I’d originally meant to watch (at least) every movie nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars ’11. But, like most of the things I do, Project: Be Invested in the Oscars (let’s call it BITO) has boiled down to a last minute as-much-as-I-can-watch and as-much-as-I-can-review marathon. I suppose it’s “Better to aim high and miss, than to aim low and reach target!”.
I feel like I only ever use proverbs as excuses. Not sure the authors are particularly happy with me.
That aside, I have managed to watch 5 out of the 10 movies nominated this year, and here’s a quick take on them:
Chris Nolan’s mind-bender of a movie of dreams within dreams within dreams withi– got a little carried away, didn’t I?
First off, I would like to vote for a change in the Academy’s judicial demographics from geezer-dominated to, well, anything else. Because this is the third time (Memento, The Dark Knight) that director Chris Nolan’s work has been overlooked. The film certainly has its flaws- despite having one of the best on-paper casts, the performances left something to be asked for, and I suppose all the tedious explaining that the plot required was somewhat contrived. Still, I would argue in it’s favour because no other movie this year took me through that mental roller coaster ride that this one did. And it’s easy to get wrapped up in the plot and in explaining the ending, but one other thing I love is the structure of the movie, itself. Much like Fischer, how did we get to the point where we accepted these ‘rules’? How did we get here (“Now, the easiest way for you to test yourself is to try and remember how you arrived at this..”). The entire movie sucked you in with its rules, and the deeper you got, the less you questioned. In effect, an idea was planted in the mind of the audience– as in INCEPTION, ta daa! Also: if you weren’t trying to explain the ending plot-wise, I’d say that Cobb chooses to be with his kids, possibly choosing that which most appeals to him, as opposed to questioning its reality.
I’m glad Nolan has been nominated under Writing: Best Original Screenplay, and although I have not watch all the other films nominated for the same, I would love to see Nolan win.
The Kids Are All Right:
This is the movie that’s made me laugh the most, of all the ones I’ve watched. It’s a story that seems like it’s been told before, but this particular dysfunctional family stands out. Annette Benning is fantastic as the nagging, have-you-written-out-the-thank-you-notes-yet? parent who initially causes you to respond with much eye-rolling and ends up having you thoroughly on her side. Julianne Moore is great, also, and I’m surprised she didn’t garner a nomination alongside Benning. And then there’s the unreliable, annoyingly smug-and yet somehow charming- father, played by Mark Ruffalo. I will just say that he played this out-there, scruffy-man role so well that I was seized by the desire to tell him to please scrub his face and pick up his life ( an impulse I can confess to never having felt before). Mia Wasikowska is impeccable as the conscientious, shy, headed-to-college daughter. I’m definitely keeping an eye out for her.
The introduction of Ruffalo and the subsequent fulfillment of all the characters’ personal story-arcs is extremely well-written. And as per the title, the kids are quite all right, and interestingly the adults are led to question their lives most.I also appreciate that the movie never devolves into drama. In fact, if anything, humour and realism are always at the fore-front (somewhat reminiscent of Modern Family). It’s an unlikely contender, but it has my recommendation.
The story of a man trapped between a rock and a hard place. For 127 hours. Before he realizes that he has one way out: he can amputate his hand and then, perhaps, with some luck, find help.
This could have been a movie driven solely by Aron Ralston (James Franco)’s pain, and one that exists in the hope that if it is harrowing enough, ‘boundaries’ will be understood to be crossed and that people will find it deserving of accolades. But it is not. Despite the tough situation, James Franco portrays a palpable charisma and a genuine sense of humour, which make it ridiculously easy to watch a 92-minute movie set in one crevice for the most part. Further, the question that the movie poses seemed to be what the viewer would cut his own arm off for, rather than if he would have the courage to do so in Aron’s situation. Danny Boyle’s artistry is evident in the splicing of vivid scenes from Aron’s life against the monotone settings of the canyon, and to his credit, he is never too heavy-handed with these. The music left something to be desired, though- it took the front seat too much and was at odds with the mood too often for my liking.
In all, James Franco’s performance really carried this film through, and of all the movies I’ve watched thus far, he is easily most deserving of Best Actor.
The Social Network: This one I’ve already written about, so here’s the link for anyone interested.
Opinions in the Comments section, please!