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Yay, year-end wrap-up!

Movies Seen In Theatres: 40
10 were released in 2009 (or 11 depending on how you count Un Prophete), the rest from 2010

I'm trying to make a top 10, and it's hard! I saw lots of great movies, and a few movies that I really really enjoyed, despite not being the kind of movie that should maybe be on a "best of" list. Plus, there are still a bunch of movies I need to see before I can make any kind of definitive 2010 list. Nonetheless, I usually make my rankings based on what I saw in a calendar year, not counting the ones I see later (flawed methodology, to be sure.)

My top 5 would be maybe some combination of (in alphabetical order, because I am a wimp):

Black Swan
The King's Speech
Never Let Me Go
The Social Network which I'd probably add:

Easy A
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
The Kids Are All Right
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
True Grit

...and then I'd sneak in and 11 and 12, because I also really enjoyed:

Please Give
The Trotsky

...and maybe a 13, while not technically a "best" movie, one that I enjoyed a great deal:

Babies (because, people--Babies! Babieeeeeeeees!)

Dishonourable mention to the only two movies I saw that were really bad:

Sex and the City 2
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

Le Grand List )
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Fair Game didn't call out to me as a must-see, but I ended up really enjoying it. I'm hot and cold (usually fairly cold) on Sean Penn, but he's great in this, as is Naomi Watts. I remember when the real Valerie Plame outing happened, and was glad to get a refresher on what a nutso thing it was. So infuriating!

I'd been dying to see Black Swan even since I saw the batshit trailer. The movie certainly lives up to the crazy! Totally wacko, totally camp, totally strange and awesome mashup between dance movie and psychological thriller. Natalie Portman is justifiably getting lots of praise, but Barbara Hershey, Mila Kunis and Winona Ryder are also all great.

The King’s Speech is pretty standard Oscar-bait, but damned if it isn't really successful and compelling. Wonderful performances all around, and it makes me want to read more about the real story! Fascinating.

I went to True Grit a bit grudgingly. It was on my Oscar-probable list, but I really don't like Westerns usually. Turns out, I really enjoyed it. More westerns could benefit from the addition of a sassy 14-year old girl who spouts awesome dialogue effortlessly. And Matt Damon as a Texas Ranger.

Tron: Legacy was about exactly what I expected. I re-watched the original last month, and for some reason really wanted to see this. I don't even know why! It's not exactly the kind of movie I usually go to, and I knew it wasn't going to be good. And indeed, it was not good. But fun! Perfectly acceptable matinee fare.

Burlesque was terrible and ridiculous and also pretty hugely entertaining. I mean, it was BAD, really bad, and yet, I laughed my head off and had a thoroughly good time. I don't think it was necessarily trying to be funny--I'm not sure. Fun and terrible. Yay!

At home, we watched the BBC Sherlock and it is superduperly fun and great. I can't wait for Season 2! Plus, now I can't stop saying Benedict Cumberbatch. Hee! Benedict Cumberbatch!!

Our Buffy re-watch/introduce-it-to-CJP has brought us through Season 5. Such great moments, great episodes, devastating ending. But, oy--Glory! Man, I hate her. HATE. I'd forgotten her nails-on-chalkboard quality. Blerg.

I saw some theatre, all of which involved friends, which is always fun. I adore seeing people in shows, especially when the shows are good, as these were!

Forbidden Broadway is a hard show to pull off, with the impersonations, and the Broadway in-jokes. But it was great! My friend Cathy did most of the big, broad characters (Ethel, Carol C, etc) and she truly rules.

White Christmas was really lovely. My friend SJ was one of the sisters, and she's a pleasure to watch on stage. The whole show was big and warm and fun! Lots of excellent tapping, too, which I always enjoy.

We took CJP's niece to Suessical: the Musical, by a professional children's theatre company. We lucked into front row seats, which was just perfect! It's a fun little show, with great performances and magical bits. It was awesome to see it with a kid!
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November was a pretty busy month for me, so I only saw two movies and one musical. Slacker!

