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Sunday, 29 January 2012

Academy Awards - Thoughts

Okay so the nominees were announced last week and I figured it gives me something to write about.  Before going ahead I should mention that due to geography, I am aware I haven't been able to see every single movie up for an Oscar; even if every movie nominated WAS released in the UK in time, I couldn't physically predict and then see every possible one.  So as is always the case, these are my thoughts on the upcoming Oscars based on what I HAVE seen :)

See here for all nominees


I have seen surprisingly few of the nominees, though I am excited about the forthcoming Exremely Loud And Incredibly Close.  Having been so disappointed by the book, I am dubious, but am lead to understand it is a near perfect movie from a man who seems to handle potentially overly-sentimental material nicely.  I don't think it poses a threat in this category though.  Of what I have seen, The Artist should take it.  What will take it?  I can see a tug-of-war between The Artist, Hugo and War Horse.

Where is?: The Conspirator or Drive


We all know that Gary Oldman is our favourite for this one, as it will be his first win, and despite the film being a rather muddy affair, his nomination is certainly deserved.  I'm liking Jean Dujardin for The Artist, and despite not having seen it, I understand George Clooney gives a surprising turn in The Descendants (a movie that is generally getting more praise than anyone would have expected).  Owing, however, to the fact that there seem to be an unwritten law preventing Clooney or Pitt ever actually winning anything, my gut says there could be an upset on this one and we see Demian Bichir take it for his role in A Better Life, and apparently deservedly so!

Where is?: Sir Ben Kingsley, Tom Hardy, Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling.  Epic fail on this one!


I don't think anyone needs a crystal ball to see who will probably take this on the night, though I can see a potential upset here also.  It comes down to politics: Streep could win on the basis of her reputation as one of their sweethearts giving another maginificent performance as an infamous British Prime Minister (they love Meryl and they love British; do the maths), but then they may also consider it an unnecessary award, given her reputation and name already (aided by the fact the film received a very poor critical reception); they may figure the accolade is better given to someone more fresh.  This brings into the frame Rooney Mara for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, a superb transformation for a newcomer, and well deserving of the nomination.  That said, it may be a case that they feel such a recognition for such a big role, such a dark role, and so early in this girl's career, may not do her future any good (besides financially, of course).  This leads me to consider (and very much like) the possibility that Michelle Williams might win for My Week With Marilyn.  Another film I did not get around to seeing, but for a woman whose life fell apart only a few years ago, I don't think she has really had the recognition for her efforts to keep going when she could have just disappeared for a long time (see Shutter Island and  Blue Valentine).  So whilst not at all based on any real evidence, my feeling is that it would be nice to see her take it home.

Where is?: Keira Knightely and Tilda Swinton


For me there are three strong candidates here: Nick Nolte, Christopher Plummer and Max Von Sydow.  They supposedly all give showstopping performances, but having only seen Nolte, I have to go with him for his role in Warrior, which was absolutely real and heartbreaking!  He made real a man it would have been so easy to dismiss on paper.  I'd be happy to see him not just written off as an ex-hack and actually recognised as the terrific performer he can be, given the right material, as he was with this film.


This is a tough one for me to call, as it is the category for which I have seen the least nominees, though by gut instinct alone, I'm going to say there's a fight on between Berenice Bejo for The Artist, Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids, and perhaps Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs.

Where is?: Chloe Grace Moretz (How many times does this little lady have to be incredible before someone actually puts her in for a nomination?)


This is a fun one to discuss, because the nominees are all arguably equally worthy.  Due to the efforts made to learn how to shoot a film all over again, The Artist has a good chance.  My gut,  however, says that it has some tough and deserved competition in Hugo, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Tree Of Life.  A tough one to call, and if any of the above win, I won't moan.

Where is?: Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, and Drive


The Artist or Hugo.  Anything else pales.  Should be noted I'm not a fan of Harry Potter, so perhaps that's in for the fight as well?


Hard to see anything but Jane Eyre winning this actually, although I wouldn't be surprised The Artist got in here as well.

Where is?:  Ths Conspirator


Michael Havanavicus vs. Martin Scorsese.  Ding ding! :)

Where is?:  Robert Redford and David Fincher.  Both completely criminal oversites!


An extremely tough one to call this year, because the one film that should win isn't even nominated.  Of what is there, I think I'd like to see The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo take this.

Where is?:  Source Code!!!! Grrr


I will be extremely surprised if anything other than A Separation wins this.

Where is?: Julia's Eyes


Erm.....Iron Lady, maybe?


Ludovic Bource was extremely creative and fun with his music for The Artist, but this is one that could be a bit of a toss up.  All nominations' score worked well, so it's hard to say.  Oh, other than the fact that, once again, the winner isn't in there!

Where is?: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Okay, all Trent Reznor asskissing aside, this was a creepy, dark, perfectly used score that became a character in the movie.  It is ironic that they won for The Social Network, which was debatable, and here, where they have done something better and more immersive and exciting, they don't even get the nominaton).  Had this been nominated, it would be my winner all the way.


