My Movies: 2012by DougInNC | created - 05 Mar 2012 | updated - 04 Dec 2012 | Public
What I watched
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1. Sherlock Holmes (2010 Video)
PG-13 | 89 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi
Sherlock Holmes and Watson are on the trail of a criminal and scientific mastermind who seems to control monsters and creations which defy belief.
Quite the pitiful storyline, action, and acting. Was this made for children?
2. Fair Game (I) (2010)
PG-13 | 108 min | Biography, Drama, Thriller
CIA operative Valerie Plame discovers her identity is allegedly leaked by the government as payback for an op-ed article her husband wrote criticizing the Bush administration.
Votes: 41,348 | Gross: $9.53M
A true story is always quite interesting, though in this case the writers had a point to make and I wonder how much they might have embellished the story to make themselves look good. Sean Penn, in any event, didn't impress with his over-acted character.
3. Casino Jack (2010)
R | 108 min | Biography, Comedy, Crime
A hot shot Washington DC lobbyist and his protégé go down hard as their schemes to peddle influence lead to corruption and murder.
Votes: 15,564 | Gross: $1.04M
Amusing, "Wall Street" type story. It's most likely to have more truth than it should have. Americans might feel embarrassed by this aspect of our society. Watch if for the laughs, but then shed a tear for decency in society.
4. An Angel at My Table (1990)
R | 158 min | Biography, Drama
In 1920s and 1930s New Zealand, Janet Frame grows up in a poor family with lots of brothers and sisters. Already at an early age she is different from the other kids. She gets an education ... See full summary »
Votes: 5,477 | Gross: $1.05M
Very human drama of an innocent, warm woman. Her life doesn't follow the script that anyone would ask to have as their own, but those challenges never stop her from bouncing back to pursue life to the fullest extent she can. Another "down under" film that is strong in the category of "character development," the reason I so often cherrish foreign films, particularly those of Australia.
5. Swing Kids (1993)
PG-13 | 112 min | Drama, Music
A close-knit group of young kids in Nazi Germany listen to banned swing music from the US. Soon dancing and fun lead to more difficult choices as the Nazis begin tightening the grip on ... See full summary »
Votes: 14,031 | Gross: $5.63M
Watch it for the desire for freedom it portrays in the desire to dance. Be sure to enjoy the progression of the movie and not wait to be moved at the ending.
6. The Hours (2002)
PG-13 | 110 min | Drama, Romance
The story of how the novel "Mrs. Dalloway" affects three generations of women, all of whom, in one way or another, have had to deal with suicide in their lives.
Votes: 109,959 | Gross: $41.68M
Wow! This is the best-woven tale I have seen in more years (decades?) than I can remember. It is seminal for me in that regard, like when I read the brilliantly-crafted "QB VII" by Leon Uris as a teenager. I felt like I knew these characters, or at least know people in my life like them. Meryl is terrific, Claire Danes role is little more than a cameo, Nicole Kidman doesn't overdue her role as Virginia Woolf, and Julianne Moore is the most captivating of the supporting actors.
7. The Passion of Ayn Rand (1999 TV Movie)
TV-MA | 104 min | Biography, Drama, Romance
The rather eccentric (especially in her thinking) author of "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" becomes involved with a much younger, and married man... to the dismay of those close to her.
Ayn Rand is a hot topic in 2011-2012, which is why this movie caught my attention. It was interesting because I didn't know her story. This film isn't the story of "Atlas Shrugged," but that's fine with me. Enjoy this look into life transitioning out of the last age of relative innocence, the 1950s.
8. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
PG-13 | 133 min | Drama
Now out of prison but still disgraced by his peers, Gordon Gekko works his future son-in-law, an idealistic stock broker, when he sees an opportunity to take down a Wall Street enemy and rebuild his empire.
Votes: 89,515 | Gross: $52.47M
Sometimes it's better when history is fiction, thus it was better to witness this tale of the 2008 financial crisis without having to endure an editorial stance such is taken by the film "Inside Job." A good reprise of the Gordon Gecko character by Michael Douglas, and a decent supporting case.
9. Inside Job (2010)
PG-13 | 105 min | Documentary, Crime
Takes a closer look at what brought about the 2008 financial meltdown.
Votes: 61,915 | Gross: $4.31M
This docupinion provides one view of the 2008 financial crisis. Surprisingly, governmental entities like FNM and FMC were rarely, if ever, mentioned as being complicit in the events of that year or those leading to the eventual catastrophe. It isn't a bad idea to hear this viewpoint, but I suggest other reading to provide a broader perspective. There's no mistaking that the big banks were aggregious in their behavior - - it's just that the story doesn't start and end there.
