Movies 2012: Weeks 44-46

Week 44: October 28- November 3, 2012
141) Brokeback Mountain. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal star as Wyoming sheep herders who meet and fall in love and carry out a decades-long secret affair. Sweet at times but mostly really sad. My heart ached for them. Excellent film. 4.2 stars
142) Vegucated. A documentary about veganism. She wanted multiple people to try veganism. The filmmaker's narration? Sigh. Way too jolly and silly. And the heavy-handed animal torture videos? Covered no new ground. If the purpose of this film had been to watch the veganization (New word! LOL) of three people, it would have been a lot more interesting. But it took these detours that were less interesting and even almost boring. It also only followed the vegan testers for 6 weeks. How much can you learn in that time? A little. But I felt like not enough. 2 stars
143) Take This Waltz. The story of a married woman (Michelle Williams) who finds herself wanting another man and the trouble that struggle creates. Ridiculous gratuitous nudity. A meandering story line. Too much effort-filled understatement. 2 stars
144) Safety Not Guaranteed. Aubrey Plaza (April from "Parks and Rec") and Jake Johnson (Nick from "New Girl") star in this film about a journalist and his interns who use a time-travel want ad to go inside a story. Things get stranger when they meet the man behind the ad and one of the interns gets the dirt. Strange. You kept wondering what would happen next. Then the end just ruined a lot of the progress. Weird. But I'd watch it again. 3.3 stars

Week 45: November 4-10, 2012
145) Monsieur Lazhar. A French film about an Algerian man who moves to Canada and, while teaching, helps children cope with the suicide of their well-loved teacher. A quiet but enjoyable film with moments of sadness, but not overwhelmingly so. 3.6 stars
146) The More the Merrier. Jean Arthur stars as a Washington woman who decides to do her part to help with the housing shortage during WWII but gets more than she bargained for. A sweet love story with some mad cap (but not too mad cap) activity. 3.6 stars
147) The Giant Mechanical Man. A street performer (giant mechanical man) who and another lost soul (Pam from "The Office") find their lives intersecting in an "unexpected" way. Kind of predictable in the most unnecessary way. Random moments of useless dialogue that did nothing to advance the plot. Then it just ended. ? 2.2 stars
148) The Amazing Spider-Man. The beginning of Spider-Man in the 2012 reboot starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. It shows a high school Peter Parker learning to deal with his new powers, falling in love and facing a nemesis. Enjoyable though a good 20 minutes too long. 3.3 stars

Week 46: November 11-17, 2012
149) The Queen of Versailles. The behind the family building the largest home in America-- 90,000 square feet, $100 million-- who in the process of the market collapse lost hundreds of millions of dollars. You do not go into this film expecting to feel anything toward these people who in every way live a life of excess and yet... The filmmaker does an excellent job of humanizing the family and making a sympathetic character, in particular, of the mother. Are you still scandalized by some of their behavior, past and present? Absolutely but you kind of like some of them in the process. This film should definitely be nominated for an Oscar. 4.2 stars
150) Moonrise Kingdom. Pre-teens in love abscond away throwing their tiny island into a tizzy. Amusing enough, cute. A little young for my taste. 3.3 stars
151) 2 Days in New York. Chris Rock stars in a film about a couple who have to deal with the female half's visiting French relatives. Way too much back and forth between French and English. It was difficult to transition so frequently between the languages. If the movie had been entirely in French, it probably would've been a better film. The English portions felt lackluster while the French portions were vivid. Disappointing. 3 stars

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