What I Watched

What I Watched, What You Watched: Installment #124

Top ten prep work and a holiday favorite

Prepping for my top ten of 2011 and revisiting a few films as well as watching a holiday favorite...

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close poster
I watched this for a second time this weekend and I'm not going to comment on it now, but look for my review really, really, really soon...


Young Adult (2011)

Young Adult poster
I'm preparing for my top ten and as a result I'm revisiting some of the contenders for my list so I'm sure everyone gets proper consideration. I mentioned Young Adult in the Box-Office Wrap-Up as I watched it at home this weekend and still really enjoyed it, but it's a film that needs to be seen with a responsive audience in theaters the first time so you can take that viewing with you each time you see it. Otherwise, a lot of the comedy may be entirely lost.


It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

It's a Wonderful Life poster
Earlier this week Bill listed off his Top 12 Christmas / Holiday Movies, which reminded me it was time to once again watch It's a Wonderful Life. Have you watched it yet this holiday season? If not, I have it in HD directly below. Get to it...

So how about you? What did you watch this weekend?

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  • Travis

    I also watched It's a Wonderful Life. Amazing movie. I also watched A Civil Action, which I found enjoyable. 7/10. Rewatched The Dark Knight. Purely amazing. 10/10. Horrible Bosses was ok, I wanted it to be better, though. 6.5/10. Sat through half of The Switch against my will before falling asleep. 3/10.

  • MKing

    Black Hawk Down...How does Scott do it. A+
    The Hangover...One of the funniest comedies ever made. A
    The Hangover Part II...no where near the first's quality but I still laughed. B-
    Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows...IMO, so much better than the first, and I liked the first. B+
    I'm seeing Immortals tonight...and I'm very excited.

  • creighton.

    Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows...5 (i liked it much better than the original)

    The Devil's Double...5

    Young Adult...7

    Le Trou...8

    Tinker,Tailor,Soldier,Spy...9

  • Winchester

    In cinemas -

    Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) - I actually very much enjoyed the first one and I ceratinly didn't regret going to see the sequel this weekend either. However, it isn't as good as the first one certainly. I'll agree with Laremy (I think it was Laremy) who mentioned in the podcast that the film doesn't seem to have too much coherence in as much as it's about an hour in before any sort of plot starts to actually kick in. And when it does, it plays as more of a thriller than a mystery solved by deductive reasoning on the part of Holmes. The buddy comedy was ramped up and in places it did work, and at times it didn't. The visuals were all fine, although it was a bit darkly shot for me and the train sequence seemed to go on a bit too long. It only really started to come to real life when they reached the finale on the mountain compound. Jared Harris was good as Moriarty but I feel as if they've now squandered him too quickly (unless..........) IF a third film was to be produced. Despite that, I did actually enjoy it more than I maybe sound like I did. I just think it's one of those sequels that's fallen victim to the new Hollywood way of trying to do franchises on two year cycles instead of three or four. It's just too fast IMO for any quality to be properly maintained.

    At Home -

    Silent Running (1972): DVD, First watch - strictly it's a rewatch but it's been about twenty years since I last saw it I think. I enjoyed it a lot but it's a film that even at a fairly brief 86 minutes really seemed to not have a full enough story to fill the full time. The bulk of the events have happened by the forty minute mark and then the film really slows down and wanders for a bit before the ending comes along. Which was a really good affecting ending, and Bruce Dern was very good, but I think even for 70s standards it could have been a bit tighter. It was also great to see the effects work put into the film.

    The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993): TV airing, rewatch - I actually class this as one of my Christmas films. I usually only catch it about once a year but always normally around this time. Fantastic songs and design, a runtime that isn't padded out and just leaves you feeling oddly Christmassy afterwards!

    Out of Sight (1998): DVD, rewatch - A cracking film I hadn't seen for a while. It's amazing how you can still get the 'opposites attract' idea to work when your two leads have a genuine onscreen chemistry. With Jennifer Lopez's best screen work to date even though the film itself isn't THAT wildly original, it works and it's a high quality example of a noiry crime drama. Jam packed with names and faces as well. An excellent and fun film that just allows you to have a good time for a couple of hours.

