to the cinema today to watch 'Chico and Rita' and we were pleased not to be disappointed.

 

It's a grown-up animation film that begins in Cuba in 1948 and traces the enduring if stormy romance between a pianist-songwriter and a sultry, talented singer. They experience success, heartbreak and career setbacks at home and in America.

 

The drawing is superb, there's the jazz music of Dizzy Gillepsie and Charlie Parker in the New York scenes and great swaying Latin music in the Cuban settings - all very sensual. Nicely erotic too in some of the love scenes.

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"The Ghost Writer:" I convinced the family to watch this movie after our guests left yesterday (Thanksgiving) and everyone liked it a lot. My daughter mentioned it again today. I thought it was very well done, too. I remembered your comments, Mouse, and asked my daughter about the house and scenery. I have not really spent much time on the eastern seaboard of the U.S., but she went on a biking/camping trip to Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard and thought the setting looked about right. I think the ferry is coming in and out of Cape Cod (because the smart alecky guy at the hotel was wearing a shirt that said "Cape Cod"). My daughter says that most people do think of those quaint wooden houses, but that there's a lot more variety and remoteness than that. And obviously the house was set up to take advantage of the scenery. I thought you'd enjoy that when they were passing that note up to the front, my husband said, "What, ALL those people are going to pass a note up to her and no one will read it and her security people won't intercept it?!" So that's the obvious weak point.

 

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I:" We saw this last weekend and I liked it a great deal. I cannot believe how much those three young actors have improved over the years. I never thought any of them was very strong, but Emma Watson used to make me cringe. Not anymore. I thought they were all excellent. And I liked how true they were to the characters. Hermione was the one who immediately set about to put the spells around the first place they camped and she thought quickly to try to disguise Harry with the stinging curse. So Ron was right--they wouldn't last 2 days without her. Ron was his usual self, too, very loyal unless he's indulging his insecurities. He always comes through in the end. Harry is obviously very gifted, but always wants to do things alone, which Ron and Hermione won't allow. I was sad at the deaths.

My son admitted that he cried when Dobby died. Really, Bellatrix LeStrange is just about as evil as Voldemort himself.

My daughter is very busy with schoolwork while she is home, but we are hoping to go back with her this break. If not, then as soon as she comes home for Christmas.

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Good reviews got us out to the cinema today to watch 'Chico and Rita' and we were pleased not to be disappointed.

 

It's a grown-up animation film that begins in Cuba in 1948 and traces the enduring if stormy romance between a pianist-songwriter and a sultry, talented singer. They experience success, heartbreak and career setbacks at home and in America.

 

The drawing is superb, there's the jazz music of Dizzy Gillepsie and Charlie Parker in the New York scenes and great swaying Latin music in the Cuban settings - all very sensual. Nicely erotic too in some of the love scenes.

 

i saw a preview of it 2 weeks ago so hopefully next saturday it will work out good and i can see it

 

depends on the schedules.

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Saw part one of Deathly Hallows yesterday. I liked it, but it's very hard to judge it as a film, since there's a second part to come. In fact the second part is the one I'm really looking forward to.

 

I think all the young actors have gotten much better as the series has progressed. At least Radcliffe can cry convincingly on screen now! Some very moving and funny moments in this. I would have liked to see more of the Dursleys at the beginning, but some of the additions were nice touches also.

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Two rather dull films yesterday -

 

The Book of Eli - Post-apocalyptic tale of a man, Eli (Denzel Washington), who walks carrying a precious book, taking it to a place that faith and belief tells him it will be safe and needed. A bad man (Gary Oldman) wants his hands on the book as he who controls the book controls the people. You'll have guessed by now what the book is. Not Moby Dick. This was rather dull with a predictable landscape with predictable features. Little interesting twist at the end, but not enough to save the film.

 

Youth in Revolt - How much Michael Cera can we take as the geeky, desperate vulnerable virgin? Viewer in Revolt.

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We watched "Elf" again this weekend. I have limited its watching to the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas, which means it's a treat when we pull it out for the first time every year. Every scene in that movie is funny. I have a friend who has a hard time getting on escalators and the first time I experienced her hesitation, I turned to her (from several steps ahead) and asked, "Have you ever seen the movie 'Elf?'" and then sent her a YouTube clip of his scene on the escalator.

 

The other Christmas movie we always watch is "A Christmas Story," but we haven't watched it yet. My guess is that we'll wait until she's back home for the Christmas holidays.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We saw "True Grit" on Christmas Day and it was excellent. We all loved it, from my 80-year-old mother down to my 13-year-old son. It helps to start with a good story, then to have the Coen brothers adapt it, and finally, to have great acting. It's no surprise that Jeff Bridges is so good and it shouldn't be any surprise that Matt Damon is so good. But the young actress at the center of the story was terrific.

