Movies/Dvds/Concerts I watched in 2011

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) 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 10yo/11yo by starting off with a red (#).

Jan: 2

(#) 1. Thunderball (1965) (re-watch) (library) - Since this was Dad's second last night with us we let him pick the movies for us to watch and last year we started letting ds watch the James Bond movies as long as they were the Connery or Moore ones. This is a Sean Connery one and thoroughly enjoyed by all. All the grown-ups had seen it before but none could remember having seen it more than one time. (My dad originally in the the theatre!) . A lot of this one takes place underwater as Bond searches for two stolen missiles that have been hidden off the coast of Nassau somewhere and the secret boardings of the enemies ship. Lots of action, lots of James getting information out of the girl between the sheets and lots of Sean Connery with no shirt on! Ds loved the action sequences to pieces, laughing his head off at some of the antics (the violence is so low-key in these movies) My sil and I commented that if the movie was made today they never would have let Sean get away with that gorgeous chest of his. He would have been waxed within an inch of his life and we both said at the same time "YUCK!" Can't stand men with waxed chests! Anyway back to the movie, it's a great one, not one of the most remembered though as it doesn't really have any famous scenes in it but it's actually got a good plot and is a good movie. Tom Jones did the theme song. I absolutely l-o-v-e Tom Jones! Watch the opening sequence with theme song here.

2. Charlie Chan in Shanghai (1935) (library) - I watched a lot of the Charlie Chan movies as a kiddo but have no idea which ones I've seen before. This rang no bells in my middle age brain so I'll treat it as a first timer. I love the humour of these Chan movies. I know some people can't get past the 1930s representation of the Chinese people, but I have no problem with these particular movies. There are plenty of Asian actors in the movie and never (from a 1930s mindset) are the Chinese people made out to be lesser human beings. Yes, there are stereotypes but from a 1930s pov it is not hateful in any sense. The movie was hilarious. Charlie Chan is the equivalent of a Chinese Hercule Poirot, very wise and solves the mystery with his mind. His Number One son, Lee, is his sidekick and they have a hilarious relationship, with Lee being an average American kid complete with slang, yet of course eager to please 'Pops' and show him his honorable Chinese side. Short 70 minute movie, for a fun mixture of humour and mystery. Unfortunately it got quite late and I fell asleep near the end of the movie and had to go to bed, so I just have to wait until Dad gets up to see if I was right as to whodunit. (ETA: Nope, I was completely wrong. The plot got even more complicated at the end and I would never have guessed.)

Feb: 1

3. Therese: The Story of Saint Therese of Lisieux (2004) (library) - absolutely beautiful indie movie about the life of "The Little Flower". Our church has been run by Carmelites since the 1850s and the North American Shrine to Saint Therese is here in my hometown, which we visit often so it was very enjoyable to watch her story come to life. As an indie film it certainly isn't Hollywood standards, but a very nice job has been done and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My dh watched this with me and this is not his sort of movie. He told me straight off that he'd start to watch it with me but if it was too soppy or pious he was leaving. He didn't move an inch! It's wonderful to watch a thoroughly positive Catholic movie like this that also takes place in the not so distant past.

Mar: 1

(#)4. Gulliver's Travels (1996) (rewatch) (Inter-Library Loan) - After we finished reading our version of Gulliver (highly recommended) I had planned all along on watching this TV mini-series starring Ted Danson with ds to bring the book further to life for him. This still being the most faithful rendition of the book to screen. There are still many, many, deviance's from the original but from our adapted version it was quite a satisfactory book to film experience.  In the book Gulliver keeps going out on travels and coming home, then going back to sea again.  But to create a better continuity for a movie, they made up a story where the movie begins with Gulliver arriving home after being gone all these years.  As he tries to tell his story he is thought mad and put into an insane asylum.  This is mostly due to the fact that another Dr. has taken over his practise and has been trying to get his wife to marry him.  Most of this second story was over ds's head and I had to explain the deviousness that was going on with this part. But the actual Travel's part of the movie was wonderful and true to our version of the book; Ds loved it! We watched the mini-series over three nights.