10. Crime and Punishment (2002)
126 min | Drama
A modern day adaptation of Dostoyevsky's classic novel about a young student who is forever haunted by the murder he has committed.
First you have to get past the setting being Moscow rather than St. Petersburg. While there is no chance for the film to delve the depths of one of the great novels in literature, it fashions the story well, with excellent character portrayals. My main criticism would be that the actors appear much more endearing than I would have expected (except for Dunya, who most certainly would be a charmer). But then, I recognize that the setting was modern Russia, quite different from the timeframe of the novel itself.
11. Pentecost (2011)
11 min | Short, Comedy, Drama
Ireland 1977. Eleven-year-old Damian Lynch (Scott Graham) is called in at the last moment to serve as an altar boy at an important mass in his local parish. Following his last appearance as... See full summary »
Short film that shows each of us can make a comeback from a bad situation and can find the motivation to perform, or have it provided for them. Go out and win this one ... for yourself!
12. Raju (2011)
24 min | Short, Drama
A German couple adopts in Kolkata an Indian orphan. Their child suddenly disappears and they realize that they are part of the problem.
Short. What would YOU do in that situation? Your hopes, dreams, and plans become unglued; do you still hold to them? Do you follow the love in your heart, the voice in your head, the laws that pertain, or the goodness that is expected of you?
13. The Shore (2011)
Not Rated | 29 min | Short, Comedy, Drama
The story of Joe and Paddy, whose childhood friendship is shattered by the troubles in Northern Ireland. Twenty five years later they are reunited.
Short. We can believe something for a long, long, time that just is not true. So can the other guy. There isn't one answer until you know all the facts, and then you learn that maybe it doesn't really matter - - you just go on with life ... or back to it!
14. Tuba Atlantic (2010)
TV-MA | 25 min | Short, Comedy, Drama
Everybody is going to die one day. Oskar (70) is going to die in 6 days. He is now ready to forgive his brother for a disagreement years ago. Will he reach his brother, who he believes live... See full summary »
Short. When seagulls slip from the sky is it like frogs falling with the rain (in "Magnolia"). If you want death to leave you laughing, this is a film for you. If you hope to make amends before it's too late, this is a film for you. If you have just 25 minutes for fun, this is defintely the film for you!
15. Time Freak (2011)
Not Rated | 10 min | Short, Comedy, Sci-Fi
A neurotic inventor creates a time machine and gets lost traveling around yesterday.
Short. Did you ever want to BE that guy and NOT BE that guy? Especially true if you sometimes found yourself being like that guy! This American short not only held its own against the foreign competitors in the 2011 short films Oscar category, but it shined.
16. Ronin (1998)
R | 122 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
A freelancing former U.S. Intelligence Agent tries to track down a mysterious package that is wanted by the Irish and the Russians.
Votes: 154,452 | Gross: $41.62M
"Then you had to go and do THAT!" Regretably, a movie full of intrigue degenerates into a 30-minute car chase scene. Congrats to the director for making someone's list of the 30 best car chases in movies, but you lost the story for a long stretch there, and you lost me. 2012-04-12
17. Secretariat (2010)
PG | 123 min | Biography, Drama, Family
Penny Chenery Tweedy and colleagues guide her long-shot but precocious stallion to set, in 1973, the unbeaten record for winning the Triple Crown.
Votes: 22,577 | Gross: $59.71M
The natural question would seem to be, "Is Secretariat or Seabiscuit the better last-decade horse movie?" Secretariat has the better lead "actor," a magnificent horse. Stop: don't compare the two, enjoy them both! This one is both a terrific story of the animal and an engaging story of a few people. A true story that seems every bit believeable, enjoyable, and wonderful to watch. You'll root for the personalities and the pony.
18. Hamlet (2000)
R | 112 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller
Modern-day New York City adaptation of Shakespeare's immortal story about Hamlet's plight to avenge his father's murder.
Votes: 8,405 | Gross: $1.57M
This movie attempts the impossible, so I give it credit for that. The tried-and-true fans of Shakespeare won't like the modern setting or the modern actors portraying Shakespearean roles. And fans of movies watched just for entertainment won't like the difficult true-to-the-bard dialogue, which was indeed a struggle. Perhaps the use of closed captioning would have been wise for me, but I enjoyed the challenge and appreciated the acting. There were quirks and odditiies in the story line as the production attempted to bridge the gap between modern day and the true time of Hamlet. Don't be distracted by that because it's a good effort, well acted by most, and, by golly, it's Shakespeare!
19. Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius (2004)
PG | 120 min | Biography, Drama, Romance
Jim Caviezel stars as golf legend Bobby Jones, the icon who retired from competition at the tender age of 28.