Inside Job is a fascinating, compelling documentary on the recent financial crisis, and it made me so sad/mad--smad!

Love and Other Drugs was almost really good, but not quite. I am all in favour of naked Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway, both of whom are very pretty. I am emphatically not in favour of the terrible boorish brother character, who I wanted to punch repeatedly in the nose. Seriously, he brought the movie down at least 2 letter grades. If they'd excised him entirely from the film, it wouldn't have made a lick of difference to the plot, and there would have been time for more naked pretty people scenes! Missed opportunity, people.

I also saw the west coast premiere of a new Canadian musical: Mimi, or a Poisoner’s Comedy, based on the true story of a murderous 17th century marquise who poisoned her father and brothers. The music was decently interesting, the performers were hamming it up enjoyably, and I liked it quite a bit!
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Some movies:

I loved The Social Network. Loved the performances, the screenplay, the direction. Really well done! I know Aaron Sorkin is apparently a jerk in real life, but the man can write some snappy fast dialogue, which is one of my favourite things.

Easy A was a pleasant surprise--I totally enjoyed it! It wasn't perfect, for sure, but what great performances! Emma Stone was great, but Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as her parents just stole the whole movie for me. "So, where are you from, originally?" is a line that still makes me burst out laughing, when I remember the context. (Seriously, I'd recommend renting it just for that line.)

Waiting for “Superman” is a documentary about the public school system in the US. Quite compelling, somewhat polarizing (let's just say that the teacher's union comes off reeeaaaaaally badly, which, as a child and sibling of teacher's union leaders, I found pretty unfortunate), definitely worth checking out.

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger is the latest Woody Allen and it's...not good. CJP thought it was possibly the worst movie he's EVER seen, which, while I wouldn't go that far, is pretty damning. I just thought all the characters were unpleasant and that the plot was boring and lame. Blerg.

A couple of musicals:

I've always enjoyed the score to The Fantasticks, but hadn't seen it done since I was a teenager. The Vancouver Playhouse's production was just lovely--a great cast, whimsical set and direction.

A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline is hardly a show at all--mostly an excuse to hear a bunch of fabulous Patsy Cline songs. Luckily, this Arts Club production has the songs belted out by a good friend of mine, Sara-Jeanne Hosie, who is insanely talented. She is a joy to listen to for an evening of great old tunes.
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I really like compiling my year-end lists, but I'm so far behind still! I gotta get going...

In the theatres in September I saw:

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, an excellent and compelling documentary. I do find it fascinating how so often funny people are totally damaged and sad inside. Definitely recommended.

Going The Distance is a rom-com with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long that I barely remember. I think I liked it ok! Man, I gotta write these posts quicker. Sigh.

I do remember that I liked Never Let Me Go quite a bit. I read the book a few years ago, and I think the movie did it justice. Great moody atmosphere, good performances, great overall creepiness. Good!

I continued my Bones-watching with Season 5. Fun stuff.

September is Fringe month in Vancouver, so my month was theatre-riffic!

TJ Dawe's latest, Lucky 9, was my total favourite. Is it a cliché to say that I laughed and I cried? 'Cause I did! So good.

Also quite good: Every Job I’ve Ever Had, Die Roten Punkte: Kunst Rock, 52 Pick-Up.

Decently fine: Raccoonery!, Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog (I was excited for the live-action version of this, and it was fun, but not as great as I was hoping...)

Not my cup of tea, although I'd always heard such great things about him: Jem Rolls: One Man Riot

I also saw Tear The Curtain!, a super-cool show at the Arts Club that blended theatre and film and was bezonkers. I'm not sure it added up to anything, but it was sure fun to watch.
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In the theatre, I saw:

Solitary Man, which featured Michael Douglas doing what he does very well--the middle aged kinda sleazy jerk. The character is quite unpleasant, but man, he does that well. I thought the movie was pretty good--it's hard to build a story around such an unlikeable guy, but it was certainly compelling and interesting to watch.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was big and colourful and hyperstylized and goofy and ridiculous and quite awesome. I dug it, for sure.

