Sorry I haven't been blogging much, but the holiday season has been hectic and exhausting. So, I will catch up on a few missed Movie Mondays today. Here's what we've been watching in between holiday doings lately
Before all the holiday craziness began, Ken and I watched Vicky Christina Barcelona, a Woody Allen movie set in (yes, you guessed it) Barcelona. Two best friends, Vicky (played by Rebecca Hall) and Christina (played by Scarlett Johansson), go to Barcelona so that Vicky can do some research for her post-graduate degree. They meet a handsome, sensual Spaniard named Juan Antonio (played by Javier Bardem) who tries to seduce them. Vicky is engaged, but Christina quickly becomes involved with Juan Antonio. A strange love triangle ensues when his passionate but unstable ex-wife Maria Elena (played by Penelope Cruz) enters the scene. We are not huge Woody Allen fans, but Ken and I both enjoyed this movie. It definitely has its sad moments, but it is also filled with joy and passion (and humor) - basically a story about the ups and downs of love and life. With the kids, we watched Disney's A Christmas Carol, the recent animated version starring Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge. We love A Christmas Carol and usually listen to an audio version in the car each holiday season - we hadn't done that yet this year, so we enjoyed watching the movie together. We were surprised by how frightening this animated movie was, though - I think young kids would definitely be scared by it and maybe have nightmares. Craig (14) went out to a party one night, so Ken and Jamie (18) and I watched True Grit, the 2010 version by the Coen brothers starring Jeff Bridges. I've heard great things about this movie and knew it had won awards. but I still wasn't sure I'd like a violent cowboy movie. We all loved it! I was surprised by how funny it was...and also touching. Hailee Steinfeld, the girl who played the lead role of Maddie, was absolutely outstanding, as were Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. Maddie, 14, hires Bridges, an aging US Marshal who is known as the toughest one around, to find her father's killer so she can take revenge. Damon plays a Texas Ranger also looking for the same man. Both men - and everyone else they come across - vastly underestimate Maddie. It is a fabulous story made even better with superb acting. Now I'd like to see the original version starring John Wayne. With a houseful of guests for 5 days, we took a much-needed break one night and watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. It was just as expected - total silliness and lots of slapstick humor featuring Chevy Chase - which was just what we needed. Lots of laughs with the family, and it made our own family seem downright quiet and normal!
Here at my father-in-law's house, we watched Mission Impossible 3: Ghost Protocol the first night we arrived. It was also as expected - lots of insane action scenes with Tom Cruise, an intricate plot (that my FIL couldn't follow), and all sorts of amazing high-tech gadgets. Fast-paced, filled with action, and fun. Last night, we watched a classic thriller from 1978 that we thought my FIL might enjoy more (and that we've wanted to share with the boys for a while): Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Though not as lightning-fast as recent thrillers, it kept us all on the edge of our seats and yelling at the screen: "No! Don't fall asleep!" Is there anyone out there who isn't familiar with the plot of this classic? Two friends working for the Department of Public Health in San Francisco begin to notice strange things happening to the people around them, after unusual new flowers appear everywhere. High suspense follows. It's a classic for a reason, and we all enjoyed it (though the boys needed to watch an episode of Modern Family afterward before bed!)
Jamie actually made it to the midnight showing of The Hobbit on opening night, but the rest of us haven't seen it yet. When I was a kid, my family used to go to Toronto for New Year's Eve weekend and watch back-to-back movies in the new multiplexes there - lots of great memories of movies and New Year's celebrations. Wish I had the stamina for that now!
Have you seen any good movies this holiday season?
Happy New Year!
(If you are also interested in what we've been reading, check out the Monday post on my book blog ).