Wow!! It’s actually December!! Well folks, only a month left in 2020… the year that’ll definitely go down in history as one of the weirdest, most challenging year ever for many of us. I don’t know about you, but I never thought I’d experience a pandemic in my lifetime, but hey surely it isn’t the worst moment in this century. According to the CDC website, the flu pandemic of 1918 happened during WWI. Overcrowding and global troop movement helped spread the virus, causing at least 50 million deaths worldwide, including approximately 675,000 in the US. For comparison, so far Covid-19 has killed nearly 1.5 million people worldwide.
As of today, the lockdown in my state of MN still continues for another 3 weeks… and possibly could last through Christmas. Thank goodness for internet and streaming services … I honestly can’t imagine life without them.
In any case, here’s what I watched in November:
Life for an entrepreneur and his American family begins to take a twisted turn after moving into an English country manor.
On The Rocks
A young mother reconnects with her larger-than-life playboy father on an adventure through New York.
I was listening to NPR last Friday, and they were talking about this Sofia Coppola dramedy so I decided to watch it when I got home. I think it’s pretty enjoyable and worth a watch for Bill Murray being his fun, charming self, but overall it feels a bit Woody Allen-ish, and that’s not exactly a compliment.
The Life Ahead
In seaside Italy, a Holocaust survivor with a daycare business takes in a 12-year-old street kid who recently robbed her.
See my quick review below. Highly recommend this one!
Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb
After unearthing a tomb that had been untouched for 4,400 years, Egyptian archaeologists attempt to decipher the history of the astonishing find.
I’ve always been fond of archaeological documentaries and this one is especially fascinating. All the archaeologists are Egyptians or from that region, which I think made it feel even more personal and even emotional as they truly care about what the findings mean for their people.
In the 1960s two African-American entrepreneurs hire a working-class white man to pretend to be the head of their business empire while they pose as a janitor and chauffeur.
Based on a true story, Anthony Mackie + Samuel L. Jackson made for quite a wonderful duo though the adaptation feels rather too safe which lessened its emotional impact. Given the immense talents involved, this film could’ve been far more powerful. Still well worth a watch though.
The Love Punch
A divorced couple scheme to recover the retirement money that was stolen from them.
I actually watched this one and The Tourist back to back… I have to say the scenery is what appeals to me as this one took place mostly in the South of France. Plus it’s got Emma Thompson in what promises to be a fun comedy caper. Alas, no amount of star power nor stunning scenery could make up for a dumb script. It’s so embarrassingly bad, I’m willing to bet the actors signed up for this so they get a free vacation on the French Riviera.
A Princess For Christmas
At the invitation of an estranged relative, a young woman travels with her niece and nephew to a castle in Europe for Christmas, where she unwittingly falls for a dashing Prince.
I can’t even count how many holiday movies there are on Netflix w/ the prince/princess in the title 😀 Somehow I kept seeing this banner amongst its seemingly-endless Christmas rom-coms that got me curious. Whaddayaknow, this one has Sir Roger Moore as a rather curmudgeon English duke… and that Scottish hunk from Outlander Sam Heughan. The lead actress Katie McGrath, who looks so distractingly similar to Keira Knightley (esp her toothy grin), is quite likable despite her touch-and-go American accent. Well, predictably, the movie is filled with typical cockamamie fairy-tale plot that’s utterly schmaltzy, but it’s actually not as bad as I had feared. The scenes of the family decorating the Christmas tree and the servants helping the girl out is quite sweet, it sort of made up for the lack of chemistry between the two romantic leads.
The Expanse season 4 | The Queen’s Gambit | The Crown Season 4 | The Mandalorian Season 2
I binged on four excellent series this past month. The Queen’s Gambit proved to be a hit on Netflix and it’s indeed excellent (check out Vince’s review if you haven’t already).
The Expanse season 4 kept up the thrills from the previous 3 seasons, and I love that this time, most of the drama takes place off the ship, in an earth-like planet referred to as Ilus, or New Terra by the UN. It made me even more excited to see Season 5, esp. involving a man from Naomi’s past, Marco Inaros.
I’m not a huge royal family fan, but I can’t help but get caught up in the whole drama of Charles + Diana again after watching season 4. Emma Corrin was really convincing as Princess Di, that’s quite an acting coupe to get someone who doesn’t just look the part but could portray the essence of who we think Diana was. Gillian Anderson is an inspired casting as Margaret Thatcher but I think she did a good job, and I ended up watching a couple of documentaries on the real Iron Lady on youtube.
I’ve only seen 2 episodes of The Mandalorian season 2, but I love that first episode with Timothy Olyphant as The Marshall. My hubby commented right away how he looked so much like Pierce Brosnan with his salt/pepper hair, so true!
Pride & Prejudice (2005)
A dose of Jane Austen is always a good idea. I love, love the visuals of this Joe Wright version and the music by Dario Marianelli.
Vanity Fair (Miniseries)
I wanted to see Tom Bateman in something, anything… and Death on the Nile has been delayed indefinitely 😦 Anyhoo, I quite like this miniseries, which captured the essence of the sly Becky Sharp, played brilliantly by Olivia Cooke. Mr. Bateman looks fetching in that cavalry uniform, even as he falls hopelessly in love with the shrewd miss Sharp.
