Sunday, April 29, 2012

What I Watched This Week, April 22-28

Welcome to the third installment of What I Watched This Week. I don't review everything I watch, but I have time for quick comments about the movies that I don't fully review.

Take Shelter (2011) (Blu-ray)

This was my second viewing.  Take Shelter is a tense drama showing us how events in our lives, both past and present, can impact our actions. Michael Shannon's performance had to work for the film to succeed and he pulled it off well. It's more about the journey than the destination, so don't expect a Hollywood ending.

Click here for my full review.

Overall score 4/5

Howard's End (1992) (Blu-ray)

This spent months on my shelf and I was a little disappointed after finally cracking it open. I was impressed by the performance of Vanessa Redgrave, and Anthony Hopkins did well with his limited screen time. The main character was played by Emma Thompson and she was good, but I felt she broke character a couple of times and let her true voice show. Howard's End is a romantic period drama set in England, as you would expect from a Merchant/Ivory production. I liked it, but I expected to love it.

Overall score 3.5/5

My Week with Marilyn (2011) (Blu-ray)

Unlike most movie lovers, I'm not fascinated by Marilyn Monroe, and I'm not yet a fan of Michelle Williams. I was therefore a little surprised that I enjoyed My Week with Marilyn as much as I did. Set in 1956, it portrays the filming of The Prince and the Showgirl, with Kenneth Branagh playing Laurence Olivier and Judi Dench playing Sybil Thorndike. But this was the true story of 24-year-old Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), who became Monroe's friend during the filming when other people around her were critical of her behavior and acting ability. I'm not sure whether I would buy it, but the story was quite engaging.

Overall score 3.5/5

War Horse (2011) (Blu-ray)

I don't like war films and I can't bear to watch animals being hurt, so I avoided War Horse in theaters. The exposition is rather obvious and the story is implausible and easy to predict, but it was actually quite well done. War Horse focuses on the story of the horse rather than who is winning the war. The ending is quite uplifting and there's a scene I particularly liked in which a German and an Englishman forget the war for a moment to take care of the horse. I wouldn't watch it again because the horse suffers a lot and too many men and other horses were killed during the story. It's an effective film if you aren't sensitive to such things.

Overall score 4/5

The Iron Lady (2011) (Blu-ray)

I'm a fan of Meryl Streep and believe that she should have won close to 10 Oscars by now, so I wanted to see her latest win. I grew up in England and was there throughout the Thatcher years, so I also have a strong dislike for the woman being portrayed. I was surprised by the style used to tell the story. It showed Thatcher today, arguably senile and definitely hallucinating, and mixed it in with flashbacks showing how her career came to pass. I was left thinking it was another great Streep performance, but the story itself was weak and lacking in details. I wouldn't want to see it again.

Overall score 3/5

Lady and the Tramp (1955) (Blu-ray)

I have seen numerous clips of Lady and the Tramp over the years, but I don't think I had ever seen the whole film until last night. It put a smile on my face from the start and it's definitely one of my favorite classic Disney titles from those that I have seen. Disney's Blu-ray presentation is flawless and it looks as if the film was made last year rather than 57 years ago. This is a story with plenty of heart and characters that are easy to love. I will definitely watch it multiple times. I particularly enjoyed the zoo scene and loved the general feel of the whole film.

Overall score 4.5/5

Click here to see what I watched April 8-14.

Click here to see what I watched April 15-21.

Return to index of every review on the site.


  1. Again, a fantastic movie week. I've seen all but Take Shelter. Liked but not loved Howards End, My Week with Marilyn and Iron Lady (although Streep's performance is perfection). Lady and the Tramp I watched when I was little, need to give it another spin. And I didn't like War Horse. I found it too manipulative.

  2. Thanks Fernando. Most of it was crammed into the weekend. It was good to finally catch up on last year's Oscar-bait. Now I feel qualified to pick a Best of 2011.

  3. Yes, you should. Here's mine: