101 movies is a lot to go through, so I’m breaking my list up into two parts.
For a formal introduction to this list and for movies 1-50, please click here.
Now for movies 51-101…
51. The Amazing Spiderman (AMC) – As much as I loved Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, I do wonder why this was made at all. Also, that lizard was just awful.
52. Coming to America (Amazon streaming) – I disappointed many friends when I didn’t fall in a swoon over this movie. Some are still questioning my taste.
53. To Rome with Love (CC) – This was fine. No Midnight in Paris, but fine.
54. The Dark Knight Rises (AMC) – Many people have pointed out that this was actually a lot more flawed than any of us movie nerds would like to admit. But was I there at 9 am to see the movie on IMAX? You bet I was and I don’t regret it for a second.
55. The Watch (AMC) – Meh. Richard Ayoade deserves better.
56. Beasts of the Southern Wild (AMC) – Definitely another film in the running for one of the best I’ve seen this year. Is it an oxymoron to call this quietly epic? Every drop of praise this movie has gotten is absolutely deserved. Lyrical and powerful, life affirming and deeply sorrowful. Absolutely one of the best films of the year.
57. The Bourne Legacy (AMC) – As I titled my review, almost but not quite. Jeremy Renner deserves better. So does Rachel Weisz.
58. Paranorman (AMC) – Good, but I wanted this to be better than it was. Coraline is still the superior stop-motion film.
59. Celeste and Jesse Forever (AMC) – Was not expecting Andy Samberg to pull this off, but he does. I loved his relationship with Rashida Jones, but in the end the movie really belonged to her – it was about her journey from that marriage. Very well done.
60. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (AMC) – This was just so good. A wonderful sort of melancholy that captures a certain time, a certain moment with perfect clarity. Stephen Chbosky was on hand afterwards for one of the better Q&A’s I’ve been to. Now I have to read the book.
61. Red (HBO) – Bruce Willis. Helen Mirren. John Malkovitch. Morgan Freeman. And a whole lotta shoot ’em up.
62. The Sessions (CC) – I’m kind of surprised this movie didn’t get more of a buzz. Sure, it got good reviews and there’s Oscar buzz, but I mean audience buzz. This was a wonderful film and far funnier than it had any right to be. Plus it let me love John Hawkes again after Martha Marcy May Marlene and Winter’s Bone.
63. Guinevere (HBO) – I vaguely remember when this one came out in the theaters. But it was always a movie I meant to see. Sarah Polley and Stephen Rea are gangbusters together and even though the end isn’t a shocker, it is very satisfying.
64. Pitch Perfect (AMC) – This was just so much fun. As un-Gleelike as it needed to be while still giving us that sing-a-long thrill we get from Glee. And it helped Rebel Wilson on her way to becoming a household name. Just great.
65. Looper (AMC) – Through a genius marketing campaign, you never really know what to expect when you sit down to watch this. Yes, you get Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon Levitt’s brilliant version of him. But the movie is actually more than that. To say anything else would be to ruin one of the great twists you’ll see this year.
66. Premium Rush (AMC) – This movie was released at the wrong time. Had it come out at any other time than the dog days of summer, it might have found an audience. Hopefully it will find one on DVD/OnDemand/iTunes, etc. A hell of a lot of fun.
67. The Master (City Cinemas Village East) – Like so many others who have seen The Master, I am not quite sure what to make of it. Meandering, confusing, startling. All of that. But no one can deny the power of the performances.
68. Argo (CC) – A Hollywood film at its finest. Ben Affleck crafted a thriller that kept me riveted and still gave me a good laugh. Alan Arkin and John Goodman steal every scene they’re in.
69. Frankenweenie (AMC) – Alas, another film I wanted to be better than it was. Enjoyable to watch, but faded very quickly after viewing.
70. Sinister (AMC) – Not afraid to admit this – Sinister scared the crap out of me. Super super creepy. Plus we always knew kids were evil, right?
71. Possession (AMC) – I can’t turn down a horror film with a Jewish bent.
72. Seven Psychopaths (AMC) – Like Premium Rush, I wish this had found an audience. Colin Farrell andSam Rockwell are both totally on point and this was, finally, a movie that figured out how to best use Christopher Walken. See this one when it’s out on DVD. Seriously.
73. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (Netflix) – Yes, this is just as good as everyone says it is. But I found myself more conflicted about the nature of Jiro’s relationship with his oldest son. It cannot be easy living in the shadow of such a famous and revered father, one whose shadow the son will probably never escape.
74. Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (OnD) – Exactly what you think it is.
75. Lincoln (AMC) – Even though the movie should have ended about 10 minutes before it did, and even though Spielberg can’t help but shmaltz it up, Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance combined with the brilliant House debate scenes made Lincoln rise above what it could have been. Seriously, who would have thought the House of Representative debates used to be so lively…
76. Cloud Atlas (AMC) – Having not read the book, I didn’t come into this with any theories on what I should be watching. It is bombastic as you would expect from the Wachowskis but it worked for me. Let me restate: it worked for me as long as I ignored some of that ridiculous makeup.
77. Wreck-It-Ralph (AMC) The better animated film in 2012. I have no soft spot for video games, but I knew enough to get the visual jokes. Sweet without being cloying with a sense of adventure and humor. I really loved this movie.
78. Skyfall (some theater in Portland, ME) – Is this the best Bond film? Best one I’ve seen, hands down. Is the end essentially Home Alone with firearms? Yep.
79. Flight (some theater in Portland, ME) – Denzel Washington gives a stellar performance in a movie that meets the level of his performance. The crash sequence is indeed terrifying (but I’ll still step on a plane) but what is more frightening is the swift downward spiral Denzel’s Whip Whitaker is on. What do you do with someone who knows they are alcoholic, but doesn’t want to be saved?
80. Anna Karenina (AMC) – Another solid Keira Knightley performance. It is a strange film, using the conceit of everything taking place on and off a theater stage, but Joe Wright made it work for me. But the movie was stollen by Matthew Macfayden as Oblonsky and his spectacular mustache.
81. Breaking Dawn Pt 2 (Fenway) – Until that sweet twist at the end, this was just as bad as every other Twilight film. But I’m a completist – I saw all the others, you’d best bet that I was going to see this one. Also? The demon CGI baby. If ever there was a baby that needed an exorcism…
82. Silver Linings Playbook (AMC) – I’m on the fence as to whether this is as good as I think it is. Jennifer Lawrence just shines, Bradley Cooper redeems himself after The Words, and Robert DeNiro acted for the first time in years. But was the movie really that good? I think I need to see it again to really judge.
83. Life of Pi (AMC) – Gorgeous. Just stunning. And it made me care about a tiger.
84. Men in Black III (iTunes) – Even Josh Brolin’s xerox-copy performance as a younger Tommy Lee Jones couldn’t save this piece of crap.
85. Bernie (Netflix) – Is this another movie that you should be watching? Yes. It is.
86. Warm Bodies (AMC) – OK, this hasn’t actually come out yet, but I got to see a sneak preview. I’ve been referring to this as “the zombie rom-com you’ve been waiting for” – and if you haven’t been waiting for it? Go see it anyway. Nicholas Hoult is on the verge. Also see him in A Single Man.
87. The Hobbit (AMC) – No, this is not Lord of the Rings trilogy the second. But I think The Hobbit is still worth seeing. I love PJ’s Middle Earth, and delighted in being back there again. Martin Freeman is perfectly cast as Bilbo and the Sherlock fan in me cannot wait to see him and Smaug (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) together. Overall, the high frame rate didn’t bother me. Need to see this again in IMAX.
