Films I am watching Blog

Mission of this Blog:  I have been keeping spiral bound notebooks detailing every movie that I have seen starting in February of 2001.  In these notebooks I record the date the movie was seen, the year it was made, who the director is, my thoughts on the movie and a rating.  My rating is on a 5 star scale, 5 stars being best.  My thoughts can include anything, including quotes from the movie, my critique of the movie or details to help me remember the movie.  What you find below is all of those entries of every movie I have seen in the past 10 years.  I will add every movie I see as I see it.  Enjoy!  So far I have entered every movie I have seen this year and back to 2006.  I will be working on entering movies I have seen from past years over the coming years.

Past years:







Film Blog 2016:

Total films watched in 2016:  Average rating:


1/1/16 QUANTUM OF SOLACE 2008, Director Marc Forster, 3.5 Stars

Here again is a movie that I think gets a bad rep that is pretty good.  Movie picks up right where Casino Royale ends which is a first in the Bond canon.  Some really good scenes especially the opera sequence.  The ending was anticlimactic but the Craig Bond series is all about building to something bigger, some unseen evil force ultimately revealed in Spectre.  For my money better then Casino Royale.

1/3/16 STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS EPISODE VII 2015, Director JJ Abrams, 3.5 Stars

My second viewing this time not in 3D.  As other reviewers have remarked I liked the movie much more the second time around.  Olivia loved it.  The derivations of Episode IV did not bother me nearly as much as I knew to expect them.  i could see that they were using this movie as a launching point for many more movies, cartoons, books and video games.

1/14/16 JULIE AND JULIA 2009, Director Nora Ephron, 4 Stars

Its hard not to like this movie.  Meryl Streep is impeccabel as always and Amy Adams is sweet.  True story of a young woman who has lost direction who starts a blog detailing her efforts to make it through Julia Child’s French cooking tome in one year.  This parallels Julia Child’s story as she becomes the worlds most famous chef.  The Julia Child half of the movie is far more compelling, consistent, and interesting then the Amy Adams side of the movie.  But both are necessary for the other.

1/23/16 DARK PLACES 2015, Director Gilles Paquet-Breener, 1.5 Stars

Though this movie was somewhat entertaining it was very bad, rhythmically challenged, disjointed and poorly acted.  This movie must have been some sort of Passion project for Charlize Theron but its a bad movie.  Theron was not right for the part based on a book.  I was impressed with Christina Hendricks performance.

1/30/16 THE REVENANT 2015, Director Alejandro Gonzalex Inarritu, 4.5 Stars

This is a near masterpiece of acting, design, special effects, and sheer audacity.  I doubt that I have ever seen a movie this full of physical filth and depravity.  Dicaprio is awesome, though Tom Hardy, his nemesis is practically better.  A morality tale about survival, grief, and revenge.  The camera work in the battles is revolutionary.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  But the design of costumes, grime, dirt, snow, trees etc is what blew me away.

2/6/16 HER 2013, Director Spike Jonze, 4.5 Stars

I did not have particularly high expectations of this movie and as a matter a fact after watching it probably would have given it 3.5 to 4 Stars.  But the movie has stuck with me like no movie has in a while.  The acting by Joaquin Phoenix which is no easy task given that he is falling in love with a voice is a little much at times but passable.  What makes the movie so good is the questions ti poses about what it means to be human in a rapidly changing world that is moving faster then our evolutions can keep up with.  The movie’s presentation of the near future is so disturbingly familiar and comfortable to where you barely notice it.  The metaphysical questions posed are profound as well.  I love the ease at which those around Phoenix shift with the changing dynamics of what love is.  An adaptable human would have to shift easily less he be forgotten or discarded.  A really important film.

2/10/16 DADDY DAY CARE 2003, Director Steve Carr, 2 Stars

A marginal movie at best.  The movie lacks any real core because Eddie Murphy as the central character is hollow.  I blame Eddie.  He wasn’t zany enough and so the performance is lefeless.  He seemed to really believe the movie is a family drama about job loss and absent fathers.  Its not!!!  Its about men chasing around misbehaviors little kids.  Thats it!!!

2/13/16 TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY 2006, Director Adam McKay, 2.5 Stars

Definitely a funny movie with strong moments.  My favorite character was Sacha Baron Cohen’s.  As with all movies that are really better as a sketch the movie flattens out during the end of the second act where they are forced to tell a story.  The energy drops out.  This movie is no different.  None the less entertaining.

2/18/16 SERENITY 2005, Director Joss Whedon, 3.5 Stars

Its amazing that this movie was even made given that it concludes a cult TV show that lasted 13 episodes on the Sci-Fi channel.  This is my second viewing.  Upon this viewing I have seen the Firefly TV show so I could appreciate the back stories far better.  It presents an interesting future for humanity especially how the fascist leaders aim to pacify the populous and bring happiness.  Good action.  Good tongue in cheek dialogue which Whedon is good at as exemplified in the Avengers movies.

2/19/16 SKYFALL 2012, Director Sam Mendes, 4 Stars

The third movie in the Daniel Craig Bond series and feels like a bit of a finale though we know its not.  This Bond story was very personal with Bond becoming an alcoholic and losing his mother figure, M.  Javier Bardem was great as the villain.  Not as good as Spectre ultimately.  The final scene in his childhood home “Skyfall” was great.  I also think the theme song by Adele is one of the best James Bond movie theme songs.

2/25/16 SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR 2014, Director Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez, 3.5 Stars

I enjoyed this movie.  Its hard not to given how melodramatic it was.  The first 30 minutes of the movie I did not really enjoy.  Micky Rourke’s character had to much screen time.  There was nothing interesting or appealing about him.  The plot lines following Josh Brolin and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s characters were far more interesting and dynamic.  The comic book effect was great and Eva Green as the “Dame” was worth dying for so to speak.

2/28/16 BEASTS OF A SOUTHERN WILD 2012, Director Benh Zeitlin, 4 Stars

Though I am giving this movie 4 Stars my expectation were not quite met by the movie.  I admit I had very high expectations of it though.  The movie is an artistic triumph but I feel like the filmmakers were a little too indulgent with metaphor.  Like they were showing us how smart and in touch they are.  The movie lost a little bit of its guts through intellectual snobbery perhaps.  The movie is a triumph though.  Little Hushpuppy as the main character was amazing and along with her Dad pulled the movie along.  Clearly a Homeric type odyssey that is metaphor for Hurricane Katrina.  A story about a Hushpuppy and her Dad who lived in a bathtub!  Love it.

3/4/16 LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER 2013, Director Lee Daniels, 3.5 Stars

Starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey who were both great.  The movie is loosely inspired by a real White House Butler who served 7 presidents.  The movie takes a lot of artistic license to match the story arc of the butler to historical events that were happening to the country.  Mostly this is portrayed though the contrast between the Butler and his rebellious son.  I take issue with the movie though because it presents itself as a true story but in fact little of it was trie.  Still powerful just not great.

3/13/16 DEAD POOL 2016, Director Tim Miller, 4 Stars

I really liked this super hero movie.  It broke the 4th wall often and did so in a charming entertaining way.  A Marvel based movie for males over the age of 21.  Sex, violence, and profanity.  What I liked most though was the love story between Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin.  I really bought into that and fell in love along with them.  Could’ve done without the 2 X-Men.  Took me out of the movie.  Laughed very hard at time as hard as I have laughed in a movie in a while.

3/17/16 ZERO DARK THIRTY 2012, Director Kathryn Bigelow, 4 Stars

Its hard not to have a lot of respect for this movie made by the team who brough us the Hurt Locker.  A very complex story that worked as a movie as we see the CIA operatives who spent years to find Osama Bin Laden.  And though the movie is extremely technical and detailed it still wove in heart in between the beats without forcing it.  The raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound was very well done and opted for authenticity over drama.  Jessica Chastain was beyond good in this.

3/20/16 MELANCHOLIA 2011, Director Lars von Trier, 4.5 Stars

Another amazing movie from the modern Danish Master von Trier.  Every movie is special, unique, and masterful.  Apparently he considers this one of a trilogy at least stylistically.  Beautifully photographed wiith a rich natural full color look.  So composed yet a lot of hand held camera work.  The movie on the one hand is about a young woman descending into depression while a giant planet comes towards Earth to destroy it.  An amazing juxtaposition that could be endlessly dissected.  Ultimately I will just stick to the feeling I got from it.  One of sadness and fear at the powerless of humanity against the human condition.

