recent movie picks


No, I haven’t seen the new Harry Potter yet.  In fact, I am approximately 3-5 years behind on movies, as evidenced by the 150 movies in my Blockbuster Online queue.  Since I tend to like things that are a little offbeat and don’t always do well at the box office (please don’t tell me I would like the Matrix movies, Fantastic Four, or Legally Blonde 2) I thought I’d share what I’ve been watching lately, in case you might have missed any of them.

Miss Potter — This is actually a new release — see?  I’m catching up.  It is the true story of Beatrix Potter, who wrote the story of Peter Rabbit, and many other lovely little books I was very fond of as a child.  She was a strong woman at a time when women were supposed to marry well and stay out of people’s way.  It is also a love story.  If you enjoy period pieces (Sense and Sensibility, Jane Eyre, or even Anne of Green Gables) you will love it.  Most husbands, probably not.

Thoroughly Modern Millie — This movie musical was made in the 1960s about the 1920s.  It is zany.  It is madcap.  It is unabashedly silly.  You might hate it.  I loved it.  I think if you love stuff like My Fair Lady, you should give it a try.  It stars Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore, and Carol Channing, who are all fabulous.

Big Fish — I was warned that this movie was a little strange.  Of course, said I.  It was directed by Tim Burton, the king of strange.  I actually thought it was pretty fantastic.  Surreal, as you would expect his stuff to be, but not nearly as weird as, say, The Corpse Bride.  It is actually pretty tender, meaningful, and thought-provoking. 

A Prairie Home Companion — I loved this movie, but I also listen to the radio show of the same name pretty regularly.  It doesn’t have much of a plot, to be honest.  But, you might like it if you enjoy quirky characters (remember the Newhart show?  Not the older one, but the 80s one that took place in an inn?), and that “behind the scenes” feeling.  It’s like Studio 60, but for really nerdy people.  This movie has an amazing all-star cast, which tells me that a lot of Hollywood folks have the same affection for Garrison Keillor that I do, and signed on without thinking the movie would be a big hit.

Stranger Than Fiction — Another new release — are you impressed?  I know you’ve already seen this one.  Just in case you haven’t, I would highly recommend it.  Just such a unique, interesting piece of film-making.  And with Will Ferrell, Queen Latifah, Dustin Hoffman, and Emma Thompson, each playing a role which is unusual for them.  Is it just me, or is that just an unexpected cast of actors?  The stars of Talladega Nights, Big Momma’s House, Tootsie, and Remains of the Day just don’t seem like they should fit together, do they?  Also, I really like Maggie Gyllenhaal, even though it seems like every movie I’ve seen her in has her playing the same sex-kitten character.  Plus her brother is so handsome.

Please tell me what you’ve been watching lately that was worth 2 hours of your time!

On a separate note, I’ve somehow managed to catch the debuts of both of the new singing contest reality shows — why does that keep happening, where two identical shows come out at the same time?  Do people in Hollywood all have spies so they can steal each other’s ideas?  Anyway, I just wondered if anyone else has had the pleasure of viewing Singing Bee or Don’t Forget the Lyrics.  I enjoyed both shows, because, hey, who doesn’t like to sing along to random pop songs?  Do we think either one will last past the summer?  I think I preferred “Don’t Forget…” since it was hosted by Wayne Brady, who I enjoy, and the other one was hosted by one of those NSync dudes, who I don’t.  Also, “Singing Bee” had these horrible cheezy dancers, and the last round was all but impossible to win.  (You had to sing the entire chorus of the song without getting any word incorrect — one girl was knocked out because she sang “Take me home, country road” instead of roads.  It was annoying.)


12 thoughts on “recent movie picks

  1. Kate

    Oh, I loved Miss Potter and Big Fish (mostly because of Ewan McGregor – he is delightful… I think! I remember when Anne had a crush on him right before her mission!) and of course I love Stranger Than Fiction…I dedicated a post to it as well! Love Maggie! She is one of my favorite actresses. I just think she’s so good. and did you know she is going to be in the new Batman movie coming out next summer, playing the role Katie Holmes played in Batman begins? She is a much better actress then Katie and I am so excited about it….but then I liked Batman Begins. maggie was also good in that movie about 9/11… World Trade Center I think it’s called.

    I’m rambling now…I’m just bored! Thanks for the post!

  2. Emily

    Yessss! I love your movie review posts, Liz. I’m already salivating about Miss Potter. I just watched the new (er, not so new anymore) Pride and Prejudice last night with four giggling mia maids on my couch…it was delightful. Kiera Knightley sort of bothers me, but she didn’t stop me from loving the dresses, the cinematography, the love stories, the last scene “Mrs. Darcy, Mrs. Darcy, Mrs. Darcy”…Mmmm! Delicious.
    As far as recommendations…I have nothing! But I am excited to see what others say.

  3. Andrea

    I don’t think our styles would mesh! My abberant floating y chromosome leads me to watch all sorts of testosterone stuff. Right now, we are watching the edited version of Black Hawk Down. Maddy and I are always cuddling up to any Star Wars on our HBO channels. I did enjoy Finding Neverland. I too love just about anything with Ewan McGregor in it, but I haven’t seen anything in your list. I am afraid I mostly need action. Oh Hubby recommends Thank you for Smoking, but it’s rated-R.

  4. kira

    I’m glad to see blockbuster online is keeping you in the movie “know”. I’ll have to check out TMMillie. Don’t worry if you never catch up…there are only so many nights you can watch a movie each week.