Votes: 3,395 | Gross: $2.69M
Always fun to get the backstory on a tale that often flutters past the ears of any golfer over the years. A decent movie, but would it have been just as good as a documentary? No, because most people won't watch a doc. The golfer is legendary, but the story is not as good as Francis Ouimet's tale in "The Greatest Game Ever Played," so watch that one if you have a quota to watch one golfer flick.
20. The Great New Wonderful (2005)
R | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
The Great New Wonderful weaves five stories against the backdrop of an anxious and uncertain post-9-11 New York City.
Votes: 1,330 | Gross: $0.15M
Sum it up: "Life goes on." It isn't always exciting, and neither is this film. I wasn't there, in New York City, after 9/11. I think one had to be there to feel the challenge of life immediately after that most difficult time. If you want a peek into the period, this gives you that.
21. Cagney & Lacey: The Return (1994 TV Movie)
95 min | Crime, Drama
Cagney, now a Lieutenant, re-teams with Lacey, who has left the force, to search for a cache of missing firearms.
My rating on this movie diverges from the normal way I would do so. I figure if you want to watch C&L, then you'll like this as well as you did the TV series. If you don't care to see them again, you won't care about anyone's rating, including mine. This captures the flavor of the past, extends it to the future, expands the story line and characters, yet stays true to the things a fan would want to see from these two.
22. The Mystery of Mazo de la Roche (2012)
52 min | Biography
Like I said for the short film, Time Freak, "did you ever want to BE that gal and NOT be that gal?" We all want to be individuals in our own image, but are compelled to spend time being the person others want us to be. Mazo fought that dichotomy, tried to draw a hard line between the two people, and apparently did so quite well. She had an enormous following, many well-received novels, and one true confidant. Would you want that life? Mazo plunged her tomes from Canada into every English-speaking corner of the world while keeping both feet firmly out of those intersections, living HER life in HER world. Very interesting documentary in many ways: the person, the actors' portrayals, the attempts to explore dark alleys, and the resurrection of a should-not-be-forgotten rags-to-riches story that is a most-compelling mystery. Credit Maya Gallus for a terrific piece on a difficult subject.
23. Soul Surfer (2011)
PG | 112 min | Biography, Drama, Family
Teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton overcomes the odds and her own fears of returning to the water after losing her left arm in a shark attack.
Votes: 38,854 | Gross: $43.85M
True story where the human drama is paramount, while there is just enough drama to keep things from being just a story. There are some movies you watch and wonder, "what if that was me?" Quite simply, I wouldn't have made it through that ordeal. Good one.
24. Please Give (2010)
R | 87 min | Comedy, Drama
In New York City, a husband and wife butt heads with the granddaughters of the elderly woman who lives in the apartment the couple owns.
Votes: 10,300 | Gross: $4.03M
Focus! Who and what is the subject matter here? The summary implies one person, but the movie flits from character to character, seemingly unsure about which story to portray. Amanda Peet is a real character in this, but shunted to the side. Her sister is the most compelling subject, but never given the full light of the stage. The husband and daughter of the main character (as implied by the summary) are both given roles of their own, more than developing the story of the wife and mother. I think I just talked myself into lowering the rating on this one.
25. Caché (2005)
R | 117 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
A married couple is terrorized by a series of surveillance videotapes left on their front porch.
Votes: 60,027 | Gross: $3.63M
Subtitled, but that's okay. Very original storyline, very easy to follow, and perhaps very real. Don't we wonder if our past will come back to haunt us? Would we address it head-on? The main character does, but is unable or unwilling to share the past with his wife. Is "the past" really "the past" or do we have an obligation to it?
26. The Hurt Locker (2008)
R | 131 min | Drama, History, Thriller
During the Iraq War, a Sergeant recently assigned to an army bomb squad is put at odds with his squad mates due to his maverick way of handling his work.
Votes: 365,397 | Gross: $17.02M
A movie that never decided whether it wanted to be about the people, the place, or the thing (war in Iraq), and didn't capture any of those the way it might have. Credit Anthony Mackie for a very good performance and character, but that's about it for full character development. I expected much more from an Oscar-nominated flick, but sometimes there is that discrepancy between the academy and the viewer.
27. Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966)
Not Rated | 91 min | Biography, Drama, Horror
The movie chronicles the events of history's "man of mystery," Rasputin. Although not quite historically accurate and little emphasis is put on the politics of the day, Rasputin's rise to ... See full summary »
A bit old-fashioned, but what's not to like about that? Christopher Lee's portrayal of the mysterious monk is larger than life, the way John Wayne would portray a character with gusto, and confidence.
I'm stretching to rate this a 7, since I couldn't recommend it to folks who enjoy the modern Hollywood film. But I have to give credit to the acting achievements, the strong story, and the homage to history that is wrapped up in this flick.