We watched a bunch of DVDs:

Now, I didn't have any particular desire to see 27 Dresses, but in the space of a few days, two different friends told me it was good. Or at least, that it was "better than you'd think." Alas, I thought it was terrible! Oy. Bleargh. Bad script, bad acting, bad bad lame.

I hadn't seen Clue for years, so it was time for a viewing. Cracks me up every time.

I was pretty sure I hadn't seen The Purple Rose of Cairo, and I'm trying to watch some of the Woody Allen older stuff, but about half way through (took me a while, I know) I realized I had seen it. And it's so great. Totally funny, but quite a sad ending. Great film.

After seeing The Kids Are All Right last month, I wanted to introduce CJP to Lisa Cholodenko's last movie, Laurel Canyon, which I'd seen but he hadn't. I quite like it--it's not perfect, but Frances McDormand is so sexy and fierce and layered and awesome. It's definitely worth watching just for her.

For some reason that I can't remember, we decided to watch the Winona Ryder Little Women, which neither of us had seen for years. It's good! I mostly like watching it because it was filmed in Victoria, and a bunch of people I know did background work on it, so there a few scenes in which to play Spot Vestra's Friend!

Crimes and Misdemeanors is another Woody Allen movie I wasn't sure whether I'd seen or not--turns out I hadn't, but I'm so glad I did! Alan Alda is especially fantastic, but it's a strong cast all around. Good stuff!

We've just finished Season 4 of Buffy, so CJP wanted to show me Professor Walsh Lindsay Crouse in something else: House of Games, a great little David Mamet film with Crouse as a psychiatrist getting caught up with con man Joe Mantegna. Crouse's line delivery was weird and stilted, but according to an interview, that was very deliberate, on Mamet's request. I found it distracting, but otherwise I really enjoyed the movie.

After seeing the trailer for the new Tron movie, we thought it would be fun to watch the original, which I saw as a kid, but CJP hadn't ever seen. Super cheesetastic fun!

We also, as mentioned above, made it through some more Buffy, Seasons 3 and 4. Season 3 is so so good. Season 4 has some great moments (Hush! Restless! Superstar!) but some appallingly bad ones, too (Beer Bad! Where The Wild Things Are!) I'm still loving the re-watch, though. Yay, Buffy!

I'm also trying to catch up on Bones, and watched Season 4 over the past while. It's not the world's greatest show by any means, but I do find the character interactions entertaining.

What with all the DVD watching, I only got to one live theatre show:

Glengarry Glen Ross is a play I've always wanted to see live. I love the movie, and jumped at the chance to see a professional production of it at the Arts Club. It was so great. Powerhouse actors just pouncing on the brilliant David Mamet script that is insane to deliver. Loved it.
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I heart movies. I saw three movies in July, and they were all excellent!

The Kids Are All Right has great performances and a good script and was overall very good and recommendable, although there were a couple of plot points that I didn't totally buy, or thought maybe the tone was a bit off. I may need to watch it again to get my thoughts clearer. Mostly, I thought it was awesome.

And speaking of awesome, Inception blew my mind up into a million pieces. Unlike some overly ambitious/complicated/layers of reality movies, I thought this was constructed in such a way that I pretty much knew what was going on, which was nice. I didn't particularly care about the central relationship that a lot of things hinge on, but the visual stuff was so awesomely fantastic, it didn't bother me too much. Ellen Page-as-exposition-fairy was just fine by me (an area that some people didn't like) and Joseph Gordon-Leavitt should be in all movies, weightless fighting or no weightless fighting. He's awesome.

Toy Story 3 made me laugh and cry, as predicted. I'm not a giant animation fan, but Pixar makes good movies, it's true. Well done, and lives up to the quality of the first two. I particularly enjoyed Michael Keaton as a Ken doll.

