New Years Resolution – April 2021

My brother and I have made a New Years Resolution to watch a movie ‘together’ each month. ‘Together’ became difficult to do once co-vid restrictions were imposed and then he moved to another province. So now we are both watching the same movie and posting our video reviews. I miss being in the same room and yabbling while we watch a movie together.

This month was my selection and I chose ‘Baby Driver’. Not a typical selection for me but wanted to try it because it was made in the same year as last months selection of ‘Aardvark’ – both were made it 2017.

I will let my video report speak for itself.

and now Jeff’s video report – as always, much more comprehensive than mine

See you again next month.

New Years Resolution – March 2021

The movie that was Jeff’s choice for this month was Aardvark.

The poor Aardvark never even made the movie poster.

Truth be told, I found this movie was rather disappointing. Maybe I was missing something but there just seemed to be gaps in the storytelling, but then again, the storytelling wasn’t even that interesting.

Since I did not know the two actresses who played the female leads I found they looked too much alike for me to keep them apart. Always distracting when you can’t keep the characters straight.

Jon Hamm played the part of a moderately successful actor named Craig who at one point was laughing about taking acting jobs that are really quite terrible and that sort of made me laugh. Was the whole thing supposed to be an inside joke about good actors being stuck acting in bad movies? I don’t think that was the intention.

I also appreciated the conversation between the two brothers where they viewed the same memory differently. Real life for sure.

Here are our reviews:

My review of Aardvark.
Jeff had a different take than I did.

Maybe it’s good to watch a badly done movie once in a while to better appreciate when a movie is done well. Until next month.

New Years Resolution – February 2021

So we watched our February movie and made our reports. This month was my choice and I picked Hunt for the Wildepeople. I suppose I don’t need to write too much about it because I did make my report.

Our reports:

NYR February 2021 – My video report of Hunt for the Wildepeople.
I was surprised by how many “umm”s I used. I will have to work on that.
NYR – January 2021 Jeff’s video report of Hunt for the Wildepeople.
Once again Jeff was way more thorough than I was.

Looking forward to our March movie.

New Years Resolution – January 2021

In 2019 my brother, Jeff and I decided to make a new years resolution to watch a movie together once a month. For me, it was as much about getting together with my brother as it was about watching a movie. We met every month for 2019 and agreed to carry on for 2020 and then co-vid hit, putting a kabosh on watching a movie together. Then in November 2020 Jeff moved to New Brunswick.

I must say that it was harder on me than I thought it would be. When we were growing up we were quite often at odds. One year and a half apart there was a fair amount of friction and we didn’t always get along. But once we grew up we connected on a very good level. We are quite different and do not always see eye-to-eye but we ‘get’ each other and it is always good to have people in your life who ‘get’ you. Jeff has also been awesome tech-support when my computer or devices went wonky and the fact that he uses his super powers to help with me with that it is always appreciated.

So, even without co-vid restrictions, it looked like the move to New Brunswick put a more permanent kabosh on any movie watching resolution for 2021. But thanks to the video calling app Duo we have managed to stay in relatively regular contact. We have also used Duo for him to help me get my printer back on line.

We have found a way to, sort of, watch a movie together. Each month one of us selects a movie and we both agree to watch it at one point in the month. We then complete a video movie review to see how similar or different we feel about the movie. It will be interesting to see how this will work. Maybe one day we will use some technology to try and watch it ‘together’ but for now we will be trying it this way.

The movie this month was Jojo Rabbit.

NYR January 2021 – My video report of Jojo Rabbit
NYR – January 2021 Jeff’s video report of Jojo Rabbit.
His report is 20 minutes long so it is much more thorough than mine was.
Loved his ‘spoiler alert’ “Germany lost the war”

New Years Resolution – February 2020

My brother Jeff and I have kept a New Years Resolution to watch a movie together once a month since January 2019. We alternate choices and it has been fun.

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The movie this month was Jeff’s pick and he chose Rocky. Last month’s choice was mine and I chose Chariots of Fire so I suppose this could be a ‘sports’ theme or a ‘Best Picture Oscar’ theme or a ‘men in shorts’ theme. We will see if we can make the theme last for the entire year. I suppose the next choice will, more or less, cement the theme with which we will select movies with – or not. It depends if Jeff will play along.

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I can’t say I remember if I had ever seen Rocky. I was certainly aware of some of the scenes as they are fairly iconic but I couldn’t remember the ending. Will Rocky win or won’t he?

==
Paulie: [talking about Adrian]  You like her?
Rocky: Sure, I like her.
Paulie: What’s the attraction?
Rocky: I dunno… she fills gaps.
Paulie: What’s ‘gaps’?
Rocky: I dunno, she’s got gaps, I got gaps, together we fill gaps.

