I have been on a bit of an unplanned blogging hiatus…I feel way busier in these first two months of the year than usual. But just because I haven’t been writing doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on Mission Oscar Snob…which means I have a LOT of movies to write about so lets get right to it!
I recently rented the movie Beginners from Netflix. I thought it would be an interesting movie. A guy who is a bit of an introvert is dealing with losing his father who, at the end of his life, had come out as a gay man. Meanwhile, he meets a young actress who he really connects with and they try to figure out how to have a successful relationship as he is dealing with the question of the relationship of his parents. I thought this sounded really interesting, but to be honest the movie bored me. It didn’t really live up to my expectations. The movie didn’t seem like it needed to be as long as it was. It was sort of over dramatic for me and it was a quiet film where it seems like everyone is whispering all the time…not enough excitement for me I guess. I was able to connect with certain emotions from the characters, but overall I was a bit bored. And I think that disappointed me because the plot description sounded good to me.
I have to be honest, I feel like a bit of a failure with The Tree of Life. I rented it from Netflix the other day. Netflix thought I would give it 1.5 stars…it over estimated. My friend Avi and I decided to try to watch this one together…and neither of us could last past the first half hour…and I think we were being generous. The movie is basically a series of short scenes of a family. You can kind of piece together in the beginning that one of the kids has passed away…but its not really clear because the plot (if there is really a plot at all) is out of order. Sean Penn is supposed to be one of the siblings in the future. He is walking around office buildings…looking around…not really sure what his role is other than to show us that he thinks of his dad and brother. There is about 20 minutes where the movie just shows different Earthly images…no characters or dialog. Once the people came back it was just short scenes with little dialog that lasted less than a minute each. The scenes also didn’t really go together, its just all supposed to form a picture…a two hour long picture made up of tons of less than a minute scenes and images. The movie was really very abstract…hard to follow but perhaps there wasn’t much to actually follow. After the first half hour we decided to watch it on fast forward…we would stop every once in a while to listen to the scenes…but really there wasn’t much to pay attention to. I felt like it is the type of movie that takes A LOT of effort to watch. I understand how people see it as artsy…but it was too much work…not enjoyable or entertaining for me. I am glad I didn’t have to watch it in theaters.
Last weekend I went to see The Iron Lady. I was a bit apprehensive about this film, I’m not a history buff and I’m not the biggest fan of political dramas. Also, having seen the performances of some of the other best actress nominee’s already, I was sort of thinking that Meryl Streep was nominated for her resume and the mere fact that she was playing a historic figure this year…but then I saw the film. I have to admit that Meryl was amazing. And the story was really interesting. It sort of centered around present day Margaret Thatcher remembering her life. I’m not sure how much about the current Thatcher is true in terms of how she is aging, but I found the film informative and touching. It seems to have a lot to do with her morning her late husband. While a lot of the heavy political parts of the movie seemed a bit rushed, it was necessary to get it all into the film. I liked the film more than I thought I would…but it isn’t my favorite film of the year. But I really did think Meryl Streep was wonderful in the role.
Another person in contention for Best Actress is Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs. I went to see this film this past Friday and I have to admit I still have mixed feelings about it (which is probably why this review will be so short). It was an interesting story, but I didn’t really expect some of the plot (and I don’t want to give things away). The story itself was kind of sad, and I wasn’t as impressed with the character of Albert as I thought I was hoping to be. I think I was hoping she would be a bit stronger. Glenn Close did a great job as Albert, but I think Janet McTeer was better in her supporting role. Although I’m not sure she looked as much like a man as she could have. The movie was a little odd…a little sad…but interesting. I’d suggest waiting for it on DVD.
I wasn’t sure I’d be able to see Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory back when I first posted the list due to my HBO status, but a pal with access DVRed it for me! My other concern about seeing this documentary was the fact that it is the third in a series of documentaries. If you share that concern, not to worry, this third installment does a pretty good job recapping the first two films. The story is actually really interesting. Three boys were killed in the woods near their home in West Memphis, Arkansas in 1993 and the original documentary followed the trial of the 3 teens accused of the murder who became known as the West Memphis 3. The trial of the teens seems to have had some major flaws as did the evidence against them. On top of that, there have been some big changes in forensic science since the first trial. Because of these things there was actually a pretty big movement to get them a new trial after 18 years. This third film is following their last appeal for a new trial. I found the movie to be pretty convincing in its message both about the flaws of the trial but also flaws in our judicial system. After reading a bit about the opposing side I’m not sure I’ve formed a solid opinion about this case in particular…but I found the movie really interesting. I’d highly recommend watching it…but be warned there are some graphic images.
Ending on a light note, this evening I watched the first of two nominated animated feature films on the list; Kung Fu Panda 2. The movie was really cute, and I think it had a great message about finding inner peace with what has happened in the past and appreciating the life you are living now. But I have to say I don’t think it is as impressive as other animated films I’ve seen in years past. Last year’s How to Train Your Dragon was better in my personal opinion. The jokes in this film were a bit too slap stick for me, although I could see them really entertaining kids. Kids would also probably appreciate the fun action scenes. And luckily, it also wasn’t necessary to see the first film to understand or appreciate this film. I liked the movie, but it wasn’t anything spectacular in my opinion.
I have a few more movies to watch and only 6 days left until Oscar night!!! So far I have watched 19 of the 25 movies so I officially beat my number from last year! And I have also seen all of this year’s Best Picture films!! But the mission is not over yet!
Have you seen any of these films? Let me know what you thought of them in the comments! Have you become an “Oscar Snob” yet?