Flicks

I love movies and television. Especially old classics and screwball comedies. Despite all the bad press it received in 2011, I am in love with Netflix (the streaming part of the service); there is no shortage of vintage films and TV series in their library. But I am turning on Turner Classic Movies…lately, it seems their lineup is so lacking. And commercial television? Only bearable on Wednesday and Thursday nights (The Middle, Modern Family, Happy Endings, Revenge, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, The Office)…otherwise, incessant cell phone ads have ruined network TV for me. (Enough of that damn Siri, already. I get it. Apple is awesome, it’s a brave new app world, and unless I have an iThingamajig, I am a societal reject.)  
 
Anyway…In keeping with the “record-for-posterity” aim of this blog, I have started keeping track of the movies and shows I watch (as of January 2012), with my thoughts and feedback. So, pass the popcorn, and pass along the suggestions. I am not opposed to newer flicks, first-runs in the theatre, or giving ‘Glee’ another try. Just please no reality programming or anything with “Housewives” in the title. Roll ’em!
 

Action & Adventure

  • Goldfinger (1964)–Sean Connery–I am not a huge James Bond fan. I don’t like how cocky he is, and how women are treated in these films. But I like this film if only for its on-location shots of 1960s Miami. And for Sean in super-short white shorts. (Yup, I get the hypocrisy.)

Children & Family

  • Peter & the Wolf (2006)–Animated–This is a beautifully animated and scored short, a modern take on the children’s classic. It won an Oscar, deservedly.
  • Cartoons That Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection (1994)–Animated–This collection of really old cartoons is unique. The precursor to Merrie Melodies and Harman-Ising and the like. Sweet characters, vintage technique, great music. Several different volumes in this collection. Found it as part of recommended holiday viewing on Netflix, along with about six other volumes of these clever shorts.
  • Hugo (2011)–Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield–Set in 1930s Paris, mostly in an old train station, amidst locomotive steam and clock gears and colorful characters, with a wonderful score and nostalgic, atmospheric beauty.

Comedies

  • Monkey Business (1952)–Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers, Marilyn Monroe–With this cast, I had such high hopes. But such a silly movie and waste of time. 
  • My Man Godfrey (1936)–William Powell, Carole Lombard–William Powell is so loveable in this. Stylish, quick-witted, fun. Lots of martinis and funny fancy types.

Documentaries

  • (looking for recommendations)

Dramas

  • A Bullet for Joey (1955)–Edward G. Robinson, George Raft–This flick showed up as a recommendation in my Netflix queue, based on my prior ratings of Film Noir piece (love this genre). So glad it did! Surprised and happy to see a twist on the setting of this. Instead of New York or Chicago…Montreal! Neat shots of the city and the old port as it was in the ’50s.
  • Impromptu (1991)–Hugh Grant, Judy Davis, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters–I chose to watch this because I remembered a college friend loving it. I think it might have been one of Hugh Grant’s first films, and she was really gaga for him. Twenty years on, and knowing what we know now about Mr. Grant, I don’t think the film has held up all that well. It wasn’t as richly produced as a Merchant-Ivory film (though Emma Thompson did have a great role). And Bernadette Peters played an annoying character (which seems redundant). But this film did pique my interest in Frederic Chopin, prompting me to create a Spotify playlist that provides a soothing musical backdrop to my workday.

Foreign

  • (looking for recommendations)

Horror

  • (looking for recommendations)

Musicals

  • Blue Hawaii (1961)–Elvis Presley, Joan Blackman, Angela Lansbury–The perfect flick to watch in the depths of winter. Beautiful location shots of Kauai, and Elvis giving Goldfinger‘s Sean Connery a run for his money strutting his tan stuff in tight white shorts. Angela Lansbury hysterical as Elvis’ mother in this, even though in real life she was only 3 years older than him.

Mysteries

  • The Kennel Murder Case (1933)–William Powell, Mary Astor, Ralph Morgan–Netflix doesn’t (yet) have any of the Thin Man movies in their library, so decided to try on this flick to get my cocktail-drinking, madcap-sleuthing William Powell fix. It’s a bit more buttoned-up than the Thin Man series, but still entertaining. At just over an hour long (which seems really short for a movie), it moves along at a good clip with a plot just complex enough to keep you from dozing.

Romance

  • (looking for recommendations)

Sci-Fi & Fantasy

  • (looking for recommendations)

TV Shows

  • The Twilight Zone (Original Series) (1959-1964)–Too many actors and great cameos to name–I can’t get enough of this show. For me, the addiction started out as an annual New Year’s TV marathon staple on SciFi (SyFy) Channel. But it’s on Netflix streaming in its entirety, so I can marathon-watch any time I want a dose of well-scripted B&W creepy. It’s great seeing film actors pop up on this show, many before they “made it big”, like Steve McQueen, Burgess Meredith, and William Shatner.
  • 30 Rock (2006- )–Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan–I caught onto this show after it had already been on the air for a few years. Thank goodness for Netflix/Hulu and the ability to access previous seasons in perpetuity! This show boggles my mind with its uber-intelligent writing, comic characters, and the way the stories are woven together so cleverly in a snappy half-hour. Tina Fey and her cohorts are geniuses. Alec Baldwin in portly middle age has never been hotter. I love this show so much, I wanna take it behind a middle school and get it pregnant.
  • Downton Abbey (2010- )–Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith–Growing up, I remember my parents loving Upstairs, Downstairs on PBS. My mom used to tell me how fanatical they were about following the British melodrama, that she even went into labor with me while watching it, and didn’t want to tear herself away mid-episode (or something like this). I think Downton Abbey must be the Upstairs, Downstairs for my generation. It is beautiful, addictive, and intelligent.

Thrillers

  • (looking for recommendations)

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