  5. Anne

    OK I’ve been meaning to do a post like this for ages. I even have a list of movies to write about. Mostly foreign. You will like them all. I’m dying to see Miss Potter. It is true that I love Ewan McGregor. In college I made a big poster with a picture of him (as Obi Wan Kabobe–I cut it out of the bag of Lay’s potato chips–I’m not kidding) and a heart that I drew and a picture of me (wearing my zebra cowgirl hat). So yes, the poster said “Ewan loves Anne.” I’m pretty sure it was true. That poster hung proudly in my room. Then I went on my mission. Pretty much the end of Moulin Rouge, when Ewan is walking up the aisle of the theater BELTING OUT “come what may,” I go weak in the knees. Here’s what I’ve watched recently. 1) Emma. BRILLIANT. So funny. Taylor and I just laugh the whole time. I love Jeremy Northam and Gwyneth. Completely dreamy. By the way, I also love Jeremy Northam in An Ideal Husband–which is equally delightful. 2) Fun With Dick & Jane. SOOOO funny. A great spoof on the whole Enron thign. Jim Carey is funny, but not over the top. Tea Leoni is great. I love her–have you seen Spanglish? LOVE IT! OK, it’s midnight-thirty and I’m just rambling on because I have to sleep in my bed alone while my husband tents up with stinky teenage boys and I hate sleeping alone. Love you.

  6. liz Post author

    Kate — I agree that Maggie beats the heck out of Katie. I actually liked Katie before she took up with Tom, but now, I just don’t get her.
    Emily — I love the newer P&P. I actually really like Kiera, I think because my first intro to her was Bend it Like Beckham, which I love.
    Andrea — If you liked Finding Neverland, you’ll like Miss Potter, I think. It’s funny, because I often think I have some y-chromosome in me (refusal to ask for directions, tendency to hog the remote, etc.) but not when it comes to movies. I can do action, but only if the plot is intriguing, like a Tom Clancy story. I can watch an action movie and realize it is a good movie, but it just stresses me out and I don’t really enjoy it.
    Kira — I’m sure I’ll never catch up. I think it’s essential that we realize we don’t have to see every movie. We’re not on earth for that purpose! They’re here to entertain, and we can enjoy them, but they’re not what we plan our lives around.
    Oh, Anne — your comment is hysterical. Love Emma. Moulin Rouge is in my queue, too. Can you believe I’ve never seen it? Thanks for the tip on Dick and Jane. I just added it to my queue, so it’ll probably come in the mail in about three years. I added the original one too, as I thought it would be fun to compare.

  7. Traci

    Ohhh I am so glad that you recommend Miss Potter. I have been wanting to see it even before anyone recommended it. I also didn’t know that Thoroughly Modern Millie was a movie. I saw the broadway show in NY like 5 years ago and it was a kick! I am so going to rent the movie now! Mark and I just watched Charlottes Web this past weekend and I LOVED IT! I rarely want to buy movies but I am going to buy that one. I am sure with your kids you have seen it already. I am so behind in the movie scene though too. We haven’t been to a theatre since before Emma was born. Well before she was born. And Mark and I don’t have a TV so I have no idea what movies are coming out or anything. When I work out at the gym ( you know the one with huge windows that anyone who is going to see a movie can see everyone working out? -I’m glad I go in the morning-) I can see the board with all the new movies out and I was like “uh, I thought that Pirates of the Carribean 2 just came out” Yeah I am REALLY out of it! Anyway, thanks for the suggestions, they are much appreciated!

  8. liz Post author

    Traci–You probably won’t like the movie as well as the musical. I’ve seen Millie on stage too, and musicals are almost always better on stage than in a movie. I’d still see the movie though — such a hoot! My kids loved the new Charlotte’s Web. You’ll have to read the book to Emma in a few years — it’s a classic.

  9. Andrew

    Okay, Anne mentioned this one and I’m going to put in a plug for it as well — “An Ideal Husband,” a 1999 film based on the Oscar Wilde play. Aside from the fact that the title describes me quite well, I really enjoyed this movie. And I’m not ashamed to admit it, even though I’m boiling over with testosterone…

    The film is cleverly written with a very engaging plot and some great quotable lines. The film has an all-star case including Cate Blanchett, Minnie Driver, Rupert Everett, Julianne Moore and Jeremy Northam, and it was excellent.

    Rupert Everett, as the self-absorbed Lord Arthur Goring, delivers an exquisite performance as the “unscrupulous rogue upon whom the mantle of truth and honor is laid.”

    If you like clever period pieces, I definitely recommend this one.

    BTW, I agree with you about “Big Fish.” It is a strange, sweet movie that is really quite touching. I like Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney. Great filmmaking.

  10. liz Post author

    Andrew, I love An Ideal Husband. Oscar Wilde was brilliant.
    Anne, thanks for lending your movies — bring ’em over!

  11. robinbl

    I have totally loved TMMillie since I was kid and didn’t get most of the jokes. Andrew and I saw it at the Hale Center Theatre a few weeks ago, and it was good, but nobody can beat Mary Tyler Moore and Julie Andrews.

    Just remember on Moulin Rouge that a lot of people don’t like the first 10-15 minutes–it’s a bit frantic and odd (think Strictly Ballroom over-the-top stuff, another Baz Luhrman production), but once you get past that stuff, it’s great. I have a weird attraction/repulsion thing with Ewan–sometimes I think he’s really cute, and other times some things about him–bad posture, a weird mole he’s got–really bug me. BTW–were you aware that he has made another movie with Renee Zellweger as his romantic interest? It was a 60’s era one called “Down With Love.” Not an incredibly good movie, but interesting to contrast the characters and setting with Mrs. Potter!


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