Thursday, December 31, 2009

Delightful things in 2009

The best thing about 2009 was discovering George Raft. February 2009 brought me Invisible Stripes and with it, an actor who rapidly captured my heart and stayed there (eep, that means I need to redo my top ten favorite actors list, huh?). My love for him is undiminished, if anything it gets stronger with each movie of his I see. I recently watched a VHS tape of Souls at Sea (1937). Oh man, love! I never had a chance to review the film here, but I loved it, and George's character broke my heart in it and made me cry. I even didn't mind Gary Cooper at all. They made a very fun pair. Love their duets.

There were two other actors I had minor flings with this last year. Gilbert Roland, who I've always liked, but I finally got to sit down and watch a bunch more of his work. Still adore his Cisco Kid series. And a current actor... Colin Firth. I've had friends who've always liked him, but I never saw the appeal. Just never liked the romantic comedy character types he seemed to be locked into playing. I guess I was just waiting for him to appear in a movie where he played against that type. Turns out that movie was The Last Legion (2007), a Roman/Arthurian legend retelling that I really enjoyed it, despite the fact that while the first half of the movie is really good, the second half rather sucks. But what I enjoyed most was simply seeing Colin Firth in an action role. Ahhhh, finally! He's damned good at it too. So, watched a whole bunch of his movies, but with the exception of Fever Pitch (1997) (which I really really loved), the rest were meh and did nothing for me. Which just makes me plain cranky. Damn it all, can't I write him a movie script or two? Please?

Movies I bought this year after catching them on Netflix:

Alvarez Kelly
Escape from Fort Bravo (I owned a taped copy of this, but I wanted a clearer DVD copy to better enjoy all the lovely William Holden-ess of it. I particularly love the end of this movie.)
Picnic (another one I owned on tape, but wanted a clearer DVD copy)
The Black Swan (though this was gifted to me before I could buy it myself!)
Road to Perdition (also gifted before I could buy it!)

I will be buying The Last Legion, I just haven't yet. And I really want to own Rio Conchos, but alas, it's not out on DVD yet. Grr. And I think I also need a copy of Pixar's Up for myself. (I got one for my nephew for Christmas.) Now, everything I've seen by Pixar is very good, but Up tops them all. What a wonderful, crazy, beautiful, emotional ride! It only took one viewing to make it my favorite Pixar film.

New movies I actually saw in the theater:

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Star Trek

Kind of funny, really. All big budget types. But then, given how infrequently I go to the cinema, not surprising. I had much more fun watching classic movies. If only I lived closer to Hollywood and its revival theaters. I'd be going to the theater all the time. So many good classic movies appeared that if I had the resources, I'd go see on the big screen. This next year, I'll see if I can remedy that a bit, make the trek.

2009 was a good year for me. I have no complaints. Here's looking forward to 2010!

Happy New Year!


  1. Glad you could mark the year with some kind of classic movie discovery. My interest in the '60s and '70s blossomed but my 1930s-50s stuff didn't. It's an every-other-year occurence for me.

    Oh well, it's off to cheap champagne, the Thin Man marathon, '80s R.E.M. albums, followed by a twilight viewing of Bill Holden in "The Wild Bunch."

    Here's to peace in the upcoming year.

    May death take a holiday in 2010!

  2. Anonymous3:14 PM

    You really need to check out more of Colin Firth's CV. He has some really good roles with whacked or damaged characters that are excellent and not rom-coms. I am a long time, and huge, fan and find his dramatic roles to be so much better.

  3. Thanks, C.K.! Sounds like a great way to see the old year out! Funny, but I've been thinking about "The Wild Bunch" all day long, and was thinking I needed to watch it again soon.