28. A Lot Like Love (2005)
PG-13 | 107 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
On a flight from Los Angeles to New York, Oliver and Emily make a connection, only to decide that they are poorly suited to be together. Over the next seven years, however, they are ... See full summary »
Votes: 61,689 | Gross: $21.84M
Amusing, but not too corny. Better than I would have expected from Ashton, while Amanda Peet is both classy and quirky. Give the two of them credit for turning an average story line into an enjoyable movie.
29. We Were Soldiers (2002)
R | 138 min | Action, Drama, History
The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War and the soldiers on both sides that fought it, while their wives wait nervously and anxiously at home for the good news or the bad news.
Votes: 113,564 | Gross: $78.12M
Wow! This is a gem of a war movie, good enough to be called a gem of a movie, period. The mix of action, feeling, war footage, and back-home coverage makes this one stand out. There were some action scenes that I could appreciate as much as those from Akira Kurosawa, and he is the Director extraodinare when it comes to warrior action scenes; "Soldiers" had Kurosawa-like close-ups of the action that put you in the middle of it all. One errant move: putting CGI helicopters in a training scene, trying to amplify the drama, only cheapened it. But that was only one short segment, and the rest of this film ranks high for its capture of war, of society, of history, and of character, all without becoming political.
30. Country Strong (2010)
PG-13 | 117 min | Drama, Music
A rising country-music songwriter works with a fallen star to work their way to fame, causing romantic complications along the way.
Votes: 15,590 | Gross: $20.22M
Gwenyth Paltrow never lets down the movie viewer. Country isn't my cup-of-sweet-tea, and this movie wandered along too slowly to keep me fully engaged. The cast was good, actually. The story line wasn't. Perhaps the budget for this film didn't let the creators flourish, but something was definitely missing, and that thing was the "capture" factor that left the audience just watching, not involved.
31. Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage (2010)
Not Rated | 107 min | Documentary, Biography, Music
An in-depth look at the Canadian rock band Rush, chronicling the band's musical evolution from their progressive rock sound of the '70s to their current heavy rock style.
In their own words, the band seems to bare their souls and their music essence is captured in this terrific documentary. Sure, if you don't care for Rush, then you're not going to rate this as highly, but I doubt there is a better doc than this for any band. The background stories are engaging, the concert footage is pretty darn good, and the ebbs matched the flows for a group that didn't fit the mold, but made there way to fame and fandom. This flick seems to capture it all. Watch and enjoy! 2012-05-19
32. Love Me Tender (1956)
Not Rated | 89 min | Drama, Romance, Western
At the end of the Civil War, a Confederate team is ordered to rob a Union payroll train but the war ends leaving these men with their Union loot, until the Feds come looking for it.
Votes: 2,942 | Gross: $4.50M
The first film for Elvis Presley! It wasn't what we remember from his later movies, because in this creation he was just one of the actors in a story, not the single main attraction. That scenario makes the film pleasant to watch, with more than enough of the rock and roll star to please fans but not so much that you get sick of him. Plus, this is an opportunity to connect with the western genre of film that has faded into memories but still has a special place in American movie making (before heading for Spain!).
33. Live Flesh (1997)
R | 103 min | Drama
After leaving jail, Víctor is still in love with Elena, but she's married to the former cop -now basketball player- who became paralysed by a shot from Víctor's gun...
Votes: 24,592 | Gross: $1.54M
Subtitled, but like any good foreign film I forget after a while that I'm reading the lines. A nicely woven tale that concludes "you don't know what you want until you get it" (for Elena) and "you don't get what you want until you ask for it" (for Victor). While in the credits and the opening segment, Penelope Cruz only gives birth to the film, then is gone. Each of the main character roles is portrayed just as you would expect that person might be in the real world, which blurs the line between story and reality, delivering just what you/I want from an engaging production. Not for everyone, but well worth my time.
34. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)
PG-13 | 124 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than advertised, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.
Votes: 81,049 | Gross: $46.41M
Quirky title but grounded movie. Maybe this is the "coming of age" genre for the boomer generation that is coming into an age of unprecedented ... well ... aging! The casting and acting are well done. The characters are amusing without becoming complete charicateurs (of persons living or dead, so to speak). Everyone is different, but sometimes people can learn to get along, to see the good in others, and be inspired to help others. It's not too late, as we are told repeatedly, "Everything will be alright in the end. And if everything is not all right, then this is not the end."
35. After the Storm (2001 TV Movie)
R | 99 min | Crime, Thriller, Action
When a luxury yacht goes down in a violent storm the race is on to salvage the bounty at any cost, causing two couples to commit the ultimate betrayal.
