I'm gonna start with my birthday, partly because all the movies I saw that day are still in theatres around here anyway, so...
When midnight came at the start of my birthday, I was in a theatre watching Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I think it's a really good movie, but I didn't love it. First of all, I have trouble with faces. The movie starts with someone being sent somewhere. Then we get to see what happens. I didn't know the actor and I was lost instantly. I had no idea which one he was. Something happened and I just couldn't follow it. I think that started me off on the wrong foot. The movie was very slow paced, and when it was over I felt like I'd missed lots. I knew that if I saw it again, I'd pick up way more, but I had no need to see it again. So for me, it didn't really work. On the other hand, I loved Benedict Cumberbatch in it (his character affected me the most) and I recognized Gary Oldman (Scott and I have a running joke about him; Scott tells me roles he's played and I tell him that they are not played by the same actor)! I recognized Colin Firth as well, but that's not hard these days. I found the movie very sad. Other than thinking about what I wanted to say about it in this review, and one scene that made me cry with Benedict, I've not thought of the movie at all since seeing it (and the scene that I think of is usually more because I'm thinking of BC and not the movie). I know it's a good movie. But I clearly am not the right audience?
The next day, on my birthday proper, we went to see four more movies, all in different theatres (that was my brilliant idea; see as many movies as I could—5—all in different theatres. I'll just run through them quickly:
War Horse: I loved it. Winter loved it. Scott, not so much. It made me cry. I expected it to. I don't think it's a brilliant movie, it's a big Hollywood blockbuster with a horse as the main character. Lots of people die (it is about WAR) so it's sad. I like horses. I read a review where someone complained about the horse being the main character. The reviewer clearly was not an animal person. I had no trouble with this. I clearly am an animal person. The structure of the movie surprised me, but once I got used to the idea that the horse was the main character and that people were going to die, I was okay with it. Starting the day with a good tear-fest can be cathartic. Oh, and Benedict Cumberbatch was in this as well! I did NOT recognize him right away, Scott did a "oo, look who it is" kind of tapping me when he came on, I probably would've recognized him when he started speaking but, I'll never know. None of the humans are on for very long, but Benedict was, as usual, awesome (and very different from any of the other things I've seen him in).
We Bought a Zoo: I liked this. This one (and War Horse, actually) I spent time thinking about after seeing the movie. Again, liking animals helps. There were places I was afraid this would go, and though it was very predictable, it still managed to feel somewhat real. Mostly I really like that it was more about the father and his kids than it was about any kind of romance.
Then we went to the movies I'd seen already.
I got Winter to see Tintin, which I've already talked about here. I liked it, (it was Winter's second favorite of the movies we saw- War Horse was her favorite). It's not the best movie ever, but it is lots of fun.
Then to end the day we went to see Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. It was the third time I was seeing it, so I think it goes without saying that I loved it. I'm very impatiently waiting for it to get to the 3$ theatre to see it again, since if feels wrong to pay full price to see it a fourth time. I will see it a fourth time. I will also get it for Birthmas next year. I have no doubt about that.
After we were done, Winter tried to think of a through line for all the movies. She came up with the fact that they all had guns. I find that a bit scary that she made that connection. I noticed that they all had dogs in them and the dogs filled important roles. But, that's not why I wanted to see them.
So, that was my birthday.
Other movies I've seen:
Shame (or, as it was called in our house: Michael Fassbender's Penis): To tell you what I thought of this I need to tell you a story. Years and years ago, cat yronwode told us a story. (remember, this was a long time ago, so this is my memory of a story I once heard, it left an impression, but I might not have it all right) cat was meeting with Art Spiegelman who was working on Maus at the time. He gave her a draft of it to read. At one point while reading it, she commented that she really liked how the text balloon on this panel was in the shape of a ticket. Art said, "good, okay, I'll change that." and cat was all, "no, I said I liked it!", to which, Art replied, "but it took you out of the story. You stopped reading. You noticed it." This conversation, which I only heard about, really struck something in me. It was while watching Shame that I started thinking about it again. A lot. I kept being aware of where the camera was, what was being shown and what was not. I found it very distracting. And because of that, I never really got into the movie. There were some interesting things in it, but if there was a plot, I think I missed it. It was more a slice of life. But of an awful life (or lives really) and when it was over I just felt bad and sad and like nothing was different at the end of the movie. I really wanted to like it more.
The movie Pina, which we saw in 3D on the other hand, was fascinating. Scott really wanted to see it and he had very high hopes for it, Winter and I were mostly just along for the ride, which is funny since we wound up liking it more that Scott did. It's a very hard movie to describe. I thought it was going to be a documentary, but it isn't really. It's not a filmed version of one of her shows either, though it is also sort of both. It's about a choreographer and it consists of extended clips from her work, intercut with dancers from her company talking about her and dancing in places that you don't expect people to be dancing (like trains and street corners and mountains, etc). I liked her work and the movie stayed with me. Images from it will pop up in my brain at the oddest of moments. If you like modern dance, I highly recommend it (and if Christopher or Caroline read this, I thought of you both, and thought how the both of you should really see this movie—you don't know each other, but you both would love it). Oh, and the 3D is actually really cool.
Recently Scott and I saw Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, which is getting mediocre reviews I gather, but I liked it. I hadn't read the book. I don't know if I'd've liked it more or less if I had, but it's one of those movies that I keep thinking about, so it really worked for me. It haunted me for days after we saw it. And I thought the kid was great.
The most recent movie we've seen was Red Tails, which was exactly the movie I thought it was going to be. I enjoyed it. The only surprise was seeing an actress that I know from TV (NCIS:Los Angeles) speaking Italian, which was very weird. I kept waiting for her to pull a gun and arrest someone stupid enough to be fooled by her act (she does a lot of pretending to be someone she's not, in the tv show), it was a tad disconcerting.
Let's see, Ghost Protocol is still in theatres. Did I tell you about seeing that yet? I liked it, it was fun, but mostly I was just wet. Right before the movie started, I bought a soda, and somehow managed to spill it ALL OVER me. I mean, there was soda in my ear!! How do you get soda in your ear? I have no idea. But I did. So, I liked the movie, but sadly, what I think of most is being sticky and soaked. Not the best movie-watching conditions.
Winter and I saw a preview of New Year's Eve in October. I had really wanted to like it and was very surprised when I just didn't. There was talk that they hadn't decided between two endings, I have no idea how else they could've ended it, but just in case it's different, Winter and I plan to drag Scott to it now that it's at the 3$ theatre. Maybe it's different?
Okay, I think I've written much more than enough. I think there might have been other movies I've forgotten, and there are still ones that I want to see, so I might be back soon with more. On the other hand, my goal for tomorrow is to write a music post, so that should go up soon. It should also be much shorter than this. 'Cause this was too long.