On DVD, we watched a couple of movies that I'd seen and enjoyed, but CJP hadn't ever seen. I introduced him to:

Searching For Debra Winger, a very cool documentary that Rosanna Arquette made about women in Hollywood. She set out to find out why Debra Winger quit the business (this movie came out several years ago, before Winger was in Rachel Getting Married) and along the way interviewed dozens of actresses about acting, motherhood, getting older in Hollywood, etc. Very interesting movie.

In unpacking, I came across a cassette of the Newsies soundtrack, which led to me to force CJP to watch the movie. It was a favourite of mine when I was a teenager, but I warned him that except for the big dance numbers, it was pretty bad in my memory. And woah, is it! Bad, that is. There are definitely some fun song and dance bits, but any time there's no music, the movie stops dead in its tracks. Robert Duvall is TERRIBLE, Ann-Margret is terrifying. But, still--I had the songs in my head for weeks after, and I can see why teenaged me liked it. Cast of dozens of cute teenage boys singing and dancing. My kind of movie!

We have also embarked on a grand and glorious Buffy rewatch. Well, rewatch for me, first time for CJP! In July we watched Seasons 1 and 2. Man, I love that show. It's exciting to watch it with someone who hasn't seen it. Whenever I know there's an episode or a plot point or even a funny line coming up, I can watch him enjoy it, which is super fun for me!

We went to the theatre, also! A young local company, Fighting Chance Productions, was putting on Hair. It was great! Mostly excellent voices, some cool staging ideas. I love the music in Hair so much-it was great to hear it done well. Yay, theatre!
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I only saw one movie in the theatre in June--the French film A Prophet (Un Prophète). It was nominated last year for an Oscar, and had amazing reviews. I thought it was a very well-made and interesting movie, but the violence was a bit much for me. I mean, it's an intense drama set in a French prison, so the violence wasn't gratuitous or unexpected, but I watched the movie through my fingers for a good portion. Overall, I still thought it was a very compelling story, with great performances.


My friend S has a great knack for going to the video store and picking totally random, weird little movies that I haven't even heard of--and I've heard of most! To wir: Peacock, a totally random, weird little movie starring Cillian Murphy as a man with a female second personality. When a train crashes into his backyard, some townspeople meet the female personality for the first time and assume she's the protagonist's wife. Also starring Ellen Page and Susan Sarandon. Not bad, pretty odd.

CJP was distressed to learn that I had never seen Searching for Bobby Fischer, so we rectified that. It was great! Very compelling.

A Time For Burning was nominated for the best documentary feature Oscar in 1967, which is how it made its way to our Zip queue. It's a fascinating look at a church in Nebraska, and its pastor's attempt to start a dialogue between his congregants and members of a local black church. Definitely worth searching out.

TV-on-DVD-wise, I'm still working through Bones, and just got through Season 3. I'm definitely still really enjoying it. On a side note, CJP and I just started a Buffy re-watch (well, re-watch for me, first time for him!) and man, does David B look young!!

I saw a lot of live theatre this month, because, oh yeah, I went to New York!!! Always a fantastic trip.

Sondheim on Sondheim is a revue of SS's work, coupled with cool multimedia components. Between songs, there are big video screens showing old-and-new interviews with Sondheim talking about his writing process and even his personal life. Very cool. Neat staging, too, and excellent performances. It was a real treat to see Barbara Cook! My other favourite was Norm Lewis, who can feel free to sing to me any time. His "Being Alive" was insane. Love love love.

Why stop at one Sondheim show? We next took in the revival of A Little Night Music starring Angela Lansbury (!!^*#*&^*&@^!!!) and Catherine Zeta-Jones, who were both excellent. It was a somewhat scaled-down revival in terms of sets, cast size and orchestra, but it was still really effective. "Send In The Clowns" may be a bit (!) of an old warhorse at this point, but in the context of the show, it's devastating, and C Z-J brought it.

