itsmandyc's Weblog

2012 Movie List
January 5, 2013, 12:36 AM
Filed under: Movie Reviews

Alrighty – here’s my “what I saw since the last list a year ago” list of films in A, B, C order.  There are lots I missed and hope to catch at some point so you might notice a “hole” so to speak.  I did, however, see quite a few independent features and tons and tons of short films at some film festivals I got to go to that I did not listed here.

The Code:

Blue – are my favorites, what I’d recommend.  I’d buy it to have forever and I’d watch it more than once.

Red –  I say avoid it, I either really hated it or I just wouldn’t recommend it to others even if I saw some value in it myself, so – on those, just see something else before you dip that low on the list, there’s plenty of other stuff to check out first.

Regular – I liked them but would put them as a secondary recommendation to the blue ones.  These are good (or decent ok DVD entertainment) but seeing it once for me was good enough, I wouldn’t purchase my own copy with 2 or 3 exceptions.

I’m glad to expand on any of these with a more thorough review upon request 🙂  Here goes:

1   Albert Nobbs Drama
2   Alex Cross WORST for me in 2012
3   Argo #1 for me in 2012
4   Beauty and the Beast 3D Animated – Classic
5   Blue Like Jazz Drama
6   Brave Animated
7   Chasing Mavericks Drama
8   Contraband Action
9   Dark Shadows Comedy
10   Django Unchained Drama – with Comedy, VERY R
11   Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Animated
12   Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Drama
13   Flight Drama – R
14   Haywire Action
15   Hyde Park on Hudson Drama
16   Joyful Noise Comedy?
17   Katy Perry:  Part of Me Documentary
18   Lawless Drama – very R
19   Les Miserables Musical – Classic
20   Lincoln Drama – Dialogue Driven
21   Looper Action/ Drama
22   Madagascar 3:  Europe’s Most Wanted Animated
23   Man on a Ledge Action
24   Men In Black III Action
25   Mirror Mirror Drama
26   Monsters, Inc. 3D Animated – Classic
27   Moonrise Kingdom Drama – Quirky
28   October Baby Drama
29   One for the Money Comedy
30   Parental Guidance Comedy – sweet
31   People Like Us Drama
32   Pitch Perfect Hilarious
33   Premium Rush Action
34   Red Tails Action/ Drama
35   Rise of the Guardians Animated
36   Rock of Ages Musical Comedy
37   Safe House Action/ Drama
38   Safety Not Guaranteed Drama – Quirky
39   Savages Drama – very R
40   Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Drama
41   Skyfall Drama – Classic
42   Snow White and the Huntsmen Action
43   Sparkle Drama with Music
44   Step Up Revolution Dance
45   Ted Comedy – very R
46   The Amazing Spider-Man Action
47   The Avengers Action
48   The Bourne Legacy Action
49   The Campaign Comedy
50   The Dark Knight Rises Action
51   The Dictator Comedy
52   The Five-Year Engagement Comedy – Sad
53   The Impossible Drama – Intense Tear Jerker
54   The Iron Lady Drama
55   The Odd Life of Timothy Green Drama – Sweet
56   The Perks of Being a Wallflower Drama – Quirky
57   The Silver Linings Playbook Drama – R
58   The Vow Chick Flick
59   This Means War Chick Flick
60   Tinker, Tailer, Soldier, Spy Drama
61   Trouble With the Curve Drama
62   W.E. Drama
63   What to Expect When You’re Expecting Comedy

Mandy’s Movie List – Year in Review
December 31, 2011, 3:35 AM
Filed under: Movie Reviews

Ok – so this year was a rough year for movies overall, in alphabetical order… I honestly didn’t remember the majority of the films on the list that I saw.  Quite a few I watched at home as a rental (partially b/c of my schedule this year and partially b/c some didn’t warrant me attempting to get to the theater before they were already pulled).  Per usual, my list is based on when I saw it – it may be on last year’s or next year’s list according to Hollywood officially, but I personally saw it between 1/1/11 and 12/31/11.

Bold and Blue – those are my top picks – and none for the same reason as the next.

Red – it was either completely forgettable, I don’t think most people reading this would be a fan of it over other things, or I just flat out hated it.