Apr: 1

(#)5. The 1940s House (2001) (library) This is a British reality show and I've never seen any of the other House series. Having just finished studying the War, I decided this would be a good watch for us to a feel for the homefront. I enjoyed this very much as this is the type of history that I enjoy and DS enjoyed it too, some bits went over his head but he really did appreciate the experience. I'm really glad we watched it!

May: 0

June: 0


6. Red Dawn. (1984) (Library) (re-watch) - I wanted to re-watch Taps; hubby wanted to re-watch this.  The library had this and I had to put an ILL in for Taps, so we watched this first.  I remember loving this when I originally watched it, which would have been at the movies in 1984.  I've never seen it again since.  So how did it hold up?  Not very well.  First of all, this is very much Patrick Swayze's movie and I was never a fan of his.  This was Charlie Sheen's first feature film debut and he is such a cutie and has quite a decent part with lots of lines and screen time but hardly ever gets any close-ups which was disappointing.  Story-wise, it was really over the top and felt like an extended episode of the A-Team with this small group of kids against a whole town full of enemy soldiers.  We rolled our eyes a lot but took it for what it was, a movie of its times. 

(#)7. Kicking & Screaming. (2005) (own) - This is hubby's movie not mine.  I'm not a fan of Will Ferrell for the most part.  Dh and ds were watching this and I decided to join in about 10 minutes into the movie to make it a family night.  Pleasantly enough it ended up being a funny family movie.  Ds didn't want to watch it at first as he does not like soccer but I convinced him that I even enjoyed sport movies sometimes (and he knows how much I hate it when his dad is watching any sports on TV).  So in the end ds really enjoyed it and thought it was hilarious and so did dh.  And I have no complaints for what it is, a fun, often silly, family comedy.  An enjoyable evening.

August: 5

8. Taps (1981) (Inter-Library Loan) (re-watch) - As far as I remember I have only seen this when it originally came out.  I have always had a spot in my heart as having loved this movies ever since.  In the opening credits there are only two famous actors listed George C. Scott and a young Timothy Hutton.  Brilliant performance for Hutton.  I really enjoyed the movie again re-watching it this time as an adult but it didn't have the same impact on me.  The rebel students who so endeared my teenage heart, now seem to be misguided youths with little plan and a false sense of what is right.  So while the plot didn't exactly bowl me over this time, I did still enjoy the movie for the brilliant performances by said star Timothy Hutton and two newcomers who were only mentioned in the end credits, both very young but giving powerful performances were Tom Cruise and Sean Penn.  This was Penn's first feature film. Cruise had had a bit part in a prior feature film and it is no wonder based on his performance here that he went on to be a part of the gang of young hotties in his next film, "The Outsiders"

(#)9. Charlotte's Web (1973) (Library) (re-watch) - I'd just finished reading the book to ds and had planned on us watching the original animated movie that I grew up watching on TV.  It seemed like it was one of those perennial favourites that was shown once a year and I had fond memories of it.  I haven't re-watched it since those days though and finally re-watching it as an adult it didn't really hold up for me.  I had totally forgotten that it was a musical, and honestly it was a pretty slow movie.  It was very true to the book though.  Ds was glad that the movie followed the book, even the names were the same, something he's found often get changed when book turns to movie.  But he hated the singing.  Ds does not like musicals.  He said there is no singing in the book, why do they have to sing in the movie?  That annoyed him very much.  But otherwise, he did enjoy the movie and enjoyed the humorous bits.  In the book he loved the goose's double speak and was pleased as punch when the goose in the movie followed suit.  I'd say that she was his favourite character, but of course he also liked Templeton, as did I.  Though they made him much grumpier in the movie than in the book.  Re-watching it has made me loose those warm, fuzzy memories I had for the movie but it does get an "A" for staying true to the book.  We haven't watched the new version of the movie and I doubt we will as I can say we are both all Charlotte's Web-ed out for the time being.

