Friday, September 30, 2011

2011 Movie Update

 I love to watch movies. When I first started this blog, I would post about each movie that I watched. Now if you look at my blog, you would think the only movies I watch are to fulfill Jane Austen challenges. Back in my single, dating, and newly married days, there was nothing I loved better than going out friends or Ben to the movie theatre. My movie watching has decreased with time and more kids, but I still watch movies. Ben and I don’t get to the movie theatre too much anymore. When you have three kids and the movie theatre is 30 to 45 minutes away, the babysitter fees are too much to get out that often. Most of the movies I watch are DVDs from the library, on Turner Classic Movies, or are on Starz (we get Starz “free” this year because of an increase in our monthly bill from Dish). I mostly watch movies in pieces during times I’m nursing Penelope . . . my movie time is going away now that she is getting weaned.

The following are movies I’ve watched this summer that I enjoyed. What movies have you watched and enjoyed lately? When do you watch movies?

Oscar Contenders:
The King’s Speech Wow, sometimes I watch best picture contenders and I find myself wondering what the fuss is about and vowing to never watch that movie again (I’m looking at you No Country for Old Men and There Will be Blood). The King’s Speech was a positive movie that I loved and would enjoy watching again and again. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush are spectacular as King “Bertie” George VI and Lionel Logue. I love how the movie is not only a tale of an unlikely friendship, but how a great tale of working to overcome a disability.

True Grit – I also loved True Grit. It was a great story also with brilliant performances. I have never seen the original or read the book so I can’t compare. Hailee Steinfield steals the show as Mattie Ross, a young teenage girl trying to avenge her father’s murder. She hires Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to help her track down the killer. They are joined by a Texas Ranger, LaBoeuf (Matt Damon), who is tracking the same guy. I thought the cinematography, music, script, and acting were all superb. I loved this movie. Ben only saw pieces of it, but he was stopped in his tracks each time and had a few laughs at some of the witty dialogue. I did the The King’s Speech better, but True Grit was a very close second best film of 2010 in my opinion.

Period Movies

Bright Star – I really enjoyed this tragic love story of the poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne. I didn’t know anything about this story at all and I enjoyed learning about the love affair. I also thought the cinematography was very beautiful and I loved the costumes. I also loved to hate poet Charles Brown, the arrogant friend of Keats that had a declared hatred for Fanny.

The Last Station – I always love learning something new about writers and historical figures. The Last Station gave me an education about Leo Tolstoy and his very unconventional end of life. The end of the movie had me want to burst through the TV and strangle Paul Giamatti as the sinister Chertkov. Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer gave powerhouse performances as Tolstoy and his wife Sofya. I also enjoyed James McAvoy as the young Bulgakov, but Mirren and Plummer really stole the show.

The Young Victoria – As you can tell from the books I read, I may be slightly obsessed with British royalty. I loved this movie starring Emily Blunt as the young Victoria before and shortly after becoming queen of England. The romance between Print Albert, Rupert Friend, and Victoria was beautiful.

Chick Flicks

Easy A – Another movie I absolutely adored. I love chick flicks, rom-coms, whatever you like to call them – but I’ve felt that recent fair the past few years has been not the greatest. I was pleasantly surprised to discover Easy A. Emma Stone has a fantastic performance in this movie, which is a modern take on The Scarlet Letter. It is an original take on a classic, in the same vein as Clueless was to Emma.

(500) Days of Summer – Another non-traditional rom-com that I really enjoyed. I loved that it was from a man’s point of view of the 500 days he spent falling in love, in relationship with, and trying to get over a perfect girl named Summer.


Letter to Three Wives – This was a rather saucy tale of a letter a “friend” sends on her way out of town to three wives saying she has run off with one of their husbands. All three wives flash back to how they got together with their husbands and current relationship problems that may be the cause of their husband leaving them. A great early performance of Kirk Douglas.

I know I watched other great movies this summer, but these are the ones that I really enjoyed and am still thinking about. I really like sci-fi and action movies, but didn’t really watch any this summer for whatever reason.

What have you been watching lately? Any great movies you would recommend?


  1. Laura, I've seen the first two movies on your list. The others I have not seen, but you've given me some good ideas for my Netflix queue--thanks!

  2. You mention some real winners. I loved King's Speech, True Grit, and Young Victoria so much. I had some issues with Bright Star, mostly because I thought it made my beloved Keats look rather pathetic, but that's just me.

    My kids love Easy A, and I have yet to watch it--maybe this winter when we get a snow day!

    I really want to watch The Last Station, but I feel compelled to read up on Tolstoy's life first, which could take awhile.

    I recently watched Secretariat, which I loved. Partly it was nostalgia because I was in junior high when he was a superstar, and remember watching the races live (on TV) when he won in 1973.

    I don't go to the movies much (just wait for the dvd) but I loved The Help this summer.

  3. Jane - I watched Secretariat this summer too and really enjoyed it. I can't believe I forgot to put it on my list!

    I loved the book The Help and really want to watch the movie. I can't wait until it comes out on DVD.