Sunday, February 24, 2013

Movie Reviews Special Oscar Edittion

I'm pleased to say I've managed to see a lot of the nominated movies and performances this year which will make watching the Academy Awards tonight much more enjoyable.  Would love to hear your personal reviews and comments.

Best to worst in my book:

Django Unchained 9/10

QT masterpiece, full of everything you'd expect - mesmerizing dialog, deep, complex characters, bloodpath action, quirky score, superb cinematography, dashes of humour and a great morale and historical debate.  Cast were spot on - although I suspect QT had CW in mind from day one of writing - definitely the stand out performance.  Leo is scacry good as the head of Candyland.  

Silver Linings Playbook 9/10

Sometimes it takes a crazy person to show how crazy regular people can be. De Niro - yes, I saw his character and not the Hollywood superstar. I could say the same for all the lead actors. Lawrence was mesmerizing and Cooper rock solid. Much more than I expected - strong plot, very emotional but balanced well with the humour.

It's always a dilemma for me with "based on a true story" movies - how much of the movie is accurate ?  I thought the movie was fascinating and believed almost all of it's plot.  Frightening, important, re-assuring - many thoughts come to mind.  Placing news events of the last decade into place in the dramatic adaption was well worth the price of admission - making sense of why, when, how these important things (may) happen.  Superb, realistic portrayals by the main cast - helps to have leads that are not superstars.  Wow...the storytelling seemed effortless and I became a third party to in the inner workings of the CIA and an appreciation of the efforts it must take to find the likes of UBL.

Les Miserables 8.5/10

Unfortunately I've never read the book.  I've seen the stage show and I've always loved the music.  But this movie really does a tremendous job of telling a great story.  I had forgotten parts or misunderstood plot elements until I saw the movie.

All the main actors were superb - but I think Samantha Barks deserves a little more attention.  Sacha and Helena do not disappoint and brought a little humour to the drama.

The production was fantastic, everything from the costumes to the sets and there were many scenes that could stand up on their own for their photographic quality and artistry.

My only gripe was the length - just as with the stage show, the second act drags on a little for me.

If you're a fan of the story or the stage show it's a must see.  I'll take it a little further and say if you enjoy a great story and love musicals, then it's a pretty good bet.  Poetry for the layman.  Music for the romantic.  Story for the believer.

Argo 7.5/10

Unbelievable plot that I suspect was a little over dramatisized.  Even knowing the outcome didn't take away from the incredible tension.   Agree that the academy have snubbed Afleck's directing.  Solid soundtrack was a surprise along with the humorous hollywood connection.  A solid 7, but not an 8 in my book.

There has been some controversy here in Canada (especially after the premier at TIFF) about the downplay of the Canadian efforts to get the 6 Americans out of Iran.   In the movie, there is only a brief mention of other ideas for the rescue and no mention of Canadian plans and/or ideas.   Canada (likely as well as the US) had spent 3 months working on plans to get the 6 Americans to safety but apparently none were deemed viable.  In he movie they say the movie crew idea was the best worst idea.

In a recent interview, Jimmy Carter confirms that the majority of the work was actually done by Canadians

Beautiful adaptation of the wonderful book.  Magical and superb SFX.  But overall I was a little disappointed.  I think the Oscar nomination may have been for technical merits rather than memorable moviemaking.  Definitely enjoyable and entertaining, but I left with a bit of an empty feeling. 

Lincoln 7/10

Dizzy wordplay; nodded off a few times.  Interesting man Abe.   I liked the Stevens twist.  Need to read the synopsis on imdb to fill in my embarrassingly big gaps in understanding US politics and history.  Not high on my lists.   But the great performances and important history telling are probably worth the nominations.

And my awards go to...

Django Unchained - production and movie, script
Silver Linings Playbook - acting, directing, script
Zero Dark Thirty - drama and historical wow factor
Les Miserables - sets, costumes music, acting, adaptation
Argo - directing, adaptationLife of Pi - fx, adaptation
Lincoln - acting; directing

No comments: