I love movies. Even the Hallmark movies, where you see one and you’ve seen them all. That and as my 5 year old niece says, “It’s ok, it’s a Hallmark movie, they all have a Happy Ending.”
Best of 2014
So my 2014 list will not include Hallmark movies. I will make a list of Hallmark Christmas movies old and hopefully new for 2015 (Debbie Macomber always seems to have a new movie for Hallmark every year).
The Top 5 Best of
Mockingjay part 1 5★♥ I really liked how well they did this, despite the way I felt negative of them splitting the book in half. I didn’t know how they could do it. But it turned out good. So far.
North & South 5★♥ BBC production with Richard Armitage as John Thornton. Loved it. And love the book by Elizabeth Gaskell.
Austenland 5★♥ J. J. Feilde ♥ and Keri Russell and the others were great too. Love the book.
Saving Mr. Banks 5★♥. Netflix movie rental and then have rewatched it on cable. Loved it. Can totally see where Ms Travers got her inspiration for Marry Poppins from. Mom, Grandpa Ed and I all really liked this movie. Mom didn’t even know that Mary Poppins was a book series. Grandpa might have gotten a little confused with the jumping around time frame. But he caught on fine and liked it.
Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (2007 film) 5★♥ (Masterpiece Classics Starring: Felicity Jones, J. J. Feilde ♥, Carey Mulligan, William Beck) Love this as much as the book.
The Mention-able (in very random order)
- Captain Phillips 4.5★♥ Watched it twice! In one day. This was really good. Highlight was seeing my ship (USS Boxer #4) or as the pirates called it “a really huge ship!” First HOUR is all about the chase. A little too long IMO. But still really good.
- To Rome with Love 4.5★ So fair warning to those that aren’t fans – this is a Woody Allen starred, directed and written movie.
But I’d say to not let that stop you from seeing this. It was really funny. My grandpa even liked it and he’s not a fan of Woody’s. Also there is a romantic theme along with the 4 stories in the movie. The movie opens with a traffic control cop, who tells you that he has the best view in the world. He then begins to tell you about (1) Hayley and her story (played by Alison Pill – Newsroom). Woody Allen plays her father. Then about newlyweds (2) Antonio and Milly story (Penelope Cruz plays a prostitute in their story). Then it’s on to (3) Leopoldo (played by Roberto Benigni – Life is Beautiful) and (4) John’s story (played by Alec Baldwin) (his story is a little confusing)
The stories were nicely entwined. I don’t think the stories ended up connecting together at any points. And I think John’s stories were flashbacks (it was a little confusing at first). A sort of trip down memory lane story. I think my favorites were Leopoldo and Hayley’s fiancé’s father, Giancarlo (Fabio Armiliato). Giancarlo sang opera on live stages while taking a shower! Nude. Very strange, funny and really good singing. Leopoldo was just an average man who for some unknown reason, became a Godlike celebrity. Poor guy because reporters asked everything about him, even what kind of underwear he wore.
- People Like Us 4★ Chris Pine in a nice serious role. Elizabeth Banks played well as a strong single mother. Michelle Pfieffer was really good as Pine’s mother.
- Admission (2013 film) 4★ Paul Rudd, Tina Fey – comedians. Michael Sheen, Lily Tomlin – the serious side with a touch of comedy.
- Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1938 film) 5★♥ Music by Irving Berlin, movie also inspired by Irving. The time frame is about 1915 to 1938. And that’s interesting because the jazz bands were very popular in the 1910s and then died away and forgeten by the 1920s. According to my Grandpa Ed, this movie brought the jazz band music back it’s popularity. He also remembers this being played on the big screen for a long time and then a little later at small playhouses (like the Pasadena Playhouse where his mom worked at). It’s a good movie. Lots of singing and dancing but it’s great. And it even has a young Ethel Mirren singing great.
- You Can’t Take It With You (1938 film) 5★♥ Good family classic movie with some romance and Lionel Barrymore as “Grandpa”.
- Ninotchka (1939) 4.5★ As the advertising posters said in 2 words… [Greta] “Garbo Laughs”
- Seven Psychopaths 4★ A good, funny movie. Grandpa liked it too.
- Emperor 4★ Rewatch with mom. She feel asleep for a few moments at the end. But she still liked it.
- Submarine X-1 (1969 film) 4★ James Caan stars as Lt. Commander and hero.
- Monuments Men 4.5★♥. A really good war movie. But I wouldn’t even say that it isn’t just a war movie. Saw on big screen with my mom and then rented for my Grandpa. He liked it. After seeing Bill Murrey, he said, “I didn’t know that this would be a comedy.” We all really liked it.
- Ondine 4★ a 2009 Irish romantic drama film directed and written by Neil Jordan and starring Colin Farrell and Alicja Bachleda.
- Maleficent 4★♥ liked. A interesting and good twist to the fairy tale.
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier 4.5★ Good action.
- Million Ways to Die in the West 4★♥ very funny
- August: Osage County 4★ Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis, Chris Cooper, Margo Martindale… all great cast (minus bits of Julia’s over dramatic acting).
