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i’m in love with movies. [five things 1.9.12]

This five things is movies I’ve seen lately that I think you should see, too. I haven’t had much chance to write lately, but I wanted all of my friends out there in the internets to have some recommendations from me. Here are movies that have a whole-hearted seal of approval because they enchanted, inspired, moved, and entertained me recently.

1. The Adventures of Tintin

This is the best adventure film I’ve seen in years. I loved every second of it. The motion-capture pushed past the uncanny valley and into truly compelling, beautiful visuals, with great performances by the actors being captured. If you’re in the mood for a detective adventure, skip Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and go see this instead.

Granted, there was a speech in the movie that felt like it was written in response to a conversation I had with Emily four or five days earlier, making the film deeply personal, but I was enjoying the hell out of it long before then.

I can’t believe that fucking Chipmunks 3 is making tons of money while this is floundering and failing. This is why we can’t have nice things America, this is why we can’t have nice things.


2. Another Earth

A new planet appears in the sky on the same night that a young girl makes a life-shattering mistake. The rest of the film carries on from there in a slow, emotionally suspenseful film that kept me on the edge of my seat far more than thrillers and horror movies do.

I always think it’s funny when people praise some piece of SciFi, most often Battlestar Galactica, by saying “It’s not like most SciFi, it’s more about people and politics and life than anything else.” Those people clearly know absolutely nothing about real SciFi. Classic (read ‘good’) Science Fiction is always using aliens, or robots, or spaceships to talk about something else. Asimov, Bradbury, Dick, Vonnegut, etc. etc. etc. It’s always about people, relationships, politics, the human condition. This film is a story that uses the big, exciting premise that another earth appears in our sky to tell a small, painfully human story about a girl who just wants another chance.   


3. The Secret of Kells

This movie is available on Netflix Instant, so most of you can watch it whenever you want. Please do. It’s a remarkably beautiful movie. The animation, which is rooted entirely in the aesthetic of Celtic spirituality and mythology, is reason enough to watch the film. Every frame is carefully crafted to illuminate a story which is itself about illumination.

It’s a wonderful film, which at times is dark and tragic. Yet, it has to be, because it is a story of the power of beauty, art, and faith to be a light in the darkness. This film genuinely was a light in my darkness over these last few weeks. I’m pretty sure it became another of my ‘once a year-ish’ movies.


4. The Artist

Sweet Lord. This film is pure, unadulterated cinematic joy. Almost entirely silent, and when it isn’t silent it is very intentionally and carefully done. The Rotten Tomatoes consensus is: “A crowd-pleasing tribute to the magic of silent cinema, The Artist is a clever, joyous film with delightful performances and visual style to spare.” I couldn’t agree more.

I was already in love with Jean Dujardin from his turn as OSS 117, but this seals the deal. If I ever meet him I will kiss him right on his french lips. That’s right folks, you read it here first. I want to kiss Jean Dujardin on the mouth. And Bernice Bejo, who was also delightful in the OSS 117 film Cairo: Nest of Spies, isn’t too shabby either… wee-ow!


5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The other films on the list were inspiring. This was just well-crafted bad-assery. It was simply flat out cool. I wasn’t as big a fan of the books as many, but watching this film I think I got it and felt what I’d been missing. For many, I think this story connected because deep down we wish there were violent champions for the weak against the villains and monsters.

Rooney Mara was absolutely electric.


my year in movies. [the many lists of 2011.]

This year, I broke it down by month to make it easier to read, and also to see how the trends went. I started off really strong, but then Java Bean happened. Three movies in September… THREE!!

**The Key, which I forgot to add when I first published this.

(#) Movie I saw in the theater. [#] Movie I saw for the first time. E# Movies I watched with Emily. B# Movies I watched with Brian.

See them all after the jump.

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the neglected. [the many lists of 2011.]

Every year, I post the movies I should have watched, but didn’t. For one reason or another, I just missed these ones. It’s really just my way of making a list of movies I missed so that I remember to check them out soon. This year, I helped myself out by checking out a bunch of ‘Best of 2011’ lists to find some gems I missed altogether.

Here are 20 movies I should have watched this year. As always, in no particular order. Please add to the list, or tell me what you thought of movies I put on the list that you’ve already seen. Please. Pretty please. Someone comment!!

See them after the jump.

Continue Reading →


the year of kurosawa, or, my 2010 in movies.

Here they are, all 200 movies I watched this year.

Here’s the key, in case anyone cares. I promise it’s not as complicated as it looks.
(#) Movies I watched in the theater.
[#] Movies I’d never seen before.
E# – Movies Emily watched with me
B# – Movies Brian watched with me.
Movies I watched more than once this year.
Favorites (These underlined films cannot be movies I saw this year for the first time, or movies I have only seen once, they have to be movies that have been able to stand up viewing after viewing, and still keep me coming back for more.)
*Best movies I’d never seen before. (It doesn’t matter when these movies came out, I saw them for the first time this year, and they were awesome.)

