movie season starts even earlier this year

Ah well, no Red Sox baseball in October this year. I've assumed this for a long time, but we watch the season until the end, regardless of standings. I haven't suffered through 2010 as many Sox fans have. I just stayed in the moment and went along for the ride. I also missed many more games than I usually do, so at least I didn't do that in a championship season!

I see last year's "movie season starts early" post was in mid-October. Ouch.

So this is my annual post where I ask you what movies you saw over the past year that you highly recommend. As I mentioned here, we may concentrate this Movie Season on TV series, beginning with "Slings & Arrows," which many people have recommended to us and which we've never seen. "Death Comes to Town" is also on the list, at least for now.

Do you have another television series that you love and think we should see? We're not big sci-fi fans, although if something is really stellar, we won't avoid it because it's science fiction.

So far, after Slings & Arrows, the top "new" movies on my ZipList are: Broken Embraces (always have to catch up with Almodóvar), It's Complicated, Crazy Heart, The Trotsky (not out on DVD yet), The Ghost Writer, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Yes Men Fix The World, An Education and something called Micmacs.

Two older titles I've been looking for that Zip now has are Our Daily Bread, a documentary about industrial food production, and Denys Arcand's Days of Darkness.

Will Ferrell's recent movie, "The Other Guys," is supposed to be both really funny and slyly anti-capitalist, so it's on the list, too, although also not yet on DVD. I've heard Ben Affleck's "The Town" is terrific; another DVD to wait for.

After that, we're into older titles: It's Not Me I Swear!, Tulpan, Hunger, The Pool, and With A Friend Like Harry. The way Zip works - or doesn't work - you need a minimum number of titles on your list to get decent service. So we often end up paddding out the list with movies that we're only iffy on. If you folks have good suggestions, I can drop some of the older titles.

Any of these you love? Any you hated? What must-sees are missing from our list?


James said...

Micmacs looks like great fun, if it's the same one I'm thinking of. I haven't seen it, but I have seen Jeunet's City of Lost Children and loved it. City was definitely in "surreal fantasy" territory; Micmacs looks a little more grounded in reality.

Here is the trailer, if you haven't seen it.

Another French fantasy film I'm looking forward to seeing is The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec by Luc Besson -- I love how the characters look like they were drawn by Chuck Jones.

My favourite movie of the past year or so was Duncan Jones's Moon, starring Sam Rockwell. Definitely science fiction, but not the usual space opera/action-adventure science fiction that dominates film. I describe it as the best ever film of an Isaac Asimov story that isn't based on an Isaac Asimov story.

(Of course, all the films actually based on Isaac Asimov stories are awful -- what's up with that?)

L-girl said...

Yes, that's the Micmacs I'm thinking of. Looks really cool.

"Moon" looks great - plus Kevin Spacey, always a plus. I've added it to the list, thanks.

I do like (for lack of a better word) thinking-person's science-fiction. Not to offend people who like the scary monster type of sci-fi movie, I'm just into action flicks at all.

That Luc Besson movie has potential, too.

(Of course, all the films actually based on Isaac Asimov stories are awful -- what's up with that?)

What indeed. I put that in the category of "when you really like a book, best to avoid the movie". There are exceptions, but Asimov's work is not among them.

James said...

Just a heads-up for Moon: Spacey provides the computer voice, so he doesn't appear in person.

I really enjoyed District 9 as well, but the second half is very definitely an action movie.

I'm also a fan of smart animated kid movies, and Pixar did their usual excellent job with Toy Story 3 this year. Also, How to Train Your Dragon was unexpectedly good from the usually very derivative Dreamworks.

My current BluRay wish list is mostly made up of older films that have just been remastered, but are all worthwhile:

- King Kong (the original)
- THX 1138 (George Lucas's "smart SF" movie)
- Forbidden Planet (classic smart SF)
- M (Peter Lorre's first film)
- The Ladykillers (the original Alec Guinness version, of course)

For smart SF, The Day The Earth Stood Still -- the original -- was remastered to coincide with the silly Keanu Reeves remake.

Also, the Bell Lightbox is running shows of classic movies. Starting in November they'll be showing the newest restoration of Fritz Lang's silent classic Metropolis. This latest version is over an hour longer than any version I've seen; no idea if it holds up under all that extra time or not, but I'll be going to find out. :)

L-girl said...

Re Spacey, I noted that after I posted the comment. Still a plus! :)

I forgot about District 9, thanks for that. There have been so many sic-fi movies on the how-we-treat-the-other theme, I'm not sure if I can take another. But I might try.

Would you believe I have not seen any of the Toy Story movies? I wanted to see the first one, never did, then it became a franchise and I lost interest. I might still see the first one at some point.

For smart SF, The Day The Earth Stood Still -- the original

That's one of my faves, although I've seen it too many times.

Same for Metropolis. It's great, but I don't think I need to see it again.

Maybe what I mean by "thinking-person's sci fi" is idea-driven, as opposed to special effects driven. That seems like a more neutral way to put it.

L-girl said...

I'm also a fan of smart animated kid movies

I am as well, although I find the "smart" part hard to find. I guess I should put the first Toy Story back on the list!

James said...