    Hiya Anonymous! Happy New Year! Could you make some recommendations of films I should catch? Thanks! I've seen ten of his films so far, and don't get me wrong... I think he's a brilliant actor in every one of them. I have not seen a bad or even remotely mediocre performance from him yet, and the movies (particularly the British ones) were quite good, but other than "Last Legion" and "Fever Pitch," I haven't seen one I have a burning desire to see a second time. I liked the movies, but I didn't love them. And for favorites, I want stuff to watch over and over again. Here's the ones I've seen:

    The Advocate
    Fever Pitch
    Shakespeare in Love
    Love Actually
    Bridget Jones's Diary
    Last Legion
    And Then She Found Me
    And When Did you Last See Your Father?

    Trauma is in my netflix queue, but hasn't come yet.

  4. Anonymous's reply:

    I loved "Father". It is very true to the novel and I have corresponded with Blake Morrison. He did have all those issues with his dad and it took him years after (and a lot of therapy) to get over his issues.
    Hmmm.. some of them you may not be able to get
    Conspiracy (Emmy nom you have seen, this really is an excellent production)- my son's fav, he's 33

    Tumbledown (BAFTA nom)

    Girl With A Pearl Earring
    Master of the Moor (Check Ruth Rendell Mysteries Vol. 1)

    Apartment Zero (critics think this was his best before ASM)

    A Month In The Country (v hard to get hold of)

    Donovan Quick (UK made for TV)
    Born Equal (UK made for TV)
    (both above hard to come by)

    What A Girl Wants - my daughter's fav - she's 31

    Mamma Mia! - he actually plays his own guitar and sings. It's just a good, fun movie)

    Easy Virtue (subtly subdued performance that come off a comic but you find out it's not)

    Genova - Michael Winterbottom

    Where The Truth Lies - MPAA killed this one

    Trauma - to me this is an excellent film, if you can follow it. Many have taken several viewings to figure it all out. I was one of the lucky few who go it all the first time.

    I don't know your taste but these are the ones I watch over and over, more so than all the others (I have everything he's ever been in)
    He's actually done more drama type roles than comedies/rom-coms...just no one seems to want to go see movies where he does drama. Real shame too.

    Any way you could contact me off this or me you, I'll email you other info.

  5. 2009 was a good year for finding true (celluloid) love for us, eh? You found George and I found Sawyer. (And I bought the last copy of the TV Guide that the store had -- thanks for the heads-up.) Yay us!

    I really do need to see "Up." I'll have to put a hold on it at the library, as it's always out.

    Happy New Year :-D

  6. ColinyGal - This is great! Thanks very much for the recommendations! Trauma was already in my netflix queue, cuz it sounded right up my alley when I read the description, but I will look for all the others as well!

    Sorry for the delay in responding... got knocked down with a nearly 3-day long migraine. :-(


    Rachel - glad you snagged a copy of the TV Guide... I thought you'd like that, particularly after our talk about how few good pics there were. :-D

  7. I'm so glad 2009 was a good year for you, dKoren! :)

    And I love -- LOVE -- Colin Firth!!

    After a drunken late-night viewing of BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY in 2006, I went off on a big (but short-lived) Colin Firth obsession. Short-lived, because like you said, even though Firth's a great actor, a lot of his movies are 'meh'.

    I'll still consider him one of my absolute favorites, as far as modern actors are concerned.

    -- Trying to think of any more recommendations...

    Have you seen CIRCLE OF FRIENDS?

    Ha. He's such an ass in that one -- sports an awful mustache!! -- It's a nice little movie, though, and he's good in it.

    I also watched some English-type movie with him in it; co-starring Faruza Balk. I can't remember the title, though, but I'm pretty certain it was based on the same novel as the awful CRUEL INTENTIONS.

    And it was pretty rough-going, too, but Firth made it enjoyable.

    One weird thing about him: he's looks a lot like a man I used to be in love with -- even has the same name! -- so I tend to ignore him these days. ;)


    That picture of George Raft is GORGEOUS, by the way!

    And I never really think of him as being 'gorgeous'.


    I also liked UP.

    My daughter has a 'Baby Kevin' stuffed animal (I guess it's supposed to be Kevin's baby, actually, from the ending) and likes me to make it tap her on the head, then hiss at her! :)