Films in 2014: January

First month of the year down, and I’ve already made some progress on goals I hope to achieve. I watched 4 films from the 1920s for starters, the most I’ve seen in a month sadly, though 2 of those films weren’t silents (though Blackmail is sometimes argued as one). I also watched several Best Picture nominees, which of course include films nominated at the Oscars this year. February looks like it’ll be the same with watching more Best Picture nominees, since today is the start of TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar, and there are plenty of Best Picture nominees on their schedule that I hope to see. I also still need to see Nebraska and Philomena as far as this year’s nominees go. I’ll be making a post at the end of the month too on my thoughts on the Oscars before the ceremony, along with a few posts that will feature my favorite winners from Oscar history, so there’s that to look forward to later! Anyway, onto this month’s list of films…

New-to-Me: 41

Re-Watched: 4

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1920s – 4
  • 1930s – 8
  • 1940s – 6
  • 1950s – 5
  • 1960s – 2
  • 1970s – 1
  • 1980s – 1
  • 1990s – 3
  • 2000s – 1
  • 2010s – 10

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. Broadcast News (1987)
  2. All This, and Heaven Too (1940)
  3. 12 Years a Slave (2013)
  4. Separate Tables (1958)
  5. Lost Horizon (1937)
  6. American Hustle (2013)
  7. Casino (1995)
  8. Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
  9. Blue Jasmine (2013)
  10. The Unknown (1927)
  11. Design for Scandal (1941)
  12. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
  13. The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)
  14. It Happened at the World’s Fair (1963)
  15. The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929)
  16. Her (2013)
  17. Our Dancing Daughters (1928)
  18. Senso (1954)
  19. That Forsyte Woman (1949)
  20. Elena and Her Men (1956)
  21. That Certain Woman (1937)
  22. These Glamour Girls (1939)
  23. Lady for a Day (1933)
  24. Magic Town (1947)
  25. Blackmail (1929)
  26. She Done Him Wrong (1933)
  27. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)
  28. Vivre sa vie (1962)
  29. Captain Phillips (2013)
  30. The Ice Follies of 1939 (1939)
  31. A Face in the Crowd (1957)
  32. Hollywood Canteen (1944)
  33. Dazed and Confused (1993)
  34. Ernest & Célestine (2012)
  35. Slap Shot (1977)
  36. Despicable Me 2 (2013)
  37. August: Osage County (2013)
  38. The Great Waltz (1938)
  39. The Painted Veil (1934)
  40. It’s a Great Feeling (1949)
  41. Jerry Maguire (1996)

Monthly Tallies

  • Best Picture Nominees Watched: 13
  • Movies Watched from The Criterion Collection: 5
  • Movies Watched via the Watch TCM app: 16
  • Movies Watched on TCM: 2
  • Movies Watched on Hulu: 2
  • Movies Watched in theaters: 0

Trends and Notes

  • Played catch up this month and watched 9 movies from last year (5 of which are nominated for Best Picture)! Or 10 if you count Ernest & Célestine, since it is up for Best Animated Film this year.
  • Watched 6 films starring or featuring Joan Crawford, as she was TCM’s Star of the Month for January.
  • Watched 3 films starring or featuring Bette Davis.

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

Broadcast News (1987)

Broadcast News (1987), directed by James L. Brooks

A great way to start a new year in movie-watching! I initially watched this because I’m taking some broadcast news-related classes this semester, and wanted to get a taste of it (through a movie) before classes began. Anyway, I enjoyed the humor in this, along with the fantastic performances from Holly Hunter, William Hurt, and Albert Brooks. I also enjoyed seeing Joan Cusack and Jack Nicholson in smaller roles. It also features some really nice cinematography by Michael Ballhaus, especially in the scene where Tom (Hurt) takes the news anchor desk for the first time (as evidenced from the shot above).

12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years a Slave (2013), directed by Steve McQueen

A very powerful film, to say the least. I don’t have much to add to all that’s been said about this film, so I’ll just say that Chiwetel Ejofor gives a tour de force performance, and the film features an amazing ensemble cast including Lupita Nyong’o, Michael Fassbender, Sarah Paulson, and Paul Dano. There were a couple of scenes that were pretty tough to watch, but I think it’s a good thing to really show the horrors the slaves went through like this film does instead of the usual sanitized versions from past films.

Her (2013)

Her (2013), directed by Spike Jonze

My favorite film from the past year! I still can’t stop thinking about it after seeing it earlier this past month. I really do wish it had gotten more recognition this award season (crossing my fingers that Spike Jonze wins the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay next month). It really is one of the most original films to come out in recent years, and one of the most beautiful that I’ve seen. This could have easily gone the wrong way, but I’m so glad it didn’t (not that I thought it would). Joaquin Phoenix gives another phenomenal performance, and I’m still annoyed that he wasn’t nominated for Best Actor this year (more of which I’ll probably complain about in a forthcoming post about this year’s Academy Awards). And though Scarlett Johansson is never seen on screen, she gives an outstanding performance as well through her voice. I do wish voice performances got some sort of recognition at the Oscars too because there are a number of these voice-over performances (mostly from animated films) that are just so good…maybe someday. Anyway, Amy Adams and Rooney Mara also give good, subtle performances in this. And the film  features wonderful music in its score and song, “The Moon Song.”

A Face in the Crowd (1957)

A Face in the Crowd (1957), directed by Elia Kazan

I read a comment on iCheckMovies saying this is like Network meets Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and I can definitely see that after watching this film. I’m not at all familiar with Andy Griffith on the screen, so this was my first time seeing him in something, and wow did he give an outstanding performance. I really loved Patricia Neal in this too, as well as Walter Matthau in a performance that is unlike his usual comedic roles. It’s pretty underrated as far as Elia Kazan movies go, but another great one from the director.

Dazed and Confused (1993)

Dazed and Confused (1993), directed by Richard Linklater

My first Linklater film that is not from his Before series! It’s a fun high school movie, and it’s reminiscent of American Graffiti. Both feature high school kids driving around and essentially celebrating the last day of school, and both are set in a time period different from the year the films were released. So I should have known that I’d enjoy this movie a lot, as I enjoyed it much more than I expected to. It was fun seeing some familiar faces pop up too, such as Ben Affleck and Parker Posey, to name a few. The film is filled with great humor, and of course, great songs from the ’70s!

Ernest & Célestine (2012)

Ernest & Célestine (2012), directed by Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, and Benjamin Renner

This was a really charming movie, I was smiling throughout. It’s a sweet film about a mouse and a bear who become friends in a world where the two species are enemies. This film also has a great way of incorporating art into the story, there are some really neat sequences that highlight it. In an age where 3D model animation is the overpowering norm of animated films, it was a treat to see something new that was traditionally animated. And I love the way this film was animated…it looks like it came straight from a children’s book. I can’t wait to see it again when the English dub is released, which will feature voice-work from none other than Lauren Bacall!

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