Maybe I'm starting to like modest-paced movies more and more to balance the action-packed-but-story-wanting genre that Hollywood likes much more. So I mildly liked this seaside drama. There was enough intrigue to keep you thinking, enough scenery to keep you watching, solid if not spectacular acting, and enough of each sex to keep both sexes engaged. A decent movie for a couple to watch.
Based on a Hemingway story, and seeming to want to be in the Casablanca league, but not anywhere near that classic. More like a Hepburn and Tracy thing.
36. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
PG | 115 min | Family, Sci-Fi
A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home world.
Votes: 311,805 | Gross: $435.11M
The classic returns, and you'll love it. More than just a movie, "This is reality, Greg!"
37. Exporting Raymond (2010)
PG | 86 min | Documentary, Comedy
A documentary on Phil Rosenthal's experiences during the making of "Voroniny," the Russian-language version of "Everybody Loves Raymond".
Votes: 1,519 | Gross: $0.08M
Unexpected enjoyment! Credit the productions of this documentary with allowing you to enjoy the show without being in love with TV's "Everybody Loves Raymond." It's not about the American show, really. It's more about Ameica vs. Russia in comedic and cultural ways.
While maybe you don't have to visit Russia to enjoy this flick, it certainly helped me. Without that experience I wouldn't have believed some of the foreign characters' traits, nor their reaction to some of the silly American habits and beliefts. It was great to see the Moscovites hold onto their opinions and stay with their decisions in the face of the so-called experts, as well as to see someone with no experience in Russia struggle to understand their actions.
38. The Rainmaker (1997)
PG-13 | 135 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
An underdog lawyer takes on a fraudulent insurance company.
Votes: 51,048 | Gross: $45.86M
One of the better Matt Damon performances, I thought. Full of characters (and isn't Danny Devito ALWAYS a character?). Why does Danny Glover not appear in the credits despite a very significant role? A mystery outside the film. Claire Danes is featured, but the Black family gets the best portrayals throughout.
Not having read the Grisham novel, I cannot say if the movie stays true or takes license with the story. I think you will like this one.
39. Shadows & Lies (2010)
R | 100 min | Crime, Drama
A man returns to New York after years in exile to save the girl he loves.
One would enjoy this movie if one is in love with actor James Franco, or in love with the director's attempts to create his version of cinema. Too little attention to story for me, and too much effort to embellish the art of making films in an image only understood or appreciated by a few.
40. Bridesmaids (I) (2011)
R | 125 min | Comedy, Romance
Competition between the maid of honor and a bridesmaid, over who is the bride's best friend, threatens to upend the life of an out-of-work pastry chef.
Votes: 235,622 | Gross: $169.11M
To quote another movie, "Everything will be alright in the end. And if everything is not all right, then it is not the end." Why? Because you had to wait to the end for this show to have any redeeming value other than a few cheap laughs and a bunch of stupid grunts.
41. Lucky (III) (2011)
R | 103 min | Comedy
A wannabe serial killer wins the lottery and pursues his lifelong crush.
Quirky, odd, but not over-the-top silly, so this one holds your interest to see how the characters emerge. Who knows what? How do they deal with it? What are their plans? Do they have any plans, or do things just happen? Worth watching, but not raving.
42. Black Swan (2010)
R | 108 min | Drama, Thriller
A committed dancer wins the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" only to find herself struggling to maintain her sanity.
Votes: 603,935 | Gross: $106.95M
It grows on you because it seems a quite realistic portrayal of the battle that an artist (ballerina) faces to be perfect in every way for everybody: directors, mothers, fellow artists, competitors, friends, and enemies. What merits a high rating for this movie is the incredible performance of Natalie Portman. This had to be a difficult role to prepare for (wasting away) and to execute, but Ms. Portman pulls it off with sterling professionalism. She deserves all the accolades she received. Mila Kunis? Not so much. That role could have been better casted in terms of ability and less in terms of name recognition. The other performances are quality portrayals, and that is why you should enjoy this flick, even while you cringe through parts of it.
43. The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
R | 126 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
The dramatization of a motorcycle road trip Che Guevara went on in his youth that showed him his life's calling.
Votes: 88,181 | Gross: $16.76M
Well-acted but too narrow. The movie would have been better if it developed more of Che's life, if it delved further into the plights of the people that affected him during this developmental stage, or if it captured his evolving thoughts during this time. Just not enough insight into a legendary character.
The acting and scenery was worthy, so I'll give Redford credit for his directing. The supporting actors played out well, also. But this was a topic and persona around which one could have built a "Dr. Shivago" level of involvement, yet it didn't develop any revolutionary ferver.
44. Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
PG-13 | 114 min | Biography, Drama, History
A mature Queen Elizabeth endures multiple crises late in her reign including court intrigues, an assassination plot, the Spanish Armada, and romantic disappointments.
