Monthly Roundup: August Movie Watching Recap

It’s the last day of the year before we enter the ‘brrr’ months. Well, September is still relatively balmy here in the upper Midwest, and after the Sahara-like Summer we’ve been having, I must say I’m looking forward to Autumn.

I know I always say time flies but really, I feel like August just passed by like lightning. Well, out of 31 days, I made 25 posts, well 26 including this one. Thanks to my loyal contributors Ted, Kevin (a.k.a. Jack Deth) and Cecilia for providing awesome content for this blog. It’s getting increasingly tough to do five posts a week, and lately I’ve been taking a blog break midweek and substituting it with a blog on a weekend day.

This month I participated in a few blog-a-thons:

And here are some of the posts you might’ve missed, including a few of Olympics-themed posts I did in honor of its host, London, one of my favorite cities in the world!

Well, what did I manage to watch this month?

Movies I haven’t seen before:

Re-watch:

Well, I only re-watched one movie this month and that was The Bourne Ultimatum. Yeah, even five years after its release it’s still eons better than The Bourne Legacy. It feels like it’s on a whole different league, from story, direction, style and of course acting, and I’m not just talking about Matt Damon who’s excellent as Bourne, but also the supporting cast including the two that was *promised* to be on the latest movie: David Strathairn and Joan Allen. The massively underrated Julia Stiles also have some memorable scenes, boy why doesn’t Hollywood cast her more often?? [scratch head]

I also re-watched the Licence to Kill which confirms once again that Timothy Dalton is my favorite Bond. Even after re-watching Connery’s Bonds I still prefer Dalton’s gritty, no-nonsense style. It doesn’t hurt that he looks so darn good in a wet suit 😉 But he’s not just bad ass, as he’s also very convincing in the emotional moments when he found out what happened to his friends Felix and Della. I also love Robert Davi as the villain and Carey Lowell as the tough Bond girl. I always get a kick out of watching a young Benicio del Toro as Davi’s henchman, back when he was still svelte you could actually see his high cheekbones, ahah. I also watched the bonus features which is fun to watch as Dalton did a lot of his own stunts. There are also some creepy stuff going on during filming as the filmmaker and crew were talking about the unexplained accidents and ghostly phenomenon on location at a haunted road in Mexico.

I also watched the bonus features of The Sound of Music. I LOVE Liesl and the actress who played her, Charmian Carr, gave a tour to Salzburg on one of the featurettes. I adore this movie and watching the special features just makes me want to rewatch it again!

Favorite August Movie:

I rarely give a movie a full 5/5 rating but this one was sooo enchanting and totally lives up to my already-high expectations, being that it’s the inspiration of one of my favorite rom-coms Sleepless in Seattle. I don’t even mind seeing this one on the big screen if TCM choose that one as one of the TCM Fathom Events. An Affair to Remember has become my favorite Cary Grant movie now, edging even North by Northwest!


So, what movies did you get to see this month and which one is your favorite?

Weekend Viewing Roundup: Step Up Revolution, Fantastic Mr Fox, An Affair to Remember

Hello all! Hope your weekend was lovely. Did you venture to the cinema to see some good movies? Well, we opted for home cinema this weekend, catching up on some movies we’ve missed. We were talking about Persepolis at dinner and really wanted to see it Saturday night, but it wasn’t available on iTunes! Good thing the replacement turns out to be well, fantastic. And just before this post goes up, I also watched Sherlock Holmes: Games of Shadow which was quite fun despite the plot being rather all over the place. I’ll do a mini review of that at a later time.

Oh, I also got around to finally get to the first one on the list of classic movies I promised to catch up on this confession post. The first one on that list is An Affair To Remember… oh and what an affair it was. Before I get to my reviews, here’s a guest review from my friend and FC contributor Cecilia, one franchise that’s eluded me and I’m still not sure I want to get into…

Step Up Revolution (2012)

Few weeks ago I saw Street Dance 2 at the cinemas and pretty much disappointed with it as the first movie was pretty good with it’s lovely scenery, British accent, and of course great dance moves and songs, but the sequel turns out to be disappointing. Then it just made me have this thought that Step Up Revolution must be better than Street Dance 2 for sure.

Step Up Revolution is tells the story of Emily (Kathryn McCormick), whose dad is working on some real-estate development plans which going to threaten the place where Sean (Ryan Guzman) and his dance crew usually gather around. Sean and his crew, well known as The Mob, is working on some flash-mob projects in order to win some cash. The same story as we saw on most dance movies all over again, the crew who are struggling before they lose the place where they usually practice. I actually don’t mind with the story. It is poor, both the script and the storyline. But I’ve never been looking for a good story on dance movies, as I actually looking forward to the dancing scenes and great songs.

Step Up 2: The Streets and Step Up 3D are memorable for me. Giving my salutation to Jon M. Chu as he made the dancers on his movies memorable with their own different dancing characters. Moose (Adam Sevani) is on the top of my favorite Step Up dancer list. I still can remember precisely his sweet dancing scene with Camille (Alyson Stoner) using Fred Astaire’s song I Won’t Dance on Step Up 3D. Sadly, Jon M. Chu is now being the producer on Step Up Revolution, instead of being in the director’s seat.

What I like about this movie is that it shows the brilliant ideas of flash-mobs. Huge number of people dancing in a public place unexpectedly, creating chaos and coolness that I wish would happen in real life where I live. The film still offers great dance moves and songs, the most memorable song for me is Let’s Go by Travis Barker, as it is goes well with those passionate dancers dancing in Miami’s heat. The Mob is packed with people who has different kinds of expertise, one is good at music, one at art, one at the digital stuffs. But the crew who does the dancing stuffs is not showing their various specific dancing characters. It’s not at all like what I saw on Step Up 2 and Step Up 3D.