Having forgotten that some shows have different weekly show schedules, we weren't able to see the show we were planning for on the Wednesday night we were there (Next to Normal), so we somewhat spontaneously chose Everyday Rapture as a fill-in. It's a semi-autobiographical basically one-woman (there are also two backup singers and a brief cameo by a kid) show starring Sherie Rene Scott, one of my favourite theatre singers. She takes us, through the use of pop songs and stories, from her childhood as a half-Mennonite in Kansas all the way to the semi-big time on Broadway. She has a great voice and a totally winning, weirdo kook persona. I dug it!

After three pretty small shows by Broadway standards, we wanted to see a big old serious capital-B Broadway Musical! Mary Poppins did not disappoint. We chose it because a theatre school friend of mine was in it, and I'm glad we did! It was big--big cast, big set, big Disney Magic. I totally enjoyed it--not to mention, it was awesome to see a friend on Broadway! After the show, he met us at the stage door and gave us a tour of the stage area. Awesome!

Speaking of friends in shows, when I got to Vancouver, one of the first things I did was go see a production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee that several friends and acquaintances are in. It was excellent. I love having talented friends!!
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I love movies!

Date Night wasn't great, but it was silly fun. I enjoy Tina Fey and Steve Carell, and Mark Wahlberg's abs, all of which were featured in abundance.

Please Give is Nicole Holofcener's latest, starring her muse, Catherine Keener, one of my faves. I thought it was really interesting. The characters are flawed, sometimes unlikeable people, but the movie was still very likeable. It raises some interesting things to ponder about guilt and family and class and what it means to be a good person.

Babies. Babies!!! Baaaaaaabiiiiiieeeeeeees!!! Man, I love babies. I love real babies! I love movies about babies! Babies!!

I enjoyed The Trotsky a lot. Very clever Canadian movie starring the adorable Jay Baruchel, about a Montreal teenager who believes himself to be the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky. Good stuff.

I liked the show a lot, and enjoyed the first movie (while realizing it was not *actually* good), but Sex and the City 2 was TERRIBLE. 3 stars for the excellently insane outfits, but -5 stars for the plot, dialogue and acting. Appalling. All of these people have talent--how did this happen? Oy vey.


Starting Out In The Evening is a lovely little movie about an unusual friendship between an aging novelist and a grad student writing a paper about him. Great performances from Frank Langella and Lauren Ambrose.

Hmm-along the same lines of SATC, I'll say: I liked the show a lot, and sort of enjoyed the first movie, but The X-Files: I Want To Believe was pretty bad. Sadness.

I’ll y a Longtemps Que Je T’aime (I've Loved You So Long) is a compelling and affecting French drama starring Kristin Scott Thomas, who gives an incredible performance as a woman recently released from prison who moves in with her sister.

The Big Bang Theory Season 2 was good fun. I'm liking it more and more as I watch it. The characters are getting more developed, and the whole thing is just funnier.

Live Theatre

The Long Weekend is a fun Norm Foster play that I saw done by a bunch of my friends. He's not always my thing, but I found this one quite funny, and I love having talented friends and seeing them on stage!

I got a free ticket to Rock of Ages, otherwise I probably wouldn't have gone. I'm so glad I did--it is ridiculous, loud fun! Way over-the-top craziness, awesome (did I mention loud?) singing, and servers wandering the aisles, selling drinks during the show! What could be better?
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I went to the movies:

I had no particular interest in seeing The Blind Side, but wanted to do as well as I could on my Oscars Death Race. It was ok. I have no particular problem with Sandra Bullock getting the Oscar for it, though it was not my favourite performance. She was good. The movie just seemed so rote Hollywood formula--not that interesting to me. And it features one of the worst kid actors I've seen in a long time. I cringed every time he opened his mouth--eek!

The Messenger *finally* opened in Toronto about a week before the Oscars--yay! I really liked it. I found it compelling and interesting, and Woody Harrelson was excellent in it.

I liked Alice In Wonderland just fine, but I must come down firmly in the anti-3D camp. Annoying all around. Distracting, uncomfortable (glasses on top of glasses=lame) and not that exciting. My life is in 3D. I see 3D all day long. I am perfectly happy to watch my movies in plain old 2D. Also, Johnny Depp was delightful, but it really made me want to see him play an actual normalish person again one day. It feels like it's been a while.

