Sunday, February 26, 2012

Its Oscar night

So the Oscars are around again and as usual, I haven’t gotten round all the nominated movies yet. Tell me something new J
One thing I can say off my head though is…the offerings are pretty ordinary. I am yet to be wowed by a plot or cinematography.
I haven’t been inspired enough to cheer for the good fella - at least not like I cheered myself hoarse for Jake Sully & Neytiri in Avatar or The King’s Speech. None has made me doubt my smartness (or ability to understand convoluted stories) like Inception did, Thrilled me like Black swan, nor given me equal doses of sexy, family and comedy like ‘The kids are alright’.

‘Charming’ a word as fuzzy and inane like ‘nice’ is my favourite adjective to describe most of 2012’s offerings – ‘Hugo’, ‘Extremely close and incredibly loud’, ‘The Artist’, ‘The Descendants’, ‘Midnight in Paris’. I haven’t gotten round to Moneyballs maybe it will the balls (pun intended) so far lacking in the Oscar nominations.
Lastly I noticed that most of the movies paid tribute to the past in some way or the other, like producers/directors were told that the Oscar theme for 2012 was Nostalgia. Lol.
Okay let me give you a review of the nominations.

Nominees:

The Artist (2011):
I really really liked the Artist and hope it wins. The storyline is quite simple. A popular silent movie actor at the height of his career meets a young wannabe and falls in love. Unfortunately the days of silent movies were about to be over. Talk was in. and as her star rose, his fell. A fire, a rescue will love conquer all. What makes the Artist different was the throwback to them days of black and white movies and the use of no talk!!!
I didn’t believe how much we have been spoilt by color/HD/audio surround. I had to pay extra attention to that movie cause the colorlessness was doing me in. At a point I was craving like a drug addict wants his fix to hear their voices. To fit a voice to the characters. The score did help tremendously to set the mood.
Jean Dujardin totally deserves to win best actor too. Without talk he took us through the whole gamut of joy, pain, sadness, anger. And he didn’t have to over dramatise aka Nollywood. Side eye.
Oh and it’s high time animals begin to get an Oscar award too. Uggie won my heart!
The Descendants (2011):
The determinedly single George Clooney starred in this movie as a husband forced to deal with his dying wife’s affair. It dealt with the politics of a land sale (save the trees/save the planet) and showed us how absent fathers deal with their daughters – they don’t. they look to the elder to take care of the younger and continually look askance when the 8 yr old uses swear words. All in all it was a great movie for seeing adultery from a loving husband’s POV.
I got a bit emotional at the scene where the betrayed wife met the ‘home destroyer’. All in all a charming movie but I doubt if it will win best picture nomination. George Clooney is my next best choice for best Actor nomination
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011): Scott Rudin
A charming movie with a most uncharming lead actor..pffft. I wanted to turn him over on my laps and give his ass a whooping so many times. I read a comment section on IMDB where a man who claims that two of his sons have Aspergers syndrome defended his ‘wonderful’ charm as normal.
Uhmm Ok. If you say so. What do I know….the nearest I’ve been to someone with Asperger’s was in the movie ‘My name is Khan’.

The plot – we are taken on an incredible search for the matching lock to a key in the possession of a 10yr old boy who recently lost his father in the WTC on 9/11. He is convinced that the key he found atop his father’s wardrobe will lead him to last message/gift/note from his Dad and maybe when he finds it he will be free of the sadness and guilt over his father’s death.
His roughshod treatment of those who loved him best – his family was quite difficult to watch. My most memorable scenes were with his psychologically-dumb granddad Max Von Sydow (I’m rooting for him for Best supporting Male Actor!!) and the final 15 minutes when the Mom(Sandra Bullock) makes that wonderful revelation. I’d wanted to hug her so many times. How does a widow deal with a son like that at a time when you need bonding the most??
The Help (2011):
I reviewed The help here. The performances were stellar and I hope Viola Davis wins Best Female actress. I was thrilled when the cast got the Globe award. Indeed, it was one movie where everyone did their bit and the synergy was truly greater than the individual person’s input. I can’t decide between Octavia and Jessica Chastain for supporting actress. Actually I can – Octavia it is.
Hugo (2011/II):
Hugo is the story about an orphan boy who lived by stealth in a train station in Paris. He had inherited a passion for fixing mechanical things especially an automaton (robot)..a job both of them started before the father died. Hugo desperately believed that there was a message for him from the automaton from his father but he can only get the message when the automaton is fixed.
Despite hindrances like a one-legged station guard and a grumpy toy fixer, with the help of Chloe (the toy fixers granddaughter), he found the message he sought.
This movie received a lot of critic acclaim…mostly cause of its award winning director Martin Scorcese (imho). I watched it cause of my favourite young actress Chloe Moretz (Hit girl) I am thankful they haven’t pigeon holed her in any genre. Asa Butterfield the lead was ‘ahem’ suitably winsome and blue eyed. Did you notice the too much camera focus on his eyes pfft.