10. The World According to Garp (1982) (Library) (re-watch) - Hubby and I have decided to watch all Robin Williams' movies in order, excluding the ones we know are really bad and the ones we've seen dozens of time.  That means we skipped Popeye, which I had seen and thought was a terrible movie even as a young person.  This movie was Robin's second feature film and he plays rather a normal guy, compared to what he'd done so far: said Popeye and Mork.  I guess this would be classified as a dramatic comedy.  It's quite a serious movie with a lot of humour from low key to witty to physical.  Robin plays a find performance as T.S. Garp.  I had previously seen the movie, but only once and originally at the theatre.  Dh had not seen it ever before.  I had thought the movie was wonderful previously and now with the re-watch it was only so-so.  It was overly long, with long parts where nothing happened that seemed to stretch and it wasn't as funny as I remember it being.  Dh, asked if he enjoyed the movie replies "Bits of it".  OK but not great.

(#)11. Faerie Tale Theatre: The Tale of the Frog Prince (1982) (Library) - This is a continuation of the Robin Williams project.  This is not a movie but a 55 min. TV episode of a TV Show that ran through most of the 80's with a few shows per year.  Clocking in a 55mins, I would assume the TV shows were TV movie length 90mins episodes with commercials included.  This episode was the first first to air and featured Robin Williams and since neither of us had seen it we decided to add it to our roster.  Hubby thought it was ok, I really enjoyed it and ds had his funny bone tickled all the way through!  So decent family entertainment all the way round.  This pure Robin Williams at this time of his life.  Dressed up in a frog suit he is almost, but not quite, unrecognisable and he gives his stand up routines and impersonations making for a hilarious performance.  Also of notice is Michael Richards role as the King who also performs with classic Kramer body language.  Not recommended for young children though as there is disguised and blatant s*xual innuendo aplenty, the frog is called a "horny toad" and the princes is called "b*tchy".  Really had fun with this.  We may watch the whole series at some time or buy it if we find it cheap somewhere.

(#)12.Holes - (2003) (Inter-Library Loan) - Ds picked the movie.  His teacher read the book to the class last year and they watched the movie but since ds only goes to school half days he only got to see a bit of the movie.  He absolutely loved the book!  As did I, which I read several years ago. I really enjoyed the movie.  I'd call it a passive movie with lots of quiet humour and only a few moments of physical comedy.  From what I remember the movie remained true to the book.  Of course my memory of the book is fuzzy, by now.  I enjoyed and loved seeing the big names show up we don't see too often Henry Winkler, Eartha Kitt and a very skinny Patricia Arquette.  For some reason, the boys looked older than I had imagined they were in the book, but that may be memory again.  Ds, on the other hand did not like the movie.  He kept saying it was boring and nothing was happening.  Too slow, too much talking and not enough actually happening for him.  He got up several times and walked around the house before coming back to the movie.  He did have his moments, where he enjoyed the comedy though.  So for him, it was a case of the book being much better than the movie.  While I enjoyed the movie, I wouldn't give it 5 stars, so I will have to concur with ds on this one.

Sept:  5

(#)13. Apollo 13 - (1995) (library) (re-watch) - I've only seen this the one time, on video, when it originally came out so I was pretty much watching it with fresh eyes.  The whole family watched this movie together the actual reason being that ds had just finished studying about space travel and one thing he'd studied was the Apollo 13 mission so seeing the movie was rated PG I thought it would be fun to for him to watch.  Dh wasn't looking forward to watching such a long movie, as his eyes get tired at anything 2 hours+ but even he stayed awake and enjoyed the movie as much as we all did.  Ds talked through the whole thing though, asking all sorts of space/astronaut/vocabulary related questions.  Even though he knew the outcome he twice asked me with a question in his voice that they did all survive, right? as the movie is quite intense.  He absolutely loved the ending when they re-entered earth's atmosphere and then the parachutes opened.  Myself, I enjoyed it very much, as if I'd never seen it before.  If I gave ratings this would be one of the 5 star must see movies.