Other stuff – not over the top great but I didn’t hate it.

I’ll try and do better with the new plan of a one sentence review after I see a new flick in 2012, but in the meantime, on any of these – since the majority of them I missed reviewing all together, just ask me via message, I’d be glad to let you know if its worth your time more specifically.

1  30 Minutes or Less
2  Arthur
3  Bad Teacher
4  Beastly
5  Bridesmaids
6  Captain America
7  Cars 2
8  Country Strong
9  Cowboys and Aliens
10  Everything Must Go
12  Fast Five
13  Footloose
14  Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
15  Gnomeo & Juliet
16  Green Hornet
17  Green Lantern
18  Hangover 2
19  Hop
20  Horrible Bosses
21  Hugo
22  J. Edgar
23  Jack and Jill
24  Just Go With It
25  Justin Bieber:  Never Say Never
26  Kung Fu Panda 2
27  Larry Crown
28  Limitless
29  Midnight in Paris
30  Mission Impossible:  Ghost Protocol
31  Moneyball
32  Monte Carlo
33  Mr. Popper’s Penguins
34  My Week with Marilyn
35  No Strings Attached
36  Pirates of the Caribbean 4
37  Puss in Boots
38  Rabbit Hole
39  Red Riding Hood
40  Rio
41  Seven Days in Utopia
42  Sherlock Holmes: A Game of  Shadows
43  Something Borrowed
44  Source Code
45  Sucker Punch
46  Super 8
47  The Adjustment Bureau
48  The Adventures of Tintin
49  The Beaver
50  The Change-up
51  The Conspirator
52  The Debt
53  The Dilemma
54  The Help
55  The King’s Speech
56  The Lincoln Lawyer
57  The Muppets
58  The Smurfs
59  The Tourist
60  Thor
61  Tower Heist
62  Transformers 3 Dark of the Moon
63  War Horse
64  Water for Elephants
65  We Bought a Zoo
66  Winnie the Pooh
67  X-Men First Class
68  ZooKeeper

Hey Big Hollywood – you know you want to…

First… go like this page – Rooney’s World  

Now… explanation…

I’m a co-producer and AD for a short film that my good friend Hudson Phillips has written.  Its uber-low budget but a really great project and we get to begin shooting this weekend.  It involves an animated elephant  – which, honestly; could you possibly need any more information than that?

(inserting desperate plea now)  – We need help!

I need to fill up a restaurant scene with extras – WHO IS IN???

What’s in it for me, you ask?  Well…

  1. You get to see “movie magic” first hand (between 1 and 3 AM on a Saturday morning)
  2. You get to dress for a night out at a really nice restaurant (where you can’t eat the food b/c its scenery and continuity is more important than your morning hunger pangs)
  3. You get your name in the credits of an actual short film being submitted to legit film festivals this spring (next to the phrase “Restaurant Patrons:”)
  4. You get lasting memories with the friends you bring along with you (b/c you will sit in one place and get told “QUIET ON THE SET” every time your conversation starts to get good – but hey, a peaceful quiet time away from the kids, right J)
  5. BUT most importantly, you get eternal gratitude and the satisfaction of helping to make a lot of really great people’s dreams come true (and validated parking)

Sooo… message me if you are interested, we’d love to have you in our restaurant scene in Atlanta this Saturday, 1AM, Saturday the 10th!



Accidentally in Love?

I’ve been traveling in Southern Africa (the Cape Town area of South Africa and Swaziland to be exact) for just over two weeks now.  This isn’t the first time for me to visit this amazing continent but there have been quite a few “firsts” including visiting these specific areas.  This trip has been “work” for two different organizations capturing their stories via video and photography for both groups and the people of these nations to bring back home to the States… I’ll certainly share those as we have them ready for release.  All that to say, the trip has been very trying and intense for a number of reasons that I won’t go into here but I am reprising the “This is the Thing…” portion of my blog for one overarching impression I have that perhaps sums up my experience this go round.

