June 24, 2009

My Month in Movies

My Month in Movies is a new monthly feature I started in May to bring you one of my other loves- movies. I am late getting this up this month, but here are the movies I watched in the past month. I watched quite a few as I was sick for most of the month.

Goya's Ghosts
The painter Goya becomes involved with the Spanish Inquisition when his muse, Ines, is arrested by the church for heresy. Her father, Thomas, comes to him hoping that his connection with Brother Lorenzo, whom he is painting, can secure the release of his daughter.

Rating 3 Stars (would have been 4 but I did not like the ending)

He's Just Not That Into You
In Baltimore, five women and four men try to sort out the signals that the sexes exchange. Gigi imagines every man she meets is Mr. Right; she gets reality checks from Alex, a sweet but cynical saloon keeper. Janine and Ben seem solidly married until he chats with Anna in a market checkout line; meanwhile Anna is indifferent to the pursing Connor. Neil and Beth have been together seven years; she dumps him when she realizes he really and truly isn't going to marry her. Does he love her? And Mary sells advertising while searching on line for a man. Will those in love stay in love? Will those searching figure out who is and who isn't into them? Are men all that different from women?

Rating 4 Stars

Lost in Austen
After a dispute with her boyfriend, Amanda lands in the 19th-century world of author Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. While helping the Bennet sisters find husbands, Amanda accidentally causes problems that could alter the course of the tale. Throughout this British series, Amanda must balance her feelings for Mr. Darcy (Elliot Cowan) with her responsibility to the one of the world's greatest love stories.

Rating 3 Stars (I don't know if I liked the ending but I don't know if any ending would have been completely satisfactory to me.)

The Visitor
Widowed professor Walter Vale (Richard Jenkins, in an Oscar-nominated role) discovers an immigrant couple, Tarek (Haaz Sleiman) and Zainab (Danai Gurira), squatting in his Manhattan flat and becomes wrapped up in their lives when Tarek is thrown into a detention center. A wonderful Hiam Abbass co-stars as Tarek's mother, who forges an unlikely connection with Walter. Thomas McCarthy won a Best Director Independent Spirit Award for his touching drama.

Rating 5 Stars (This movie was recommended to me by another blogger. I loved it! The movie is a little slow to start but stick with it.)

Godzilla (1998)
When a freighter is viciously attacked in the Pacific Ocean, a team of experts -- including biologist Niko Tatopoulos (Matthew Broderick) and scientists Elsie Chapman (Vicki Lewis) and Mendel Craven (Malcolm Danare) -- concludes that an oversized reptile is the culprit. Before long, the giant lizard is loose in Manhattan, destroying everything within its reach. The team chases the monster to Madison Square Garden, where a brutal battle ensues.

Rating 4 Stars

The Orphanage
With fond memories of the seaside orphanage where she was raised, Laura (Belén Rueda) persuades her husband (Fernando Cayo) to help her revamp it as a facility for disabled children. But once they move in, their son Simón (Roger Príncep) begins to exhibit dark and disturbing behavior. As Laura tries to understand Simón's increasingly malevolent actions, she becomes drawn into the house's terrifying secrets in this gothic chiller.

Rating 4 Stars (It reminded me of the ghost story The Others with Nicole Kidman, which is one of my favorite movies because of the twist.)

Becoming Jane
A passionate romance with roguish barrister Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy) serves as the inspiration for the works of budding novelist Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) in director Julian Jarrold's prismatic drama set in late 18th century England. After rejecting a proposal from a neighbor's rich but stolid nephew, Austen becomes increasingly drawn to impoverished young lawyer Lefroy -- even as relatives and circumstances conspire to separate the couple.

This was the better of the two Austen films I watched. I loved this one. Rating 5 Stars

Casino Royale
Martin Campbell (GoldenEye) directs this film adaptation (the 21st of the Bond franchise) of Ian Fleming's first novel. Daniel Craig debuts as the new Bond who takes on a corrupt financier (Mads Mikkelsen) in a showdown of Texas Hold 'Em. You'll learn Bond's back story as the action-packed film takes you to the Bahamas, Madagascar and other exotic locales. Eva Green stars as Vesper Lynd, and the sublime Judi Dench reprises her role as M.

Rating 3 Stars (I just can't get into the Bond movies, but they are still okay.)

My Mom's New Boyfriend
Calling it a conflict of interest would be a serious understatement when up-and-coming federal agent Henry Durand (Colin Hanks) is ordered to spy on his mom (Meg Ryan) and her new boyfriend (Antonio Banderas). Director George Gallo also penned the screenplay to this romance-drama with a comedic twist inspired by the Alfred Hitchcock classic To Catch a Thief.

Rating 4 Stars (Predictable but has some very funny lines and scenes)

Four Brothers
John Singleton directs Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, Garrett Hedlund and André "3000" Benjamin as Bobby, Angel, Jack and Jeremiah Mercer, four tight-knit brothers who look nothing alike but who know the true meaning of family. Returning home for their adoptive mother's funeral, the grieving siblings learn she may actually have been murdered. Resolving revenge, they band together to make sure the killer pays.