(#)14. The Goonies - (1985) (ILL) (re-watch) - What a fantastic family movie.  Something to entertain and catch the imagination of kids (boys in particular, I'd presume).  Secret hidden pirate treasure, a map to the treasure, bad guys on their trail and they're all trying to find the loot so that their parent's houses won't be foreclosed to make room for a golf course.  Absolutely hilarious, a bit of a cross between Indian Jones and Stand By Me, with it's all kid cast of heroes performing the derring do of Indie.  BTW the little Chinese boy from Temple of Doom is the same actor who is in this movie.  Making big hits are child actors of famous parents Sean Astin (Patty Duke's son) and Joss Brolin (James Brolin's son) along with the ever popular 80's kid star Corey Feldman.  I loved it the first time and really enjoyed it again.  I also liked watching the special feature of Cyndi Lauper's theme song video which had all the 80s wrestlers in it, from back in the day when I used to be a wrestling fan.  Andre the Giant even makes an appearance!  Dh hadn't seen the movie before and he really enjoyed, needless to say it was a huge hit with the ds.  Great night at the movies had by all.

(#)15. Up - (2009) (library) - Just looking at lists of kids' movies and this one showed up as one we'd never got around to watching so I put a hold on it.  Dh was sick in bed so just ds and I watched together.  First time just the two of us watched anything in a long time and we picked a winner of a movie for our mum/son night!  Just absolutely wonderful!  A real feel-good movie without being syrupy or anything like that.  The sequence at the beginning that shows the old man's life from childhood to the loneliness after loosing his wife is brilliant.  It's a whole story before the movie even starts.  Ds had a great time, laughing at all the funny parts and I really enjoyed the humour as well.  Ds was thrilled that there was no singing!  I though Ed Asner was perfect for the role as he is the epitome of the grouchy old man.  Love John Ratzenberger showing up for his cameo bit part.  He's got a deal that he has to be in every Disney/Pixar movie made till death do they part, right?  I'm not a dog person but gotta say the "squirrel" joke with the talking dogs was hilarious.  Great movie, watch it, even if you haven't got kids; it's got a good message for all of us adults.

16. - Moscow on the Hudson (1984) (ILL) (re-watch) - Continuing along with dh and my project to watch all Robin William's movies in chrono. order.  The next movie was supposed to be Survivors with Walter Matthau (sp?) but the library came up empty handed.  So I put a request in for the next one and said I wanted a DVD "but" would except a VHS as a last resort and I ended up with the VHS.  So I put a request in again for Survivors but this time asking for a VHS and I haven't heard back yet, this is usually a good sign.  Anyway onto the movie.  It's surprising how laid back and dramatic Williams' early movies were.  I guess he really wanted to get away from being characterized as "Mork".  Both dh and I had seen this when it first came out and had enjoyed it at the time.  Watching again now we still enjoyed but would classify it as an ok movie.  It showed its age.  Soviet Russia of course is gone along with the defection of its performing artists, but mostly the idea that the movie permeates that America is the land of the immigrant's dream, where anyone can make it if they only try, has gone by the wayside.  The message is jaded today and no such movie could be made today either.  It does make one long for the good old days.

(#)17. Secondhand Lions (2003) (Library) - I chose this one as a family watch as it just sounded like a good plot and I love Michael Caine.  Dh was working the late shift so just ds and I watched it but we really enjoyed it.  A touching story of a boy who has a flighty mother, who has never had a home, actually been in the orphanage at one time and how is mother drops him off with two never been heard of before brother great uncles. They are basically grumpy old men and while for the boy it is a coming of age story, for the men they learn how to enjoy life again and how to love someone again.  Beautiful story, quite humorous.  I was only startled by the amount of language used by the old men.  I hadn't expected it and it wasn't that bad with mostly d*mns and h*lls, but some of the language was rather vulgar too.  It was appropriate for these men seeing as what their background was and once I realized it wasn't going to get any worse, I relaxed and enjoyed the movie with my son.  A good one!

Oct:  6

18. Braveheart (1995) (watched on DVD at my sister's in Edmonton) - If you can believe it, I have never seen this movie before but have always wanted to.  It's one of my sister's favourites that she has seen multiple times and she's always said we'll have to watch it together some day.  All I have to say is Magnificent!  I loved it!  I am partial to Scottish history and wish England had never killed off the Scottish heirs to the crown so came into the movie a fan of the subject matter.  And I love Mel Gibson; he's at his prime here.  My husband hates watching long epic historical movies so I don't get much chance to watch them, even though I love them.

