Sunday, July 1, 2012

June and Half Year Movie Status

Several of the blogs I read do monthly statuses on what movies they have seen.  I haven’t done any posts like this so far, but I figured I’d give it a try.  Prior to this year I never even tracked what movies I watched, so I wouldn’t have been able to do a post like this prior to February 2012 anyway.  The halfway point of the year seemed like a good time to start these posts, since I could also give a half year status.  I will probably do monthly posts going forward.

The two main lists that I am taking movie suggestions from right now are the 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list and a list I put together of every Oscar Best Picture nominee.  You can see those lists by clicking on these links:  1,001 Movies; Oscar Nominees.  I started actively pursuing the movies on them in February 2012.  I had seen roughly half of the movies on each list prior to starting.

So far in 2012 I have seen 197 movies that were new to me, 16 movies that I re-watched, 5 TV series I watched on DVD, and Game of Thrones Season 2 on HBO.  Among those 197 films, 68 were from the 1,001 Movies list and 31 were Best Picture nominees.  (Some movies were in both lists.)

The best movie I saw in January was The Artist.  The worst was It’s a Boy Girl Thing.  In February the best was Hugo and the worst was Amor Delor Y Viceversa.  In March the best was Up in the Air and the worst was Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I.  In April the best was The Wedding Banquet and the worst was a three way tie among the experimental films Flaming Creatures, Blond Cobra, and Wavelength.  In May the best was The Avengers (2012) and the worst was Four Lions.

Here are the 39 new movies I saw in June (*=1,001 Movies, +=Oscar nominee):

Tamara Drewe
Inside Deep Throat
After Sex
The Secret of Kells
Underworld: Awakening
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close+
Snow White and the Huntsman
Mildred Pierce*+
John Carter
Man on a Ledge
The Snake Pit*+
Never Let Me Go
Inside Job
The Red Shoes*+
Keeping Mum
Uprising: Hip Hop and the L.A. Riots
The Gleaners and I*
Peeping Tom*
Ace in the Hole*
Days of Heaven*
This Means War
21 Jump Street
The Heiress*+
A Very Long Engagement*
La Captive*
Far from Heaven*
The Truth About Love
Love and Other Disasters
A Little Princess (1995)
Sons and Lovers+

The best film I saw in June was A Very Long Engagement.  I love Amelie, so I don’t know why it took me so long to see the follow up film that Jeunet did with Audrey Tautou.  If it had not been an expiring film in my Netflix Instant queue I probably still would not have seen it yet.

I’d like to make a special mention of Olivia de Havilland’s performance in The Heiress because it was the best I saw in June.  The movie was quite good, too.  Ace in the Hole was another film that was very good.

The worst film I saw in June was La Captive.  I found out afterwards that you really have to have been a reader of Proust in order to appreciate this film, since it is based on one of his stories.  Not having read him, I didn’t get much out of this movie at all.  Saying it was a little slow is like saying The Matrix had a few bullets fired in it.

I have now seen 589 of the 1,089 movies on the 1,001 Movies list (54%).  I’ve now seen 331 of the 494 Best Picture nominees (67%) and 83 of the 84 Best Picture winners.  1934 winner Cavalcade is the only one I have yet to watch.


  1. Oh, de Havilland is so good in The Heiress! I'm glad you liked that one!

    I haven't seen A Very Long Engagement yet. How would you compare it to Amelie?

    1. Amelie is 5 out of 5 stars and A Very Long Engagement is 4 out of 5. While there are some small similarities, the latter is a more serious film. It's somewhat of a mystery story since Tautou's character is trying to piece together various information that she is getting from people who last saw her fiance.

      I will probably be doing a category soon that will allow me to include this film, so I could have a review of it up within a couple weeks.

  2. This is an interesting list. I've probably seen about half of these, but it also reminds me about how many films are still lingering in my instant queue. I have no idea how many movies I watch in a given month, but it would be an novel experiment to actually track this.

    I really enjoyed Ace in the Hole -- Kirk Douglas was amazing.

    1. It was seeing people do posts at the end of 2011 on how many, and what, movies they had seen that made me decide to start keeping track of what I had watched. It was interesting to look back on them for this post in order to pick the best and worst of each month.

      I have a ton of movies in my Instant queue and it seems the only time I get to most of them is when they are going to expire. That was the case in June where one week before the end of the month I found out 19 movies were going away, including about a dozen of the ones from my two lists.

      I completely agree on Kirk Douglas in Ace in the Hole.

  3. That's some impressive movie watching. I saw The Snake Pit a few years ago and really liked it. I should review it for my blog.

    1. I look forward to your review. If you haven't seen it, I would recommend The Heiress as a companion review. de Havilland's two performances in those movies were quite good.

  4. Nice list! Did you like The Secret of Kells? I love this movie, it's so beautiful and the animation is simply gorgeous. A Very Long Engagement is truly a great movie, I loved Cotiliard's work in this one, she was mesmerizing.

    1. I liked The Secret of Kells, but my expectations were too high because it had been Oscar nominated. I felt the style of the animation was the best thing about the movie. I also liked the song the spirit sang to the cat.

      I agree on Cotillard. I didn't even realize she was in this film when I started to watch it. Seeing Jodie Foster was also a surprise, although I knew she was fluent in French.

  5. Interesting best/worst lists. I have to tell you that I really liked Four Lions quite a bit, but my sense of humor runs to the pitch black, and that's that film all over.

    The Snake Pit and The Heiress are an interesting combination--Olivia de Havilland at her most unappealing but at her absolute best as an actress. Great films, both of them!

    1. I actually like dark or twisted comedies (i.e. Heathers). I loved In the Loop - another recent dark comedy on the list.

      The first knock against Four Lions for me was the extreme shakycam. It was one of the films where it went beyond annoying and I literally had to keep looking away. From what I could see, much of the humor was visual, whether it was physical comedy (mishandling a weapon) or the expressions on people's faces. Looking away from the screen a lot kills the impact of visual humor. That was why I didn't find it that funny. I wasn't offended by the concept.

  6. It's funny how Netflix expiration dates can make us see movies faster than we would normally plan. That's how I ended up finally seeing Days of Heaven last month, which I loved.

    1. Same here with me on watching Days of Heaven. In fact, almost every movie from The Gleaners and I on down was one I watched in the final week of the month because they were expiring.

  7. You've seen a fair amount last month and come to think of it this year, old and new.
    I haven't been that impressed by the films of 2012 so far, hoping second half will be better! I would struggle to put together a top 10 at this point.

    Bravo with your first monthly post!

    I may give The Heiress (1949) a watch, is it good do you think? The Wedding Banquet, which version/year ?

  8. Thanks.

    In regards to The Heiress, the plot is not that complex. It's de Havilland's performance that makes the film good. It's best illustrated by two walks she does up the stairs at different points in the film. I don't want to say more on those in order to avoid spoilers. That will make a lot more sense if/when you see the movie.

    The Wedding Banquet I was referring to is the Ang Lee film from 1993. I didn't realize there was more than one version. When I did this post I realized I hadn't tracked the years of the films, only the titles. I've started keeping the years with the titles for the films I've seen so far in July.