I’ve bungled my “watched movies” list for the last two years. We’ll see how 2011 goes.

  1. Elite Squad II (B+) Do you remember the movie City of Angels which took place in the vast slums of Rio de Janeiro? There were a small series of movies that spawned from that one and so far, all have been excellent. This latest, which focuses on the police and government is excellent, and only gets a B+ because violent movies are not my favorite.
  2. Another Year (A) A few years ago I picked another movie by this same director for my yearly top ten. It was called Happy-Go-Lucky. In this film, the director has definitely matured, because the pace and rhythm is just about perfect. Slow and steady, it chronicles one year, through a handful of characters who are only moderately connected to each other. Shows you how a film can be a gently study of life (and life’s pain) without resorting to heart-stopping action and thrills.
  3. Winter’s Bone (A)
  4. Tangled (B)
  5. Mildred Pierce, HBO mini-series (A)
  6. Incendies (A)
  7. In a Better World (A)
  8. Made in Dagenham (B+) This British flick is a dramatization of the moment the all the female workers at the Ford factory in Dagenham, England, decided that working at half the pay as men and being called unskilled was for the birds. Led by spunky and surprised Rita O’Grady (the young mom of two never imagined she’d be a community organizer), the women take first timid and then more determined steps to hold their ground – in fact, their unanticipated strike shuts the factory down! It’s a bit shivery to think about how recently women were treated so second class. The story begins two days after my birthday in May 1968. Sally Hawkins is perfect as O’Grady (she was the lead in another good one, Happy-Go-Lucky) and you’ll feel like you know more about history when you’re done. Got 7.1/10 at IMDb.
  9. Red Riding Hood (C) This movie was pretty much panned by the critics (4.9/10 at IMBb), but there was something interesting going on, in terms of the cinematic telling of a fairy tale. It doesn’t nail it like The Princess Bride, or even like Bella’s pre-teen obssession, The Tenth Kingdom, but it does attempt a certain stylization of fantasy that promises more than it can deliver. The director relies too heavily on stereotypes and the relationships are never developed. The storyline is good, clever even. Watchable, but just barely. I’m waiting for a good Neil Gaiman story to be told (Neverworld or Stardust, please!)
  10. Game of Thrones, Season 1 – HBO (A)
  11. Bad Teacher (C+)
  12. Something Borrowed (B-)
  13. Midnight in Paris (A-)
  14. Limitless
  15. The Driver
  16. The Help
  17. Source Code
  18. Game of Thrones 

There are two movie sites I use frequently. One is the Internet Movie Database (at, simply because it has enormous amounts of information on any movie you could possibly think of. It is truly the biggest and the best. With most of the movies I write about, I include the IMDb rating. Note that IMDb ratings depend on user ratings, so it fluctuates, especially in the beginning.

The second is a parental site that actually gives movies a separate ranking 1-10 in three categories: violence, sex, and profanity. Then it also lists all the incidents in the movie that gave the movie its ranking. I don’t mind nudity or profanity as much as I mind a mindless, obnoxious crack about a woman’s ass, for instance. lets you, the parent decide how to rank the movies. Very useful.

To see a list of the movies I watched in 2007, click here. To see my Top Ten Movies of 2007, click here.

To see the list of movies I watched in 2008, click here. To see my Top Ten Movies of 2008, click here.