Sunday, February 1, 2015

January Movie Status

I watched 15 new movies in January, plus rewatched 1 TV show season.

After making a push last month to finish the year with less than 50 entries left on the They Shoot Pictures Don’t They list, I barely watched any this month.  Instead I switched over to trying to see the Oscar nominated films, as well as other 2014 films to prepare for my coming Top 10 of 2014 list.  As a result, I liked almost every movie I saw in January.

I also didn’t try to finish off the new entries to my Consolidated IMDB List, other than the films also on the Oscar list.  In general, I took it easier in January.

There is a new TSPDT list coming in February, so I may not see too many more films from it this month, either.

Here are the 15 new movies I saw in January.  Highlighted films are ones to which I would give at least three stars out of five.

TSPDT (3): Wings (1966), The Woman Next Door (1981), 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)

Oscar (7): The Imitation Game (2014), The Theory of Everything (2014), Selma (2014), American Sniper (2014), Boyhood (2014), Whiplash (2014), Birdman (2014)

Other Movies (5): Surprised By Love (2015), Life Itself (2014), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), Lucy (2014), Citizenfour (2014)

Rewatches (1): Archer Season 5

Surprised By Love (2015) – Generic Hallmark movie that I stumbled upon while flipping channels and got a few laughs from.  Not quite enough to recommend it, though.  2.5 stars

Life Itself (2014) – Great documentary on Roger Ebert by the same man who did Hoop Dreams.  When they started filming no one realized Ebert would succumb to cancer in less than a year.  This is a moving review of his career, as well as a man’s struggle with the illness that ultimately takes his life.  4 stars

Wings (1966) – Soviet film about a female former pilot who now is an administrator at a school.  While respected, she is not liked.  Despite the title there are few aerial shots, but what ones they have are beautifully shot, especially one with two planes that is the best scene in the film.  3 stars

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) – The first of Steve’s Selections.  3 stars  You can read my review here

The Woman Next Door (1981) – Lesser Truffaut about a couple moving in next door and the wife is the former lover of the neighbor husband.  It ended badly for them years earlier.  It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see things are going to end badly again.  2 stars

The Imitation Game (2014) – Best Picture nominee about Alan Turing.  4 stars  You can read my review here.

The Theory of Everything (2014) – Best Picture nominee about Stephen and Jane Hawking.  3.5 stars  You can read my review here.

Selma (2014) – Best Picture nominee about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s march on Selma.  3 stars  You can read my review here.

Lucy (2014) – Luc Besson action film with Scarlett Johannson as a woman who accidentally gets injected with a substance that opens up the complete potential of her mind.  The big box office for it probably made Marvel regret the decision not to do a Black Widow film among the dozen or so they have planned through 2020.  3 stars

American Sniper (2014) – Best Picture nominee about Chris Kyle.  4 stars  You can read my review here.

Boyhood (2014) – Best Picture nominee famously filmed over 12 years.  4 stars  You can read my review here.

Whiplash (2014) – Best Picture nominee about one asshole who wants to become a great jazz drummer, being mentored by another asshole who is a psychopath.  3 stars  My review will be posted in a couple days.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007) – Controversial film with a Romanian woman trying to get an illegal abortion in 1987.  Her roommate helps her and ends up much the worse for wear.   3 stars

Birdman (2014) – Best Picture nominee about a former action star trying to adapt, direct, and star in a serious Broadway play.  4 stars  My review will be posted a couple days after the one for Whiplash.

Citizenfour (2014) – Oscar nominee for Best Documentary.  It is about Edward Snowden, the man who blew the cover off the fact that the NSA was spying on millions of American citizens who had no connection whatsoever to terrorism.  This was filmed in the Hong Kong hotel room with him as the stories were actually breaking in the news and is quite a view into those events.  I haven’t watched the other four nominees, but I can’t imagine how this would not win the Oscar – the subject matter is that important.  4 stars


  1. One of the nice things about having completed some of your lists is that it looks like lately you're watching stuff that you really like. That's always the danger of watching off a list.

    1. It wasn't until I was putting this post together that I realized that I was recommending (and therefore liked) nearly every movie I saw in January, and then another split second to tie that to the fact that I hadn't tried to see the last 40-some entries on the TSPDT list.

      And even on that list the ones left are among the lowest rated 200. One of the reasons for not trying to push through it yet is the hope that some of them will drop off when the 2015 list comes out.

      And just to show that finishing the TSPDT list isn't as important to me as the 1001 list is that after watching this year's Oscar nominees I've more than once considered switching back to watching the last 50 or so Best Picture nominees instead. We'll see.

  2. Looks like you enjoyed most of the Best Pictute noms!

    4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007) is a powerful and disturbing film. I'm glad I never have to be put in that horrible situation, it feels so real. For me, the film is about a girl willing to help others, but the burden of it is too much to handle.

    Whiplash and Life Itself I'll be checking out in Feb. Shall look out for your Birdman review

    1. Yes, they went 8 for 8 this year with films I'd recommend. As always, I'll have a recap post ranking them after I review the three I have left.