Fast Five (May 30th) - Grade: D. We were going to see Bridesmaids but then the times were all messed up, so we ended up watching this one instead. It was a fast cars doing amazing things movie like all the others. I'll admit I haven't kept with this series (I didn't even really know it was a series... I don't even know if I've seen any of the other movies?). Reminded me alot of Gone in 60 Seconds, but I thought that one was better. Lots of glam, violence, and cars, cars, cars. Just another alright movie.

SUPER 8 (June 10) - Grade: A. I was SO excited to see this movie! The trailers looked AMAZESAUCE. And it proved to be true. Went to the midnight showing and so glad I did. This movie was everything it promised in the names of Spielberg and J.J.Abrams. Definitely one to see if you haven't.

X-Men: First Class (June 10) - Grade: C-. I'm sorry to be picky about X-men, but as previously mentioned I really take issue with having my childhood ruined and redone. If you separate the name and what I expect and how its supposed to be from the movie, then yes, it was a smash bang-up of a phenomenal movie. If you are a truist die-hard like myself, then you probably hated it like I did. I tried REALLY REALLY hard to be detached and not care and just be like, yes, X-men reboot, for the new generation... but then there were just SO many things wrong, I eventually gave up. I probably hated X-men 3 more though.

Tree of Life (June 19) - Grade: B. This one had had my eye for a while as well, and one that I really, really wanted to see. I will agree that the movie's visuals were completely breath-stealing and downright drool-worthy, and I feel like the movie documented well that time of life. Not having lived back that far, I can't comment for certain, but of what I know of that time period it did a good job. There was a lot of important, weighty dialogue that was whispered or all-too-brief that slipped past me, so there were a few times I was rather confused. The non-linear plot didn't help that either. I think this is a movie where seeing it a second time would greatly benefit my opinion (and understanding), but I haven't made the effort to do so as yet. Overall, I enjoyed it, though I tried to map a bit too much of my own self onto the characters than I should have which didn't play out the way I thought it would. Mistake on my part. Still one I would recommend seeing.

Megamind (June 25) - Grade: A. Somehow I missed this one last year. Anyway, I'm caught up now :) The plot was definitely refreshingly interesting, especially watching the bad guy become the good guy, something I toy with with a number of the characters I most love to pen. That sense of redemption is almost pervasive to me and my writing; it's something I find very intriguing. Overall, not my favorite (that has to be Monsters vs. Aliens or How To Train Your Dragon), but not the worst animated feature I've seen.

Green Lantern (July 3) - Grade: B. I will confess to extreme apprehension going to see this movie, a la X-Men. Fine, you can ruin one piece of my childhood comic/cartoon base, but please don't ruin my DC one too. Speaking of DC, the real reason I wanted to see this movie was because it makes me crave Justice League. I mean, what's better than Justice League? Answer: NOTHING. I mean, they are totally making The Avengers, so where's my Justice League? Hmmm?!?! Pretty good movie, I didn't have an problem with Ryan Reynolds as Lantern, though apparently that's what made alot of people hate this movie.

Shadowlands (1993) (August 5) - Grade: B. Watched this with a good friend. Hadn't ever seen it before, but being a C.S. Lewis fan, it intrigued me. The love story was touching, though being less familiar than I ought with authors' personal histories, I was not led to hate or love based on truism or adherence to fact. I thought the love story was touching and the way Lewis interacted with Joy was humorous and reminiscent at the same time of some of my friendships. It was sort of weird to watch Anthony Hopkins showing affection and love when I associate him mainly with Hannibal.

AVA: LOVE (August 10) - Grade: B-. EEEEEEEEEEE!!! The AVA movie! Most of you probably know nothing about this. It was, after all, only in theatres for one night, and not for widespread release. This movie come from one of my favorite bands, Angels and Airwaves. They've been regulars every year at the Top of My Charts. This movie has been buzzing around for months and months, and I've been watching the trailer even longer. So on August 10th, people in something like 96 theatres worldwide saw the movie and AVA did a Q&A and played some songs. The movie started out everything I'd ever dreamed of, everything I'd wanted it to be. It went the direction it should for 3/4ths of the movie, then the ending tumbled away into (in my opinion) disaster. They had so much good stuff, so many breathtaking scenes. Knowing how intensely, extremely low-budget the film was made me very nervous, but the scenes flowed seamlessly - until the very end. And then the obvious CG was just so gratuitous and glaringly unseamless, I was sad. For the movie and for AVA. Because it had been so good for so much time. The Q&A revealed even more how staunchly thin the budget was for this film. The live performance was the worst I have ever seen in my whole life. I don't know if the mics were off, or the audio ef were messed up, but they sounded absolutely abysmal. I felt so bad for all first-time AVA viewers, including my friend next to me, whom I whole-heartedly reassured that they were not *really* that bad. Overall though, it was a cool experience. Many people probably loved the movie, but it went in a direction that I didn't agree with, so I just have to throw my arms up and take it for what it is.