One day, while shooting some B-roll in at a Care Point location (where children are fed, educated, etc and community aid is provided) in Swaziland, a young first time mother came to be tested for HIV.  Our host and a member of a medical team who was also visiting slipped quietly inside, administered the test and delivered the heartbreaking news that she did, in fact, have the virus and needed to start the meds now while she is still healthy so she can live a longer life and continue to care for her child.  Her reaction was one filled with shame and fear.  In this culture, while staggering amounts of people are infected with this fatal disease people don’t admit it for fear of not being loved and outcast.  This young woman did not want to begin her medication because then her husband “would not love her anymore”.  Most likely that same husband gave her the virus in the first place.  Not loving her anymore would mean he would no longer give money to her and their young child and most likely would leave them.  Unfortunately, that story is beyond common in Swaziland, one that occurs daily.  There is an entire generation of children without parents being cared for by grandmothers or brothers and sisters who are still kids themselves.  The numbers are staggering.

So what is the point?

Love – bottom line, is a choice.

Sure, there are moments of realization and emotion entangled all in there but at some point you CHOOSE to love.  The notion of “falling in love” is romanticized.  To “fall” would imply an accident.  I know I risk sounding cynical, and I don’t intend to belittle anyone’s feelings, but think about this for a minute.  For those of you who are blessed enough to be in love or loved by anyone you know there was a time or a moment where a conscious decision was made when you and/or that other person intentionally said – yes, I love this person and I want to receive their love too… and if you are honest you have to make that same choice over and over as you do life together.

What I’m saying is – I don’t plan on hanging my heart, my life, or my future on an accident.  I expect intentionality.  I can’t always trust pure emotion (either my own or another person’s) but an expressed love that is a clear choice, a plan, that is a goal to work together and grow – one made on purpose – that is the way to go.

You see, being chosen on purpose means so much more.  All of the person is in a choice.  “I think I’m falling in love with you” expresses doubt, uncertainty, and an escape route.  An accidental “love” is shaky at best… not that it can’t grow to be a choice and there aren’t some warm fuzzies that come with some kind of hope from that statement, but the fact is that if it doesn’t grow far past that point there is sure to be some difficult stuff made that much more difficult as the relationship runs its course.

I often go back to the fact that we were all made in the image of God.  As a person that believes in free will and that God calls us to love I think the nature of how we love each other stems directly from that.  We must choose Christ – He isn’t forcing us.  He longs for us to come to Him (remember He already intentionally loves us even though we don’t deserve it).  I’ve never met a “Christian” who accidentally became a believer… not a legit one anyway.  Its all about a relationship not “religion” or just happening to “fall” into a church routine you love, or even a service project you find fulfilling, its about loving and interacting with Jesus – an intentional choice.

Ultimately, looking at who Christ is, how He loves us, how he longs for us we see ourselves.  I believe – being made in the image of God – we have the same wiring.  We are all equipped to love by choice, we all long for and desire to be loved by choosing… none of it is by accident.

Love is a huge and important commitment.  “The greatest of these is love”… with that comes choice – to live it or deny it.  Daily we are called to love, to manage that… love is far more than an emotion.  Love is action, a commitment, it must be intentional – and never an accident.

The challenge:

1.      Do you want to be loved on purpose with every part of someone or just by accident?  If you aren’t, can you/ will you still love in return?

2.      More importantly, do you want to, or are you ready to love with intentionality yourself?  Or do you want to wait for it to accidentally fall in place?

3.      When someone enters into your world that isn’t like you, that is in need, what will you do?

4.      Whether you have a significant other, are waiting for “the one”, or even with your family and friends – will you step boldly forward and choose to love with all of yourself or are you waiting to “fall” and just hope it all works out?

For me, God called me to love like Him.  It’s a choice, a courageous choice.  Its all I’ve known my whole life even when that applies to caring for others less fortunate than I am the choice is to love.  My friends and family are important people and they deserve all of me… I choose to love.  If God has someone for me to do life with some day, I will choose love, I won’t “fall”, I will do and go intentionally forward at his prompting.

People are people no matter what the condition or location they live in.  People need and deserve purposeful, unconditional love and that is what we are called to do.