Another disappointing part is on the 3D aspect. This movie is actually beautiful while showing the clear weather at Miami, showcasing the colors of Summer. But they don’t seem to maximize the creation of eye-popping 3D. Step Up 3D made good use of balloons, water, laser, and more, but in this one, all I can remember is the eye-popping sand. However, one good thing from this it has an even better sense of fashion. I liked how they dress Penelope (Cleopatra Coleman) up with rocking outfit as a DJ, and how they dress Emily in a silver dress on one of the dancing scenes.

The final dance scene did not wow me as I had expected, however, if you’re looking for entertaining dances and some good songs, Step Up Revolution is worth a watch. It is not as boring as Street Dance 2, but not exactly an improvement as a Step Up sequel. Still, it has its own fun factor though, thanks to the mob.

– review by Cecilia Rusli

2.5 out of 5 reels


Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

When I reviewed Moonrise Kingdom, a bunch of people were recommending more Wes Anderson’s movies, and on the top of that list is this animated feature, voiced by an ensemble cast of Wes’ regulars.

George Clooney is basically reprising his Danny Ocean role in another heist adventure, this time as a sly fox aptly named Mr. Fox. For 12 years, he and Mrs Fox (Meryl Streep) live a peaceful life with their son Ash (Jason Schwartzman). He’s long abandoned his thieving ways and now work as a newspaper columnist. But somehow that long-suppressed animal instincts is back with the arrival of his athletic young nephew Kristofferson. He’s still got what it takes, but what Mr. Fox doesn’t realize is, when he and his partner in crime Kiley decides to raid the three nastiest farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean, that the repercussion extends to the entire animal community.

I immensely enjoyed this one, perhaps slightly more so than Moonrise Kingdom. The stop-motion animation itself is fun to watch, and Wes peppers each character with its own quirks and personality. The script is as sharp as ever and their conversation is quite profound at times.

Why a fox? Why not a horse, or a beetle, or a bald eagle? I’m saying this more as, like, existentialism, you know? Who am I?

There’s also a healthy portrayal of family that’s delightful to see. Mr & Mrs Fox are so cute together, even when she was scolding him for going back to his life of crime and the realistic rivalry between cousins Ash and Kristofferson. The battle between Mr. Fox and the three farmers, led by the scariest one of all, Franklin Bean (Michael Gambon) gets to be quite fierce at times but never losing its sense of humor. What I find interesting is that the three farmers are all Brits but the animals speak with American accent, ahah. No matter though, it’s all very amusing. I especially enjoy the ‘digging’ scenes and there are quite a few of them in this movie.

Seems like the three Wes Anderson films I saw all have a familial them running through ’em. The characters also go through a growing up process, so to speak, one thing for sure, Mr. Fox won’t feel so ‘invincible’ as he did in the beginning of the movie and he also got to appreciate his family and friends at the end.

I’ve come to enjoy Wes’ Autumnal color palette and style, but fortunately, his work is more than just style over matter. Now I’m up for more of his work, perhaps Rushmore next?

4.5 out of 5 reels


An Affair to Remember (1957)

I’ve always wanted to see this film ever since the first time I saw Sleepless in Seattle, but that was years ago. I can’t believe it took me so long to finally see this one. Oh my, now I’ve really fallen in love with this one. Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr shine in this ultimate classic love affair. Both playboy artist Nickie Ferrante and night club singer Terry McKay were engaged when they met in an ocean liner, but they hit it off instantly and the chemistry between them was undeniable.

I always love tales of unrequited love of sort and for a while, their romance didn’t seem to go as planned as the go off the ship. What a shame as they seemed destined for each other. Under the watchful eye of fellow passengers, the couple falls for each other in the most delightful way. Under less skillful talent, this movie could easily be overly sentimental and corny, but witty script and sharp delivery of the actors kept it from being so. In fact, there’s something so authentic about their relationship that makes you root for them to be together.

The scene at Nickie’s grandmother in Italy is especially touching as Grandmother Janou too, fell for Terry and she made not-so-subtle hints about that throughout their meeting. The scenery is beautiful, though of course I wish some of them weren’t just a backdrop. I was enchanted not just by Kerr’s performance, but also her gorgeous costumes!! This is the second film I saw her in [the first one was Beloved Infidel] and I must say I really like her as an actress. The music is of course, sublime. The main theme that shares the same name as the film is beautiful and I appreciate it even more so now that I have experienced this movie. I also love Kerr’s voice, especially when she sang this title song. No wonder the four Oscar noms were in cinematography, music and costume design.

I watched the Special Features after the movie and though the shoot wasn’t entirely smooth, the superstar couple got along well. Interesting that both were going through tumultuous relationships during filming [I had no idea Grant had an unrequited love for Sophia Loren!]. I guess that line ‘We’re heading into a rough sea, Nickie’ was spot on in real life as well.

In any case, I could see why this film is so beloved and was even referenced in contemporary films long after its release. Boy that finale was sooo heart wrenching! An accident prevents their meet-up atop the Empire State Building, and both were crushed that they couldn’t be with each other as they had promised. It was quite a build-up to get to THAT moment that made all of that waiting worthwhile. By that point, I was sniffling on my sofa as I watched that scene, just like Meg Ryan and Rosie O’Donnell did in Sleepless in Seattle! 😀

Kudos to director Leo McCarey for crafting such a beguiling love story, it’s certainly an affair to remember, in every sense of the word. This is one of those classics I wouldn’t mind revisiting again and again in the years to come.

5 out of 5 reels


Thoughts on any of these movies? Do share what movie(s) you watched over the weekend.