88. Hitchcock (CC) – This was not good. It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t good. Helen Mirren was the only truly good thing about a film that meandered and went to weird places that just didn’t work. (Ed Gein, I’m looking at you)
89. This is 40 (AMC) – Like all Apatow films, This is 40 is very funny, with a heart, and about 40 minutes too long.
90. Les Miserables (Fenway) – When the movie ended, I just kept saying “Poor sad Russell Crowe” because I felt that this movie did him no favors. If he didn’t have to sing, he would have been a great Javert. But woe to him, he did have to sing. Anne Hathaway all but put a lock on the Best Supporting Actress Oscar with a raw and deeply emotional version of “I Dreamed a Dream” and Eddie Redmayne got me with his performance of “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” which is a song I never much found moving before. Hugh Jackman was exactly what you’d think.
91. Lockout (Netflix) – I only finished this because I’d started it and I only started it out of morbid curiosity. I shouldn’t have.
92. Django (CC) – I get why there is such a hubbub over Django. It’s violent. And difficult to watch. And gives us some very uncomfortable characters. But it also doesn’t flinch in the face of a really violent and ugly period in American history. And Tarantino helps Leonardo DiCaprio give one of his better performances, let me like Jamie Foxx once again, and allowed Samuel L. Jackson to be intensely controversial. As with Inglorious Basterds (possibly my favorite Tarantino film, with Pulp Fiction of course) Christoph Waltz proves himself to be debonaire and verbally adroit enough to sell Tarantino’s dialog better than anyone ever has.
93. The Host (Netflix) – A Korean creature flick from 2006 that I enjoyed, but I felt just went on for too long. Moral of the story? Don’t dump formaldehyde into the Han River.
94. The Deep Blue Sea (Netflix) – It was a surprise when Rachel Weisz got the Golden Globe nomination but after watching the movie, it’s no longer a surprise. Reminded me a bit of End of the Affair with fewer religious overtones. Tom Hiddleston is charming to a fault, as is necessary, but it’s Weisz’s film from start to finish.
95. A Royal Affair (CC) Can I admit I don’t know anything about Danish history? So I don’t know how true to history this period piece is. But I can say that it’s thoroughly engaging and I didn’t feel the length (over 2 hours) at all. Plus, it has Le Chiffre!
96. Take This Waltz (Netflix) – Add Away From HerAto Take This Waltz and you realize the depths of Sarah Polley’s talents. And as much as part of me feels this movie went a full 20 minutes longer than I would have expected, those extra 20 minutes gives us a very sobering look at the overall outcome of what we think love is and what it becomes.
97. The September Issue (Netflix) – I know nothing of fashion. I would wear jeans and t-shirts every day if I could. Yet, I was still fascinated by this behind-the-scenes look at Vogue, Anna Wintour, and specifically Grace Coddington. So much more interesting than I would have thought.
98. Bachelorette (OnD) – As much as I wanted it to be, it wasn’t as good as Bridesmaids. Still funny though…
99. Our Idiot Brother (HBO) – What does it say about this movie that I know I saw it within the past few months, yet totally forgot I’d seen it till yesterday, and I don’t remember a ton about it. If it helps, I do remember enjoying it while I watched it.
100. Rock of Ages (some free screening) – Loved the musical. Did NOT like the movie. So not what it should have been.
101. Ira & Abby (Netflix) – I really like Jennifer Westfeldt. I love Kissing Jessica Stein, I liked Friends with Kids, and Ira & Abby is more of the same, in a good way. Her dialog is verbose but sharp, and her characters are neurotic without becoming annoying. Ira & Abby is what Dharma and Greg wishes it could be.
So. There you have it 101 movies seen for the first time. This doesn’t count the movies I saw more than once, the movies I’ve seen a million times that I re-watched. That would just be a bit too embarrassing to share.
Now it is time for me to sift through all this and figure out the best, the worst, the most disappointing and the most surprising.
(But first I have to finish re-watching Pitch Perfect….)
Happy New Year!