Film Diet: July 2011

Here is a rundown of what I watched this past month. J. Lo makes an appearance, so you know it’s a good list.

7/3 – Love Serenade – dir. Shirley Barrett, 1996

Netflix has caught on that I enjoy 90s Australian rom-coms. Thank goodness for that because otherwise I would have missed out on this gem starring Miranda Otto before she was Eowyn. Any movie that heavily features Barry White on its soundtrack is a movie to be watched.

7/6 – Walking and Talking – dir. Nicole Holofcener, 1996

The thinking woman’s romantic comedy! If you love 90s jorts, illogical drives to country lake houses, fat cats, and Anne Heche.

7/9 – The Tree of Life – dir. Terrence Malick, 2011

I finally saw The Tree of Life. I have many thoughts and feelings about this movie, I just don’t know how to articulate them. That seems to be a trend with this movie…

Ghost World – dir. Terry Zwigoff, 2001

Ghost World, you complete me. Or do you? Back in the day I probably would have identified with Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson. They hate their town. They hate high school. They are smarter than everyone around them. They have grand plans that will probably go no where. What’s not love? Well, now I kind of see them, especially Enid as obnoxious. Verdict? I should have seen this when I was impressionable, angsty teen.

7/12: Another Year (dir. Mike Leigh, 2010)

Another Year follows Tom and Gerri Hepple (Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen), an older married couple, as their family and friendships grow and change over the course of one year. The film is divided into four vignette-type segments (one for each season) that shows one particular day in the Hepples lives. From these segments we see how the Hepples deal with those who seem dependent on the stability of their relationship as a way to find peace within their own lives. The standout performer is Lesley Manville as Mary, a longtime friend and colleague of Gerri, who becomes increasingly unstable as she maintains a cheerful front. Mary’s behavior eventually causes a rift between the two women.

What works brilliantly about Another Year is the film’s slow and methodical nature. The character’s stories develop organically. We pick up pieces about their lives here and there but never in one melodramatic moment. The result is a great, nuanced film.

July 17: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2 – (dir. David Yates, 2011)Couldn’t miss out the pop culture benchmark of my childhood ending.

July 19: Jackie Brown (dir. Quentin Tarantino, 1997)

First movie I watched as part of my birthday blitz marathon; I need to give a second go around.

July 23: The Way Back (dir. Peter Weir, 2010)

My instant netflix queue tells me I watched this. I only remember slowly drifting to sleep right around when Colin Farrell stopped being in the movie. Did the other dudes ever finish walking?

July 24: Maid in Manhattan (dir. Wayne Wang, 2002)

So I was thinking about Ralph Fiennes one day and was like, “Remember that excellent movie where J Lo tried to convince us she was a maid? I should watch that.” Behold! It is on Instant Netflix so I did. Then I realized that the politician Fiennes plays probably would be in sexting/twitpic scandal today and J Lo would have to become a maid again. Also, “Wayne Wang” is seriously someone’s name. Ponder that one for a second.

July 26: A Canterbury Tale (dir. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1944)

Every time I see a Powell-Pressburger film, I wind up falling madly in love with it. This happened back in May with I Know Where I’m Going. Each film sneaks up you and is absolutely wonderful.

July 29: Battle Cry (dir. Raoul Welsh, 1955)

My dad insisted that I watch this. After I told him that did, he got really excited: “Oh! That’s a great movie! Don’t you think that’s a great movie? He loses his leg!” I am not as riveted by soldiers losing limbs in WWII as my father.

July 30: Cowboys & Aliens (dir. Jon Favraeu, 2011)

The greatest genre mashup of our time? Not quite.

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