4/3/16 BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE 2016, Director Zack Snyder, 3.5 Stars

I really enjoyed aspects of this movie.  Basically I liked it until Batman and Superman become friends.  Then the air went out of the movie.  Up to then it was great fun watching Batman (played surprisingly well by Ben Affleck) prepare to take on and kick the butt of Superman, which he does and was so satisfying.  I really liked the reasons Batman wanted to kill Superman.  The scene where Batman sees a post apocolyptic future where Superman is a dictator was so cool and scary.  The brooding oler Superman in the film made the movie for me.  The ending was anticlimactic as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman fight a blob monster.

4/23/16 LARRY CROWNE 2011, Director Tom Hanks, 3 Stars

It would be easy to pick this movie apart.  The story was far fetched at times, plot twists were non sensical and real people just don’t have lives like this or act this way.  But all that aside I appreciate and give credit to what Hanks was trying to do here.  Maybe he has lost touch with what he thinks middle America is.  He was trying to make an everyman movie.  A movie about an average man dealing with the economic depression of 2008.  He loses his job, he forecloses on his house, he goes back to school, he’s recovering from divorce.  It was cute, funny, and touching.  Maybe there’s not enough of that these days.

4/28/16 SHARING THE ROUGH 2015, Director Orin Mazzoni, 2.5 Stars

A documentary co-produced by Ken Apland a Hood River jeweler who custom made Heather’s engagement ring and Olivia’s engagement necklace.  I watched this movie at the Columbia Center for the arts.  A good doc which served to show the path of emeralds from the mines of Africa to stone cutter to jewelry designer to customer.  Movie was very serving of jewelry industry as the filmmaker is a jeweler himself.  The doc doesn’t have a lot of teeth as prices were never discussed.  The movie though told a story and did what it set out to do.

5/6/16 KEANU 2016, Director Peter Atencio, 2.5 Stars

Movie starring Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of Key & Peele fame.  A great idea as two friends try to rescue their cute kitten from some gang bangers.  Ultimately the movie was a bit flat and maybe darker then it needed to be.  Had great moments but flat ones too.  The kitten needed to be on screen more.  I wanted to like this movie badly as I like Key & Peele so I gave it 2.5 Stars.  It probably deserves 2 stars though.

5/8/16 REVOLUTIONARY ROAD 2008, Director Sam Mendes, 4.5 Stars

This was a great movie, starring Kate Winslett and Leonardo Dicaprio as a suburban couple in the 1960s.  Winslett is a masterful actor.  The movie was a brutal depiction of an adult relationship ravaged by hysteria, fear, love, and the pressures of genger roles in the time they were living.  So sad ultimately and a commentary on the powerless of male and female as they are forced into their roles ultimately driving what I think was true love apart.  A profound movie.  Sam Mendes knows how to direct.

5/14/16 BLUE VALENTINE 2010, Director Derek Cianfrance, 4 Stars

A tour de force from Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.  This one caught me by surprise I must admit.  A simple story just like life but so complicated and confusing.  Story is told about a relationship between a painter and a nurse.  We see what they are going through 7-8 years later as they consider divorce stressed financially and emotionally.  A real heart wrenching story.  The love story rang so true, the joy and the pain.

5/18/16 LISTEN UP PHILLIP 2014, Director Alex Ross, 2 Stars

I had high expectations of this movie which were not met.  Starring Jason Schwartzmann and Elizabeth Moss.  I never cared about the characters.  A self involved self destructive writer spends a summer away from his girlfriend with his idol.  A story about writers who write about ultimate vulnerability presumably but are incapable of it because of self delusion.  Really no story here at all.

5/24/16 MONEY BALL 2011, Director Bennett Miller, 4.5 Stars

A great sports movie that received Oscar attention.  Great writing from Aarron Sorkin, masterful acting from Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.  Tells the story of A’s manager Billy Beane and the bringing of analytics into Major Sports.  Very good story telling to show the motivation of Beane by showing his failings as a young man in the majors.

