Monday, June 9, 2014

Her Pick 2000s: Gosford Park

Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith, several other great actors and actresses, and one from a show I loved (Lark Rise to Candleford).  Winner of Best Writing of a screenplay by Julian Fellowes, who writes Downton Abbey, a show I love to watch.  Many other nominations for awards. This had all the right factors for a movie I would love.  Also, I will watch just about any British movie set in this time period.
IMDB describes the plot as:
"Multiple storylined drama set in 1932, showing the lives of upstairs guest and downstairs servants at a party in a country house in England."

On a scale of 1-10, I would give this a solid...6 1/2.
It would have been higher if I had not watched several seasons of Downton Abbey.  
The dynamic of this time period with the world of the servants (downstairs) interacting with the higher class (upstairs) is so fascinating to me.  But it wasn't new to me thanks to Downton Abbey, which I think would have made the slower pace of this movie more interesting.  It's definitely a study of the characters, the personalities, how they interact between the two classes, etc.
The murder part is set up so that you aren't completely positive about the ending, but it really wasn't as much the main point of the story line as it is about the development of all the characters.

This was a decent movie.  I think that all the award nominations and famous actors made me have higher expectations for how good it would be.  Also, we were very tired and it was late, so not the best scenario to put in a slow paced British drama.  We had to turn on the subtitles about 1/3 the way in to follow the plot, as there are so many different people to keep straight, ha ha. 
The director apparently used body mics on everyone so you get a lot of background murmuring, which adds to the authenticity of being an observer, but does make it more difficult to decipher some of the strong accents. The camera also never stops moving, even if just slightly, not even really an issue or jerky, just a little fun fact.

A fun addition we made this time, was that I thought it would be fun to try and theme our movie snack to go along with the movie choice of the week. We had eaten a late lunch yesterday so we  by movie time we were ready for "fish n' chips." But it will be interesting now to try and find a snack for next weeks movie! Not really one you immediately associate with any type of food.

Corey stated that he is winning on movie picks, and I would reluctantly have to agree.  To be fair though, I haven't seen any of my movie choices before, I chose all things that I want to see.  He has previously watched almost all of his choices.
We also decided to split up the movie choices and rotate, for both of our sakes, ha ha!
So, next week is Corey's choice from the 1990s. This one will be huge branching out for me with movie genres!

Monday, June 2, 2014

His Pick 2000s: 3:10 to Yuma

      We have already chosen all of our picks for each decade.  It comes to twenty movies total which is still a lot to have to choose among.  So, we decided to just draw them out of a cup in order to make it even easier to decide "what to watch tonight."
I wrote down each pick, marked them instant stream/own or not.  And let Ruby pull two movies from the cup (one for tonight, and one to request for next weekend).  Believe it or not, she picked both choices from the 2000s! The first one, which we own, 3:10 to Yuma.(2007) This is one of Corey's favorites, and a movie I've never seen before. 

This is a cowboy movie, actually a remake of an old 50s version of the  movie.
It stars Christian Bale and Russell Crowe.  Christian Bale is Ben Evans, a depressed farmer, lost a leg in the Civil War, his farm isn't doing well, his son thinks he's a loser, and he owes money on the farm or they have to move.

Russell Crowe is Ben Wade, a horrible, no good, cold blooded, bandit. Most of the R rating comes from the ruthless and sometimes graphic killing of people by him and his "posse."
The story is that he has terrorized the stagecoaches and trains, robbing and killing, and he finally gets captured (not a spoiler!) and a group of men has to escort him to the "3:10 to Yuma" train to take him to prison. 

 It's risky because Ben Wade's men are, of course, trying to get him free the entire way, and Ben Wade himself is extremely dangerous.  The railroad people are paying really well to those that help, so Ben Evans goes along since he desperately needs the money.
The journey to the train is the main part of the  movie.  It's got a lot of drama, intense edge of your seat moments, and plenty of western shoot-outs. The two main characters interact a lot, and you learn more about each of them.  I kept feeling that they were setting up for some big reveal about Ben Wade, but that never really happened.  His character really could have been developed with more of a back story that would have given a deeper meaning or explanation to the way the movie ended.
Right before the end, a scene sets up  some different possibilities that make the ending not completely obvious.  But it was a good final scene and all was wrapped up. 
I really don't know why we've managed to own this movie so long and I had never watched it before.  I guess maybe because westerns aren't actually on my "love it" list in general, but I really enjoyed this one.  It was interesting, and exciting, and a good first pick for our journey through the decades.  It's funny that we started with a movie that really isn't very old at all, just less than 7 years old, so it felt recent. And the next pick is also from the 2000s.  I won't tell you what it is yet, but it's my pick, of course.  
When we were compiling our list of movies, it was much harder to do the 2000s and 2010s because we have recently seen most of the movies we care to see from those decades, ha ha!