Saturday, March 6, 2010

Oscar Frenzy

My husband is a drama king.  While I've always enjoyed going to the movies, eating movie popcorn and watching the Oscars, he's raised the experience to a whole new level for me.  He likes to watch all the Oscar nominated movies before the Big Night.  I don't think we've ever completely accomplished this goal but its fun to try!

So here's my rundown so far:

 Lee Daniels-Director
based on the novel Push by Sapphire.

This one should win because it's gritty and good. The performances are fantastic from Mo'nique, as the abusive mother, to newcomer Gabourey Sidibe in the title role. Even the smaller roles shine with Mariah Carey, as a concerned social worker, and Lenny Kravitz is wonderful as a gentle male nurse.  All adults should see it, especially those working in education or any field closely related to education or if you're human.   Why, you ask, do I think this is the worthwhile movie of the year? I think the performances are that good and it shows a very real look at the struggles many of our children face at home.  I work in a small urban area and I see younger versions of Precious both male and female.  Precious is growing up in a very abusive home, with a mother constantly attacking her.  She finds salvation through a teacher.  It won't win the Oscar even though it should.  If you've hesitated seeing this movie please go-it is well-worth the price of admission. Click here for  IMDb info.  I haven't read the book yet but it is on my list. 

For Sister Rose's views on both Precious and The Blindside-click here.

The Blindside
 John Lee Hancock-Director
based on the book by Michael Lewis

I like this one also.  For me, it was about a family stepping outside the box to care about another human being.  Michael Oher(Quentin  Aaron) is homeless and forgotten.  A family friend gets him a place at a Christian high school based on the idea that Michael will eventually play football for them.  S.J. (Jae Head) befriends him even though there is a huge age and size difference.  Leigh Ann (Sandra Bullock) and Sean Tuohy (Tim McGraw) bring him home one day and slowly Michael becomes part of the family. Michael and S.J steal the show.  I think it dealt really well with racial issues of today. My favorite scene is where Collins, S.J.'s older sister, a cheerleader at the school, is studying with her friends in the library and gets up to join Michael at another table, separating herself from her friends negative views.  All it takes is getting up and moving but it is the simple fact of doing it that makes all the difference.  There are two good scenes with Leigh Ann lunching with her wealthy friends that demonstrate this personal upheaval as well. This movie, while feel-good, is not my idea of Oscar-worthy. I'm interested in reading this book as well just to see how Hollywood changed it. IMDb info-click here.

written and directed by James Cameron

In the first 20 minutes of this movie I almost walked out...but it's not like me to give up so I stayed and loved it.  It combines many themes but some are close to my heart.  It has an interesting cast; Sigourney Weaver plays Dr. Grace Augustine, an interesting choice with her leads in Alien; Giovanni Ribisi, love him-disliked his role as a money-hungry boss, Parker Selfridge; and Stephen Lang as the seriously over-the-top GI Joe Colonel, with bulging muscles and no neck.  I don't consider myself a techno-head but there were a lot of cool devices in this movie as they zoom to Pandora to fight/understand more about this alien race.  Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is placed on Dr. Augustine's team to find out more about the alien race.  The problem arises when The Colonel and Parker decide negotiation time is over, they want the magical rock under the special tree.  The visuals are incredibly beautiful and the story is pretty stunning-this will probably win because it is flashy Hollywood and good-I don't really want James Cameron to win again though.  I think he already has a bit of an inflated noggin-perhaps he could just win for original screenplay.  IMDb info-click here.   

Crazy Heart
Scott Cooper-Director
based on the book, Crazy Heart by Thomas Cobb

We saw this just the other night and really liked it.  Jeff Bridges plays the aging country singer, "Bad" Blake and Maggie Gyllenhal is a reporter for the local Santa Fe newspaper on a mission to interview him.  Chemistry occurs and love happens but in between there's a lot of drinking.  Colin Farell plays the young country star, Tommy Sweet, and Robert Duvall is lovely as Bad's best friend, Wayne.  The music is wonderful and Jeff Bridges disappears into this role. 
IMDb info-click here.

Up in the Air
Jason Reitman-Director

This one is an interesting look at the single life.  Ryan Bingham(George Clooney) thinks he has the perfect life traveling, working, completely free of any connections until he meets Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga).  It's the ultimate hook-up love affair until the Ryan's company grounds him and he's forced to look at life from a different angle.  Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick)is the young business associate he's forced to share the ropes with, and Jason Bateman plays Bingham's boss, Craig Gregory.  I liked this one as well.
IMDb page-click here.

The Hurt Locker
Kathyrn Bigelow-Director

War story-watched the first half and couldn't handle any more but very well done!! 
Should win but probably won't-too intense for Hollywood.  IMDb info here

Loved Up but don't know why it's in the Best Picture category.
District 9-yuck-why, why why?
Still to watch in the next day:  Julie and Julia, A Serious Man, Invictus and An Education.  I missed Fantastic Mr. Fox but I hope The Princess and the Frog or Up wins best animated.

Watching the Oscars is exciting and we often have a little family party, with dress-up clothes and kiddie cocktail champagne.  Many parts about this go against my natural, hippie-side: so much money spent as well as the inflated salaries of actors.  It's like going to the movies night of fantasy!

What about you?  Will you tune in to find out "and the Oscar goes to..."???

1 comment:

Jenners said...

I used to watch all the best pictures and watch the entire show and have opinions about everything ... but now that has gone by the wayside. I actually forgot it was Oscar time! Blasphemy!

I personally loved "Up in the Air." Is it Best Picture material to me? Probably not ... but I would choose it over Avatar anytime!