Thursday, December 23, 2004

What I watched on my Christmas Vacation

Okay, here are my movie recommendations or not - maybe you'll be reminded of something you meant to see:

The Bourne Supremacy - J says it is better than #1; I think I like #1 better but still a good flick.

Da Ali G Show, Season 1 - awesome. Laughed so hard, especially at Disc 2. Interview with James Lipton (and Lipton rapping) is priceless. If you haven't heard of this show, RENT IT. It takes some getting into, but it's really genius. I don't even want to tell you anything else about it because it's such fun to be surprised by it.

The Office Special - very nice ending to a great series. (the whole series) Grows funnier every day as we rehash our favorite moments.

Two Brothers - I cried and cried. So sad, what we do to animals! Bad people!! In the end, all works out, but man, what an emotional rollercoaster. I'm a sucker for kitties. The DVD extra features were pretty much stock footage, but I'll watch cats all day.

Carmen Jones - I enjoyed this musical (opera of Carmen retooled by Hammerstein for an African-American cast set during...some war?), although it is a bit dated. But it was fun to hear and see Bizet reinterpreted.

Shoot the Piano Player - Truffaut. I think I prefer Jules et Jim, but this was also very good. Amazing how far ahead of us the French were - that is, it has a very modern sensibility even though it's not a recent film. Reminds me of "Charade" in that way, which completely seems like a 90's movie (definitely see that version instead of "The Truth About Charlie").

Ran - Okay, I know this is one of the most celebrated movies of all time. And I appreciated its beauty, definitely, and the story, which was King Lear, so how can you go wrong. But I did lose interest. Curse my attention span! I came back at the end for all the executioning of course.

Shattered Glass - I watched this again with J who'd never seen it. I haven't seen him so excited about a story in ages. He talked through the entire movie and for hours afterwards. The DVD has a great commentary by the director and the real Chuck Lange, the editor who caught Stephen Glass lying. Really enjoyed that.

All the President's Men - we're in kind of a journalism trend, here. This has been on the list to watch for ages. It was definitely good, but as I recall, the book was much better.

The Fog of War - wow! What a fascinating film this was!! It's a documentary subtitled "Eleven lessons from the life of Robert S. McNamara" (the former Secretary of Defense under JFK and LBJ). This man is completely riveting, the filmmaker does a great job of keeping it moving along (and not being just a talking head), and the score by Philip Glass is worth the rental alone.

Hellraiser - yes, indeed. This was really interesting in the fact that we both kind of took it on one level, but then listened to the commentary, and found this whole new level of meaning. It's basically all about family disfunction. But it's also about how people who do bad things get what's coming to them. Ironically, a Christian concept. (taken to it's most obvious in Scott Derrickson's "Hellraiser V: Inferno", which is worth a look-see if you like horror films. Derrickson is a Christian - went to Biola U - and basically makes a film exploring the wages of sin).

Mystic River - J is watching as I type this. Sounds like there's some overacting going on. But I can't really say. Will post his notes.

So far I think my favorite movie I've seen this year is "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". Great, great flick. Exactly the kind of movie I like.

But what a year it was - I also got into "The West Wing", which turned out to be so much fun, and finished up "Sex and the City", "Friends" and "Angel", all milestone shows. Continuing my obsession with all things Indian, I discovered Shah Rukh Khan (hottie!!) and his great films "Devdas" and "Asoka", as well as the charmer "Kandoukondain, Kandoukondain" (based on Sense & Sensibility). All are such wonderful films and so NOT American.

I also enjoyed this year:
"The Incredibles" (better than I expected)
"Kill Bill" (which is really just one movie - and a genius one that even my mother loved) "Spiderman 2" (good Christ imagery)
"Hero" (beautiful but it's no Crouching Tiger)
"Farenheit 911" (because I happen to like Michael Moore)
"Touching the Void" (this is a stunning movie - it's been shown on PBS already and may show again)
"Mean Girls" (clever and true)

And I'm looking forward to:
The Aviator
Hotel Rwanda
House of Flying Daggers
The Terminal
Shaun of the Dead
Collateral (largely because it takes place in my neighborhood)
Birth (and maybe Dogville)

Not too crazy about the Passion, though. Oh well.

I should post this because it is getting really long. I will post more - we have dozens more films sitting here. This list was just since Sunday.


St. Casserole said...

I'm so glad I found your blog. Found it through a link on Sarah Dylan Brewer's lectionary blog. I'll be a reader from here on.
I want to see all the movies you mentioned. I'm backlogged on my movie list.
I thought Billy Bob Thornton's "Bad Santa" was very funny although it is very bad tempered and coarse. I think I shocked my husband by laughing the entire movie. Don't watch it with the faint hearted. Too gross.

Kristen Courter said...

Love your blog. I linked it from mine if that's ok. Wholehearted "brilliant" for The Office Special. Shattered Glass was also a great story and I'm not lying. Also loved Pieces of April and thanks for reminding me of it. I do recommend Dogville but it is a tough watch and not what I expected, though I am still mulling it over three weeks later.

Our latest favorite: Angels in America. Wow.
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