Rating 3 Stars (Could have done without the bathroom scene. I feel like this is done a lot in recent movies and tv shows. It is a trend that should come to a screeching halt.)

As take-charge Army virologist Sam Daniels (Dustin Hoffman) strives to thwart a global biological meltdown in the form of a killer virus that has infested a California community, he must also battle those who say the only way to stop the disease is to firebomb the town. Silver-screen luminaries Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Donald Sutherland and Kevin Spacey join Hoffman in this edge-of-your-seat, doomsday thriller.

Rating 4 Stars (This was a re-watch that was on TV one night. Still a good movie.)

Academy Award winner Oliver Stone directs an all-star cast in this satiric retrospective of the life and political career of George W. Bush (Josh Brolin), from his troubles as a young adult through his governorship of Texas and all the way to the Oval Office. Among the key supporting players are Richard Dreyfuss as veep Dick Cheney, Elizabeth Banks as first lady Laura Bush and Thandie Newton as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Rating 3.5 Stars (The actors personification of the politicos were all uncanny. Josh Brolin had W.'s accent down pat and Richard Dryfuss made a totally convincing creepy Cheney.)

When perfect, perky Carolyn (Christina Ricci) and her Alpha Omega Pi sisters decide to coach mentally challenged athletes for the regional Challenged Games, Carolyn's assigned to coach Pumpkin, a young disabled man. She's terrified at first, but soon sees in Pumpkin a gentle humanity and honest clarity that touches her soul. To the horror of her friends -- and Pumpkin's overprotective mother -- Carolyn starts to falls in love. …

Rating 3 Stars (Could have been so much more if it had better direction.)

Lost Season 3
This is the most addictive show EVER. Does anyone know of a more addictive show? I blame this completely on Amy of My Friend Amy. :)

A Scanner Darkly
I couldn't take the rapidly flashing Keanu Reeves. It gave me a headache.
Persuasion (1995)
It was too slow to start. Having not read the book yet, this did not make me want to keep trying with the movie, either.
The Fortune Cookie
I thought it would be great considering this was the first pairing of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matheau, but I didn't care about the characters and it wasn't funny like I thought it would be.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
A good film but it was way too long. It got very slow and I lost interest because it had already been two hours. How do you take a short story and make it a 3-hour movie???

What did you watch recently? Was it worth it?


  1. He's Just Not That Into You and The Orphanage are on my list. Glad to hear they're good! I liked The Visitor, Casino Royale, and Outbreak, too. Nice choices! I think I'm going to do a monthly movie wrap-up post, as well. I really liked this idea.

  2. The only movie that you mentioned that I've seen is Benjamin Button. I thought it got long in the middle too, but I watched it all since I was at the theater.

  3. I've been addicted to Lost a few years ago, too. Try Prison Break, it's even more addicting. I promise. Just the first 2 seasons.

  4. I really need to watch Goya's Ghosts. It looks really good.

    I had the exact opposite reaction from you to Becoming Jane and Lost In Austen. I really enjoyed Lost In Austen. It's pretty silly, but the characters from P&P are amazingly spot-on. Becoming Jane really dragged for me. While I do like Anne Hathaway, she does not capture the personality of Austen at all imo. But then it does have James McAvoy in it, so that's a plus. ;)

  5. I saw Lost in Austen a couple of days ago. Maybe it was better watched as the mini-series it was intended to be. It was a bit too long as a movie and I wasn't that happy with the movie either. I really wanted to know what was going on w. Lizzy in the modern world.

  6. I think I'm the only person who really DIDN'T like Lost in Austen ... I thought that if she loved the book so much she would have tried to fit in more and spend less time using lipgloss.

    I also quit on Benjamin Button and recently quit the Persuasion book for being too boring.

    I keep wanting to see The Orphanage but am afraid of it being scary! Is it about the same scariness as The Others?

  7. We enjoyed Lost in Austen very much - a totally new take on the novels and very amusing.

  8. There's a lot of cool ones to choose from- The Orphanage sounds great, so I'm going to try to locate that one. The Visitor for sure!

  9. I've seen much of what you posted about here but I'll restrict my comments to just a couple. I've seen Becoming Jane several times and enjoy it each time. It's one of my favorite Austen themed films and appreciated getting some perspective on her life as she was struggling to write. I've seen The Jane Austen Book Club and didn't like it nearly as well -- maybe because it didn't really focus on Austen but rather her books as a means to an end for other characters and plots.

    LOVE Lost! Best.show.ever. I recommend it to everyone.

  10. I love your movie reviews! If you give Persuasion a shot though, it is worth it. It works its way up slow and has a fantastic ending. I love the book also - it's one of my favorite Austen novels behind Pride and Prejudice. I have nominated your blog for an award - check out my blog at http://lauragerold.blogspot.com/.

  11. Okay - so I just watched The Orphanage ... so sad! I wish they didn't take a couple of the visual effects so far. It almost took away from the movie (like the fingernail scene). Not super scary but I definitely jumped a few times!


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