Monthly Roundup: March Movie-Watching Recap

Though I’ve been blogging for over 2 years now, I’ve never actually done a monthly movie-watching recap before. But I’ve been inspired by EricAndy, Diana and Andina so from now on, I’m going to do this on the first or second day of the month.

Like Diana said on her post, I too feel so diminutive seeing how many more films my fellow bloggers see in a given month! I count myself lucky if I got to see four movies in a week, and this weekend I was hoping to see Carnage or Whistleblower but ended with a big fat zero as I was busy all day Friday and went to an Indonesian Festival at the University of Minnesota on Saturday.

Anyway here are the movies I saw in March:

  1. My Week with Marilyn
  2. Hunger Games
  3. Casablanca
  4. Three Musketeers
  5. Lambent Fuse
  6. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
  7. Senna
  8. Breaking Dawn
  9. Puss in Boots
  10. Contagion

Re-watch:

Favorite March Movie:

I’d say it’s a tie between Casablanca and Senna, they’re two very different films but both made a tremendous impression on me. I still plan on doing an appreciation post for Casablanca sometime this month.

So this month I only saw a total of ten new films [gasp!] with about three that I re-watched, bringing the total to a whopping… thirteen! [wince] Yes I know, it’s VERY low for even a common moviegoer, let alone a movie blogger!! I am hoping to see more movies each month and maybe even add one or two movies on week nights. Well the nice thing is, I was actually able to review most of the films I saw, whilst I still haven’t got around to reviewing a few of the movies I saw around the holidays (December/January), such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse. I’ll do mini reviews of those films I mentioned in the near future.

Well, my goal is to watch 100 new films by the end of the year (by *new* I mean films I had not seen before, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be a contemporary film released in 2021). So far I’ve seen 19 of those this year, which means I have to see an average of 10 films every month if I were to hit my goal 😀


Well, surely the lot of you saw way more films than I did. So what’s your favorite film(s) you saw in March?

Double Screening Reviews: Jeff Who Lives At Home & Salmon Fishing in The Yemen

Happy Thursday all! Today I bring you two mini reviews that my friend Haley and I saw at an advanced screening this week.

Jeff, Who Lives At Home

Directors: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
Stars: Jason Segel, Ed Helms and Judy Greer

Let me preface by saying I’m no writer, in fact a sheer sense of panic set in when Ruth asked me to write a review for her blog. I’m also no film connoisseur, but I am a visual person and movies are stories in pictures, I love that. Also, someone once told me that life begins when you step outside your comfort zone, so here goes…

So last night, I went with a group of 5 to a screening of Jeff, Who Lives at Home at the Lagoon Cinema in Uptown, Minneapolis. I must say, it was a far cry from Steve McQueen’s Shame I saw a couple of weeks prior that left me feeling uncomfortable, dirty and a overwhelmingly unsettled. But this isn’t about Shame…I still don’t know how I feel about that one.

The consensus for Jeff, Who Lives at Home was determined unanimously over post-movie drinks to be “Almost great”. Although it all left us with warm fuzzies and wondering what signs in our lives we may have been ignoring, it certainly wasn’t what we had expected. So many movies these days market themselves as comedies, cause everyone likes to laugh and feel good, but this was a different approach and may very well have been the best way to get people into the theater with a cast of comedians. It was funny, don’t get me wrong, and there was probably even one too many jokes about the unusually large size of Jason Segel, but definitely more of a drama than a comedy.

One of my friends proclaimed “Well, I liked it and I usually hate most movies”, so even with the toughest critics it seemed to hit some sort of chord. Despite not being great and not quite what we were expecting it was good. And as much as the yogi in me wants to trust in everything and have faith in the universe that eventually our destiny will be revealed I also sympathize with the skeptics and realists in the world that have been burned too many times by trusting in their optimism.

So if you are looking to be uplifted, laugh a little and almost shed a tear at the end, then this movie is for you. If you ever find yourself wondering if that little seemingly insignificant thing that happened to you today meant something more, than this movie is for you. If you have ever found yourself searching for meaning in life and know you were meant for great things that just haven’t revealed themselves yet, then this is for you. If you are looking for a naked Jason Segel and toothless Ed Helms then you may be somewhat disappointed. But for all the dreamers and optimists (or wannabes) in search of inspiration and happiness we so desperately need in our lives, this is a flick that shouldn’t be missed. Not to mention, I’ve always secretly wished Susan Sarandon was my Mom.

3 out of 5 reels

Review by Haley K.


Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Director: Lasse Hallström
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amr Waked, Kristin Scott Thomas

This movie is one of my most anticipated films I listed on this post, so when I got advanced screening tickets from my pal Ted, I was very excited. Thankfully it did not disappoint!

The one thing that grabbed me right away is the bizarre story, based on a novel of the same name by Paul Torday. I mean Salmon fishing in Yemen?? I mean how could the species that thrive in cold water survive in the hot climate of the Middle East??

Well, the protagonist Fred Jones (McGregor), a fisheries expert for the British government, ponders the exact same thing when he receives this peculiar request. His first meeting with a rep for a wealthy sheik (Blunt) at her office is quite a hoot to watch, especially the scene of him illustrating the impossibility of this project and making up some incredibly high amount of money (50 million Pounds!) in attempt to dissuade the sheik. But obviously money is no object and the sheik is willing to do whatever it takes to make this happen.