 

In case you don't know the story, it is set in the late 1800s, in Arkansas and Oklahoma, areas that were still the "wild west." Fort Smith, Arkansas is right on the border of Arkansas and Oklahoma and was the last bastion of law and order before you hit the frontier. There was a saying at the time, "There is no law west of St. Louis and no God west of Fort Smith." Fort Smith is about 300 miles west of St. Louis, so I guess that tells you how long it takes God to peter out (my apologies if anyone finds this offensive). Fort Smith plays a big part in Lonesome Dove, too, so I think there was something to that saying. In any event, a 14-year old girl, Mattie Ross, arrives in Fort Smith to identify the body of her murdered father and bring him home for burial. It soon becomes clear that she is a very determined and competent young lady. She makes it her mission to hunt down his killer, who has fled into the Indian Territories, and see him brought to justice. To this end, she hires a down-and-out U.S. Marshall, Rooster Cogburn, to help her. This movie is the story of their mission.

 

Mattie Ross tells the story after the lapse of a long time--in the movie, it's 25 years and in the book it may be more. One of the comedic joys of the book and this movie is that she has these rough-hewn men talking the way a prim and proper schoolgirl turned aged spinster would talk. This does not seem odd in the movie at all and I don't know how they accomplish that feat. Apparently, in the book, there are some transcripts of Cogburn's testimony at various trials and it is clear that that is not how he spoke in real life. But this lapse of time also shows how quickly the West was settled and made safe so that there wasn't much need anymore for the characters like Rooster Cogburn or even the Texas Ranger played by Matt Damon (since the author of the book was from Arkansas, he takes great pains to make the Texan a figure of fun, even though he does some heroic things). This is certainly a theme in Lonesome Dove as well and it's a bit touching in both places.

 

True Grit is also a book, by Charles Portis, that has a cult-like following. I have never read the book, but tried to buy it for my husband for Christmas and of course it's out of print, being reissued in January, just not in time for Christmas. I plan to read it whenever I can get my hands on it and will post a review when I do.

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I watched Oliver Twist - between commercials - yesterday (Boxing Day) pm. That's something of an achievement for one who detests commercials of any kind (I endure them only for the Ashes series and top soccer). Nothing better for me than the old black and white movies, especially if directed by a genius like David Lean. Here we had the archetypal Fagin (Alec Guinness), Sikes (Robert Newton) Mr Bumble (Francis L Sullivan) and the winsome young hero played by John Howard Davies. The camera work was brilliant and the acting superb.

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We watched "The Secret in their Eyes," a film from Argentina the other night ("we" means my husband and my daughter; my 13-year old son was away, which is why we tried a subtitled foreign film about a rape and murder).

 

This got fabulous reviews and won an academy award for best foreign film. I meant to go see it in the theater in town, but missed it (story of my life), so I asked for it for Christmas. It concerns a rape and murder in the 1970s where the investigating and prosecuting authorities know who did it and even obtain a conviction, only to have the criminal set free because of work he does as an informant for another arm of the criminal justice system. 30 years later, the investigator wants to write a book about the case and so contacts all of the main players again. We see his current efforts as well as flashbacks, some quite extended, to the original events. Since the same actors play themselves at both times, you have to pay attention to be sure you know which time period you are seeing, but there are helpful indicators (the main character has dark hair and beard 30 years ago, both of which have greyed, etc.).

 

I hesitate to say any more except that the movie really explores the difference between love and obsession. We all thought it was very good, even though there were some awful scenes. But you could see them coming and avoid them if you wished. Often all 3 of us would avert our eyes, which meant we missed the subtitles. Sometimes, I could understand the Spanish and my daughter always could, so she translated when we were all sitting there with our eyes shut.

 

For us, the most confusing part of the story was understanding the Argentinian criminal system, which is different from that in the U.S. I know from reading murder mysteries that different countries have very different systems. I think that this one sounds more like the Italian system, where the prosecutor employs the investigators. We tried to figure the whole system out, without much success, but in the end it didn't affect our understanding of the movie, I don't think.

 

As an aside, I thought the subtitles were pretty good in this film, unlike some other Spanish-language films we've seen. Interestingly, my daughter said there was one character she just could not understand. Of course, if she couldn't, then I had no hope. But there was another character that was extremely easy for me to understand and when I said that, she agreed.

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A few I watched online recently -

Frozen - I couldn't watch it all as it was too horrible. Don't mind unreal scary stuff but this was too could happen where two lads and a girl are stranded on a ski chairlift over night.

The Last Exorcism - this was easier to watch and not very scary. The use of camcorder has lost its edge and doesn't draw you in as it may have done in the past.

The Last Seven - In a 24hrs Later type empty London, seven people find each other and try to work out who they are and what the connection is. Danny Dyer is mercifully in it for only a small amount of screen time and hardly speaks.

At the cinema I watched a 22.00 showing of Tron: Legacy. It may be because it went on til 12.30am but the film lasted longer than my attention span and I wished for it to end. Loved the 3D special effects, Daft Punk soundtrack and the CGI rendering of a young Jeff Bridges was amazing.

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Watched "The Girl who Played with Fire" with my husband last night. I thought they did a great job of bringing the book to the screen. In the last scenes especially, I told my husband, "this is exactly how I pictured it when I read the book."