==

Bodyguard: Did ya get the license number?
Rocky: Of what?
Bodyguard: The truck that run over your face.
==

Sylvester Stallone wrote the screenplay and had to pitch the script more than 150 times before someone showed interest. During that time, he was so broke that he had to sleep at the bus terminal. Finally, there was an offer to buy the script but they didn’t want Stallone to star in the movie. Stallone refused the $300,000 offer because he believed he was the best choice to play Rocky Balboa. He was eventually allowed to star in his own film which went on to earn over $200 million at the box office. Rocky also captured a Best Picture Oscar in 1976 and spawned 7 sequels. The rest, as they say, is history.

New Years Resolution – January 2020

Continuing with The Great New Years Resolution of 2019 Jeff and I plan to continue to meet once a month to watch a movie together. We alternated choices and I got to choose a movie after Jeff’s choice. Typically I tried to have something about my choice correspond to something about Jeff’s choice. This year I got to start us off.

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I chose Chariots of Fire. I had never seen it but I knew it had won an Oscar and so I deemed it prudent to watch it at least once. It was based on a real story and apparently followed real life fairly accurately. It was a good movie but I am afraid that I can’t say that I deem it a great movie and the only reason was because our conversation rambled during our viewing.

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I knew that the movie had not completely and utterly captured my attention when about one third of the way in we were playing too much of ‘where have I seen that actor before?’ The movie seemed to stretch on longer than it needed to in some parts. I had not read any reviews before hand but I enjoy seeing what reviewers think of it after I’ve seen it.

Roger Ebert is a favourite reviewer. I always appreciate his point of view. Some of his comments are as follows:

  This is strange. I have no interest in running and am not a partisan in the British class system. Then why should I have been so deeply moved by “Chariots of Fire,” a British film that has running and class as its subjects? I’ve toyed with that question since I first saw this remarkable film in May 1981 at the Cannes Film Festival, and I believe the answer is rather simple: Like many great films, “Chariots of Fire” takes its nominal subjects as occasions for much larger statements about human nature. This is a movie that has a great many running scenes. It is also a movie about British class distinctions in the years after World War I, years in which the establishment was trying to piece itself back together after the carnage in France. It is about two outsiders, a Scot who is the son of missionaries in China, and a Jew whose father is an immigrant from Lithuania. And it is about how both of them use running as a means of asserting their dignity. But it is about more than them, and a lot of this film’s greatness is hard to put into words.
  Both men are essentially proving themselves, their worth, their beliefs, on the track. But “Chariots of Fire” takes an unexpected approach to many of its running scenes. It does not, until near the film’s end, stage them as contests to wring cheers from the audience. Instead, it sees them as efforts, as endeavors by individual runners — it tries to capture the exhilaration of running as a celebration of the spirit.
  The nostalgia is an important aspect of the film, which opens with a 1979 memorial service for one of the men, Harold Abrahams, and then flashes back sixty years to his first day at Cambridge University. We are soon introduced to the film’s other central character, the Scotsman Eric Liddell. The film’s underlying point of view is a poignant one: These men were once young and fast and strong, and they won glory on the sports field, but now they are dead and we see them as figures from long ago.

February will be Jeff’s choice and I am looking forward to seeing what theme he will choose to follow (even though he threatened to make the connection between the two movies so remote and obscure that I won’t be able to figure it out). We will see, we will see.

 

New Years Resolution – December

It’s not very often that I’ll make a New Years Resolution and even less often that I will keep a New Years Resolution. 2019 was different. My brother Jeff and I made a New Years Resolution to watch a movie together each month for the whole year. We took turns choosing and the game that I worked into the whole process was that the movie that I choose would have to be connected, somehow, to the one that Jeff had previously chosen. November’s choice starred Shirley MacLaine and so December’s choice was going to do the same thing.

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I chose The Apartment because of the Shirley MacLaine connection but I also enjoy watching Jack Lemmon do just about anything. I am sure that I had watched it before as it was a favourite of Laura’s and I am sure we watched it together when she was a teenager. But that was many years ago so I wondered how much I would recall.

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Found on  IMDB: Bud Baxter (Jack Lemmon) is shrewd when it comes to advancing his career. While he might not have any exemplary skills, he does possess one thing that can give him an edge toward a promotion: an Upper West Side apartment. Because it’s far away from the suburbs and close enough to their work, some of the managers at Bud’s job have been giving him glowing recommendations for the shared use of the apartment to conduct their extra-marital affairs. When Bud’s boss learns of this, he wants in on the action, putting Bud out of his apartment for the night but compensating him for the inconvenience. Unfortunately, Bud’s date for the evening stands him up, which is made all the more surprising when he goes home and finds her unconscious in his apartment. Being the gentleman he is, Bud nurses the woman to health, spurring them both to fall in love with each other, despite the gossip at work.Benjamin M. Weilert

The Apartment was cleverly done but it was a tad depressing that, even though it was set in the late 1950s,  you would be hard-pressed to find someone who was not having extra-marital affairs. Pretty much all of the main characters were, except for the Bud Baxter, who everyone thought was messing around but wasn’t.  There were a few moral and difficult topics – the obligation to keep secrets, adultery, and suicide. But in the end, love prevailed and there was a happily ever after.

