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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Thumbs Up? (Movie Reviews)

'Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down' is all about the movies I see.  The most recent post will always appear at the top.  If you wish, use the 'Search This Blog' option in the sidebar to find a particular title.

Movies which are not "enjoyable" but which everyone should see once:

And now, for the regular reviews:

Love Zooey Deschanel and LOVE Ed Harris.  Problem was, he looked way too yummy to play the part (although there was nothing sexy about the stringy, dirty white hair) . . . ESPECIALLY in the hospital scene.  Where was the makeup department that day!?  I'd never seen Amelia Warner in anything, but I really enjoyed her.  This is a movie I probably need to see again sometime, to pick up all the subtle nuances.  Bonus:  although it was only a tiny aspect of the film, it's the first I've EVER seen that even MENTIONS endometriosis AND treats it as a real, emotionally (and physically) debilitating disease.  Yayy for them from this endo survivor!

Woody Allen films don't usually do it for me, but I didn't know this was one until I had it.  Also, Scarlett Johansson was a bit annoying in it (but that was her role).  I really like the actor Matthew Goode, though, and I enjoyed his portrayal here.  Add in Emily Mortimer (although her character, too, was super irritating - whiny!) and Brian Cox (L-O-V-E him!), and it was watchable.  Otherwise, "meh".

Same as with 'Rumor Has It' (I'm reluctant to admit), I'd seen this one before, too!!!!  In my defense, if I'm craving a movie some night as I leave town and rent one I've been wanting to see . . . I then forget to remove it from my Netflix list.  So, it's not so unusual to find one in the mailbox that I've already seen.  Anyway, this is a good cast, and Meryl Streep does a bang-up job, as usual, playing a shrink who realizes that her client's wild sex life is wayyyyy too closely related to someone in her own family.  :)  I like, too, that this is a "coming of age" story (for ALL the characters) and doesn't have a perfect, wrap everything up tight, ending.  I think that's good.


Another good cast, although I still can't decided whether or not Jennifer Aniston is a real actor . . . or just plays herself in every single movie.  Fun take on 'The Graduate' story, though.  Makes you want to go rent that one again.

My memory must be going, because this is another film that I realized I'd already seen once it began.  Still, it had been a while, and I like everyone in the cast, so I stuck with it.  I like the cinematography, and Steve Martin's character struck a personal cord with me.  I'll leave it at that.  ;)

Ever since falling in love (okay, okay, 'lust') with Viggo Mortensen in 'A Walk on the Moon', I'll happily watch him in ANYTHING (qualification:  'Hidalgo' was a disappointment).  And, apparently that's true:  once I started watching this movie, I realized I'd seen it once before!  But, he and Maria Bello are so terrific that I settled in to watch it for a second time.  Good movie, in an improbable kind of way.  ;)

I'm a stickler for realism in both books and movies, and I remember that the mixed CDs and accompanying photo albums one character makes for another was TOTALLY unrealistic 'cause it would have taken her DAYS and DAYS to make them!  Tiny point, I know, but it bothered me.  Other than that, since neither Kirsten Dunst nor Orlando Bloom are favorites of mine, this one came in at "meh, whatever", too.

I cannot praise this BBC-produced series highly enough.  FANTASTIC acting.  FAN-TASTIC!  Though you fluctuated between love and hate for the father character, the actor's portrayal was Oscar-worthy.  Emmy-worthy?  What do they award in Britain?  The three daughters' roles were played equally brilliantly.  Plus, yummy Stephen Moyer ('True Blood') has a recurring role in it.  Of note:  if you have a hard time understanding British Isle accents (Northern England / Ireland), you might have a hard time with this one.

I love all three of these actors (Emily Mortimer, Catherine Keener, and Brenda Blethyn), but, considering that I can't remember much about this film, I'm guessing it should be rated "Meh."
I'd heard this was a good book, and so I gave the movie a shot.  Had I realized Hayden Panettiere was in it, I probably wouldn't have watched it, so I'm GLAD I didn't know.  I'd never seen her in anything and just judged her by what I saw in the smut mags . . . but she did a fine job.  I liked that none of the other actors were A-listers (at least, not to my knowledge), and I thought the male lead was terrific!  Granted, most of the humour was sophomoric, but I had a couple of laugh-out-louds.  Definitely a fun way to spend 90 minutes or so.

As I began watching this movie, I realized that the more recent 'No Reservations' with Catherine Zeta-Jones must have been a re-make (a poor remake as I remember there being ZERO chemistry between her & the leading man).  But, 'Mostly Martha' did it the correct way.  It's a sad love story.  Or, perhaps more appropriate, a lovingly sad story.  With a good ending.  Anyone who has a Type-A, slightly OCD (I prefer perfectionist) personality will appreciate it.  ;)


 This is one of the most beautifully shot movies I've seen in a long time.  The cinematography is unreal.  I watched this library rental one evening and then, the next morning, ordered it from Amazon.  Don't expect much dialogue in this movie (unless you speak German), but the images are absolutely stunning.

While this story was fairly horrible, the movie wasn't as awful to watch as I'd anticipated.  I think that almost too much, from the book, was glossed over or lost-in-translation.  There were a lot of very subtle suggestions of references to the book, but they weren't straight-forward enough for the movie viewer to catch.

I have to say, though, that I have NEVER been a fan of Mariah Carey.  She's always seemed about as intelligent as a paper cup.  HOWEVER . . . I have a new-found appreciation of her.  She did a FANTASTIC job in this movie.  FAN-TASTIC.  I still don't like her music, but now I've glimpsed the Real Mariah and wonder why she doesn't let that show more?

 Great cast, spot-on portrayals of the real women, and an interesting story, but it just wasn't produced well.  Too fragmented.  I think I'd like to see the documentary now, though.

Much better than I'd anticipated.  Nice to see that Vince Vaughn can actually play a decent guy and not be so crass as the characters he usually portrays!

 Good acting, good story about Houdini.
Wasn't familiar with this actor, but he impressed me . . . and you can't ever go wrong with the gorgeous Mrs. Douglas!

Sad.  Plus, Keanu Reeves "seemed" like he was acting.
He coulda done better.  Love Charlize, tho, as always.


 I was pleasantly surprised by this flick!  Very good, "clean-fun" movie.  Good guys win, bad guys get what they deserve.  Dad, this one is JUST the action film you've been looking for!


  1. I have a feeling that I would really like Grey Gardens, maybe it's just the cover.

  2. Ever considered becoming a film critic? You're very good at it.

    (And, no, I'm not prejudiced. Why do you ask?)

  3. Stef, that's how I felt about it, and it SHOULD have been good (the story was definitely there) . . . it just wasn't done right.

  4. Holy cow, just checked your movies and I haven't seen any of those except Precious LOL! I speak German, so maybe I'll check out that one and brush up!

    My all time faves? "Beautiful Girls" & "Outside Providence"... so much so that I will watch them over and over and over with no problems!

  5. Erin, sie sprechen Deutsches? Or, is that sprechen sie Deutsches? I haven't seen 'Beautiful Girls' in YEARS nor have I seen 'Outside Providence'. Adding 'em to my Netflix now! :)

  6. Sprechen Sie Deutsch? (Sie is capitalized) LOL I'm such a geek.

    I hope you LOVE Outside Providence - I could watch it a hundred times, oh wait - I have! Great soundtrack, too!


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