Saturday, March 06, 2010

no clue movie review - fred's 2010 oscar picks



It's Oscar Sunday! I like watching the Oscars. Not too many award shows that I still enjoy watching, but for some reason I always watch this one from beginning to end each year. I even watch the Barbara Walters Special. I hear this is her last year for that special. Anyway, not sure what the show will bring, but I always like to post my Oscar Picks.

This year I downloaded an official ballot from Oscar.com. You can too! I marked my picks with little stars and I think I did a pretty good job. District 9 for Best Adapted Screenplay could be a sentimental pick, but what the hell. Click on the picture to see my picks larger.
We'll see later today if I'm right.

I saw some of this year's nominated movies, but like every year I didn't see all of them. Here's a list of movies that I still need to see and want to see:
The Hurt Locker
Up In The Air
A Single Man
An Education
A Serious Man
Invictus
Un Prophete
The Last Station
The Lovely Bones
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Nine
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Julie & Julia
The Cove
Food, Inc.

There maybe more, but not sure. There are other movies that I didn't see too, but I may not see those at all. We'll see.

Now that you know what I didn't see, I thought I could give some mini-reviews of the nominated movies I did see this year.

Avatar: I absolutely loved this movie! Technologically, this is a masterpiece. What James Cameron is able to achieve with motion capture & animation is just brilliant. Brings this technology to a whole new level. I was able to feel completely immersed in his world as soon as the film began. I felt very connected to these characters and for the first time with motion capture the eyes of the characters really came alive. I mean Gollum in Lord of the Rings movies was fantastic, but this flick takes it to a whole new level. I think making this kind of a movie must have its appeal for actors as well in the same way an animated feature does. It's kind of odd to judge the acting, because some of it is enhanced by animation. Nonetheless, all the actors acquitted themselves well especially Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver. This film's story is simplistic - big bad corporation trying to steal from the natives and exploit their land & destroy nature. There's also the boy meets alien and feels more comfortable outside of himself storyline. Even though I feel the story isn't overly complicated, doesn't mean it isn't effective. I enjoyed the story in and out and personally felt it held up to repeated viewings. I've seen it 3 times now in different formats and enjoyed each viewing. Take the technology away and it's a different flick, but it's not all technology that makes this movie enjoyable. This flick has made a boat load of cash and I say good for Avatar. A good movie that really exploits the immersion of IMAX 3D in a whole new way. I highly recommend this movie.

UP: Another fantastic Pixar movie. I don't know how they keep coming up with these stories, but I throughly enjoyed this movie too. Saw it over the summer and the beginning where Carl is thinking about his life & his wife. Ugh, I definitely choked up. The movie is very touching and is very simple in story. The relationship between Carl & Russell is so well done though. Just another fantastic movie. And in a totally different way from WALL-E or Toy Story.

The Blind Side: Sandra Bullock has had quite the year! She was hilarious in the screwball romantic comedy The Proposal. This movie is definitely a different side of Sandra that we don't see very often. How can you not love this woman? This story of Michael Oher & the Toughys (especially Leanne) has been documented as not being completely true to life, but as a movie I don't give a crap. This is a heart warming feel good movie. I was in tears in many different parts of this movie. This flick definitely celebrates family however you define it. I defy you to watch this and not be moved emotionally. That being said, it's not a perfect movie by any means. Some very simple versions of things, like Leanne Toughy marching into the ghetto on more than 1 occasion without incident. Big giant clumsy Michael becomes a football star after Leanne telling him to protect her. But I don't care. This movie was made by the same director as The Rookie and that movie with Dennis Quaid also moved me. Bravo! Good luck to Bullock on Oscar night and I hope she wins Best Actress.

Coraline: I went to see this movie and saw it in 3D. It was really good. It's definitely not a little kids movie, not that they wouldn't enjoy it, but I think it's mainly animation buffs that would appreciate it. It's very dark and reminded me of The Nightmare Before Christmas of course that Tim Burton Henry Selick combo. It's really nice storytelling and the animation was fantastic. I'm sure it was better in 3D, since that looked amazing. I appreciated that there weren't a bunch of 3D gags to pull you in, I believe the days of 3D being used as gags maybe over. Most 3D these days are used to just enhance the film and add to your cinematic experience. I do enjoy animation of all sorts but this kind of stop motion animation is not seen a lot these days and I really appreciated the detail that they put into this. If you enjoy animation, then you'd probably like this flick.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: Not much to say about this popcorn movie. It's loud, has tons of cool explosions and lots of giant robots from the get go. It's not much of a story that's realistic anyway. Is it fun? Sometimes. It's a very similar movie to the first Transformers and has all the same players. And yes Megan Fox looks amazing. This isn't the kind of movie that holds up to repeated viewing. Shia LeBeouf, Josh Duhamel and others are fine, but this movie is about big budget effects and big robots. I think it's too long, but other than that it was OK.