Shutter Island was a pretty fun, twisty movie. I thought I knew where it was going, but was not entirely correct, which was nice. Not the world's greatest movie or anything, but I enjoyed it.

I liked Green Zone quite a bit. Matt Damon:action hero is just fine by me. Any kind of Matt Damon is ok with me, for that matter.

I also watched some movies on DVD:

I tried to see as many of the nominated short films as I could. I saw all 5 animated shorts, and 3 of the live action shorts. I'm not the world's biggest fan of animated movies, so I mostly thought they were just fine, but not exciting. The Wallace and Gromit was my favourite? Maybe? I loved the concept of Logorama but found the plot and writing too juvenile and ridiculous to hold my interest. My favourite of the live action shorts was Instead of Abracadabra, which is strange and hilarious and totally bonkers. Chimay!

Food, Inc was good, but I found it covered a lot of ground that I already knew about, having read things like The Omnivore's Dilemma and Fast Food Nation. Interesting stuff, but I felt like it was preaching to the choir with me!

I LOVED The Secret of Kells. (I downloaded it--shhhh, which I never do, but I really wanted to see it, and it wasn't playing anywhere and isn't on DVD yet.) It's totally gorgeous and stunning and I want to see it again! It reminded me visually a bit of Sita Sings The Blues, which was one of my favourite movies I saw last year.

Après les Oscars, I had a bit of a movie break. Then, when Corey Haim died, I felt I needed to rewatch Lucas. It's so lovely! He had such potential--it's a shame he had such a troubled life.

I watched the US remake of State of Play a month or so after having watched the awesome BBC miniseries. The movie was perfectly good, but kind of paled in comparison. It's hard to stuff 6 hours of awesome into a 2-hour movie. Taken on its own, it's quite good, I think.

Annnnnnnnnd, I watched a couple of seasons of TV on DVD:

Veronica Mars Season 3 was very enjoyable. Maybe not my favourite of the seasons but still super fun. I need to buy these DVDs--high rewatch potential.

Castle Season 1 was also super fun. Nathan Fillion is awesomesauce. I'm not entirely enamoured of the actress playing opposite him--I feel like it's a cool character, but her line readings don't often convince me, especially when she's trying to be sexy. Or super tough. Or...well, often. But it's worth watching just for the awesomeness of the Fillion.
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Why, oh why, does it take me so long to write these up! I do enjoy doing it, yet it sometimes takes me weeks to get around to it. Anyway. I saw stuff in February!

The only in-theatre movie I saw was The Last Station, which I quite enjoyed. It hasn't exactly stayed with me, but I remember really enjoying the performances by Christopher Plummer, Helen Mirren, and hot James McAvoy. Also Paul Giamatti and his excellent facial hair.

I went on a serious pre-Oscars DVD binge. this'll get long )
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I just realized that I didn’t finish my post on what I saw in January. I figure I should quickly do it, before it’s suddenly time to talk about my February movies!

Anyway—I did the movies I saw in the theatre. Now on to DVD:

The only movie I actually watched on DVD in January was Inglourious Basterds, which I had avoided in the theatre because I’m not a giant Tarentino fan. I really liked it, though, much more than I anticipated. Christoph Waltz is well worthy of all the praise and awards he’s up for. Fantastic. I think going in, I only really knew about the Brad Pitt Nazi-hunters plot, which was fun, but I really liked a lof of the other subplots more. Good movie!

Rach and I like to watch TV on DVD on the rare evenings that we’re both at home. We gave True Blood Season 1 a try, but had to admit by about two thirds of the way through that neither of us cared or were very interested in what was happening. So we punted it! Well, actually, we watched the last few episodes on fast forward, because there was one little thing we wanted to see resolved—the rest of it, we really couldn’t be bothered with. Life’s too short!