The sheik (Waked) mentions the notion of faith frequently to the atheistic Jones, challenging him that there’s more to life than ‘facts and figures.’ It’s not so much faith in religious terms so much as a conviction and believing that something could happen against all odds. The Egyptian-born Waked is so darn charismatic and charming, perfectly cast as a kind and wise Arab royalty who actually has a purpose for this seemingly preposterous project and not simply to indulge on his salmon fishing hobby.

This film is quite tricky to categorize, I mean it’s sold as a rom-com but there are elements of environmentalism, foreign relations and even terrorism, though not in a way you’d expect. In fact, it’s a rare film where a wealthy Arab is portrayed in a positive light and breaks the stereotype that not all of them want to blow up the West.

The casting is definitely a strong point here. McGregor and Blunt have a sweet chemistry together, and their slow-burn romance is wonderful to watch. Blunt has a more emotional performance here, which works pretty well against the more deadpan McGregor. I definitely enjoy seeing Scott Thomas in a comedic role as an over-zealous Britain Press Secretary. She’s so sarcastic it’s downright cruel, bossing everyone around including her own boss the Prime Minister. The iPhone chat between the two is pretty funny, but her reaction seeing the Arab guards dressed in Scottish kilts at the sheik’s castle prompted the most laughter, ‘Oooh, happy birthday Patricia!’

Aside from the few surprising twists and the quirky premise, this movie doesn’t really break new grounds. A lot of the scenes are quite predictable, but Swedish director Lasse Hallström’s direction made for an enjoyable and heart-warming movie. There are also gorgeous scenery of the Scottish highlands (and the sheik’s sprawling estate) and also Morocco which subs for Yemen.

So yeah, Salmon Fishing in Yemen is a fun catch (pardon the pun). It probably won’t be as fondly remembered as Chocolat, but I don’t even mind renting this again one day on DVD.

4 out of 5 reels


Have you seen any of these? If not, do either of them appeal to you?

Most Anticipated 2012 Movies – Part I

Well, we’ve said so long to 2011 and it’s time to say hello to 2012.

It’s been quite a year at the movies but if all the trailers released around the holiday tell you at all, 2012 is going to be quite a fantastic year, especially to superhero movie fans like yours truly. But instead of posting a long, exhaustive list, I’m going to split this anticipated list into four parts, one for every quarter.

The lull after the holiday is customary so the list for late Winter and Spring movies are quite short, and some of these are actually already in my list from last year! So anyway, here are a list of movies that I’m hoping to catch between the months of January – March (release dates are for USA – info from IMDb):

  • Coriolanus (January 20)
    A banished hero of Rome allies with a sworn enemy to take his revenge on the city.

    I can’t believe I still have not seen this film yet but I’ve blogged about this numerous times, here and here, and posted the trailer here. I sure hope this’ll play in my city soon enough or I’ll be going mad!

    Updated 1/12 – check out this clip of the start of the big fight scene between Coriolanus and Aufidius:

    Vodpod videos no longer available.

    ….

  • The Raven (March 9)
    A fictionalized account of the last days of Edgar Allan Poe’s life, in which the poet pursues a serial killer whose murders mirror those in the writer’s stories.

    Ever since I saw the panel at Comic-con and saw the trailer below, I’m quite intrigued. Plus it’s got Luke Evans, one of the up-and-coming Brits on my watch.

    ……
  • Salmon Fishing In The Yemen (March 9)
    A fisheries expert is approached by a consultant to help realize a sheik’s vision of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the desert and embarks on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible possible.


    The title caught my attention right away, and the plot is definitely intriguing. I love Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor is always watchable. Plus, it’s directed by Lasee Hallström who did the delightful Chocolat.
    … 
  • Playing the Field (March 9)
    A former professional athlete with a weak past tries to redeem himself by coaching his son’s soccer team, only to find himself unable to resist when in scoring position with his players’ restless and gorgeous moms.

    Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about my boy Gerry Butler amidst my Gregory Peck mania, ahah. He’s got a few movies I’m looking forward to this year, and the first one is this soccer comedy. Yes I know he doesn’t have a good track record on rom-coms but this premise is quite promising and just check out the female cast: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Uma Thurman, Jessica Biel, and Judi Greer.

    I’ve posted some behind-the-scenes pictures a while ago, but these had just been released last December. I certainly can’t wait to see these two wildly attractive people on-screen together. I’ll be sure to post the trailer as it becomes available.


  • The Hunger Games (March 23)
    Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister’s place for the latest match.

    I wasn’t initially interested in seeing this one but out curiosity I got the first book and now I’m hooked. I think Jennifer Lawrence is quite talented and very watchable, and I’m curious the other, equally hunky Hemsworth brother Liam on screen for the first time. I sure hope the film lives up to the book! Check out the trailer below if you haven’t already:


    sss.
  • The Deep Blue Sea (March 30)
    The wife of a British Judge is caught in a self-destructive love affair with a Royal Air Force pilot.

    In case you didn’t already know, I have a bit of a crush on Tom Hiddleston! Yes he’s Loki from Thor and the arch nemesis of The Avengers folks. But ever since seeing him in Midnight in Paris and then War Horse, he’s officially one of my favorite new Brits 😀 So the main draw of this movie is him naturally, but I also like Rachel Weisz and the story reminds me a bit of The English Patient… I have a penchant for tragic love stories.

Well, those are my anticipated list for the next three months. What are yours?