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First Half Of 2013 Film Round-Up

So last year, at the end of my second half of 2012 round-up, I said I planned to do a lot better next time. I have. When January began I had the silly (silly because it would be unworkable) idea to watch one film every day. It lasted four days, but four films in quick succession is very good for me. I also wanted to watch more foreign films since my foreign film count ended completely a few years ago. I’ve not managed that, unless you count Ireland as a foreign country, which I of course can’t. I suppose I could count American films as foreign, but again, that would be far-fetched as it’s not exactly difficult to find American films and they tend to be in English. We’ll forget that I have at least three bona fide foreign films on my shelves that I could have got to.

So here we go, a short summary followed by summed up opinion. Here are the films I have watched so far this year for which it was my first time watching them.

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Alice In Wonderland (USA, 2010) – A very different take on Carroll’s tale; gritty, dark, and far more grown-up. I didn’t mind the difference one bit, an awesome film.

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The Bride Came C.O.D. (USA, 1941) – A very funny, random, and enjoyable film with a strong heroine. C.O.D. stands for cash on delivery.

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Casablanca (USA, 1942) – It was incredibly brave of everyone involved, not least the actor who played the corrupt German officer, to release a film about the Second World War whilst it was still going on, and I can see why it would’ve been a hit in that context. Judging it solely as a method of entertainment, though, I have to be honest and say I wasn’t keen. Yes, I had high expectations, but only insofar as I expected a good film (I had no idea what it was about).

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Clueless (USA, 1995) – I finally made it to the party, only 18 years late. I liked it a lot, and know I would’ve loved it when younger.

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (UK/USA, 2005) – I’ve heard this is nothing like the book, so I can only say that as someone who has only seen the film it’s brilliant.

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Midnight In Paris (USA/France, 2011) – I wasn’t keen on the ending, but other than that a fantastic film and great for lovers of literature. I wrote a ‘further thoughts’ post on it.

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Morning Glory (USA, 2010) – I’ve wanted to see this film since I saw the pre-release trailers, but it never arrived in the cinemas. I loved it. It wasn’t entirely what I’d expected but it was pretty close.

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Now, Voyager (USA, 1942) – An alright premise but cringe-worthy at times.

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Once (Ireland, 2007) – Realistically shot, and excluding filter effects. Simple plot, lots of music, beautiful in a special kind of way.

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Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time (USA/UK, 2010) – Far from intelligent, and the game’s story isn’t used fully, but the logic is faithful (I’ve told you I’m a gamer, right?), and it has some very funny moments. Though the casting choices were a bit off in terms of the main characters. A spray tan does not an easterner make.

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Rebecca (UK, 1940) – Hitchcock demonstrates how to create a film that is faithful to the book whilst conforming to feature lengths – cut or exchange the less important aspects.

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Red Riding Hood (USA, 2011) – Not bad, and there is a good attempt at red herrings throughout, but the reveal is sudden and anticlimactic.

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The Santa Claus 3 (USA, 2006) – A fun film that adults must suspend belief, besides the obvious, in order to enjoy.

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Tamara Drewe (UK, 2010) – I can see why this was so popular.

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Up In The Air (USA, 2009) – My guess is people went to see this because George Clooney was in it, and the cinemas just showed off the numbers. 2 hours feels like 4, no music makes it worse, the little music there is doesn’t fit the premise, and the premise doesn’t have a premise.

Yes, I’m still in my old-film phase. It wasn’t ‘helped’ by my asking my mother about Bette Davis (I spurned black and white films as a child so I’m still learning). I asked, she came back with a few DVDs in hand, and we started to work our way through them. That said we’ve paused at two for a while because I had the bright idea to watch The Virgin Queen and two thirds of the way through I was bored and mum was asleep.

The plan is to keep watching films and have a longer list next time.

Considering my prior focus on Asia, I’d now like to concentrate on Europe. Any recommendations?



July 5, 2013, 5:39 am

wow there are a lot of films here, and I haven’t watched any of them! I’m very lazy when it comes to see a film, I don’t know why, not to mention that going to the cinema is discarded because I can’t afford it, so in the end I have to force myself to sit down and watch something.
Fortunately my public library has a lot of films and sometimes, I watch some of them after reading the book that the film is based on.

