Sunday, January 13, 2013

Playing Catch Up

I have no excuses for my appalling lack of blogging this semester...well actually I have a million excuses and all of them have to do with me being in my senior year of college and trying to do a ton of work while also having a social life and then coming home for break and having no computer/internet. But onward and upward. It is always my goal to write more in the new year so here is me attempting to reach that aim.
It is a shame too because I have seen so many good films this semester and it is going to be hard to accurately capture my feelings towards all of them. I think in order to preserve my sanity I am going to do a new movie post first aka movies that I have seen recently and more importantly ones that are nominated for awards. Therefore this post will not include Kill Bill Volume 1 & 2 (which I absolutely loved),  The Perks of Being a Wallflower (captured the feeling of the book amazingly), Lord of the Rings: Return of the Kings (by far the most enjoyable of the series), Looper (not what I expected), Skyfall (one word: fun), Stardust (deviated from the book, but plain fun), and lastly The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (good, but long). I am going to focus on Silver Linings Playbook, Les Misérables, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Argo.
1.) Silver Linings Playbook- David O. Russell
I really liked the performances of this film. I had no expectations for Bradley Cooper except what I kept hearing from reviews so I was pleasantly surprised by the emotional dept of his performance. I always love Jennifer Lawrence and I was not disappointed; the more clips I see from her at award shows the more I appreciate her role in the film. However, overall, and compared to the other films I have seen I was not as impressed. Sure I was a bit teary by the end and I rejoiced and felt uplifted, but I was underwhelmed. I think that is the thing for me: it stands up, but not comparatively. If I was not in the theater thinking about Les Misérables playing in the next theater then maybe I would have liked it better.
Review: Needs milk 

2.) Les Misérables- Tom Hooper 
I feel like it is unfair for me to write about any other films right now because I am listening to the soundtrack as I write this. I loved Les Misérables.  It was a long movie especially when my theater played it with 30 minutes of previews (to the point where the audience was groaning with each one), but most every moment of the film was necessary in the creation of the incredible story of Jean Valjean played by Hugh Jackman with more conviction than I could ever imagine. The same can be said for Anne Hathaway and "I Dreamed a Dream" for which I had chills throughout. Each actor was chosen perfectly and the nominations were well deserved for both actors mentioned above. It is definitely Anne's award to lose. One brilliant stroke of casting was Helena "I-am-actually-a-little-bit-crazy" Boham Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen as the Thenardiers. I could imagine no one else in those roles and they made every scene they were in while providing welcome comic relief. Also, Eddie Redmayne was wonderful as Marius. He could have been reduced to the lovelorn dope ala Jamie Campbell Bower as Anthony in Sweeney Todd, but Redmayne manages to hold his own. His performance of "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" thoroughly impressed me while still managing to bring tears. It is one of those films that I cannot wait to see again and for that reason alone it gets a perfect score from me. It makes me feel sorry for all the bad things I said about Tom Hooper for The King's Speech. In my defense, I was team Fincher and The Social Network that year. Sorry about that, Tom.
Review: No milk needed

3.) Beasts of the Southern Wild- Benh Zeitlin 

Beasts was an unconventional film and I still cannot decide if I liked it completely or not. I thought the acting of Quvenzhané Wallis was incredible especially for her young age. It makes me wonder if the choices she made are conscious ones and she is really that good or if she just has a natural talent and likability as a child. Regardless, it will be interesting to see if her career goes anywhere from here. The film itself was rooted halfway between reality and fantasy which I liked, it just sometimes got too fantastical for me. That being said, the story still managed to be moving and beautiful. Zeitlin manages to make a film about an entire state feel small and intimate by showing it through the eyes of a little girl. I also have a soft spot in my heart for films about New Orleans since it remains my favorite city in the United States.
Review: Soggy & 1/2

4.) Argo- Ben Affleck
I have gained so much respect for Ben Affleck through his directing career. He really knows how to make great films-and he can even act in them. Having read the story from the Wired article I knew what was going to happen, but that did not mean I was able to breathe. The pacing and camera angles kept the suspense up and was heightened by Alexandre Desplat's score. I do wish some of the more minor details of the story were included, I felt like the setting up of the fake movie and studio seemed to not have enough background and I wanted more training of the hostages on their covers, but now I am just being nit-picky. The credits were a lot of fun too, I love anything that tricks the majority of the audience to stick around once the movie ends-something I do regularly. I think I liked Argo so much because of the "making a film" aspect; everything about Hollywood and filmmaking fascinates me, even if it was all fake. Add that together with my other favorite thing, history, and I am sold.
Review: No milk needed

So which film will win a Golden Globe? I would like to see Ben walk away with some hardware since he does not have a chance at the Oscar and since Hooper already has an Oscar (although I would not mind him winning). And even though I have yet to see Django Unchained improbable as it is, I would love for Leo to win something. Anything to make up for the Academy's disregard for him. Anne should win for Les Misérables and do not even get me started on all the awards I believe Homeland should win for acting because that should be another post all together. The second the red carpet begins I will be live tweeting so if you want more of my opinions and are not sick of me yet, read more there.

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