I'll defend the Toy Story franchise: it's not a case of one good film followed by a bunch of "continuing adventures" rehashes. Each movie is strong enough to stand on its own.

Pixar never liked the idea of franchising any of their films -- they wanted each one to be fresh. But they'd just struck a deal with Disney in order to get the cash to make the films they wanted. When Disney said they wanted a bunch of direct-to-video rehashes, Pixar swallowed their pride and threw together a junior unit to crank something out.

When Disney saw what this second unit had produced, though, they realized the was the movie too good for the DTV market, and decided to release it theatrically. Pixar, having higher standards than Disney, didn't think it was strong enough for a theatrical release, and insisted on a complete re-write -- and got it.

In the end, Pixar ended up with a franchise they didn't want, but applied the same care and thought to the TS sequels that they did with their new films -- something we can only wish companies like Disney or Dreamworks would do.

Stephanie said...

Micmacs is really great fun!!

I have heard great things about the soon-to-be-released "I am love" with Tilda Swinton. I am waiting to see it.

We rented a really nice film last weekend, City of Your Final Destination (don't know if it made MSM but I have been so unplugged that I had never heard of it).

Last week we saw Ajami, whoa. It is very tough, rather violent, but otherwise a really interesting and provacative film. I found it pushed and pulled me all over the emotional terrain.

johngoldfine said...

'Crazy Heart' is excellent. Have you seen 'Tender Mercies'--it's a life movie for me, on my all-time top 20, and 'Crazy Heart,' if not quite a remake, is certainly a quite a bit more than mere homage.

Plus, you get to see Robert Duvall. If the chance to see Robert Duvall sing and dance and act up a storm doesn't get 'Tender Mercies' on your list, you are beyond human help.

L-girl said...

John, we both love Tender Mercies. In fact, I almost didn't want to see Crazy Heart because it seemed like Tender Mercies redux. But then I saw Robert Duvall was in it. Gotta see it. Plus Tender Mercies was of a different generation, an update could be great.

Stephanie, I saw City of Your Final Destination on Zip. I'll throw it on the list, thanks!

You and I have agreed on many a movie, so if any others you saw over the spring and summer jump out, throw 'em in the thread.

James, thanks for the back story on the Toy Story franchise. The end result is the same. But I should still see the first one, why not.

L-girl said...

Just got my first shipment notice from Zip: Crazy Heart, It's Complicated, Broken Embraces. Yay!

Now if this interminable baseball season would just end, Allan could watch them with me.

johngoldfine said...

This is not a spoiler, but the introduction scene of Robert Duvall in CH is a hat-tip to everyone who has ever seen TM and quite amusing for that reason. You'll see!

AtB B and B said...

A couple of quick notes as my mom is arriving in Stratford soon and there's still cleaning to do!

1) You'll love Slings & Arrows I'll wager.

2) Check out the BBC comedy Black Books - it's near sitcom perfection

3) Do watch all 3 "Toy Story" movies.

4) Peep Show is another British comedy I love - but I see Zip only has the first season. It's in the "uncomfortable humour" genre but well done.

L-girl said...

2) Check out the BBC comedy Black Books - it's near sitcom perfection

Check out wmtc on Black Books. :)

We own it, love it, recommend it often. The first season is one of my absolutely favourites, ever.

Thanks for the recommends! I've heard of Peep Show but have never seen it. I'll look.

And one Toy Story will do for starters! If I love it, that's what sequels are for.

Kim_in_TO said...

Laura: I have Toy Story I and II if you want to borrow them.
I'll confess I mainly bought the set for a single scene in II, which is set to Sarah McLachlan singing a lovely song. The animation is breathtaking - some of it is so realistic.

For tv series, I will recommend Firefly if you haven't seen it. All the sci-fi fans I know agree it is by far the best - and you don't have to be a sci-fi fan. It's more about the people and relationships. I was the most devoted Star Trek fan, and I still do love it and praise it, but compared to Firefly, the characters in Star Trek are entirely 2-dimensional.

L-girl said...

Thanks, Kim. Many people have recommended Firefly. I've been reluctant, but I should probably check it out.

Stephanie said...

Saw Agora last night (hadn't heard of it at all before- must of been out of the country when it ran).

It is guilty perhaps of being a little bit too hollywood when hitting you over the head (quite literally) with the parallels it draws on between the conflicts then and now but the portrayal of Hypatia is inspired.

James said...

Agora got very limited release in North America. In the US, it opened on 2 screens (both in NYC), and a further 2 screens were added a little later, in Los Angeles.

Stephanie said...

Thanks James.

It makes perfect sense given the portrayal of christians in the film. It would have drawn much criticism and therefore huge box office-can't have that. :)

Stephanie said...

Two movie nights this week and as a result I have two more movies to suggest.

-The Kids are alright (really wonderful storyline and an incredible cast)

-The Tempest (Excellent cast- Helen Mirren can do no wrong, Ben Wishaw as Ariel with the help of some special effects is inspired)

laura k said...

Thank you Stephanie! Helen Mirren in the Tempest sounds pretty amazing. You may remember, we saw an excellent Tempest last summer in Stratford.

Thanks for the tips!