19. My Own Worst Enemy: The Complete Series (2008) (my sister has Netflix) - Absolutely loved this show!  Never heard of it before and it only lasted 9 episodes so it just ended right in the middle of everything.  Very similar to Alias with the twisting, violent spy plot.  Loved every second of it!  One of those unfortunate awesome shows that gets canceled while the junk keeps on getting renewed.

20.  The Secret Life of Bees (2008) (my sister has Netflix) - I've read the book and suggested this as a good choice we could watch with my 12yo niece.  A good movie, I really enjoyed.  The book was much better though and they changed/or left out enough bits to make it not as wonderful as the book.  I still enjoyed it though.  I particularly enjoyed the portrayal of May and Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson).  So I give it an OK.  On the otherhand my niece was bawling her eyes out and my sister was teary eyed several times.  So not having read the book, the movie seems to make an impact.

21. Survival of the Dead (2009) (my sister's on Blu-ray) - Just me and my bil were home and he picked this movie to watch.  I'm not into modern horror movies and thought it would be too gross for me.  But it wasn't, just a good, fun, zombie movie with no real value to it.  Stupid ending.  Some fairly fake-looking scenes but some good zombie killing too.  Had fun.

22. Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1974 (2009) (my sister's DVD) This is the first in a trilogy of movies about unrelated serial killer sprees that took place in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England.  This where I (and my family ancestry) hail from.  The movie was dark, grim and boring.  We turned it off before it was finished.

(#)23. Zoom (2006) (WE GOT NETFLIX) Ds picked this movie for family night.  Tim Allen is a defunct super hero who is recruited to train a new bunch of kids with special powers to form a new team of super heroes to combat at immenent visit by a super villain.  Some superhero funnies but basically a bad movie, scriptwise and acting wise.  No funny moments for Tim Allen.  Interesting seeing Courtney Cox as his co-star.  When we were finished I asked ds what we should rate it.  I was thinking 2, dh said under his breath 1 and ds yelled out 5.  I asked if he was sure, that 5's were for best movies ever, but he was adament.  I'll go back later and change it to a 3 so our suggestions aren't skewed.  At least ds enjoyed himself.  And it is a clean, non-offensive, kid-safe movie, which are few and far between these days.

Nov: 1

24. A Beautiful Mind (2001) (Netflixed) watched this on my own.  Hadn't heard of it before or the man the true story was based on.  I thought it was a good movie.  Slow at first but quickly picked up once the reveal was made.  I love how they showed the first half of the movie through Nash's point of view so that the audience is just as confused as he is when his life starts to fall apart and he is confronted with mentall illness.  A beatuiful portayal of a husband and wife committed to each other so much that they hold each other up as Nash decides to deal with his symptons in his own way without the mind altering drugs of the era.  Frank Nash evenutally becomes a Nobel Peace Prize Recipient for his mathematical theories of economics.  A heart-warming story that shows people overcoming, without "curing" their mental illnesses, by sheer determination and will power, behaviour modification and logical reasoning if all else fails.  This man and wife could have ended it so many times but they didn't beccause they had had love, and were'nt about to give it up because things were tough now.  No, they went on to prove that with that love they could live with, live well and happily,  with Frank's schizophrenia using Frank's ideas rather than by losing his mind to electrical shock treatment and drugs that took away his personality, reasons for being, and his desire for his wife.  A long movie, not fast-moving, but dark, and one I'm glad I watched.  I've only seen a handful of Russel Crowe's movies but I've loved those I've seen; I might just start picking a movie because he's in it and see if I become a fan.