Another Day, Another Movie: Time Travel, Westerns, Halloween Moviefest

*1. Into the Wild [1] E1
2. Time Bandits [2] B1
3. (500) Days of Summer – E2 B2
*4. The Fountain [3] E3 B3
*5. Timecrimes [4] B4

6. Planet of the Apes (1968) [5] B5
7. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure [6] B6 E4
8. Back to the Future II – B7 E5
9. Primer – B8 E6

10. Donnie Darko – B9 E7
11. Gone Baby Gone [7] E8
*12. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs [8] E9
13. The Bourne Identity – E10
*14. All The Real Girls [9] B10

*15. The Hurt Locker [10] B11 E11
16. The Quick and the Dead [11]
17. No Country for Old Men – B12
18. Wordplay [12]
19. The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus [13] (1) E12
20. The Bourne Supremacy – B13 E13
*21. Moon [14] B14
22. Inglourious Basterds – B15
23. The Bourne Ultimatum – B16

*24. Junebug [15] E14
25. Up – B17 E15
26. Defiance [16] B18 E16
27. Run Lola Run [17] B19
28. The Invention of Lying [18] B20
29. Paranormal Activity [19] B21
30. Whip It [20] E17
*31. Shutter Island [21] (2) E18
32. Equilibrium [22]
33. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
*34. Blood Simple [23] B22

35. The Informant [24] B23 E19
36. Raising Arizona
37. Gentlemen Broncos [25] B24
38. Alice in Wonderland [26] (3) E20
39. Magnolia – B25
40. Good Hair [27] E21
41. The Departed – E22 B26
42. Big Fan [28] B27
*43. Mad Hot Ballroom [29] E23
44. Cape Fear (1991) [30]
45. Man in the Chair [31] E24
46. O’Horten [32] B28
47. More Than a Game [33] E25
48. A Serious Man [34] E26 B29
49. Confessions of a Superhero [35] B30
50. Roman Holiday [36]
51. W. [37] E27
*52. How to Train Your Dragon, 3D (4) E28

53. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
54. Adam [38] E29
*55. Kick-Ass [39] (5) E30 B31
56. Iron Man – E31
57. The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights [40] E32
58. Rushmore – E33 B32
*59. MirrorMask [41]
60. Kick-Ass (6) B33 W1
61. Desperado – B34
62. Fantastic Mr. Fox – B35 E34
63. Iron Man 2 (7) [42] E35
64. Zombieland – E36 B36
65. An Education [43] E37 B37
66. Sherlock Holmes – E38 B38
67. Cold Souls [44] E39
*68. Yojimbo [45] B39
*69. A Fistful of Dollars [46] B40
70. Stagecoach – B41
71. Sanjuro [47] B42
72. For a Few Dollars More [48] B43
73. The Searchers

*74. About Schmidt [49]
*75. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly [50] B44

*76. Seven Samurai [51] B45
77. The Magnificent Seven [52] B46
78. The Professionals [53] B47
79. Unforgiven – B48 E40
*80. Shane [54]
81. True Grit [55]
82. Hang ‘em High [56]
83. Hombre [57]

*84. Toy Story 3 (8) [58] E41
85. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – E42
*86. Dead Man [59]
87. Blazing Saddles

88. Knight and Day (9) [60] E43
*89. Rashomon [61] B49

90. The Outrage [62]
*91. Once Upon a Time in the West [63]
92. High Noon – B50
93. The Wild Bunch – B51
94. 3:10 to Yuma – B52
95. Duck, You Sucker [64] B53
*96. The Outlaw Josey Wales [65] B54
*97. High Plains Drifter [66] B55
98. Pale Rider [67] B56
99. Serenity
100. Shutter Island – E44 B57
101. Hot Fuzz – B58
102. We Are Wizards [68] E45
*103. Half Nelson [69] E46 B59
104. Crazy Heart [70] E47
105. Black Dynamite [71] B60
106. Art & Copy [72] E48
*107. Mystery Team [73] B61
108. Quantum of Solace – E49
109. The Thing [74] B62
110. Youth in Revolt [75] E50 B63
*111. The Road [76] B64
112. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [77]
*113. Inception [78](10) E51

114. Book of Eli [79]
115. Pirate Radio [80] E52 B65
*116. Delicatessen [81] B66
*117. My Neighbor Totoro [82]
118. Inception (11) B67 E53
119. Metropolis [83]
120. Green Zone [84] E54 B68
121. The Crazies [85] B69
122. The Prestige – B70 E55
123. MST3K: Diabolik – B71
124. Rudo y Cursi [86] E56 B72
*125. Ran [87] B73

