With no reno work happening this past week I thought I’d write about all the movies I saw during the holidays. There were new films: Hugo, and My Week With Marilyn; classics: Meet Me In St. Louis, Casablanca, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind; second viewings: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Of Gods and Men; and misc: Adventureland.
As for the new films: I preferred My Week With Marilyn over Hugo, even though it’s a much lighter film. I found Hugo beautiful, but not emotionally engaging. Maybe because Ben Kingsley’s character is so cruel, but I didn’t find his restoration very moving. Also, lots of Hugo’s questions remained unanswered, so his “happy ending” seemed unsatisfying. I didn’t hate the 3D, and even found it effective at times, but sometimes I think it was a little off-putting. Things seemed less real.
Light and fluffy, My Week With Marilyn was fun, involving, and satisfying. Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branaugh are both fabulous, as is Judy Dench (could she be anything else?). My only complaint is Julia Ormond as Vivian Leigh. There was nothing of the Vivian Leigh I pictured. But she’s not in the film that much, so it didn’t ruin things. This is my kind of chick-flick (rather than Sex In the City crap).
Watching the classics was great. I’d seen perhaps 70% of Meet Me in St. Louis before, but never the whole thing. It was delightful, as was watching Casablanca with the kids (the first time for them). It holds up so well, and they really liked it. Close Encounters is still great, though at times a little slow (especially at the end; was the the extended director’s cut?).
I saw Tinker Tailor with Maria, since she had been sick when the rest of us went the week earlier. In the meantime, I reread the book and was really struck by both the similarities and the differences. I’m going to rewatch the Alec Guinness series this week (thank you, girls, for the Christmas present), but I’m pretty sure I will conclude that Alec’s Smiley is closer to the book than Gary Oldman’s. But I still think it’s a fine film version and I hope it will win some awards.
We spent New Year’s Eve watching the other movies, and it was quite the evening. We started with Of Gods and Men, which I had seen at the film festival last year. I remembered loving the film, but I had forgotten how much you love all the characters by the end of the film. It’s such a beautiful movie.
But it is a painful one, so next we switched to the lighthearted Adventureland, which proves that Kristen Stewart can act, and Jesse Eisenberg can be something other than a completely awkward nerd (he’s a little awkward, but he gains confidence).
We ended the night with RotPotA, which Maria hadn’t seen yet. Fabulous. Andy Serkis is amazing. Tom and I both noted, however, that computer generated digital special effects seem less real on the small screen, while the non-digital special effects of Close Encounters seemed just as effective on TV. Interesting.
Well, tomorrow is Jan. 3 and the builders are due back to put up the walls of our addition, so we’ll be back to our regular scheduled programming very soon.
Happy New Year everyone!