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower 4★♥. Haven’t read the book so I can’t compare. I really liked it. And the nostalgia was great. Logan Lerman – what an innocent freshman face.
- Guardians of the Galaxy 4.5★♥. Saw on the big screen. Really liked all the Kevin Bacon jokes.
- The Escapist (2008 film) 4.5★ A thriller starring Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes, Liam Cunningham, Seu Jorge, Dominic Cooper, and Damien Lewis. A good prison escape movie. Damien playing the King of the prisoners within this very old prison cell (and the bad guy). It starts off with the start of the prison escape and then shows flashbacks of how each prisoner that is apart of the escape got involved. I thought this was a bit different than all the other prison escape movies. It was quite good.
- The BoxTrolls 4★♥. My mom and I took my 4 yo niece to see this on the big screen. It’s a bit macabre but also funny. My niece sat curled in my lap for half of the movie. She did like it. But the scariest for her was the villain, Mr. Snatcher. And the ending was gross. Like really gross.
- The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones 3.5★ Aidan Turner!! ♥ Love him!!! I didn’t even recognize him at first because his hair is a lot different (a little shorter and a beard instead of his gorgeous longer hair with a barely-there-beard). Aidan played the vampire, John Mitchell in BBC’s Being Human (♥ loved that show). Now, for City of Bones, Aidan plays a werewolf (Luke) – and my favorite character now. Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Valentine – creepy but great. Jamie Campbell Bower – cute.
- Thor: The Dark World 4★ Didn’t like how they make us watch (or in my case, fast forward) the credits just to see 2 more additional scenes.
- Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters 4★ Percy’s got a brother.
- One For the Money 4★ Love the men who play Ranger and Morelli.
- An Apology to Elephants (2013 documentary) 4★ Watched this on HBO. Cable’s quick description: “The lives of elephants in the wild is better than those in captivity, and problems often arise with the latter.”
It’s a good documentary and I highly highly recommend watching this. And a warning, this shows videos of violent things that circus trainers (and other trainers and poachers) do in order to train elephants. Very sick, horrid training technique. And a little tear-jerker because of that. But it also teaches the viewer who elephants are.
Because of the quotes:
- Marry Poppins (rewatch). (50th special edition). Mrs. Banks: “Oh, George, you didn’t jump into the river. How sensible of you!”
- Point Break (rewatch). “Ben Harp: You’re a real blue flame special, aren’t you, son? Young, dumb and full of come, I know. What I don’t know is how you got assigned here. Guess we must just have ourselves an a**h**e shortage, huh? Johnny Utah: [quietly] Not so far.”
- Love Nest (1951 film) (small roll for Marilyn Monroe). Quote about Roberta Stevens (Monroe): Connie Scott (Haver): “He’s walking right into a trap.” Jim Scot (Lundigan): (dreamy voice) “Yeah, but look at the bait.”
And the Misses…
- Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol 2.5★ A nearly there 3 star movie only because it has Jeremy Renner and Simon Peg. Jeremy had some good action stunts and Simon not only had good geek moves and comedy but a little bit of action too. Nice.
- White Noise (2005 film) 2.5★
Freaks me out though. My Grandpa Ed watched it for the first time. Watching it once was enough times for me. Can’t watch “the Spirits” on the TV or radio. It is a mystery crime movie, but beware it’s also a horror movie too (bad ghosts trying to kill Michael Keaton).
Funny thing is is that I thought some spirits were haunting me because my brand new alarm radio would turn on at “The Witching Hour” all on it’s own.
Grandpa Ed’s opinion: 1★
Didn’t think much of it. Thought it would be a crime, mystery, science fiction movie (that’s what the cable said it was). Turned out to be a supernatural movie and doesn’t care for those.
- Beautiful Creatures 2.5★ A really simple storyline made into a very complex movie. Two teens meet, one mortal and the other a immortalish witch (Caster). They don’t know this, but their family-tree is connected in some way. A connection that created a curse. Oh and there’s a Romeo and Juliet unrequited love theme too.
Now imagine that being described for the first 2/3 of the movie. You won’t be missing any detail if you chose to skip some of that. In fact, my grandpa joined me while watching it on cable at half way through. And he wasn’t a bit confused. He just thought that this was supposed to be a single movie, not a series. If they had just edited a bit of the redundant beginning stuff, then this movie would be a clean 4 star movie.
But I liked how they ended it. I felt they could end the movie as a single if they chose to because it had a typical teen angst unrequited love happily ever after ending, ish. If there’s more, then all I could see them adding is about Lena’s powers and how she “claimed” it.
Oh but I did really like Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons and Viola Davis. Thought they really carried the movie.
I think Lena’s family’s house looked like it was something from the True Blood show. So throughout the movie, whenever they showed the house, I kept thinking some of the True Blood cast would pop up. The southern theme is also very close in a way – both satires to southern lifestyle.
I haven’t read the books. Not sure now if I will. Thought I might but this movie has me doubting.
And that’s the list. I know it’s long. And there are probably some missing. And if I wasn’t so busy in 2014, then the list would have been longer. In fact, I’ve been quite busy this year too. But I’m still finding time to watch movies.