Thursday, April 29, 2010

Movie Watching 2010

As the year progresses, so does my mission to watch one movie for every weekday in 2010.  I realized I have a lot of catching up to do.  When I was homeless or poor, going to the movie theater was not a priority.  Later in life, when I did have a television, I watched movies on basic cable.  Then after moving over to Europe it hit me that most of the films that I have seen on television were modified to fit exactly into a viewing slot (shortened), and censored as well. 

Luckily, the Dutch don't censor, modify or dub over films in the theater or those shown on television.  They also produce very few of their own films, so American movies are always on basic cable TV.  Convenient for me, and at worst they are subtitled in Dutch - but so far I haven't seen one that is dubbed over (like the Germans are known for.)  That's funny to me.  When I was last in Germany and watched an American film on TV, they do try and match the voices to known actors, but like many languages they are backwards in sentence structure compared to English, and I don't think they get the inflections right.

Anyhow.  I'll try to catch up with the list of what I've seen so far.

January: (More reviews in prior blog entries, 21 films in total watched)
Funny Face (1957) with Fred Astaire & Audrey Hepburn - classic, classy, fun to watch.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) with Macaulay Culkin (I had recently viewed Home Alone.)
Meet the Parents (2000) with Robert De Niro & Ben Stiller - Not great for me, but good.
The Family Stone (2005) with a stunning Diane Keaton, and a lot of other celebs.
The Full Monty (1997) with actors I'm not familiar with - but a great film.
The Santa Clause 2 (2002) with Tim Allen. (I also recently saw The Santa Clause.)
Willow (1988) with a brilliant Warwick Davis as the title character.  Beautiful film. 

February: (20 films in total)
Mean Girls (2004) with Lindsay Lohan - cute, not bad to watch when you want something fluffy.
The Addams Family (1991) with Anjelica Huston & RIP Raul Julia - One of my favorite films.
Orphan (2009) with Isabelle Fuhrman - Woo!  Spooky and well-done with only a few glitches.
How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008) - I found it to be rather forgettable.  Entertaining but bland.
If You're Afraid to Say It... Just See It (1991) - Interesting low-budget film shot in my old neighborhood.
Volcano (1997) with Tommy Lee Jones - So bad, it's good.  I had a fun time watching.
Watchmen (2009) - A little dark for me, but the action doesn't fail.
Star Trek (2009) - Phenomenal.  I'm a Trekkie, and this film left me wishing for a sequel right away.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) - I like each of the Harry Potter films.
Charlie's Angels (2000) - Gorgeous fun, and I love strong women leads!
2012 (2009) - Wow.  For on-screen visuals, this can't be beat.
Jackie Chan's First Strike (1996) - What's not to love in a Chan martial arts film?
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) - Classic. I hadn't seen it in the theater, so this seemed new.  
Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) - Really enjoyable. 
Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) - Different than 1959, and also good.
Cube (1997) - Low budget but engrossing to watch.  Very well done.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) - Johnny Depp, always brilliant and this film doesn't disappoint.
The Journey of Natty Gann (1985) - Great, heartwarming film.  Reminded me of the old days...
The Graduate (1967) - I know it's one of the top films of all time.  I just don't quite get why.
Clue (1985) - So bad it's unbearable.  Great actors, the script and directing killed it for me.

March: (23 films in total)
Angel (1984) - Interesting, sad, but too much on the surface.  I think the heart was missed.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006) - Great! I loved Meryl Streep in this.
Predator (1987) - An oldie, a little dated, but still entertains.  Arnold is a great actor in this genre.
Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001) - If you don't cry watching this, you're not human.
Bring It on Again (2004) - I saw Bring It On.  Not necessary to continue with this sequel, I think.
Holes (2003) - I loved this film, and don't think of it as a kid's movie at all.
Porky's (1982) - A classic for others, not for me.
Bridge to Terabithia (2007) - Another bring-a-hanky film, and oh so good.
The Net (1995) - Dated yes, entertaining though.  My only complaint; Sandra Bullock's wardrobe stylist.
City Slickers (1991) - Fun and entertaining even the second or third time you see it.
Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995) - As much as I love Mel Brooks, this film disappointed me.
Hellboy (2004) - Nice action film.  I would recommend this film to those who like this genre.
Meet the Fockers (2004) - Sequel to Meet the Parents, and not bad. 
Sherlock Holmes (2009) - I found this to be a very enjoyable film to watch, and loved it!
Animal House (1978) - Another classic film that doesn't really appeal to me.
Yes Man (2008) - Jim Carrey is great in this film that I found to be inspirational and funny.
Gamer (2009) - Visually I enjoyed it.  Plot-wise... less so.
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) - Entertaining.  Not great, but good.
Babel (2006) - This was gripping, visual and had a strong plot with some great performances.
Analyze This (1999) - Huge actors, middle of the road for me.  Good, not great.
Alien (1979) - A classic, and I enjoyed it.  Sigourney Weaver is great in this series.
The Devil's Advocate (1997) - Al Pacino & Keanu Reeves were both great in this film.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) - Angelina Jolie looks great on-screen, in this fun, fast-action film.

April's not done yet, so I'll do that list later.  Funny, with everything else there is to do in life (and this year is no different than last) I'm still managing to keep up with my movie watching goals.  It feels good, and I've learned a lot so far.  Maybe someday one of my films will be up there on a review list too... :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

April Flowers

Things have been quite interesting lately.  While everything seems as normal and relaxed as usual around Noord-Holland, there's a volcano erupting that is making travel quite a challenge for many.  Our plans are to go in May to my brother's wedding in Istanbul, Turkey - but we'll see how quickly this all clears up.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

It's getting warmer, and the tulips have started blooming.  Most animals have babies, and I'm looking forward to summer.  It's been a long winter, and as much as I love the snow, I'm thrilled to see all the new flora and fauna.

It's an antique, but a tandem bicycle is the perfect solution for me.  Since I'm visually impaired, I ride behind.  My camera has auto-focus, and captures all the details for me to see later.

Yes, I see the wild cow behind me.  This park is right near us, and there is a herd of free-roaming cattle that wander around.  I've never seen them stop eating, and I'm not about to go pet one, so it's safe.  I think.

All that fresh new grass must be delicious after a long, snowy winter!  And no, they didn't notice I was wearing a red jacket.  These are Dutch cows, not Spanish ones.  They are all totally laid back and aren't disturbed by anything.

The unfrozen lake near our house.  There's a beautiful bike trail around it.

Other modes of transportation besides bicycles use the trails.

The horses have so much energy, they like this weather too!

I'm sure everyone else knows all the names of the flowers.  I don't - I'm guessing Crocuses.

In Schoorl, on our way to visit JJ's parents.

It's not a yard to walk through, it's more for looking at.

It's so beautiful, I had to add another photo.

There is an explosion of colors in Holland now.  With the tulips joining the rest of the flowers, there are places where the perfume is so strong one would think the world had aromatherapy. 

I'll add another entry soon with the photos from our first motorcycle ride of the season.  It was a tremendous feeling to be out like that again... :)