Tanya Patrice

July 5, 2013, 5:35 pm

I haven’t watched any of these either, so thanks for the list. How do you keep track of what movies you’ve watched?

Belle Wong

July 5, 2013, 7:39 pm

That’s a lot of films! I don’t watch a lot, usually, and have only seen a couple on your list. I remember Clueless being such a fun romp. I didn’t like The Santa Clause 3 as much as I liked the two previous ones. I only bought one movie on DVD last year – it was Once, but I still haven’t gotten around to watching it! I don’t know of any European films to suggest, but if you don’t mind another Asian one, I highly recommend Ang Lee’s Eat, Drink, Man, Woman. Lots of great food scenes, too!


July 5, 2013, 10:17 pm

I really enjoyed AiW too! We are some of the few who do it seems.

Once is one of my favourite films, it’s so gritty and beautiful.

European films I love (you’ve probably watched a few of these): Run Lola Run, Amelie, Pan’s Labyrinth, M, Das Cabinet Des Dr Caligari, Nosferatu (1920s version), Withnail and I, el Orfanato, Taxi, la Haine


July 7, 2013, 8:54 am

I too watched Midnight in Paris this year and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not exactly what I thought it was going to be but I was pleasantly surprised. Glad you got to see Clueless. I watched when I was a teenager. A very fun watch. I am also so glad to hear you enjoyed Rebecca a wonderful adaptation of a wonderful book.

As for European film recommendations I love Amelie, Nosferatu, and A Very Long Engagement. For those set in Europe but not necessarily counting for foreign language you might want to try Chocolat, Before Sunrise, and Everything is Illuminated. Happy watching!


July 9, 2013, 9:28 am

Nice post, Charlie! Out of the films on your list, I have watched ‘Casablanca’, ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, ‘Midnight in Paris’ and ‘Up in the Air’. I totally loved ‘Casablanca’, but it has been many years since I last watched it. Like you I watched the movie version of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ before reading the book. I read the book later and liked it too. I totally loved ‘Midnight in Paris’. And I loved ‘Up in the Air’ too. I am sorry you didn’t like it that much. I also read the graphic novel version of ‘Prince of Persia’ but I haven’t watched the movie.

Bette Davis is one of my favourite actresses from the golden era. It took me a while to like her though, because she came mostly in villain roles. My favourite movie of hers is ‘The Little Foxes’. Hope you enjoy watching her movies. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on them.

On European movies, some of the movies which I would recommend are – ‘The Kid with a Bike’ directed by the Dardenne brothers (Belgian – depicts the relationship between a boy and his potential foster family), ‘Burnt by the Sun’ by Nikita Mikhalkov (Russian – a movie set during the Stalinist purges when a beautiful day changes in a minute for the main character), ‘A Special Day’ directed by Ettore Scola (Italian – a movie set during the second world war in Italy. Depicts the relationship between a housewife and a strange man who lives in the same housing complex. it has Marcelo Mastroianni and Sophia Loren – in my opinion it is Loren’s finest role), ‘Amelie’ (French – I am pretty sure you would have seen it :)), ‘Wild Strawberries’ directed by Ingmar Bergman (Swedish – any Bergman movie is excellent), ‘The Memory of a Killer’ directed by Erik van Looy (Belgian – it is a thriller, but a very unconventional one), ‘Stromboli’ directed by Roberto Rossellini (Italian – one of Ingrid Bergman’s Italian movies and one of her finest performances), ‘The Decalogue’ directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski (Polish – some people regard it as a film while others regard it as a TV series. Whichever way we categorize it, it is a beautiful work of art. It has ten episodes which are loosely inspired by the Ten Commandments. Each episode focuses on one theme like faith, love, loss, death.) Sorry for the long list :) I am so passionate about movies. I wrote a post on my favourite movies sometime back. In case you are interested, you can find it here. Happy movie watching! Looking forward to following your movie adventures!



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