Bones Season 2, on the other hand, continued to be fun and awesome. I like this show! I’m glad there are more seasons to catch up on—hooray!

I went to real live theatre a few times in January! I wish I could afford to go ALL THE TIME. Seriously—If I could go to a play or musical once a week or something, it would bring me great joy. I’m pretty good at finding discounts, but still—it adds up.

Rent was popping through town with a few original cast members: Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, and Gwen Stewart. I saw Rent in New York in 1997 when the original cast was still in, but Adam and Anthony were both off that night—so I definitely wanted to check them out, even though they’re now too old to believably be in this show! Anyway. It was awesome. We tried for the front row lottery, and got it! Fun! Anthony was amazing. Adam was hot, but kind of can’t sing much anymore. I think he blew out his voice from years of misuse, so now he has this weird nasal, almost adenoidal sounding tone. Quite odd. So glad I went, though—fun!

Just East of Broadway is a Fringe show that was getting a little remount. A friend of mine was in it, which is always fun. I liked it! I enjoy seeing new musicals. I really should try writing one myself—I think I could!

The Light In The Piazza is a gorgeous, lovely show that doesn’t get performed a ton, so I was excited to finally get to see it live after admiring the score for ages and seeing a taped performance of the Broadway cast on PBS a few years ago. This was a great production—lovely set and costumes, and great performances. I’m so glad to live in a city with so much cool theatre! (I saw more fun stuff in February—post to come soon!)
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I went to lots of movies in January--got to catch up on the 2009 movies that I didn't get to yet...

Sherlock Holmes is big and loud and quippy and ridiculous and full of HoYay! and I enjoyed the heck out of it. It was a little too obviously set up to start a franchise, but I could watch RDJr and Jude's silly mustache banter back and forth for hours. I wish that Rachel McAdams had had more to do, but other than that--good stuff!

I liked It’s Complicated more than I thought I would--I thought that, even with the groovy cast, it still might suck, but I really liked it. Meryl Streep is delightful, and Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin are both hilarious. I also really enjoyed John Krasinksi as Meryl's son-in-law--he had some great lines. I also covet Meryl's character's house/kitchen beyond all covetting--gorgeous! And I want to live in her bakery. Everything was so damned pretty!

And speaking of pretty: Holy crap, A Single Man. Fantastic looking film. Good film, and excellent, hearbreaking performance by Colin Firth, but I mostly just couldn't get over how great the film *looked*. Directed by a fashion designer, indeed. I'm annoyed it didn't get nominated for cinematography or art direction (or whatever the job is that made it look so amazing--I don't really know...)

Invictus is a perfectly good biopic. I didn't love it, but I found it mediumly compelling. I'd say I liked it somewhat more than I thought I would. Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon were both very strong. There were more long scenes of rugby playing than I cared for, but there were a few very good scenes and overall--good.

Ooh, my first actual 2010 movie: Youth In Revolt. I'm undecided as to how I felt about this movie. I do love me some Michael Cera, but I'm not sure I dug him in this. His "bad" alter ego was odd, and I didn't find his regular nerd persona that appealing this time, either. Some funny bits, for sure, and some creative directing moments. Not actually bad, but not stunning either, is my ambivalent review.

Crazy Heart was great. I really loved it! The praise and awards heaped on Jeff Bridges are justified--I thought he was brilliant and gave a really fabulous, lived-in performance. Maggie Gyllenhaal was subtle and enjoyable--I was surprised to hear her name called on Oscar nomination morning, but glad. She's lovely. And the main song, "The Weary Kind" is excellent, and sure to win the Oscar.

I had been kind of scared to go see Precious, thinking it would destroy my soul or something. But it didn't! I mean, it was heartbreaking, and some scenes were certainly hard to watch, but there were also more uplifting moments, and I thought it was a very well made, and moving movie. I'm glad I went! Mo'nique is fantastic and will justly walk away with the big gold prize. Wow. Gabby Sidibe is also excellent, and I hope she goes on to do lots more stuff!

