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 – 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”
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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.
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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.
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Freddie: “Roger, there’s only room in this band for one hysterical queen.”
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Mary Austin:[to Freddie]Your life is going to be very difficult.
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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.
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Freddie: I like you.
Jim: I like you too, Freddie. Come and find me when you decide to like yourself.
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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.

 

New Years Resolution – August

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This month the movie choice was mine. Last month Jeff had chosen ‘Ex Machina’. It was an interesting movie with an unfortunate ending for our hero played by Domhnall Gleeson.

I decided that I would pick a movie with a fortunate ending for our hero played by Domhnall Gleeson.

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At least I hoped it would be fortunate as I had not seen the movie but his face was of the cover and he was smiling. The movie was done by some of the same people who did ‘Nottinghill’ and ‘Love Actually’ so I was pretty optimistic that it would be a happy ending. During ‘Ex Machina’ I had not recognized Domhnall from his bit in Star Wars and still didn’t after watching this movie. (Oh, I guess that was because he was acting)

When Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) is 21, his father (Bill Nighy) tells him a secret: The men in their family can travel through time. Although he can’t change history, Tim resolves to improve his life by getting a girlfriend. He meets Mary (Rachel McAdams), falls in love and finally wins her heart via time-travel and a little cunning. However, as his unusual life progresses, Tim finds that his special ability can’t shield him and those he loves from the problems of ordinary life.

When I decide to write about a movie I typically look up other reviews to see what others say. The problem is that what others have said is almost always way better than anything I could come up with.  Here are some observant bits:

” a time-travel fantasy that is basically ‘Groundhog Day’ with Brit accents, a nice-bloke hero and minus a rodent”

“To experience it, you just have to allow the analytical parts of your mind to unclench during the dodgier bits of business—all these pasty well-off people and their problems, oh woe is them!—and go with the feel-good flow.

Although not everyone concurs:

“Like a doggie in a window, this romcom relentlessly wags its tail so you’ll fall in love and take it home. Not this time, puppy. There’s nothing terribly wrong with About Time, it’s just that it rarely rises to its potential. After all, director Richard Curtis is the go-to guy for writing fluff with feeling.”

For me, the movie proved delightful and Domhnall has gained a fan.

New Years Resolution – March

Part Three of our New Years Resolution for 2019. So it was Movie Morning with Jeff today. I also got to meet their new puppy Tessa – a cute as a button bundle of fur – who apparently likes watching movies

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For the first two movies, we ended up with the theme of sacrifice.
It was Jeff’s pick today and we watched The Big Blue.

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We watched the longer version and it really was long. It was a good movie but there were a few plot holes that we thought you could swim a dolphin through and the ending was not typical. There were some funny scenes and some parts that the two of us can forever laugh at from watching the movie together
-the car painted red
-Momma and the pasta bowl with the recipe
-the Japanese diver and his breathing technique

We also had some fun conversations during the movie
he was naked – no, he wasn’t
yes, he was – no, he wasn’t
yes, he was – you’re right, he was

So the next pick is mine and to keep with a theme it will take some thought.

We could watch Free Willy for a ‘save the marine animal by taking it out of captivity and setting it free’ theme.

We could watch You Light Up My Life for a ‘un fairytale-like ending’.

We could watch Waterworld because there is a lot of water in the movie.

We could watch a 13 episode TV series from the late 1970s The Man From Atlantis for all of the ‘underwater breath holding’ that was happening.

Hmm, decisions decisions…stay tuned.