    Stardust (2007): TV airing, rewatch - I never ever fail to enjoy this film, even though it's a bit uneven and too long at times. Great cast, great fun, and I always am glad that I took a couple hours to watch it by the time the proper fairytale ending comes along.

    G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009): DVD, rewatch - By a stroke of luck I rewatched this the day before the sequel trailer debuted. This is the most hilariously inept in every department film that Stephen Sommers ever made (and I will actually admit to enjoying Van Helsing, which is also a travesty in so many ways) and it's awful in every way a film can be. From a dire script, awful acting from every single cast member. Sommers has always been a 'throw everything on screen and just hope enough sticks' sort of director but this film is just too funny!

    The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009): DVD, rewatch - I wanted to get another watch of this in before seeing the remake in a few weeks. I enjoyed this a bit less second time around, obviously in big part because I know now the resolution of the mystery. Since that hasn't changed in the Fincher version, that's really going to drag down my viewing experience on the remake, but there's no getting around that. I'm interested that Brad's review talked about the remake getting more into Lisbeth's story because the mystery definitely takes centre stage here. That's fine, because the two sequels then took over her story more fully (even if they were poorer films themselves).

    Easier with Practice (2009): DVD, rewatch - I really liked this indie when I watched it earlier this year and I did again. Although it's about a phone sex relationship it's not really grotty at all. More a look at how sometimes lonely people find a way to have a relationship and how it can affect them. I like it.

    Blue Valentine (2010): DVD, rewatch - The performances here are absolutely phenomenal. Since I rewatched Black Swan earlier this and didn't enjoy it so much I may actually be of the opinion now that Williams should have won the Oscar last year, but it's all water under the bridge now. The relationship here feels so real and unforced and genuine. A seocnd watch also made me appreciate better the editing of the two phases of the relationship as they parallel through the film because I was paying more attention to that aspect as well. It didn't put me through the emotional wringer the same way as the first watch, but it was still exceptionally good to watch again.

    I also in TV land did a quick spin one night through season 1 of 'Hot in Cleveland'. It amuses me when I want something easy to watch.

    That was all this week.

  • http://isawpaulblartonce.wordpress.com/ Kyle

    Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol - Yes, it was enjoyable, but I wasn't really that into it. And to be fair, I did not see it in IMAX. 3/5

    My Week With Marilyn - The film as a whole was a bit fragmented, but as it has been repeated over and over, Williams knocks her role out of the park; hers is now my favorite female performance of the year. 3/5

    The Descendants - Here is a film that I just absolutely loved. Clooney was great, Shailene Woodley proved why she's been nominated for so many awards, and I was really pleased with the way Alexander Payne handled the ending. 5/5

    DVD

    Circumstance - Small film about two teen girls growing up in Tehran, dealing with relationships and teen life. I adored the first half of the movie and have mixed feeling about the second half, but either way it's a film that I wish more people saw, so that I could discuss it with them. 3.5/5

    Meek's Cutoff - I wanted to like this, but just couldn't get into its glacial pacing. 1.5/5

    Burke & Hare - When I saw who was in this (Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Isla Fisher and more) i wondered why I hadn't previously heard about it. Then I watched it. 2/5

    Fright Night - I honestly think I liked the movie more than most people simply because of David Tennant (10th Doctor!!) but I found this to be amusing enough to keep my interest, although I doubt I'll be rewatching it any time soon. 3.5/5

  • Forrest Gump

    Heartless - 6/10

    The Marriage of Maria Braun - 7/10

    Ip Man - 9/10 Great action film

    Bully - 8/10

    Immortals - 8/10 Wasn't expecting such a good film, but the second half took away its perfection

    Lost in Translation (rewatch) - 10/10 Gave it another chance and I loved it, its a film where you have to pay attention to detail and it will reward you everytime you do, its also about relating to both of the characters which i also did.