I think we plan to keep doing this movie watching. We will see if the parameters change at all for 2020. Stay tuned.

New Years Resolution – November

The movie this month was Jeff’s pick and he chose a 1955 Hitchcock film The Trouble with Harry. I recognized some of the actors and it was Shirley MacLaine’s film debut.

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I had not heard of it at all and so sort of expected a typical Hitchcock film with a fair amount of scary parts. This one not so scary.  The movie asks the question “Who is Harry Worp?” Then it asks “How did he end up deader than a door-nail?” and then we start to ask ourselves, “Just how many times will Harry have to be buried?” The suspects are a group of quirky residents of a small Vermont hamlet.

Captain Wiles is sure that he killed him with a stray hunting bullet. Jennifer Rogers, Harry’s estranged wife, believes she killed him because she hit him with a milk bottle. Miss Gravely is certain that the man died after a blow from the heel of her hiking boot after he accosted her. Sam Marlowe, an attractive and nonconformist artist, is open-minded about the whole event and is prepared to help his neighbors and new-found friends in any way he can. The Captain, Jennifer, Miss Gravely and Sam bury the body and then dig it up again several times throughout the day. They eventually hide the body in a bathtub before finally putting it back on the hill where it first appeared.

I rather enjoyed this one and am looking forward to the December movie.

New Years Resolution – October

Well, this is the longest New Years Resolution that I have ever resoluted for.

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Jeff and I have watched one movie each month since the beginning of the year and it is something that I have enjoyed immensely. The movies are fine but it is spending time with my brother that I find so enjoyable. And there are so many more movies to choose from. It was my choice this month and I chose Bohemian Rhapsody.

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Rami Malek played the lead singer of the band Queen and he certainly did a wonderful job of bringing Freddie Mercury to life. Rock movies can sometimes go a few different ways. They were accurate enough, for the most part, but the historical things that they chose to embellish or to shift in time made for a better movie.

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The LiveAid scenes were brilliantly replicated. There were lots of clever nods to the original band. If you listen to some of the words to some of the songs it will rip your heart out. Some of the other words made you want to stand up and shout as loud as you can. That’s what Queen did for music.

Some of my favourite quotes from the movie

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Freddie Mercury: “Good thoughts. good words, good deeds. Just like you taught me, Papa”
===
Brian May: That’s a nice fancy dress, Fred.
Freddie: I’ve got to make an impression, darling.
Brian: You look like an angry lizard.
===
Freddie: “I couldn’t sing off-key if I tried. I am exactly the person I was always meant to be. I’m not afraid of anything.
===
Freddie: “Roger, there’s only room in this band for one hysterical queen.”
===
Mary Austin:[to Freddie]Your life is going to be very difficult.
===
Jim Hutton: So all your friends have left you alone. 
Freddie: They’re not my friends, not really. They’re distractions.
Jim: From what?
Freddie: The in-between moments I suppose. I find me intolerable. All of the darkness you thought you’d left behind comes creeping back in.
Jim: I know what you mean.
Freddie: Really? What is it that you do with them?
Jim: Spend them with real friends. You look like you could use a friend.
===
Freddie: I like you.
Jim: I like you too, Freddie. Come and find me when you decide to like yourself.
===
Freddie: “We’re family. We believe in each other, That’s everything.”

New Years Resolution – September

 

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This month’s movie selection was Jeff’s and he chose The Master which I had heard absolutely nothing about. Some of the writing below has been pilfered from some different sources.

It is a story of Joaquin Phoenix’s damaged World War II vet, Freddie Quell, who struggles to adjust to post-war society and prone to violent and erratic behavior. He meets Philip Seymour Hoffmann’s charismatic charlatan, Lancaster Dodd, the leader of a philosophical movement known as “The Cause” who invites Freddie to join him and his followers. Dodd does an exercise with Freddie called “Processing”, where he asks Freddie disturbing psychological questions. Their relationship is powerful and twisted and strange enough that maybe that’s all the movie needs to be about.

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Kenneth Turan wrote: “Phoenix, known for immersing himself in Oscar-nominated roles makes Quell frighteningly believable.”
Scott Tobias wrote: “It’s a feisty, contentious, deliberately misshapen film, designed to challenge and frustrate audiences looking for a clean resolution. Just because it’s over doesn’t mean it’s settled.”
Less enthusiastic was Roger Ebert who gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of four. He wrote that it was “fabulously well-acted and crafted, but when I reach for it, my hand closes on air. It has rich material and isn’t clear what it thinks about it. It has two performances of Oscar-caliber, but do they connect?”
The production company officially denied that the film was based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard but there are numerous parallels are drawn in this riveting bit of cinema. While I will not consider it a favourite, as I am not the biggest fan of such intense storytelling, it was done well.
My selection next month will be Bohemian Rhapsody with Rami Malek. So what do The Master and Bohemian Rhapsody have in common? Rami Malek had a smaller part in The Master playing the son-in-law of Dodd and he will have a large part in Bohemian Rhapsody playing Freddie Mercury. Looking forward to watching that one.