And finally, with a sigh, I went to see Avatar. I had enough points for a free ticket. I knew I had to see it eventually, on my quest to see all the nominated movies. And I tried to go in with an open mind, but I just didn't see what all the fuss was about. Yes, the 3D was a lot better than it used to be, but I still found things blurry around the edges and not as seamless as I was expecting. (Plus, side note--wearing 3D glasses over real glasses is annoying and uncomfortable. Grumble.) But sure, it was visually pretty stunning. But omigod, the story! The dialogue! The ridiculous clichéd-ness of it all! Oy. To quote Liz Lemon from a while ago, "I want you to pay close attention to the following over-the-top eye roll: Ohhhhh, brrrrrother!"
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Man, if I don't get my year-end lists done by the end of January, that's just sad.

Here then, are the movies I saw on DVD last year, arranged by varying degrees of "good"-ness, according to whatever I can remember about them, considering it's been many months since I watched most of them:

List! Yay! )
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Time for another nerdy list:

Movies Seen In Theatres:45

Not from 2009: 9 (7 from 2008, 1 from 1979, 1 from 1964)
Documentaries: 6
Animated: 5
Ummm...I don't know how else to nerdily categorize them, except by comedy/drama/etc, but I don't feel like it.

Top 5 favourites: (This could change at any given moment)

An Education
Up In The Air
(500) Days of Summer
In The Loop
Fantastic Mr. Fox
oh, ok Top 6: Sita Sings The Blues

It's so hard to pick favourites! There were hardly any I saw that I didn't like quite a bit.

Here's the list, by month: )
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Oh, Oscar season, how I love you. I went to tons of movies last month--so many to seeeeee!

Brothers was great. I haven't seen the Danish original, but now I really want to. I thought the performances were really strong, especially the child actress who played the older daughter. She's a force to be reckoned with.

Where The Wild Things Are was really sad and lovely and cool and interesting. Well done!

Fantastic Mr. Fox was omigod so cool. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Really cool stop motion animation, great voice acting. All around excellence.

I enjoyed The Young Victoria very much, especially Emily Blunt's performance--she is excellent. The film made me realize that all I know of Queen Victoria (not much!) is from her post-Albert sad times. I liked learning about her upbringing and the early days of her reign.

The Princess and the Frog is a fun, if fairly by-the-book, Disney princess movie. Props for finally having an African-American heroine, and I dug Randy Newman's jazzy score and the Creole firefly.

Nine, oh Nine. I have this problem with movie musicals if I know the stage show too well--I can't just watch it an appreciate it as a movie. I thought it was pretty good, but I was annoyed that they cut some of my favourite songs, and didn't especially like most of the new songs. Great performances, though, and it's fun and flashy. One other quibble--I wish directors of movie musicals would stop being so scared of making an actual *musical*. I want to see a musical where the people sing and dance in their actual scenes--not just up on stage or in someone's imagination. People sing in musicals-that's the whole point!

Up In The Air is just great. Fantastic. Funny, sad, quirky, awesome. George Clooney and Vera Farmiga have smoking hot chemisty. Anna Kendrick (a child stage actress--second-youngest Tony nominee ever, back when she was 12!) is so good. I loved this movie to bits. I should go see it again!

Broken Embraces was...odd. Maybe I was too tired? I have enjoyed other Almadovar films, but this one just was a big meh for me. Penelope Cruz was great, and the movie looked wonderful, but the plot didn't add up to much, and some of big reveals were really underwhelming. Unless I just didn't get it, which is entirely possible. Maybe I should see this one again, too, as all the reviews I've read have been glowing, and...I don't get it.

Among all the moviegoing, I also went to a musical! I was intrigued to see a musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol by Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens. The score was fun, but not super memorable. I can see it getting done by more groups, though--yay for seasonal musicals!
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One day I will post about something other than the stuff I read/watch. Today is likely not that day. Maybe tomorrow! I do have things I want to post about--I just...never seem to get around to it. Lame.

Anyway--I went to movies aplenty this past month. Lots. these ones: )
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