Drive, without question!


It would be hard to pick a better sounding film that The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  The detail of the sound is ridiculous!


I like Hugo for this, and as much as it pains me to say it, I can imagine Transformers being in with a chance too.  That said, my gut is saying Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes.


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is pretty likely, but none of it matter because...

Where is?:: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, A Dangerous Method and We Need To Talk About Kevin


I thoroughly enjoyed the snappy script that was Margin Call (a movie I recommend you rent when you can), but given that no one else really cares much about that one, let's say it will be The Artist.

Where is?: Warrior (to write something that cliched, and yet that impressive, deserves some recognition), Shame or The Conspirator......again!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

We want our money back! Errr......How About No?

So I am lead to understand there has been a public outcry, or at least a whimper, from those who are outraged by the fact that The Artist, one of the biggest releases of 2011 and undoubtedly one which is due some accolades at this year's Oscars (AKA. the awards that mean anything), is actually....wait for it....a silent movie!  Let us have a think about why these people are morons.

1 - Who wanders into a screening of The Artist, a film which has received huge noteriety for being something of a love letter to the era of silent film, adhering to the conventions of silent film, and then complains about it being a silent film?  How retarded must one be?  Had they not read or heard anything about this movie?  It takes a few seconds of listening to anyone talk about it, or a paragraph of any critic's review, to understand this is a silent movie.  What, all these people just saw the poster, the black and white, really classic looking poster, and decided to see it?  Granted, it is a beautiful poster, but such is its style I would not expect it to, on its own, attract the attention of such braindead, cinematically challenged idiots.

2 -  If these people had held their wad and just gone with it, at least some of them, perhaps many of them, may have reaped the rewards the film offers.  Why?  Because, contrary to what even I suspected, the silence thing isn't simply a gimmick; The Artist is a sincere effort, by someone who adores cinema, to make a genuine silent movie, consisting of realtively simple story, exaggeraed performances and score.  I was rather blown away by just how well it is done; it is a film that proves, with the right cast and team, a filmmaker can make an audience laugh, cry, and enjoy something wonderful with no need for words, because actions really can speak louder!  It is the core of cinema, it reminds us why film is so great, so romantic and beautiful, so powerful, why the moving image held such fascination in the first place.  To walk out of The Artist on the basis you want to hear actors speak is to completley miss the point.  Scenes as powerful as one in which Peppy watches the unwitting George from a distance, or in which George contemplates suicide illustrate just how little dialogue is needed; when an actor can make you feel everything you need to feel so deeply, with just their face and relation to each other, you realise why this film works!

3 - It actually isn't completely silent.  Okay, a petty point because it's about ninety-nine percent silent, but it's an opportunity to mention the rather clever introduction of sound in a movie about the advent of sound in cinema.

4 - How about.....It's fucking brilliant?!  I might even sympathise with these moaners a tad if the film was awful, but it's not, it is beautiful.  So much love and effort has gone into making this film look and sound amazing...Yes, it sounds amazing.  Such a cheeky, moving, creative score!

I guess I just can't understand why, in today's culture, there are those so unwilling to try something new, to give something a chance and surprise themselves.  Perhaps they see it as pointless.  It is the same for those who consider the black and white film outdated and immediately slap the boring label on it; the same people who think a colourised version of a film suddenly makes it acceptable, and the same people who think a shit film in 3D will be great all of a sudden, rather that just Shit In 3D.  Yes the movie is a silent one, but it's also rather astonisihing.  As for getting your money back.......You paid to see The Artist, you saw The Artist (or at least as much of it as you allowed to run before you walked out).....whose fault is it that you didn't do your research?

If you have not seen it yet, and you love film, check it out!


Wednesday, 11 January 2012


10 Undeniably (and sometimes inexplicably) Disappointing Things:

1 - A cup of tea you realise has gone too cold to drink, and it's at that point where reheating it just makes it taste a bit plastic and crap.  It's gone from The Little Tea That Could to The Little Tea You Have To Throw Away.

2 - You run the bath and get all excited about having a nice, long relax, only to get in and realise it's not as hot as you were planning, and so you sit there feeling sad as you realise there's not enough hot water to do it properly and you just have to put up with this warm pond of disappointment.

3 - When a piece of music goes in a different direction that doesn't really surprise you so much as disappoint you; you're getting all into it and loving it, and then the artist/band/composer do something that makes you go, "Oh, I wouldn't have done that...this isn't as good as what I thought you were going to do."

4 - You're loving the shower and then the pressure goes and it becomes like a limp dick.

5 - The ice cream you just bought falling on the floor as you go to eat it.

6 - Not getting a response to a message you KNOW someone has received.

7 - Finally getting around to opening the case of the film or music you have been looking forward to and finding it is not in there!

8 - The moment you understand for yourself that the person you are really into, and who you thought was maybe into you, actually has had their eye on someone else for quite a while and sees you as a buddy.

9 - The big social event that has been arranged for ages falling through.

10 - A book without an owner, just sitting there