126. M [88] B74
*127. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World [89] (12) E57 B75
128. The Last Station [90] E58 B76
129. It Might Get Loud [91] E59 B77
130. Mulholland Drive [92] B78
131. The Hidden Fortress [93] B79
*132. The Good The Bad The Weird [94] B80 E60
133. Greenberg [95] B81 E61
*134. The Band’s Visit [96] B82 E62
*135. The Young Victoria [97] B83 E63
136. The Godfather – B84 E64
*137. Ikiru [98] B85

138. The Hobart Shakespeareans [99] E65
*139. Humpday [100] B86
*140. High and Low [101] B87

141. Date Night [102] E66 B88
*142. The Town [103] (13) E67 B89
143. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
144. The Godfather: Part II – E68 B90
145. Where The Wild Things Are – E69 B91
146. Predator [104] B92
*147. Brazil [105]
148. MacGruber [106] B93
149. Let The Right One In – B94
*150. [REC] [107] B95
151. Brotherhood of the Wolf [108]
152. Slither [109] B96
153. An American Werewolf in London [110] B97
154. The Girlfriend Experience [111] E70
155. Dawn of the Dead (1978) [112] B98
156. Pontypool – B99
*157. The Social Network [113] (14) E71

*158. The Devil’s Backbone [114]
159. Bram Stoker’s Dracula [115] B100
160. Comedian – B101
161. Monster House [116] E72 B103
162. Nosferatu [117] E73
163. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit – E74
*164. The Fly [118]
165. Shaun of the Dead – E75 B104
166. Dead Snow – B105
167. Babies [119] E76
168. RED [120] (15) E77
*169. Dark City [121]
170. Splice [122] B106

171. Due Date [123] (16) E78
172. Get Him to the Greek [124] B107
173. How To Train Your Dragon – B108
174. Toy Story 3 – E79 B109
175. OSS 117 – Cairo: Nest of Spies
*176. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One [125] (17) E80
*177. Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal [126]

178. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One (18) E81
*179. Tangled [127] (19) E82
180. Avatar
181. A Christmas Carol (2009) [128] E83
*182. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai [129]
*183. Manhattan [130] E84 B111
*184. I’m Still Here [131] E85 B112
*185. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – B113
*186. Tron: Legacy [132] (20) E86

187. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – B114
*188. True Grit (2010) [133] (21) B115
189. Love Actually – E87
190. Man on the Train [134]
191. Salt [135] E88
192. Easy A [136] E89
*193. Cronos [137]

*194. The Jerk [138]
195. The Great Escape [139]
196. Spies Like Us
*197. The Big Sleep [140] B116
*198. Black Swan [141] (22) E90

199. Rumble Fish [142]
200. The Other Guys [143] B117


western #30, 'serenity.' [another day, another movie.]

What really needs to be said? It’s Joss Whedon. It’s Nathan Fillion. It’s a space western. It’s awesome. Or, to use Firefly speak, it’s one shiny gorram movie. (Also, Glenn Howerton of It’s Always Sunny even makes a very, very brief appearance.)

If you pay attention to the story of how the show was handled, FOX dealt with it all so poorly that it was almost like they were trying to make it fail. Not surprising, it’s FOX.

If you’ve never seen Firefly and Serenity, you should do something about that as soon as you can.


western #28, 'high plains drifter.' [another day, another movie.]

I loved this movie. It was awesome.

Unfortunately, I can’t say much more than that without ruining it. Part of what I loved was slowly coming to realize what my take was on the film, as it developed.

It was basically one big metaphor, although, like all good metaphor, it was filled with layers of nuance and mystery. If you’ve seen it, I’d love to discuss it, but I’m not going to spoil it for everyone.


western #27, 'the outlaw josey wales.' [another day, another movie.]

Yes. Yes. Yes!

Everything that frustrated me about High Noon, The Wild Bunch, and Duck, You Sucker was remedied in this movie, as well as a really refreshing response to the American Western’s portrayal of Native Americans.

It is a sampling from early in Clint Eastwood’s directorial career, and only the second Western he directed (we’ll get to his first later).

I loved it.

The story is basically about a man whose family is brutally murdered by a guerilla terror squad working with the Union army.

He teams up with some bushwhackers to get some revenge, and thus begins the story of Josey Wales. He ends up becoming an avenging angel of sorts, protecting the innocent from harm, but the story is far better than that makes it sound.

The badass outlaw with a heart of gold, as we have seen many times before, but this time, there are different themes at work than there were before.

One of my favorites so far!

Also, young Clint Eastwood looks awesome with a beard.


western #26, 'duck, you sucker.' [another day, another movie.]

Duck, You Sucker, also known as, A Fistful of Dynamite, is more Leone. Sadly, it is the first time in my brief relationship with him when he completely let me down.

This movie was nonsensical. Rambling and at times incoherent, it was missing much of what I normally love about Leone.

Also, can anyone explain to me why two guys were watching as the other made out with the same girl? Those flashbacks were just inane, far too long, and mostly pointless since they never really explained how the girl played into the whole thing. I guess we are supposed to guess.

This one left Brian and myself scratching our heads that Leone could make something like this.