8 new reviews…

Yes, I’m WAY behind on seeing and reviewing movies… like 2 months.  I could say that life has been busy (and it has a little) so I haven’t seen a lot of the movies I’ve wanted to see but even the ones I have seen I just didn’t write them up.  Thing is, I hate writing, the whole review thing started as an experiment and just never quite got shut down… and I realized something, I’m the boss here!  I can write, not write, whatever… and if I do write I can write the way I want.  So, starting now – with the films I’ve seen during this blog hiatus and moving forward – One sentence reviews.

Beastly – Classic and sweet story brought to today in a creative, fresh way that was well done making any girl (and probably some dudes) go “awww”.  Buy it? Yes.

The Lincoln Lawyer – Totally saw it twice and I hope there’s a sequel.  Buy it?  Yes.

Source Code – Somewhat complex storyline with a lot of heart that can really mess with your mind on right, wrong, reality, space and time.  Buy it?  Perhaps

Hop – At long last a movie about the Easter Bunny that was cute, funny and entertaining. Buy it?  Maybe

Red Riding Hood – A visually stunning and slightly dark portrayal of the original Little Red Riding Hood story that might surprise you.   Buy it?  Nah

Arthur – A super funny and charming remake of a classic love story that is totally worth seeing.  Buy it?  Sure

Fast Five – Everything you want it to be.  Buy it?  If you bought the others…

Water for Elephants –  Really fascinating and unique story with a well played villain that will likely tweak the hearts of animal lovers just slightly more than the fans of love stories.  Buy it?  Possible.

The Adjustment Bureau (PG-13) –

Director: George Nolfi

Cast: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery and Terrance Stamp

Stuff you need to know: A fairly complicated plot, but if you watch the trailer or read up on it before you go you should be fine.

Who SHOULD see it?:

–       Matt Damon fans

–       Emily Blunt fans

–       People who enjoy movies with heavy religious overtones

–       Anyone wanting to wrestle with the concept of free will

Who should NOT see it?:

–        People that don’t like to think to much while watching a movie

–        Anyone scared of ballerinas (you know, after seeing Black Swan)

–        Haters of New York

–        Haters of Matt Damon

What I think: Very interesting movie.  At the heart of the movie is a love story but that story is really the sub plot to a very intricate script that wrestles with faith, free will, and “something bigger”… none of which is ever identified or resolved really.  There is a clear ending and resolution for this couple but the overarching plot is something that makes you think.

As an evangelical (which is what the post film survey labeled me as) I’m sure I see and process the goings on in this film differently than someone of a different faith or even no faith at all… but I don’t think that means only certain audiences can enjoy the movie, it would just be enjoyed and perceived in totally different ways.  The good news is, it makes you think about what you do believe, sends you back to the source, and most importantly starts dialogue about our lives and how we do interact with “something bigger”.

I recommend it.  Its pretty smart and they give you quite a few snickers (which I think were on purpose… gosh, I hope they were) along the way to keep the heaviness and intensity from getting too overwhelming.  Oh and great cast.  Really good chemistry all around, all very likable… even the various antagonists – b/c they aren’t exactly “bad guys”.

Mandy’s Point System: a blank planner

Would you buy it?: I might


Gnomeo & Juliet in 3D (G) –

Director: Kelly Asbury

Cast:James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Ashley Jensen, Michael Caine, Matt Lucas, Jim Cummings, Jason Statham and Maggie Smith

Music: Elton John & 2 other guys

Stuff you need to know: Might want to do at least a brief review of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet but not a must.  3-D probably isn’t necessary but its an option.

Who SHOULD see it?:

–       Fans of Elton John music

–       Those that enjoy cheeky British humor

–       Adorers of lawn ornaments

–       Shakespeare spoof lovers

Who should NOT see it?:

–        Anyone with a fear of gnomes (especially talking ones)

–        Haters of the UK

–        Despisers of Shakespeare

–        Dislikers of Elton John music

What I think: It’s a classic story we all know with a unique and fun twist.  Great music and really clever.   I almost feel like I need to see it again to catch all the humor… its not just in the dialogue but also in the animation.  Really enjoyed it.

Super cute!

The flamingo was definitely my favorite (and then the Hulkster cameo).

Mandy’s Point System: a really pointy brightly colored hat

Would you buy it?: Perhaps