Another Earth (August 20) - Grade: B+. Another movie that super caught my eye. I'll give you the trailer: here. I saw this and said, yes, seeing that. Must go. Saw this when Turtle came to visit me in August (post upcoming). Very thought-provoking piece, very candidly done. I love movies like this when they are done right. I felt like there was really only one place where the director took the piece too far - during the lovemaking/rape? scene. I didn't feel that was necessary one bit. I thought the story and characters were flawed, yet complete on their own, without needing to add that piece on the tail end. It was one of a few instances where my disbelief was shattered regarding these two characters. I mean, I can totally say, yeah there's another earth, but the connection between these two is at points forced and/or contrived, and the love/rape part went overboard for me. I was very dissatisfied with that bit, but otherwise I enjoyed the movie, especially for the ways it made me think, think, think. Look. I'm Pooh Bear! I was still thinking about everything it swirled up in my mind for days afterwards.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001) (Sept 2) - Grade: A. I saw this movie at the Tower Theatre as a live production cult flick reenactment akin to Rocky or Repo. The movie I loved, the live actors not so much. I felt the film was much too serious to be backdropped with live actors like that. For Rocky and Repo, (both of which I've seen live at the Tower also), I felt like it worked. This, to me, was too serious a piece. Many of you probably don't know about it, so check it out on IMDB. I really loved the imagery and thought that we used to be whole and now are split into two halves, searching constantly for our other halves. That was a refreshing take on love for me. The songs were original, thoughtful, and incredibly moving. Some parts are kind of edgy and crass, but the overarching message outshines this things for me.

Sarah's Key (Sept?) - Grade: A. Another independent flick. Seen alot of those this year. I thought the actors in this movie were abso-perfect-lutely spot on. I felt about the acting in this the same way I felt about the actors in Prayers for Bobby. Granted, I haven't read the book for this one, so I wasn't biased/prejudiced, so I may simply have not known what and where I should have been hating, but I found it very moving. It was much more gripping and real to me than The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas (which I know I watched, but got left off my movie review lists. Oops). Would recommend for sure.

Cowboys and Aliens (Sept 10) - Grade: B. I sort of want to put this at a higher grade, but I just can't justify it. My biggest issue with this movie is that I went in thinking it was a spoof movie, or at least poking fun at cowboy and alien movies. But no, the whole time, this was a serious flick. They were for real. Cowboys shooting guns at an alien spaceship. I just kept waiting and waiting for it to be a joke, but the joke was on me, because we never got there.

Capt. America (Sept 11) - Grade: A-. I feel much the same about this movie as I did about Green Lantern (above). Maybe I'm at fault though, because I saw this without seeing Thor? Not that I'm not excited/wanting to see that one, just that I haven't gotten around to it. I'm a movie procrastinator, unless someone invites me :) So people, invite me to more movies! And with this movie out, it means that The Avengers is just around the corner! GIVE ME MY JUSTICE LEAGUE!

Bridesmaids (Sept 24) - Grade: C. This movie was on during an evening at Bear Lake with friends. I settled in to watch, just because I hadn't seen it since our original try on May 30th (above) and everyone who saw it said that it was hysterically funny. Well, I must not have a sense of humor then because I just thought it was okay. Not really *that* hilarious. I wouldn't put it in the same category of hilarious as Mean Girls or Whatever It Takes. Maybe the people around me distracted me, but I don't think I'd put this one my "To Watch Again" list. :/

Rocky Horror Picture Show (Oct 31) - Grade: Classic. You can't really grade Rocky Horror. That'd just be insensitive. It is what it is, and you either love it, love it, or you hate it. I happen to have quite fond memories of it, old an new. I won't go in to all the intricacies surrounding this one; just know that if you haven't seen it, you need to. Call me around Halloween. We'll totally go.

J.Edgar (November 13) - Grade: B-. I had private screening tickets to this and went not really knowing that much about the movie beforehand. Just that it had Leo, who hasn't been a good actor since he was Gilbert Grape. >.> My pronouncement for this movie: there were things that worked, and things that didn't. It's unfortunate about the things that didn't. Like Clyde's "aged" makeup. Horrific. Leo's sorta worked and Naomi's was flawless. But Clyde's looked like melting play-dough slapped onto his face. More than once I remarked, "Did anyone preview this movie? How was that okay? How did it make it here, let alone past the first cut?!" I am also concerned about the speculation that went into this movie, though DLB assured us in a Q&A after that the majority of what he wrote was based on fact, not theory. There was alot he *didn't* put in because he was unable to substantiate it. He also painted Edgar as a complete monster at the end of his life, and how it was hard to delve into that. But some, myself included, didn't really see it the way DLB did. I saw him as inherently flawed because of his childhood, because of the time period, and because of the death of his mother. I found the story plausible and believable, though there were parts that severely dragged, which made for a rather long viewing experience. If history and the shrouded past of J.Edgar intrigue you, I don't see any real reason to steer you away from this movie other than Clyde's debacle of makeup making him convincingly old.

Star Trek: Nemesis (November 15) - Grade: B. Somehow I missed a Next Generation movie! I was a little aghast when I found this out, I have to admit. How/when did I miss this movie? Where were my dad and brothers letting me know about it? Troi and Riker get married? And Janeway is totes in it? I'm so confused! lol S wanted to watch this movie because I'm writing in a group with him that's based about the same time period and he wanted me to see all the equipment, etc., we'd have access to on our ship. Not a bad Trek movie, not my favorite. Noticed very clear plot elements that were re-hashes or re-dos from previous movies, just covered up enough to make them look different/new.

2011 Movie-wrap-up still to come, plus book reviews, and the Best of: 2011 Edition!


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