Movies of July

Amazingly, despite our workload, we managed to watch 20 (!) movies this month. And that excludes Parts 1 and 2 of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which I haven’t reviewed.

This month there was only one sci-fi action movie, so I think I will have to make it up to Hubby in August: Jumper (2008) is a fast-paced sci-fi action film about the battle between the ‘jumpers’ (people who can teleport) and the ‘Paladins’ (those who hunt them down). As a more old-style rollicking action movie, we took out Tango and Cash (1989), starring Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell as two cops who have very different styles of operating but are forced to cooperate in order to destroy a common enemy.

There were two fantasy adventures: The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (2008) – a beautiful, feel-good movie set in Scotland during World War II about a little boy who discovers a water horse (which may or may not be the Loch Ness Monster); and The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008) – children’s fantasy adventure about three kids in a dilapidated house in the middle of a forest, who discover a mysterious leatherbound book called Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You.

Three movies revolved, in some way, around the US war on terrorism: Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) was an excellent biographical drama about a Texan congressman (Charlie Wilson) who persuaded the US government to supply the Mujahideen resistance in Afghanistan with weapons to get the Soviets out of their country during the 1980s and 1990s. In the Valley of Elah (2007) was an anti-war film about the war in Iraq, whereas Rendition (2007) was a stomach-turning but compelling movie about the practice of extraordinary rendition, whereby a terrorist suspect is transferred into another country that is known to use and condone torture to extract information from suspects.

Going further back in history, Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) covers the events leading up to the arrival and defeat of the Spanish Armada off the shores of England, when Elizabeth I was still Queen of England. And back to the 1980s, The Lives of Others (2006) was a dark and subtle thriller set in East Berlin at a time when the Stasi was monitoring the activities of ‘potential subversives’.

By far the largest category this month was comedy (perhaps because we needed some cheering up given the grey skies and bucketing rain?): My Mom’s New Boyfriend (2008) was a romantic comedy starring ditzy goofball Meg Ryan and hunky Latin lover Antonio Banderas as the two leads; Millions (2004) was an uplifting, fun, tender, compassionate movie about two young boys who find a bag full of money and have to decide what to do with it; Starter for Ten (2007) was an entertaining coming of age story set in England in 1985, revolving around the life of a young man in his first year at university; The Darwin Awards (2006) was an occasionally slapstick comedy pairing up Joseph Fiennes and Winona Ryder as two insurance investigators; Juno (2007) was a comedy-drama about a decidedly whacky schoolgirl who finds out she is pregnant and has to decide whether to keep the baby, have an abortion or give it up for adoption; The Bucket List (2007) revolves around two old men (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) who have been diagnosed with terminal cancer and decide to work their way through a list of things they’ve always wanted to do before they ‘kick the bucket’; and The Savages (2007) was a comedy-drama about a brother and a sister who are forced to take care of their estranged elderly father after he develops senile dementia.

The following should be avoided (unless, of course, you are a fan of Woody Allen): Melinda and Melinda (2005) was an annoyingly pretentious and hyperactively self-analytical Woody Allen movie set in Manhattan (where else?); Scoop (2006) was a romantic comedy / murder mystery set in England, which was unfortunately written and directed by Woody Allen, and (urgh) even stars him at his most annoying and whiny; He was a Quiet Man (2007) a totally cr4p movie about a man who is so unhappy with his work and the rest of his life that he wants to blow everyone up – utter drivel; and scraping the bottom of the barrel was Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight (2008) – a badly acted and appallingly animated fantasy movie about yet another battle between good and evil – avoid!

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