Votes: 58,796 | Gross: $16.29M
History captured. Character developed. Intrigue delivered. Many good marks for this movie. If only the outdoor scenes, particularly the battles, could have been more engaging, realistic, and as wrenching as the indoor discussions; but director Kapur isn't likely to deliver like Kurasawa - - a very few might do so.
45. The Burning Plain (2008)
R | 107 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
A drama with a two-tiered storyline concerning a mother and daughter who try to form a bond after the young woman's difficult childhood.
Votes: 16,608 | Gross: $0.20M
Terrific female roles, particularly well-acted by the youngest of the stars, from Winters Bone, Jennifer Lawrence. This one has a storyline that skips around, forward and backward in time, eventually pulling together three story lines. The tales along the way are gripping enough to hold your interest, and it all comes together quite well.
46. Johnny English (2003)
PG | 87 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
After a sudden attack on the MI5, Johnny English, Britain's most confident yet unintelligent spy, becomes Britain's only spy.
Votes: 123,017 | Gross: $28.08M
Silliness in the Austin Powers mold, I suppose, or better-yet, Get Smart (the TV show). Rowan Atkinson didn't "wow" me, but the Brits think enough of him to have a featured role in the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony.
47. North Country (2005)
R | 126 min | Drama
A fictionalized account of the first major successful sexual harassment case in the United States -- Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines, where a woman who endured a range of abuse while working as a miner filed and won the landmark 1984 lawsuit.
Votes: 35,079 | Gross: $18.32M
Get the hankies! This historical drama is a tear-jerker toward the end, and entertaining throughout for its look into family life, friendships, causes, and the pervasive corporate environment before the 1990s. Boys will be boys, and that can be quite disgusting! Girls are not always girly, and Charlize Theron shows she can be both tough and sensitive as a very believeab single mom fighting every step of the way through a tough life with every day having obstacles to get over. Highly recommended.
48. Catfish (2010)
PG-13 | 87 min | Documentary
Young filmmakers document their colleague's budding online friendship with a young woman and her family which leads to an unexpected series of discoveries.
Votes: 37,327 | Gross: $3.23M
Strange, in a good way. New York meet the Midwest. The NYC crowd wouldn't believe what can come of the challenges faced by families in the dull setting of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. But one dull mother manages to reel three New Yorkers into her fantasy and those boys chronicle it all. Cute, creepy, and compelling for me ... but not for everyone. 2012-08-21
49. Mission: Impossible III (2006)
PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller
Agent Ethan Hunt comes into conflict with a dangerous and sadistic arms dealer who threatens his life and his fianceé in response .
Votes: 279,354 | Gross: $134.03M
Been a month since I saw it, and now I just don't remember. That's probably all I need to say to think this is likely just another film where Hollywood makes what Hollywood thinks America wants to see ... and it too correct for that too be a compliment.
50. Ramona and Beezus (2010)
G | 103 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family
An adventurous young girl uses her imagination to escape her reality, that is quickly spinning out of reach.
Votes: 14,989 | Gross: $26.16M
Kid-flick for a good time. Nicely captures life through the eyes of the two sisters, providing well-portrayed views of both the kiddie years and the teenager, with all the angst they have to endure. Was Sally Field in this? I'm not sure, but there was a part for her.
51. Flypaper (2011)
Not Rated | 87 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery
A man caught in the middle of two simultaneous robberies at the same bank desperately tries to protect the teller with whom he's secretly in love.
Votes: 29,059 | Gross: $0.00M
Somewhat clever, funny, and twisting, in a nice way. Who-done-it? You can try to figure out the players as you go, and thank god they bring some closure in the end. Hard to recommend, but I wouldn't prevent you from watching this, either.
52. The American (2010)
R | 105 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
An assassin hides out in Italy for one last assignment.
Votes: 83,803 | Gross: $35.61M
53. One Good Cop (1991)
R | 114 min | Action, Crime, Drama
An NYPD Detective (Michael Keaton) and his struggle for justice, while taking care of his late partner's three little girls after he is killed in the line of duty.
Votes: 3,276 | Gross: $11.28M
More like a TV drama than a motion picture. Not worthy of the big screen, but okay for a night at home. Emotions do come through, as does temptation, commitment, and caring.
54. Moonstruck (1987)
PG | 102 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Loretta Castorini, a bookkeeper from Brooklyn, New York, finds herself in a difficult situation when she falls for the brother of the man she has agreed to marry.
Votes: 39,461 | Gross: $80.64M
One to watch because you never saw it and always wondered if Cher could be an actress. She was, and it wasn't a bad result. Not captivating, but time-worthy.