6/4/15 PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END, Director Gore Verbinski, 2 Stars

Though the movie was amusing I can’t give it high marks because the philosophy behind these movies are flawed.  For one thing the story is very complicated and unnecessarily so.  And it is complicated by all the nonsensical magic and myth that makes no sense.  Why can’t these movies just be Pirates and warships and romance.  Instead they are like Star Wars movies.  All these trips to the underworld and ghosts etc.  Its all ridiculous and again nonsensical. 

6/11/16 TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY 2011, Director Tomas Alfredson, 4.5 Stars

I adored this movie starring Gary Oldman who was masterful along with Colin Firth, John Hurt, Benedict Cumberbatch and a slew of others.  One of the more understated spy movies I’ve ever seen.  An incredibly complex story which tried to get at the world of secret intelligence.  A world unto itself with it own rules.  Rules for rules sake almost.  Very easy to feel hard to describe.  So clean, quiet, powerful and sad as the reality of the farce of it all comes down.  Whats the point?  Yet what else is there to do.

6/26/16 ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS 2016, Director James Bobin, 3 Stars

Saw this with Olivia in the movie theater.  It was fine, certainly visually stunning and great characters.  But I have the same problem with this movie as I did the first one and that is Johnny Depp.  The movie is billed under his name as if he will carry the movie and be an amazing fanciful Mad Hatter just as he carries the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.  And so one goes in with that expectation and it just isn’t there.  They touch on what it could be with one scene craziness but it leaves me with a feeling of what could have been.  Mia Waskikowska, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Helena Bonham Carter are all great.

7/3/16 X-MEN: APOCALYPSE 2016, Director Bryan Singer, 3.5 Stars

I very much enjoyed this movie.  I wish the Indiana Jones under story about Apocalypse being buried deep under an Egyptian Pyramid had been played up more and in more detail.  I also wish the back story of Apocalypse had been delved into a little more.  I enjoyed the interpersonal dynamics of Magneto and Professor X and loved watching Michael Fassbender act especially the subplot of he and his family in Poland.  I don’t really see the appeal of Jennifer Lawrence, very overrated in my opinion.  I also don’t see the appeal of Olivia Munn.  Very overrated not particularly beautiful.  Evan Peters as Quick Silver is the highlight as in the last X-Men movie.  Really enjoyed the quick subplot of the emergence of Wolverine.  Pretty entertaining, pretty formulaic ultimately.

7/5/16 STAR WARS: EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH 2005, Director George Lucas, 3.5 Stars

Only the second time I’ve seen this movie.  The first time in the theater.  The movie starts slow and is stilted, but picks up.  I really appreciate the ambition of the movie and George Lucas’s attempt to give weight to the transformation of Anakin to Darth Vader.  The pain of all the characters as they witness him give in to the dark side is palpable.  Its a despairing film full of pain and sets up the ultimate redemption that occurs in Episode IV-VI.  Ewan McGregor sadly is the only actor in the film who does a great job.  Its great to watch him take down Anakin.  Just sad though.  An avoidance of existential truth leads to such downfall.

7/8/16 THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON 2008, Director David Fincher, 4 Stars

Hard to argue with this epic movie.  Typical of Brad Pitt who does a great job along with Cate Blanchett.  Ultimately a sad story very existential in nature.  It is hard to be alive no matter the situation.  All things end, all people age and humans harm each other though they wish they didn’t.  Based on a short story.  Brad Pitt’s Button takes life as it comes and lives it mindfully, some how he just is wise.  I suppose infused with with wisdom because he is aging backwards.  He already is aware that all things end whereas those around him assume they will hold on to their youth and vitality defenses against death anxiety.  Good movie shot with a lot of brown and beige and shadow.  Always nice to see New Orleans in film.

7/13/16 INDEPENDENCE DAY RESURGENCE 2016, Director Roland Emmerich, 4 Stars

Surprisingly a good sequel and likely better then the first movie which had a good beginning and a tragically bad ending.  This time the aliens are back for revenge.  Their ship is 1/4 the size of all of Earth and launches on like a giant parasite which is very cool to watch.  Jeff Goldblum is more of a hero in this film and Brent Spiner is great as the mad scientist.  The pretty stud military type actors are forgettable.  The plot hods true througout the film much better then in the first film.  Surprisingly the movie looks cheap at times especially in the special effects.  Not crisp.  A lot of good comic relief like with Judd Hirsch.  Watching how Earth has changed since the first movie politically and technologically is very cool.