Star Trek: I'm not a huge Trekkie, but I've always enjoyed watching these movies. This blows all those other Star Trek flicks out of the water. It pays homage to the original films and doesn't try to ignore their existence while still rebooting the franchise with the original characters from the original series and films. This isn't an easy task considering the history and the fans. I loved Chris Pine as Kirk. He's funny and heroic. He plays well with Zachary Quinto as Spock who's stoic, but also is conflicted. In fact the whole cast is great. Zoe Saldana looks amazing in this movie. I also liked how the filmmakers showed us some tidbits from Kirk & Spock's childhoods. This movie has it all. Action, effects, crazy worlds, time travel and lots of fun storytelling. I was hoping that this movie would get a nomination for Best Picture this year since there were 10 nominees, but I'm glad it's getting some technical recognition. I really enjoyed this movie and this is already a part of my Blu-Ray collection and it holds up well to repeated viewing. I can't wait to see where they take these characters next. It was a blast. This isn't just a movie for Trek fans, this is a movie for fans of good movies.

District 9: I really enjoyed this movie. It is an original piece of sci-fi that isn't always sci-fi. I loved that the effects were seemingly organic to the picture. I loved that the effects didn't feel like effects. Motion capture with those aliens I believe, and boy did it rock! The best motion capture I think since Gollum in Lord of the Rings (besides Avatar, since I hadn't seen that movie yet when I saw this movie). This movie was well acted, well scripted, extremely interesting and engaging. I liked that the mockumentary piece is there, but then kind of abandoned. It really is a truly inspiring well done movie. I would watch this many times over. If you haven't seen it, you should! Really glad to see this one in the Best Picture race, even though it won't win, it's cool to see it among the nominees.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Great effects. Beautiful looking film. I found it exciting and well executed. These movies are highly enjoyable for me. I must admit that I think the last 2 Potter films haven't been extremely faithful to the books, but that doesn't bother me so much since I feel like they can exist outside of each other. I loved reading this book for different reasons than I enjoyed the movie. I think the movie plays up the teen angst much more than the book. The book was a bit more dark and sinister I think. Was it the best Potter? No. But it was an enjoyable Potter. Liked this a lot better than Transformers this summer.

Inglourious Basterds: This was a really great movie. Not as much blood as I had assumed in a Tarantino movie. just the right amount of violence for me. Lots of quiet sections too which surprised me. Acting was good but as usual the writing was fantastic. The language and the time taken between actors to speak the words are pitch perfect. Christoph Waltz deserves the supporting actor win. I'd also like to see it win Best Original Screenplay. A must see for Tarantino fans and maybe for those who aren't. I think it's his best movie since Pulp Fiction.

The Princess and the Frog: Disney's return to traditional 2D animation. I thought this movie was great. Fun, romantic, heart warming. All in the style of the modern classic Disney movies. Music wasn't as memorable I don't think, but it was good. Story is more of a dreams come true and always follow your heart type of story. I just felt good after watching this movie. I don't think it was as good as UP, but better than most animated movies out there.

Sherlock Holmes: Robert Downey Jr. is a great actor, but this film just wasn't fun enough. It was OK, but it just didn't hold up for me. I got bored in a lot of spots. I thought it was a great attempt at bringing a classic character to a modern day audience. But for the most part it fell a little flat for me. CG wasn't the greatest either. Action is a thumbs up though and saves this film from becoming a real snoozer. Great funny dialogue, but I think that is mostly Robert Downey's delivery. Probably the best Guy Ritchie movie in a long time, but that's not saying much since I didn't care for most of this other films.

The Messenger: I had a short post about this movie yesterday. A good flick, but overall disappointing and really depressing. Ben Foster delivers a great performance, but it doesn't go all the way since I felt a lot of it was one note and very angry. Woody Harrelson is great as the mentor and a former soldier who is at odds with his current profession and his attitude at living life. In the end, I didn't feel like over the course of the movie I learned too much more about these characters. I just kind of existed with them in an interesting set of circumstances.

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire: I said it before I'll say it again. A powerful movie and some brave and bold performances by the actresses Gabourey Sidibe and Mo'Nique. This is an excellent portrait of an abused teen and an unflinching look at families that just don't always make it. Blood is thicker than water is the saying, but in this film, escaping abusive family life is just as important in stopping the cycle of abuse. A very tough and hard movie to watch, but such an important one to see. Lee Daniels directs a masterpiece but one that will be tough for me to watch over and over again.

Crazy Heart: Jeff Bridges delivers the performance of a lifetime! Bad Blake is a beat down drunk who is only a fraction of his former self. He is leading his life down a path of destruction until he falls in love with a reporter who changes his life. Fantastic original music overseen by T Bone Burnett and great delicate direction by newcomer Scott Cooper. Maggie Gyllenhaal is fantastic too and so are all the other performances. Again, this is a tour de force performance by Jeff Bridges and that carries this movie. If you haven't seen it, you should check it out.

Thanks for reading the reviews and I'm going to enjoy the Oscars tonight. I hope you do too.

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