Friday, February 25, 2011

Road to the Oscars Part 1

Taking a pause from our regularly scheduled programming, I would like to talk about film for a moment.  I enjoy movies almost as much as books, and I want to fling them across rooms significantly less often.  On Saturday, I started my quest toward watching all 10 Oscar Nominated films.  Armed with popcorn, caffeinated large soda, and a friend for whispered commentary, I settled into my mildly uncomfortable (kept me awake!) AMC Theater seat for the next 11 hours.

Toy Story 3

The Good: Is it just me, or do these movies keep getting better?  The characters continue to grow, as do their relationships.  The voices, as always, are phenomenal and the addition of Barbie (a very likeable portrait) and Ken (More amusing than likeable) are genius.  The development of the story is logical and heartbreaking.

The bad: nada

Final thoughts: This movie made me tear up the first time I saw it.  The second, I still had to fight back emotions.  Toy Story has grown up with us (well, okay, me).  This story rounded out the trilogy nicely.  It's something special that does not come around often.

127 hours

The good: I felt like I was trapped under a rock for 94 minutes trapped under a rock (granted, better than 127 hours).  The directions was intense, beautiful and clasutrophobic.  James Franco's performance was masterful.  He was this film and he lived up to all of his massive potential. 

The bad: There was very little that was enjoyable about this movie.  The cinematography was beautiful when it spanned away from Franco's character.  Otherwise, it was incredibly difficult to watch (Though it is an inspiring example of the indomitable nature of the human spirit).

Final thoughts:  I had mixed feelings after watching this movie.  The tone told me that I was watching something important, but upon further thought, it seemed like something I did not need to see.  Don't get me wrong, Aron Ralston story is incredible.  Maybe the ending was a bit much for me.

The Kids are All Right

The Good: The acting is what made this movie for me.  The cast was extremely strong (but you didn't need me to tell you that) and the performances were memorable.  The LA setting was beautiful and the depiction of a family led by homosexual females was encouraging and had some funny moments.

The bad:  The relationship we are supposed to be rooting for held very little for me to sympathize with.  There are almost no sparks of love or tenderness portrayed.  Annette Benning is domineering and shrill and Julianne Moore is beaten-down and timid.  It seems like the writers/director wanted to show the slow breakdown of the family, but they did it too well, leaving me not wanting to see it repaired.

True Grit 

The Good: I love this movie.  It gets so many things right.  The tone drew me in, the cinematography is beautiful.  The acting is pitch perfect.  I love well done westerns and this is one of the best recent attempts!

The bad:  (spoiler(ish)) I'm not a big fan of the ending.  It pulls me out of the story and shatters my connection with the characters.  This may have been the point with the commentary of time passing.  However, even if this is the case, it feels abrupt and tacked on.

The Fighter

The good:  Christian Bale was insanely good in this movie.  He was almost unrecognizable in the face of the character he created.  The story was also fun and somewhat inspiring.

The bad:  While it was a nice story (based on real events), it was cliche.  Also, few of the characters are sympathetic at all.  Mark Wahlberg's central character felt weak (Or maybe it was his acting weighing in next to Bale's...he was just fine.


  1. I saw Toy Story 3 three times, and I cried each time.

  2. Toy Story 3 made me cry too. I'm worried that I haven't seen enough movies this year to have a chance at winning the Oscar pool at work.

  3. I'll be waiting to find out your pick for best picture. Also, to hear your reaction to Black Swan.

  4. Toy Story 3 was amazing! You're right, they all were. What a great trilogy.

    I haven't seen ANY of the other movies although I'm dying to see True Grit!

  5. Toy Story 3 was great, as were the preceding movies, I really enjoyed it! My son couldn’t get enough of Toy Story anything afterwards! LoL

  6. Cool reviews. I adored Toy Story 3. Each sequel seems to be getting better!

    P.S.: Just a gentle reminder that my Race to 200 Blog Contest has started! Have you got your post ready yet? :)

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