The story was cutesy enough and my best scenes were the horrifying dream he had, and the romantic goings on of the people who worked in the train station. I also enjoyed the brief history on film making we received. Was it really true that the first movie produced was the video of a train moving across the cinema screen? And here we are in 2012 watching movies like Unstoppable, Transformers CGI etc without blinking an eyelid.
Having said that, I can understand why it got an Oscar nod even if it might not win....it was an ode to film making. It reminds us again to appreciate those who were/are dedicated to the industry and made it grow. They were there not just for the money but cause they wish to be remembered for 'truly entertaining' their audience. bringing some magic into their dull lives………..and you know the old fuddy duddies who vote will appreciate it.
Best cinematography and directing maybe..

Midnight in Paris (2011):
Midnight in Paris started with an assault on my ears and eyes – a idyllic score and 10 mins of a slide show of Paris. Then there was Owen Wilson the lead actor talking like he had pebbles under his tongue ala Woody Allen (Imitation is the best form of flattery they say), annoying! Also Woody Allen’s aptitude for verbose dialogues made it easy for me to listen to this movie while I did other work. Lol.

A successful Hollywood movie writer turned struggling novel writer travels with his fiancée Inez (can we push that spoilt lil’ bitch into the Seine pls) and in-laws to Paris to seek inspiration for his new book. Gil falls in love with Paris in the ‘20s (he sorta of time travelled) – the literati of the 20s – Matisse, Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Scott Fitzgerald, Hemmingway and especially ….. a lady from the 20s, only to find out that she longs for the 17th century cos she thought they were more romantic. Game set match.
Owen finally realizes that indulging in the past makes you unavailable for the present – lesson for everybody!! Let nostalgia be for table conversations and blog posts. Heck I can’t imagine a word without 3D Films, the internet, smartphones, ultrasonographs, flat-screens and social media. Imagine if there was twitter then he could have taken pictures on his phone uploaded it and tweeted ‘having a chat with Hemmingway and Stein woot woot’.
I half-wished I was clever and bourgeois enough to understand the inside jokes about the great men and women of the 20s who made cameo appearances – Matisse, Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Fitzgerald, Hemmingway. Ah well. Maybe in 50yrs when they make a parody of George Bush, Kim Kardashian, I’ll be explaining the inside jokes to my granddaughter.

I think this movie got a lot of hype because of its producer/director Woody Allen. Yes I admire his diligence but I don’t normally seek out his movies to watch. Midnight in Paris scored a 7.8/10 on Imdb. Really? I struggled to give it a 5.5/10.

Moneyball, The Tree of Life,  War Horse - Yet to watch

5 comments:

  1. I love your rundown, and you're right, all the nominations had elements of the past or nostalgia in them. I disagree though that there weren't great movies this year. The Artist and Hugo I think were brilliant and Extremely Loud too. The Help was OK, others were so so, I don't know why they nominated Midnight in Paris. The Artist was my number one and I'm happy they won, as well as the best director and actor. That guy stole my heart with his smile and his dog, I actually think he over dramatized ala Nollywood but hey, no words to show him up :)

    It was a good Oscar night I think, Octavia won, and Viola has to wait another time.

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  2. I have only watched three of these movies. And I thought I watch movies a lot. So I cant really say.

    Moneyball, War Horse and The help. Out of the three, Moneyball is my least favourite

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    Replies
    1. Now, I have watched almost all. Remains Midnight in Paris and Tree of Life

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  3. I hardly ever watch movies, but thanks to your excellent reviews, I can bluff my way through and discuss intelligently about movies I've never seen, and only just heard of today (except The Help, heard ot that last year). Ginger!!! Where's my promised phone call???

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  4. Nice reviews though I haven't watched most of the movies. I was really happy Octavia won though n she radiateD joy.

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