    There Will Be Blood (rewatch) - 9/10*spoilers After giving this another chance I realized its a deeper film than I thought, Daniel Plainview is actually a good man, or maybe not but he has a reason to be who he is and thats because he's been through a lot, people have not ever been nice to him and he has tried to be nice to them through the whole film.
    At the end he becomes another person, tired of taking all this shit. He disowns his own son because of this, but after doing so we can se glimpses of him remembering the good times he had with HW and regretting what he just did, its because of this that he gets extremely mad with himself and as Eli comes to visit he just can't take it and humiliates him as people humiliated him throughout the film and thereby taking all his anger on him.
    Its a film that will leave you exhausted, it has more than you'd ask for in a film and I don't think I will be visiting it again in a long time but I will recommend it.
    I have now come to understand not only this film but the films of PTA, he likes telling stories of the misundertood.

    Funny Games (2008) - 5/10 Do not watch this, Michael Haneke is just wasting your time.

    Kundun - 6/10 I expected more from my favorite filmmaker Martin Scorsese.

    Le Quattro Volte - Not a film to enjoy, but I liked the part with the sheep.

  • Liathach

    I also saw Le Quattro Volte (and Forrest Gump, those were goats, not sheep). It's a film completely unlike anything Hollywood ever could or would produce. You won't have to worry about subtitles because there is no dialogue - there is just the Calabarian countryside, the charcoal burners, the old goatherd, his dog, the goats (and how the director got such brilliant comic performances out of the animals is a mystery - the dog won the 'Palme Dog' at Cannes). The whole film is a stately, mysterious, poetic meditation on - I'll have a stab at it - the relation between man and nature, reincarnation... You'll either be completly bored, or completely enratptured. If you like your European arthouse movie really, really arty it's a must-see.

    • tombeet

      Yeah, there's an unbroken shot of the dog trying to alert everyone about his master. I guess they took a week to finish that shot eh? ^^. And the just-born goatee... amazing!

      • Forrest Gump

        I agree man, that scene where its born is amazing, best scene in the film

  • Criterion10

    Beginners -- This was a good film to start the week off with, very enjoyable, meaningful, and well made. Performances were excellent all around (although I'm starting to think that Plummer's Oscar chances are only due to his veteran status; not that he was bad in the film, just that I'm almost sure I could name five other performances more worthy of an Oscar). B+

    J. Edgar -- In a nutshell, this film was a mess. Yes, Leonardo DiCaprio was excellent and may even deserve and Oscar nomination, but other than that there isn't much good. I wanted more about the FBI and less of the relationship between Edgar and Clyde, which truthfully wasn't even properly developed. The worst asepect of the film was that horrendous cinematography that truly created a grotesque look for the film. It was so ridiculously dark that I felt as if my eye sockets were being tugged on. There were some interesting parts, like the segment involving the Lindbergh baby, but overall, this was a mess. C-/D+

    Rango -- I liked this movie very much, a good way to make an animated, western film. B+

    Attack the Block -- This was my favorite movie of this week, a really enjoyable, fresh take on the alien invasion concept. The lead actor who played Moses was great! There were some really great scenes, a good score, and original characters. This one might end up on my top 10 of the year. A-

    Starting to work on my top 10, but have a LOT of more films to see...

  • jake_w

    Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - C-
    Young Adult - B+

  • Travis

    Last Night - I have to believe the lukewarm critical reception was due to critics having trouble believing Worthington, Mendes would be in something with any depth. A thought-provoking film, that feels very real-to-life, Knightley and Canet's chemistry is the films strength. B-

    Hugo - living 1 1/2 hours away from the closest decent theatre this was actually my first 3D film. Outside of the first 20 minutes or so there were only a few moments where 3D benefited the film, but it definitely added enough overall for the extra charge for me. A film that I'll have to see again to be sure what I feel, but though it didn't blow me away it definitely left me with certain feeling afterwards, the kids were wonderful. A-