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It's back to work tomorrow, so I may not have any more films to report for awhile.

 

We saw "The King's Speech" tonight. I thought it was very good. The story is compelling. Each actor was perfect for the role, although my husband and son had some difficulty with Peter Pettigrew as Winston Churchill. I highly recommend it.

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Tron Legacy - I vaguely remember the first one, which wasn't a great movie, but the males in m household wanted to see this one. It's awful. Bloated, overlong and just dull beyond words. The only highlight was seeing the CGIed young Jeff Bridges which was eerie. It really made me want to watch Jagged Edge.

 

One thing particularly grates though. We had to see this in 3D - the normal option was not available, and we paid an extra £8 as a family for the privilege. During the trailers there was a trailer for the new Pirates of the Caribbean, which looked great and made the most of the 3D glasses being on my face. Then we got a warning before Tron started saying that some of the film was shot in 2D and that is the way it was intended to be seen but that we were to keep our glasses on for the whole film. During the bloated 2 hours of cinematic boredom that followed, I did not see one aspect of the film that used 3D. Not one. Bloody rip-off.

 

I hated it. Youngest fell asleep. Eldest loved it. Hubby loved it (mostly because Daft Punk featured heavily).

 

The Losers - I had been saving this to watch and reckoned that after such a miserable cinema experience earlier now was the time to watch it. I think this film suffered from being released at the same time as the much better known A-Team film and that's a little unfair because I enjoyed it much more. Taken from a so-so comic this film stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, and Idris Elba as part of a crack soldier squad who get betrayed and believed dead by their own government. They then proceed to clear their names and get revenge. Sounds very familiar no?

 

Jason Patric plays the ridiculous baddie, Max, a walking ego and a desire to create worldwide merry hell. Really the whole film is bloody ridiculous but it's enjoyable nonsense, with some pretty cool stunts. The highlight is Chris Evans (The Fantastic Four's Human Torch), he is very funny and grabs some of the best lines and scenes. Even hubby who had mentally left the living room after the first 15 minutes tuned in to laugh at some of his scenes.

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  • 3 weeks later...
It's back to work tomorrow, so I may not have any more films to report for awhile.

 

We saw "The King's Speech" tonight. I thought it was very good. The story is compelling. Each actor was perfect for the role, although my husband and son had some difficulty with Peter Pettigrew as Winston Churchill. I highly recommend it.

 

One of the best - if not the best - I've seen in years. I took the family and all were suitably stunned by the performances. Yes, Binker, I know that Churchill didn't 'look like' the Winston we all know and love, but that's often the case in getting a 'fit' between actor and character. It takes getting used to, but if the work is good enough one forgives it. After all, Colin Firth didn't exactly look like George and Helena BC was nothing like the QM. By contrast, in last night's BBC 4 play 'Hattie' where Ruth Jones admirably fitted (!) the bill.

 

Oddly enough earlier in the day, and in the absence of any decent soccer on Sky, I plugged in to Anthony Mann's super-spectacular movie 'El Cid.' I was later struck by the total contrast of Spanish (albeit historico-mythical) and British ideas of the hero, one as Man of Action, daring and flamboyant, the other as Man of Inaction, reticent and retiring, shunning the limelight. Nobody could be less heroic than Geo 6 - until you've seen and understood, via this movie, the inner suffering and determination of the man who had to be king.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A few to catch up on -

 

The Tournament ** - Every 7 years the world's assassins meet up to play a deadly game in which they have 24 hours to kill each other to be the last man standing. They are each implanted with a tracking device and given a GPS thingy. Last man gets 10 million pounds.

 

One assassin cuts out his GPS in a cafe and drops it into coffee, which is then ingested by alcoholic priest Robert Carlyle. I don't know what I was more surprised at...the fact that the underworld trusted assassins not to cut out their GPS before now, or that Bobby Carlyle was in such a crappy film.

 

Still, it filled 90 minutes with nonsense. Great if you are a 14 year old boy.

 

Frozen ** - 3 friends persuade ski lift guy to let them have one last go on the ski slopes. A mix up occurs and 3 friends get stranded high up on a mountainside ski lift cart, in freezing temperatures with a week before the ski resort opens again.

 

For 90 minutes you don't see one puff of warm breath on frozen air - I found it hard to commit to the tale. Even though there were some truly gruesome moments.

 

127 Hours **** - Not quite as *great* as everyone is making out. It's good though and made me wince. James Franco goes hiking alone, gets arm caught behind a boulder and spends 127 hours coping until he frees himself. Franco is endlessly watchable and I genuinely welled up at the end. Lovely stuff.

 

The Hangover ***** - I avoided this film as I suspected it was laddish nonsense, overrated and stoopid. But 'they' wore me down and I watched it. It was laddish nonsense, but not overrated. I was nearly sick laughing at parts of it.

 

A group of friends go to Vegas for a bachelor weekend. They wake up the next morning in a state of disarray and the groom is missing. The film is then about then piecing together what actually happened to them, bit by bit by injury. It's very, very funny.

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