Movies/DVDs/TV Seasons/Concerts Watched in 2013
This is a running list for the year. The list will include the movie and indicate whether it is a re-watch otherwise it can be assumed it was my first time watched.
(the year)(owned/rental/library/borrowed/theatre/Netflixed) and a brief review which could be just one word such as good, great, just OK, whatever. If I feel like expounding on the review I will. No rules here just a list with a bit of extra information. I will also note which ones I watched with my 12yo/13yo by starting off with a yellow (#).
1. The Colditz Story (1955) (B/W) (British) (at my Dad's) - I'm in Calgary and this is the first movie I watched with my Dad, also my first movie of the year. Dad let me choose the movie but he has sooooo many DVD's that I said something either epic, war movie or British. So he brought over a 5-pack of British war movies. Since I'd heard of this book, I picked this movie. I usually end up watching a lot of war movies whilst I'm here. I really enjoyed the movie. I'm not up on British actors but have seen a lot of British movies so I recognized a lot faces without knowing who the actors were. Based on a book of a true story of a German POW prison for allied POW's who were prone to escaping this prison was lauded as being escape-proof. Colditz is famous for being the one prison with the most successful escapes during both world wars combined.The tale tells of the many unsuccessful escape attempts of the prisoners and their morale defeating return to base until eventually they have a success. The movie ends with the second (assumed) successful escape underway. Not your usual war movie; no action, blood or killing. There's a bit of shooting but no war scenes; the entire movie takes place at the Colditz prison. This is a character tale, with a good story and lots of dry British humour. One thing I really appreciated about it's production was the use of foreign language. The prison had prisoners from the UK, France, Denmark & Poland and of course the German guards. There were many scenes in which the POWs of various nationalities spoke with themselves in their language with no subtitles, only a few select characters of these nationalities spoke English and at the 'meetings' they had, there was a translator for each group. This made the movie so much more realistic and is not something often found in old movies (or even in newer movies) where we just have to assume they are speaking in their language. A well done piece of work but would probably be found slow for those looking for the usual 'war movie" fare.
2. The King's Speech (2010) (British) (at my Dad's) - This movie was an easy pick, I just walked over to the many shelves, stopped in front of one, saw this which I had always wanted to see and asked if Dad was agreeable and he said he hadn't watched it yet either, so we were set. I LOVED THIS MOVIE! My eldest son was an early talker but he stuttered until he was six, he grew out of it but the cause for it disappeared from his life too but that has given me an affection for stammerers. I felt so deeply for King George throughout this movie, have always had a soft spot for the Queen Mum (Queen Elizabeth in the movie) and both were played brilliantly by Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter. But truly this is Bertie and Lionel's story as they form an unlikely friendship and conquer a speech impediment for a man who must speak publicly as his duty to his country through a most grievous time. I was pleased that Wallis and Edward were shown to be the selfish people they were as their so-called "love" story is often glamorized on the screen when it was in reality pure self-interest. While I know a lot about King George V, the Wallis Simpson affair and of course the current Queen and her Mum, I've managed to skip over George VI, since his reign was so short but this movie has really intrigued me about the man himself. Providence seems to have placed him in this role at the right time. Was he really as duty-bound as portrayed? I'd like to find out more and shall be looking for books from this time period that focus on him. A fantastic movie and the scene of the King's Speech at the end is splendid. A great speech of the 20th century.
3. The Hunger Games (2012) (Netflix) (in Edmonton) - So it's been about three years since I read the book, and details were a bit fuzzy but I absolutely loved the book and had been wanting to watch this movie since it came out. My niece and I were alone for the evening so we picked this to watch on Netflix even though she had seen it already (she has read the book too). It's a great movie; I really enjoyed it but they did leave out some important parts of the book. The love triangle isn't fully explored; we really don't get a chance to know the participants well enough to really care for them and the games start way too soon that we don't get to understand this world they live in properly. But at 2 1/2 hours they can't fit everything in and they did a decent job. I'm just not sure people who haven't read the book will understand how much Peeta loves Katniss. I absolutely loved Josh Hutcherson as Peeta though. However I was very surprised at seeing Woody Harrelson as Haymitch as I'd envisioned him as physically looking like Robbie Coltrain but Harrelson grew on me in the part by the end. Enjoyable, but the book is better and in this case I'd recommend reading the book even if you've already seen the movie as you'll appreciate it even more. Can't wait for "Catching Fire" to come out this year.
4. The Life of Pi (2012) (at the Theatre) (3D) (in Edmonton) - SPOILERS: I enjoyed this movie but do wish I had read the book first. I had always intended to, but it was the only movie suitable for the mix of people going that evening. I have the book on my kindle and plan on making sure I read it this month now though. As I said I did enjoy the movie but it didn't have as big an impression on me as it did the others I watched it with nor other people who have been talking about it at church. Some people are saying it is a Christian movie but it is not and I found parts of it disconcerting in that sense. I don't really want to over analyze the thing but I must mention my hesitation. The movie is "spiritual" not Christian. The message is that it is good to have religion and believe in "god" but it doesn't matter which religion you have or what "god" you pray to. Hence the inclusion of Hindu along with the "God of Abraham" religions. Finally, people are asking the question "Which story is true? #1 or #2? I don't believe this is the correct question. This is not the question asked in the movie. The question and answer are: "Which story do you prefer? #1. And so it goes with God." Hence the movie is suggesting to us that people believe in "God" or religion because it is the "better story". Quite against Christian belief if you think about it seriously, and more attuned with new age spirituality. I like that the movie makes one think about God and religion and it certainly leaves Believers feeling good that they know Christ. But if you are really left asking which story is true, the answer is: both of them. #2 is what "really" happened, while #1 is how God helped him deal with the tragedy and survive the ordeal. One can assume that many parts of #1, once Pi was alone, really did happen, the two stories merge as one. The officials write the tiger into the report because they don't want to write down the atrocity of the reality. What is one crazy story from a boy who survived so many weeks at sea? Anyway I'm looking forward to seeing if my impression of the book is the same. Any other Christians feel the same way I did? PS - I hated the 3D, there was absolutely no need for this gimmick and it gave me a headache.
5. Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010) (on the computer) - I made dh watch the movie with me the weekend after I`d finished the series thinking it would be his type of movie. Anyway I had to keep nudging him as he kept dozing off but then all of a sudden *I* woke up and found we were at the 59 min mark so I woke him up again and told him we`d turn off the movie. We watched TV instead!
6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) (Netflix) - Brilliant british movie with with Maggie Smith and Dame Judy Dent. Just loved it. Funny and poignant. Loved the main Indian actor as well, Dev Patel. Just an all around great movie.
7. World War Z - (2013) (at the Theatre in UltraVox 3D) - I don't have a lot to say about this movie. I really enjoyed it as I am a fan of zombie movies. It was well done, not gross by any means but very, actually tremendously, intense. I am not a big Brad Pitt fan, never have been but he was good in this. His character was cool but low-key. And it certainly was Brad's movie! Not too many scenes without him. LOL. I have not read the book but it has always been on my tbr ever since it first came out. I'm not too bothered I saw the movie first as I've heard it is quite different from the book and even has a different ending. So this makes me interested in getting it read more than ever! Went to the theater with a friend and we decided to try out the UVX 3D experience. More money, cushy comfortable seating, loud sound and 3D, but I'd never choose this over just seeing the regular movie at the regular price.
8. Quartet - (2012) (pay per view) (at friend`s) - This wasn`t exactly what I had expected. I think the original trailer`s presented it much more of a comedy than it is. So when we were presented with such a touching story, I was surprised. It is a comedy but with much more to it. The dignifyed performances by these veteran British actors and musicians is outstanding. My main interest in the movie was because of Dame Maggie Smith and Billy Connolly. They did not disappoint and Connolly especially put on a fine performance. The movie had a bit of a slow start but once it got off the ground I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not a 5 star but perhaps a 4.
9. The Journey - (1990) (DVD) (own) - Had to search a bit to find anything about this but it is on imdb and was an Australian Children's Network made for TV movie, part of a show called "More Winners". Anyway this was a cheesy thing about a witch and a curse set back in the 18-somethings, but still we found it amusing. It was extremely creepy for a kid's show though. Wouldn't recommend it but it wasn't a waste of my time either.
10. Saint Ralph - (2004) (on TV) (at a friends) - This was on TV last night and a friend and I had planned to get together and have a girls' night in. She had seen it before but I hadn't and the storyline really appealed to me. It is so refreshing to watch a positive Catholic movie. It's also wonderful to see such a good quality Canadian made movie which was set locally, Hamilton, ON. This was just a fabulous movie. We laughed, we cried, we yelled at the TV, we were rooting for the boy to win the race. It was a real interactive, sweet, sad and inspirational movie! I am sooo glad I watched it and it was waaaaay better than I even imagined it would be. Stars: Gordon Pinset, Jennifer Tilly.
11. Empire of the Sun (1987) (DVR) (at a friends) - A friend has recorded this and asked me to come over and watch it with. I saw it on video way back when it first came out and it was one of the first books I ever reviewed on this blog. Comparing my review of the book to the movie, the movie was not dark at all. It was touching, sentimental and sad. We both loved it and found it a great emotional movie to watch. The only thing I didn't like was that it totally stayed away from even mentioning the atrocities of the Japanese during WWII. (The Asian Holocaust is a major interest of mine). Christian Bale was magnificent as an eleven year old actor! Stars: Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Joe Pantoliano, Ben Stiller
12. We're the Millers (2013) (at the theatre) - I'd never heard of this moie when invited to go see it but I'm always up for a night at the movies since I don't do it very often. Absolutely roll on the floor hilarious. But with a capital "B" very vulgar and not for everyone! Bad language and tons of raunchy situations and jokes, no sex though. But. OMGosh! Hilariously funny! I almost wet myself I laughed so hard! If you are not offended easily Go.See.This.Movie! Stars: Jennifer Aniston
13. The Queen's Mother-in-Law (2012) (aired on Canada TV as: The Other Queen Mother) (watched on Channel 4oD): A one hour TV documentary. This is an absolutely fascinating biography of Prince Phillip's mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg. It tells of Phillip's strange and unusual childhood and a story not well-known to many at all. Princess Alice spent much time in mental institutions and ended up becoming a Catholic nun. Absolutely fascinating story, tragic yet heartlifting and also adds a new dimension to the bumbling, stoic Prince Phillip we all think we know so well.
14. Philomena (2013) (at the theatre) - We actually went to see Catching Fire but there were only three seats left in the theatre so declined them and went to see this instead. We just loved it. A very positive Catholic movie. Of course it deals with tragedy and how things were in orphanges during the fifties, not just Catholic ones but all of them really at that time and the plight of unwed mothers. Judi Dench was brilliant as usual and her character's unwavering faith through all her hardships is a role model we can all only hope to aspire to ourselves. The contrast between her and the bitter ex-Catholic was remarkable. We both loved the film. Stars: Judi Dench