What I’ve Been Watching

It’s been a busy year at JAK Media but I always find time to watch television and movies (instead of sleeping). The screeners and Zip.ca discs have been piling up while the PVR has been running out of storage. Here’s a quick look at what I’ve been watching in the last couple of months.

Armadillo (2010)
This is a great war doc that follows a Danish platoon for 6 months in Afghanistan. The camera work is beautiful and the unlimited access on the front lines creates some incredible tension at times. It doesn’t hurt that the film created controversy around the alleged “liquidation” of Taliban forces by the Danes during combat.

Homeland (TV Series 2011)
Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin and Damian Lewis provided the best spy drama on television since Rubicon. Season one (12 episodes) ended a couple of weeks ago and the show was just nominated for a bunch of Golden Globes – best drama, best actor, best actress. Season two returns to Showtime in 2012. Official website

Boss (TV Series 2011)
I was a little skeptical until halfway through the first episode when Kelsey Grammer explodes with anger as Tom Kane, mayor of Chicago. The season finale was a tour de force and one of the best hours of television this year. Gus Van Sant is a series producer an directs a number of episodes. The series received Golden Globe nominations for best drama and best actor (Grammer). Unfortunately it only airs on STARZ in the US. Official website

Limitless (2011)
Bradley Cooper plays a struggling NY writer that comes across a mind expanding drug that gives him limitless possibilities on Wall Street. I found it entertaining and noticed that the film made it onto a few critics’ top 10 lists.

Revanche (2008)
This might be the best foreign film that I saw this year. Goëtz Spielmann directs a superb cast in this tragic thriller set in Vienna. Nominated for an Oscar – best foreign film.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
It was nice to see Michael Douglas reprise his role as Gordon Gekko but this sequel doesn’t measure up to the original. I didn’t like Shia LaBeouf’s character but was pleased to hear a soundtrack but David Byrne and Brian Eno. Worst cameo – Oliver Stone. Best cameo – Charlie Sheen.

Bill Cunningham New York (2010)
What a great film! This doc about veteran New York City fashion photographer, Bill Cunningham will put a smile on your face. Cunningham at the age of 80 has the energy and enthusiasm of someone half his age. He’s also a bit of a mystery which adds to the appeal of this film.

The Goonies (1985)
I know. I’m all over the map here. This one was sitting on the PVR for months and I hadn’t seen the original in over 20 years. It was interesting to watch Josh Brolin in his first film but this movie and the video game was much better when I was 13 years old.

Battle Los Angeles (2011)
I thought this might be half decent for the special effects alone but no, it was pretty lame. Aaron Eckhart serves up some of the cheesiest dialogue of the year and guess what? The aliens lose this time but just barely. Phew! There, I just save you 116 minutes.

George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011)
I didn’t grow up with The Beatles and the George Harrison tunes in my iTunes library were difficult to find. After watching Martin Scorsese’s doc for almost four hours I can now say that I’m a fan and George is in my regular playlist.

Drive Angry (2011)
I am a complete sucker for Nic Cage movies and if you like campy over-acting then this film delivers but it is William Fichtner that steals several scenes with the quirkiest performance of the year as The Accountant. Don’t ask.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)
I still regret that I didn’t see this Werner Herzog documentary in its 3D glory. After watching it on Blu-ray I’m even more disappointed. The Chauvet caves in southern France are interesting subject but I expected the Herzog magic to take this film to the next level.

Food, Inc. (2008)
I wasn’t expecting much from this doc so I was very impressed at how disturbed I was at the content. It’ hard to believe how manufactured our food is and how much control a handful of companies have over our food supply. Everyone should watch this film.

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008)
I’m embarrassed to say that I watched this entire film. I can’t believe they made another one that is in theatres right now. I was looking for a mindless comedy and well, this fits the bill all too well. Do not watch.

Mesrine: Part 1 Killer Instinct (2008)
This is an interesting period drama about French gangster Jacques Mesrine played by Vincent Cassel. Part of the film takes place in Montreal during the 1970s. Now I have to track down Mesrine: Part 2 - Public Enemy #1.

Posted in Movies at 7:53 PM