55. Windtalkers (2002)
R | 134 min | Action, Drama, War
Two U.S. Marines in World War II are assigned to protect Navajo Marines, who use their native language as an unbreakable radio cypher.
Votes: 59,538 | Gross: $40.91M
Casting should have been made cast-aways after this release. A movie where the trailer promoted one thing (the story of the Navaho in WWII) and the film delivered a weak set of war scenes. "Weak" compared to something from Kurosawa or the far more worthy "We Were Soldiers" if you're going to watch war waged. I'm okay with Nicholas Cage, and I think Christian Slater has done memorable things (mostly from his younger days in "Heathers" or "Bed of Roses"). But these two are mis-casted here, and the pretty-good portrayals of the Navaho weren't good enough. (And yes, Adam Beach, you could be a Japanese soldier, but it made you less compelling as a Navaho.
56. Hereafter (2010)
PG-13 | 129 min | Drama, Fantasy
A drama centered on three people -- a blue-collar American, a French journalist and a London school boy -- who are touched by death in different ways.
Votes: 84,072 | Gross: $32.75M
Could I become a fan of Matt Damon? The more I watch of his films that aren't made to be blockbusters, the more I find I like him. Rainmaker was one, and Hereafter is another. Cleverly woven stories that cross the ocean and come together are featured "here," and "after" watching you'll appreciate this as story-telling cinema.
57. Glorious 39 (2009)
R | 129 min | Drama, History, Thriller
The adopted daughter of a privileged British politician uncovers a family secret in the weeks leading up to World War II.
Flows along wonderfully with good characters and a historically-grounded plot line delivered in a way I could truly believe it was not fiction. Without going to war scenes, this movie made me remember that all the wars in my lifetime are but a blip compared to the horror, drama, and human endeavor of the two World Wars. 2012-09-17
58. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
R | 122 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet Agent within MI6.
Votes: 163,314 | Gross: $24.15M
Tinker, Tailor, tedious guy. Maybe if you read the Le Carre' books you would like this more than I did. Agent Smiley had retired, and could have stayed retired. There was some decent drama as he comes out of retirement attempting to solve for the mole in MI6, but most of the action occurs inside the head of Smiley, and the viewer isn't privy to it. A spy story, but not a spy thriller.
59. People I Know (2002)
R | 100 min | Crime, Drama
A New York press agent must scramble when his major client becomes embroiled in a huge scandal.
Votes: 10,292 | Gross: $0.12M
This could be the finest acting Al Pacino has done. He's good in other films, but this time he becomes the character like no other time I can remember (though I'm surely shortchanging a great actor of our time). The plot was weak and superficial, however. I wish it had been better, and would still recommend this to a Pacino fan.
60. Dreaming of Joseph Lees (1999)
R | 92 min | Romance, Drama
Somerset, 1958. Eva enters adulthood with good humor, keeping house for her absent-minded father, letting her younger sister Janie in on the secrets of growing up, working at a furniture ... See full summary »
Votes: 727 | Gross: $0.01M
Outstanding acting by Samantha Morton as Eva, the love-torn, simple-on-the-outside, much-more-on-the-inside young girl with two sides: the one asked to be a woman and the one wanting to be someone's else's woman. Why isn't my rating higher than 6? Good acting alone wasn't enough. There are excellent portryals from Ms. Morton as well as the character of precocious Janie played by Lauren Richardson. But the story didn't really allow me to find the depth of the main characters that I knew were lurking.
A worthy footnote is that I would watch Samantha Morton again, just as I would watch a movie to see Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bones and Burning Plain); she is THAT GOOD!
61. Arbitrage (2012)
R | 107 min | Drama, Thriller
A troubled hedge fund magnate desperate to complete the sale of his trading empire makes an error that forces him to turn to an unlikely person for help.
Votes: 44,770 | Gross: $7.92M
We didn't pick this movie, we picked the theater. That would be for our first visit to historic and marvelous Thalian Hall, Wilmington, NC. The theater scored many points, the flick few.
What I saw on the screen was a bunch of tired actors, tired story lines, and boorish characters. Also, it felt like this film was adapted from a novel (it appears not to be) with a great deal of background story left in print and off the celluloid. There was little mystery throughout this drama, and a dull thud to end it. "Yawn!"
Thalian Hall is a venue to be revisted, particularly to see performance art for which it was built in the 1880s. It is both grand (in architecture) and intimate (in size). How lovely to see a nearly packed house on a Tuesday evening.
62. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)
PG-13 | 129 min | Adventure, Drama, Mystery
A nine-year-old amateur inventor, Francophile, and pacifist searches New York City for the lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Votes: 88,611 | Gross: $31.85M
Imagination meets preparation. This is a well-done movie by from the actors on up through the direction and casting. Beware the tear-jerking aspects of 9/11, but watch this movie to remember how it touched everyone in ways they never could have imagined.
63. Lady Gaga Presents: The Monster Ball Tour at Madison Square Garden (2011 TV Special)
TV-MA | 117 min | Documentary, Music, Musical
A live concert performance of Grammy-winning pop sensation Lady Gaga at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
I expected more. Is that the best showmanship that the music industry can offer? I thought Gaga might fill the stage now vacant of Michael Jackson's showmanship. Then I harken back to the likes of Kiss, Jerry Lee Lewis, or Chuck Berry. Where are the showmen that still let their talent shine through???
This strikes me as following the path where stand-up comedy hurtled downhill, overcome by shock value that engulfed the talent that could have shown itself.
64. The Great Train Robbery (1978)
PG | 110 min | Adventure, Crime, Drama
In Victorian England, a master criminal makes elaborate plans to steal a shipment of gold from a moving train.
Votes: 12,894 | Gross: $13.03M
Sometimes it's hard to judge a 34-year-old movie because the measures of goodness have grown in some ways (declined in others!). You'll like this movie if you can't get enough of the often-droll Sean Connery, and if you appreciate the on-train exploits that were probably thrilling for the age of 1978 ... but hey(!) we already had Star Wars then!! To me it's a decent tale, a true story, and a bunch of weak characters.
65. Miracle at St. Anna (2008)
R | 160 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Set in 1944 Italy, the story of four black American soldiers who get trapped in a Tuscan village during WWII.
Votes: 16,395 | Gross: $7.92M
I'm glad I found this story by chance on a cable TV afternoon broadcast. Good storytelling, good acting, good messages, and sufficiently believeable. Nice work, Spike Lee.
66. The Road (I) (2009)
R | 111 min | Adventure, Drama
In a dangerous post-apocalyptic world, an ailing father defends his son as they slowly travel to the sea.
Votes: 194,187 | Gross: $0.06M
Suppose there was an apocalypse and you didn't know why? Would it still be an apocalypse? Apparently so, because in this movie a man and his boy wander, survive, and grow up in a climate that happened for reasons we do not know. 2012-10-24
67. North Shore Fish (1997 TV Movie)
R | 93 min | Drama, Romance
**Spoiler Alert** Sal (Tony Danza) has been the foreman at North Shore Fish, a frozen fish factory, for years. He and Flo (Mercedes Ruehl), the "batter" person on the assembly line, not ... See full summary »
Cheap entertainment, low budget, something to kill a short evening. Some good portrayals of character, but more meaningful if you are from the Boston-area coastline to enjoy the language, the accents, and the cute phrases. But if you did enjoy that, you would then ask, "Why Tony Danza?" 2012-10-30
68. Till Human Voices Wake Us (2002)
R | 101 min | Drama, Romance
A man returns to Victoria, Australia, where he grew up, and encounters a mysterious woman who reminds him of someone he once knew.
Votes: 2,129 | Gross: $0.12M
Most Australian movies, and what I love about them, develop their characters to a degree that American movies rarely do. This WAS an exception. An "artsy" film that seemed to enjoy itself more than deliver that enjoyment to the viewer. The acting is fine, but the story is slow, trying to develop drama, wonder, and intrigue. It would have made more sense if the whole thing was a dream, but I think they wanted me to believe the story; I couldn't. 2012-10-31
69. Love Actually (2003)
R | 135 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England.
Votes: 356,547 | Gross: $59.70M
70. Behind Enemy Lines (2001)
PG-13 | 106 min | Action, Drama, Thriller
A Navy navigator is shot down over enemy territory and is ruthlessly pursued by a secret police enforcer and the opposing troops. Meanwhile his commanding officer goes against orders in an attempt to rescue him.
Votes: 91,545 | Gross: $59.07M
71. Mortal Thoughts (1991)
R | 102 min | Mystery, Thriller
Two detectives interrogated a hairdresser on two homicides she may or may not have been involved in.
Votes: 7,330 | Gross: $19.02M
72. Anna Karenina (I) (2012)
R | 129 min | Drama, Romance
In late-19th-century Russian high society, St. Petersburg aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a life-changing affair with the dashing Count Alexei Vronsky.
Votes: 78,655 | Gross: $12.82M
73. The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
PG-13 | 109 min | Comedy, Drama
A smart but sensible new graduate lands a job as an assistant to Miranda Priestly, the demanding editor-in-chief of a high fashion magazine.
Votes: 313,245 | Gross: $124.74M
74. The Italian (2005)
PG-13 | 90 min | Drama
Set in 2002, an abandoned 5-year-old boy living in a rundown orphanage in a small Russian village is adopted by an Italian family.
Votes: 2,874 | Gross: $0.55M