Saturday, January 30, 2010

2008 movies I saw in 2009

This is a list of movies from 2008 that I didn't manage to see until 2009 and my brief comments on each. Running about 50/50 on the Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down decisions.

1. Bedtime Stories (PG) (2008) (Adam Sandler, Keri Russell)
Didn't really like it, although my family really did. Guess I'm just not an Adam Sandler fan!

2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (PG-13) (2008) (Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett)
Disliked it quite a bit. Again, not a Brad Pitt fan, but the movie was just depressing and way too long.

3. Yes Man (PG-13) (2008) (Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel)
Usually I love Zooey and dislike Carrey, but I didn't like either of them in this much. Now I realize Bradley Cooper is in this so I may go back for another viewing. David really loved this movie though! Red Bull! Red Bull!

4. Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who (G) (2008) (voices of Jim Carrey, Steve Carell)
Finally managed to see this at our summer park Movie Nights - on a big inflatable screen. It was really good!

5. Australia (PG-13) (2008) (Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman)
Meant to see it in the theater, but skipped out due to weather. Wish now I'd made it! This one is like two movies in one - very long and two storylines, really. Have seen it four times now, I think. I don't really like Nicole Kidman and, by her own admission, her acting was terrible, but Hugh Jackman carried it. And that adorable child has a screen presence!

6. Quantum of Solace (PG-13) (2008) (Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko)
Hated it. Don't think I even managed to get through it. Too bad too, since I loved the first Craig-as-Bond film.

7. Slumdog Millionaire (R) (2008) (Dev Patel, Madhur Mittal)
Again, didn't like it at all. Depressing. Guess I like my movies cheerful and romantic. Wanted to like it. Probably should give it another try when I'm feeling solemn and in need of deeper inspiration. So many people liked it.

8. Rachel Getting Married (R) (2008) (Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt)
HATED IT. Well, at least the beginning. Turned it off after the first 10-15 minutes.

9. Changeling (R) (2008) (Angelina Jolie, Jeffrey Donovan)
This one I actually liked. Didn't love it, but I liked it and it made me think beyond the normal storytelling paradigm.

10. Fireproof (PG) (2008) (Kirk Cameron, Erin Bethea)
LOVED IT. Although Cameron was the only professional actor, I thought most of the actors did an excellent job of nailing their characters. The exception was the wife - thought she detracted from the film more than helped it. And the story was awesome. Made Bob watch it with me (he never watches movies) and he liked it too. Go watch it, if you haven't.

11. Nights in Rodanthe (PG-13) (2008) (Richard Gere, Diane Lane)
SOB FEST!!! Sad sad sad. But what do you expect from Nicholas Sparks? See it if you like a tearjerker.

12. Kung Fu Panda (PG) (2008) (voices of Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman)
Watched it out of the corner of my eye while the kids watched. They loved it. I was pleased with it.

13. The Other Boleyn Girl (PG-13) (2008) (Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson)
I watched it, but I don't remember all that much about it.

Here are three I had wanted to see, but still haven't. Should I?
1. Mad Money (PG-13) (2008) (Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah)
2. The Tale of Despereaux (G) (2008) (voices of Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman) - Kids saw it, but I haven't.
3. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (PG) (2008) (Documentary) - David saw this but I haven't.

Friday, January 22, 2010

December Reads

Wow, just haven't gotten around to posting my December reads yet! Thought I'd better get to it!

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon 12/03/09
Excellent - Historical Fiction
Jamie and Claire travel to Scotland and back while continuing to participate in the American Revolution
I've waited for this book for YEARS and then when it was published, I was still re-reading A Breath of Snow and Ashes so I couldn't start immediately. Jamie and Claire only get better with age, and the cliffhanger ending makes me crazy!!! Can't wait to listen to the audio! I think Gabaldon's books are even BETTER in audio.

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen 12/04/09
Excellent - Memoir
Rhoda Janzen's Mennonite upbringing colors her approach to love, life, and religion. Humorous and insightful, though I didn't actually agree with much.
This book was a great example of an author having a compelling voice. Janzen was utterly charming and mesmerizing even when I didn't agree with a word of what she said. Her memories of her unusual upbringing captivated me and I am fascinated with her thought processes. HIGHLY recommended!

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare 12/12/09
Good - Play
What fools these mortals be - Very hard to summarize! LOL
I don't think I'd read this before. This was our book club selection for December.

The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale 12/17/09
Excellent - Chick Lit
Surprisingly deep story of an Utah housewife who meets by accident an actor she has admired from afar.
My sister Christy recommended this to me and I am so glad she did. Hale also wrote Austenland which I enjoyed, but this was far better! I laughed and I cried. Literally I was sobbing through the last hour of reading. But it was a good kind of cry!

Colonel Brandon's Diary by Amanda Grange 12/21/09
Excellent - Romance
The first-person account of Colonel Brandon's loves and life (from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen)
Another excellent read for December. S&S is not my favorite Austen since I could never really understand why Brandon chooses to love who he does. However, this (as all of Grange's diaries) really helps me understand and see inside the male protagonist. I love Brandon now! Can't WAIT for Tilney's diary! (not yet published)

A Christmas Promise by Anne Perry 12/21/09
Fair - Christmas
Gracie Phipps, age 13, aids a young girl in finding her lost donkey and in solving the mystery of her uncle's murder
I like Anne Perry's Thomas Pitt novels, but this one takes place before Gracie meets Pitt. It was not as good as I would have hoped.

The Rough Guide to Running by Lloyd Bradley 12/24/09
Good - Non-fiction
British guide to running; covers basics and and expert tips for running everything up to marathons
Much of this was British-specific, but I learned some new information and reading about running is motivating to me.

unChristian by David Kinnaman 12/25/09
Excellent - Non-fiction
What a new generation really thinks about Christianity
Another December book that I highly recommend. If you don't understand why people aren't going to church, read this. If you are over 35, read this. If you want to figure out what the unchurched are thinking or feeling, read this. It first made me angry, then it made me think.

U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton 12/27/09
Good - Mystery
Kinsey is put on the trail of the kidnapping and murder of a four-year-old girl 20 years before.
I can hardly believe that this is Grafton's 21st Kinsey Millhone novel! I enjoy each one.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 12/30/09
Excellent - Young Adult
Katniss is chosen to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a televised battle to the death among more than twenty teenagers.
Wow! I just adored this young adult novel. I really felt like the world Collins creates came alive for me. Katniss is a realistic heroine faced with some terrible situations and her feelings really ring true. I think this is a worthy read, but be warned that it doesn't really have an ending. But there is a sequel already published! I am reading it right now!

What are YOU reading? Have you read anything I've read?