25. Arrested Development: Season 1 (2003-2004) (Netflixed) I've always wanted to watch this show.  Prior to this I had only seen one and a half episodes on TV, the episode where Tobias is painted as a Blueman (not in season 1) and a bit of an episode where the father is hiding in the attic (again not in season 1) but those two samplings had me itching to get season 1 and realy watch the show as it seemed to be my type of quirky humour.  I am not usually a 1/2 sitcom type of person.  I absolutely loved this, I will say though that the first half of the season was better than the second.  Though the last episode where everyone is on Atkins and can't neat any carbs is funny.  I really enjoyed the guest stars.  Liza Minella in her extended story arc and Julia Louise-Dreyfuss's two episodes were hilarious.  Aside from loving Jason Bateman since I first saw him on Little House on the Prairie and Silver Spoons, my favourite character on the show is Buster and after that George-Michael.  Even though it is mentioned in the credits at first I guessed Ron Howard was the narrator right away and thought that was pretty cool too, especially with the Henry Winkler connection.  All around fabulous comedy for those who like quirky.  Can't wait to watch Season 2 and I hear a movie follow-up is in the works.

26. Survivors Season 1 (2008) (Netflixed) This is a short British TV show with only two seasons.  A post-apocalyptic show that is supposed to be a remake of a show from the '70s and is based on the book by Terry Nation (which I've added to my Bookmooch wishlist).  An excellent show!  The first episode is movie length and brilliant in itself as it tells the tale of a virus leaking onto the public in Britain and within 24 hours 95% of the world's population is dead.  The show then focuses on a small group of survivors, how they meet, join up and others they come across and of course there is a mysterious government connection as well.  I absolutely love the actor playing Tom, the ex-convict, who at first is a cold-blooded murderer but whose character develops during the show and one can't but start to like him.  He seems to be playing his role very close to David Caruso and his mannerisms and even looks a bit like him but much more sexy. I also like the young boy who plays Najid (sp); he is often more grown-up than some of the adults since he was brought up in a working family where he also did his part to support the household.  Really good show, watch it if you get the chance.

27. Sherlock Season 1 (2010) (Netflixed) Watched with my 22yo while he visited for 4 days.  This is a short British television series with only 3 hour and a half episodes.  Looking at imdb, I see that season 2 will air with three more episodes in 2012 which look to have already been filmed.  This is a fantastic show!  Set in modern times, Sherlock and Watson are there modern day counterparts from the books.  Much of the original characterization of the characters in kept with a modern twist.  Watson has return home from the war (Afghanistan) and they end of sharing a flat together the same way as in the books, a mutual acquaintance introduces them to each other when they both remark, who would ever want to roommate with them.  There are tributes to Holmesian references for die-hard fans to notice.  Holmes is an ex-addict who does not smoke but where three nicotine patches.  The actor who places Holmes is brilliant, just what you would expect from such a man today and played as an egocentric who probably has some sort of mental issue.  Watson is also well played in a serious role rather than the old bumbling Watson we are often used to seeing.  A fantastic show, great acting, intense and exciting cases with plenty of humour added to offset the darkness.  Mrs. Hudson is used for comic relief.  Along with the familiar faces already noted we also meet Inspector Lestrade, Mycroft and the maniacal Moriarty.  Highly recommended for mystery fans.

(#)28. Hoodwinked! (2005) (Netflixed) Watched Christmas Eve.  Both ds and I had wanted to see this one for a while.  We all enjoyed it.  Not the best animated movie but still good and enjoyable.  Quite different than the usual animated movie as well.  Other than one cute creature, everyone else was shady, sneaky, mysterious or not what they seemed.  Probably a 3.5.

(#)29. The Adventures of Tin Tin (2011) (went to the theatre) First let me say this was my very first 3D movie at the theatre.  Well, the new 3D, ykwim.  I don't see the point.  So, the movie has depth, big deal.  I have perfect eye vision and I found the glasses anoying and kept going to take them off then remembering I had to wear them.  There was no extra fun because of the 3D.  I hope this gimmick fades away.  Now on to the movie.  Three adults, 2 50-yo and 1 40+, plus an 11 yo absolutely loved it.  It was just like an Indian Jones movie!.  Same concept, same over the top adventures and near death get-aways, amazing duels/fights with the bad guys, trips all over the world, to find a hidden treasure.  The 11yo laughed and commented throughout the whole thing.  Good thing we were surrounded by other children LOL!  I have never read a Tin Tin comic in my life but now I want to read them more than anything!  The movie is based on volume 11: The Secret of the Unicorn which has a direct sequel in volume 12: Red Rackham's Treasure, so I'm sure we can expect a movie sequel as well.


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