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34. Love and Other Drugs

John eloquently reviewed the film, which we saw together in theaters.  I believe afterward when I thanked him for inviting me, he replied that I was the only person he could think of who would be interested in the film.  Thanks!  Actually, now that I think about it, we might have seen a movie at E St first.  Anyway, I mostly agree with John here, you’ll note he said he could think of a couple dozen movies from the year he’d recommend first, which is pretty much where I place it.

33. Made in Dagenham

Another movie John got to.  And again, I pretty much agree with what he says about the movie and the acting performances.  I think the film had trouble with awards traction because people who would tend to be interested by the concept of a film about female auto workers in 1960s England striking for equal pay probably wouldn’t be expecting a film with a tone quite as light as this one takes.  Which is  a shame, as I think it is a movie a bunch of people could enjoy, so maybe with some nominations on this side of the pond it could have found a wider audience.  Bob Hoskins and Rosamund Pike were also pretty fun in the film.

32. Letters to Juliet

Saw this one on a plane.  It is the one where Amanda Seyfried goes to Verona with her too-busy fiance, Gael Garcia Bernal.  There’s a wall there where people letters written to Shakespeare’s Juliet.  Every day, some ladies in the town collect the letters and respond from Juliet.  For whatever reason, Seyfried happens upon them and helps them respond, and her response to one brings an elderly lady (Vanessa Redgrave) and her handsome British son (Christopher Egan) out to Verona and then on a hunt for Redgrave’s long lost love.  I think the film will deliver exactly what you think it will.

31. Cairo Time

I can’t really figure out a way to describe Cairo Time without making it sound like one of those movies John loves and the rest of us hate.  The plot is very slight: basically Patricia Clarkson comes to Cairo to visit her diplomat husband, who gets busy with an emergency, so she’s squired around town for a few days by her husband’s friend (Alexander Siddig), and within the few days they begin to develop feelings for each other.  Part of it, I’m sure, is that I’d be content watching Patricia Clarkson in nearly anything.

30. 127 Hours

The four Grouches managed to all get together to see the film, you can see our thoughts here.  The film came up lots in our awards talk, of course.  It was actually our choice for Spirits Awards Best Picture, thanks to yours truly, but that was more due to a weak slate of films than anything else.  By the way, guess how many Oscar nominations the film received.  Nope, too low!  127 Hours received six Oscar nominations: Picture, Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Editing, Score, and Song (winning none of them).  Still not entirely certain how that happened.  I mean, the film was decent, but I think it wouldn’t take you more than a minute or two to build a case that it shouldn’t have received anything but an acting nomination (and while Franco was great, you could certainly make the case for Gosling over him).

29. Ip Man

Streamed this at my brother’s place.  Contrary to what the description might seem to say, it is about the story of Bruce Lee’s teacher, it does not star Bruce Lee’s teacher.  Starring Donnie Yen, Ip Man is a martial arts movie kinda based on real life.  It tells the story of, well, Yip Man, the bestest martial arts master around.  Like most leads in films of this ilk, he doesn’t like to fight until really really pressed, but then he whips butt like nobody’s business.  The film gets a little weird in the second act, which takes places during Japan’s occupation of China, and a lot of interesting facts seem to be crammed in via text after the last shot.

28. The Four-Faced Liar

A New York indie relationship rom-dram, but this one actually seems to work.  Certainly not deserving of its low imdb score, which, I wonder, may be influenced by the fact that one of the characters ends up torn between a hetero relationship and a lesbian one.  Or maybe you just have to be in a certain sort of mood to watch the film, I dunno.  The movie is populated by people without much of a filmography, but I think that rawness comes into play here.  Call it more “natural” or “realistic”, if you’d like, I think it allows for a greater focus on the characters.

27. A Prophet

Actually nominated for an Oscar a year back, but as with many Foreign Oscar nominees, wasn’t really available until 2010, so that’s where I’m counting it.  A lot of people really really liked this movie.  Passionately so.  Which I’m not sure I entirely get, though it was very good.  A lot of praise went to newcomer Tahar Rahim, who plays a young inmate at a prison with sharp lines drawn between the Corsican and Arab inmates.  He was solid, but I was more intrigued by Niels Arestrup, a fellow inmate who is the don of the Corsican gang.  The ending felt a bit rushed to me, odd in a movie that was so long.

26. Get Him to the Greek

I get the feeling Get Him to the Greek is viewed as something of a disappointment.  I’m not entirely certain why.  The film grossed pretty much the same as Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  And while Russell Brand was great as Aldous Snow in that one, how many people thought the character would hold up in much larger doses?  The breakout performer from the film, oddly enough, was P. Diddy, who played a delightfully bizarre character.  Rose Byrne was pretty funny, a side of her I hadn’t seen but was glad to.  And, as in most Apatow joints, there were a ton of fun cameos.

25. Nice Guy Johnny

Nice Guy Johnny provides an interesting case study on how to make and distribute a film.  The movie was shot on the most minuscule of budgets in something like a week and a half.  And it didn’t have a release in theaters, instead making its VOD and DVD release on the same day.  Of course, it is a lot easier to make all that happen when you have a film written, directed, and produced by Edward Burns.  In the film, Burns takes a supporting role as a lady-killer who ends up hosting his nephew for the weekend at a summer house.  Matt Bush (Adventureland) takes on the titular role as, well, a nice guy.  His passion is his late night radio sports talk show he hosts, but his fiancee wants him to settle down and find a real job.  So he goes back home for the weekend to stay with family and take an important interview she arranged.  But during the weekend he meets a lovely free spirit of a girl (Kerry Bishe) who changes the way he sees things.

July 2011
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