    Also trying to see some possible top 10 contenders I decided to start watching the Harry Potter franchise as I somehow had avoided seeing them to this point, didn't think it would be right to just watch the final one. Just some quick thoughts on the first 4 as that's all I've gotten through: in Philosopher's Stone the kids were pretty cute, but a little overlong. Loved Branagh in CoS, it was a little more even start to finish, but the showdown was a little ridiculous. In PoA Cuaron's direction brings it to another level, with the story being established they were able to play around a little more within that. GoF was also a little long (though my lack of sleep also probably had an effect as well) was good, I definitely loved Gleeson the most, I think best case scenario for Hunger Games is to end up something like this as it definitely felt like a teen movie, but also had some dark moments, was quite solid. Philospher's Stone - B-
    Chamber of Secrets - B-
    Prisoner of Azkaban - A-
    Goblet of Fire - B

  • adu

    Sherlock Holmes: A nice balance of action, wit, and humor. I love Ritchie's visual style. Fans of the original will enjoy this thoroughly. Even the audience I saw it with really got into this movie towards the final 30 minutes, and the finale has everyone laughing.

    Dream House: Wow, what a mess!...a movie that mocks its audience, thats how terrible it is.

  • TS

    Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol - A. The best action movie I've seen so far this year. The action scenes were nothing short of incredible, especially the entire sequence at the Burj Hotel. The acting was great and the characters were very well developed.

    Super 8 - B+. A heartwarming film that really reminded me of some of my favorite movies of all time. Personally, the creature aspect is less interesting to me than the kids. This is some of the best kid acting I've seen since Stand by Me.

  • JayRam

    The Lost World: Jurassic Park--Haven't watched this movie since around the time it was released in theaters. Not as great as the first film but still entertaining--B.

    Jurassic Park III--first watch--I've never seen this one before. The quality is rather sub-par, but it was great seeing again Sam Neill and Laura Dern. Consider it a guilty pleasure of mine--C+.

    The Fighter--first watch--Excellent movie--A.

    Super 8--first watch--Watching the boys express so much enthusiasm about making a movie, was enjoyable to watch. That's exactly how I felt when I picked up my first camera. And, the kids just came off as natural. I could have just watched them make their movie and been satisfied--B+.

    Hugo--first watch--Think this movie's marketing was a little off. The trailers make it look like just another family film, but what we get is something much better. A movie meant for all that love motion pictures as an artform. And, it really helps if you've studied film history. I was entralled by what Scorsese had done, especially those scenes in which we see Ben Kingsley (Georges Milies) making his movies in his glass studio. Great movie--A.

  • Matt

    I'm trying to watch as many films as I can that I missed in theaters this year so that I can be all caught up to make a Top 10 List in two weeks-

    Beginners- I liked all of Christopher Plummer's scenes, but found the Ewan McGregor/Melanie Laurent storyline to be too cliched and boring. Some of the story telling devices were original, and I loved the way the dog was incorporated into the film, but my feelings towards the film were simply too inconsistent to really like it. During Christopher Plummer's scenes, I liked the film a lot. When he wasn't on screen, I was bored. B-

    Fright Night- I really like the original, but this film improves on it in almost every way. The movie manages to balance horror and comedy very well, and develops the main characters much more than the original film did. Colin Farrell was also fantastic as Jerry, and some of the dialogue was very clever. At it's best moments, it reminded me of a great episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer " (which is no surprise, given that it was written by a Buffy writer). The special effects, however, were absolutely horrible, the forced attempts at 3D were distracting, and the supporting characters (the main character's friend who was a dick, his stripper neighbor) were extremely annoying or under-developed. B+

  • C138

    Just one for me this week, and it was a re-watch.

    No Country For Old Men - An awesome movie that just gets better and better each time I watch it. Easily one of my favorite movies of the last decade. 5/5

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vernie-Yockey/100002367585265 Vernie Yockey

    I watched a bunch of those new movies @ http://b4releasemovies.com

  • Trent

    Extremely Loud and Increibly Close - Oh, and War Horse was emotionally manipulative.