The Little Mermaid (1989)
This is one of my childhood faves and I still absolutely adore the visuals and the songs by Alan Menken. I gotta admit though, the premise of a girl giving up her entire identity in search for a man’s love doesn’t have the same appeal anymore.
The Tourist (2010)
Can’t believe this movie is 10 years old! This was Jolie pre-Brangelina and Depp hadn’t even met Amber Heard yet… boy that seemed like three lifetimes ago. Well, this movie is so gorgeous to look at–and makes me yearn to one day visit Venice again–but the plot is still as daft as ever. I did find it funnier than the first time I saw it however, but I also find myself shaking my head how a movie credited with three award-winning writers, including Christopher McQuarrie and Julian Fellowes, could’ve written such a turd!!
MOVIE OF THE MONTH
THE LIFE AHEAD
Though Sophia Loren is one of the most famous actresses of Hollywood golden age, I’ve actually only seen one of her films, Arabesque (because I was hugely into Gregory Peck almost a decade ago). This is a comeback of sort for the 86-year-old actress, as her last feature was in 2010, and The Life Ahead was directed by her own son, Edoardo Ponti. I’ll do a full review of it at some point, but I highly recommend this beautiful and heart-wrenching drama, which you can now watch on Netflix.
Well, what have you been watching in November? What’s YOUR fave movie you saw last month?
10 thoughts on “NOVEMBER 2020 Viewing Recap + Movie of the Month”
I can’t wait till this year to be over with and hopefully we get a vaccine for the virus. I miss traveling the world for fun and work. Because of COVID, my trips to Berlin, Singapore and Hong Kong were cancelled. I’ve never been to those places, so I was excited for the trips.
I’m almost done with the current season of FARGO and THE MANDALORIAN. The only new movie to me that I watched was UNCUT GEMS, didn’t care for it. I know it got tons of great reviews when it came out last year but I detested it. The movie is full of unlikeable characters and I wish I got two hours of my life back. Lol!
Hey Ted! Yeah, let’s hope this vaccine will be as effective as we all hope. I miss traveling even outside of MN, let alone to a different continent!
I haven’t seen UNCUT GEMS even though I was curious because of all the great reviews. But now that said you didn’t care for it, I don’t think I’ll ever watch it, ahah.
I wouldn’t recommend UNCUT GEMS, I believe Vitali reviewed it on here and he loved it. But I can’t stand any of the characters in the movie. It’s basically terrible people doing terrible things to one another. Kind of films Tarantino excels at but the writer and director of this film don’t have the same kind of talents as QT and make the film interesting or good.
The Tourist, man that was a bad film. I feel bad for Johnny Depp as his life has been ruined by a woman he never should’ve met to begin with. She already had a history of domestic abuse and reports of how crazy she is. I’m sorry but if a woman decides to put out her cigarette on my face, bitch be going down and stay down.
I have seen The Love Punch as I thought that was a nice film and please…. have Emma Thompson do more Texan accents. She is a hoot.
Yeah, it’s indeed a ridiculous movie. What a waste of talents! The whole Depp/Heard situation is a huge mess… but yeah, I think it was doomed from the start. I don’t think Depp is as horrible as how it’s been painted by Heard and the British court, but he’s no saint either. I haven’t seen him in anything lately but he is a talented actor, while I can’t say the same about Amber… I think the first time I saw her in The Joneses she seems like someone who uses her sexuality to get what she wants.
Ahah, sorry we’d have to disagree about The Love Punch. Yes, Emma is a hoot because she’s truly an excellent actress, but man the movie is insufferable!
Oh you make a really interesting point about On the Rocks! I’ll admit, I’m not well versed in Sofia Coppola or Woody Allen, but I really disliked Lost in Translation and watched On the Rocks with hesitance. I ended up really enjoying it though and so far, I’ve enjoyed the Woody Allen movies I’ve seen!
I think my favourite movie that I watched in November is tied between Happiest Season and Standing Up, Falling Down.
Hey Allie, I actually like Lost in Translation but I agree that On The Rocks is a much more pleasant movie, and Bill Murray is such a hoot to watch. Overall I just don’t think it’s that memorable. As for Woody Allen, I think my fave one of his is Midnight in Paris, so delightful!
I haven’t heard of Standing Up, Falling Down, now you got me all curious!
Some good flicks and series here, and not many that I’ve been able to watch yet! I’ve just subscribed to Disney+ and am looking forward to getting stuck in The Mandalorian. I’m waiting to binge the latest series of The Crown for when I’m off over Christmas.
PS. Hi Ruth! Not sure if you remember me but I used to love reading your blog years ago. I’ve just published my first blog post after four years away and planning to keep posting 🙂
Hello Claire! Of course I remember you! Glad you’ve subscribed to Disney+, I grew up watching Disney movies so I had been rewatching a ton of old faves. The Mandalorian is a great series, I’m still catching up on season 2.
So you haven’t watched The Crown at all? Oh my, you’re in for a treat! Such an amazing series that will keep you wanting more.
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