Intended as an Aid in Netflix Queue-ing

I’ve been watching a lot of movies.  I’ve been  sucked into my husband’s obsession.

What are we, day 11 of 2013? I think I’ve watched nine movies so far: Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, etc, and many more back during the holidays, which included some excellent ones like Rust and Bone (French).

As a point of reference I’ll share Us magazine’s top 10 of 2012:

  1. Silver Linings Playbook
  2. Argo
  3. Les Miserables
  4. Zero Dark Thirty
  5. Life of Pi
  6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  7. The Dark Knight Rises
  8. Your Sister’s Sister
  9. Skyfall
  10. Ted

Honorable Mentions: Django Unchained, The Sessions, Looper, The Cabin in the Woods, Searching for Sugar Man

That is a good  list. I’ve seen everything but Les Mis and Life of Pi, but I don’t question that they probably deserve to be on that list.

Here are some of my own favorites

amourAmour (IMDb 8.1/10) is this year’s Separation, which was last year’s Best Foreign Language film and interestingly, the subject of aging appears in both. It is not a easy subject to watch. This film deeply examines one couple’s final descent into age, physical deterioration,  and death.  The pace is slow and deliberate, like your 80-year old dad getting out of an armchair. The acting is phenomenal. The leading man came out of retirement to play this role and Isabella Hupert- everybody’s favorite French actress- plays the slightly estranged daughter. It is also a moving love story – in the manner of deep devotion flicks like The Notebook, but Oscar-worthy.

rustandboneRust and Bone (De rouille et d’os) (IMDb 7.6/10) – This was possibly my favorite movie of the year. Do you remember Marion Cotillard from her stunning performance in La vie on rose? The performance that won her not only an Oscar, but also big money state-side roles, like the love interest in The Dark Knight Rises? Rust and Bone is sexually explicit; not about sex, though, so much as physical needs and how much we can connect to each other on a deeper level when we are catapulted into crisis. Not too much dialogue.

moonrisekingdomMoonrise Kingdom (IMDb 7.9/10) – I am a sucker for quirky and kids and I love Wes Anderson. Throw in Frances McDormand and Edward Norton and you got yourself a no-brainer winner. This stylized teen romance, lushly shot on Rhode Island, will pull up the side of your mouth in wry grin and you’ll hang on every word. If I made movies I would want them to be like this.

Cloud Atlas
(IMDb 8.0/10) – When this movie started, Chad remarked, I hope they don’t think they can cut between stories this fast for the whole movie. I was in agreement – no way this film was going to hold four?five? completely separate story lines together. But somehow, somewhere, in the three hours of this movie, the different quests and relationships (with the same actors in various versions of their characters) started to gel and there emerged a beautiful theme of  integrity and personal responsibility. Tom Hanks and Halle Berry are the name brand stars, but it’s young Korean actress Doona Bae whose face I keep seeing.

silverliningsplaybookSilver Linings Playbook (IMDb 8.3/10) – I fell in love with Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone (dark, but well-worth watching) and she has not disappointed me since. She elevated The Hunger Games, and now in in Silver Linings Playbook, we discover that she’s “old enough to survive a marriage without being locked in the loony bin.” Bradly Cooper does a fine job acting, as he did in the less popular film, The Words, that he did earlier this year. Despite the subject matter of, well, acceptable craziness (OCD, bi-polar, manic depression) and non-acceptable craziness (nervous break-downs, promiscuity, violence), the tone is matter-of-fact, and love prevails. Plus, we get to see Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence dance. Directed by David Russell, which is enough of a commendation for me anyway (Three Kings, The Fighter, I Heart Huckabees – all excellent).

headhuntersHeadhunters (IMDb 7.5/10) – What I love about foreign films is that the whole life paradigm is so not-American. Here, the easy-going art thief with a beautiful house and trophy wife, falls into a comical thriller. Wha? It starts light and turns into a heart-thumping (and bloody) chase when the thief, who steals from the wrong guy, just cannot get away. The technology of spyware taps right into the collective consciousness: the fear that there is no way to hide in today’s world. The bad guy is Jamie from Game of Thrones!

thisis40This is 40  (IMDb 6.4/10) may not be an Oscar movie, but I laughed until my stomach hurt. Some moments have already been overplayed in the trailers, but there is enough spit-your-food-out chortles stuffed into this one movie for plenty of gags to just get by with mild snorts.  As one reviewer put it, it is “humor porn.” This might be the Fast Times of Ridgemont High movie of my middle ages, because me and my friends are already  quoting from it (I can fix it. I got tools. My dad’s a plumber.)

I also enjoyed

Argo, Take This Waltz, Lawless, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Dark Knight Rises, Your Sister’s Sister, Skyfall, Ted, Looper, Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Magic Mike, Seven Psychopaths, Total Recall, Bourne Legacy

I anticipate loving

Les Miserables, The Sessions, and The Master

I was disappointed by

Brad Pitt (Killing Them Softly); Woody Allen (To Rome with Love); Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Premium Rush)


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