Written by Tyler Lamb.
Over the winter break I spent a lot of time watching movies, specifically the ones that have been nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. Of course, after seeing them all I have my own opinions, and as you may know by now, I am pretty vocal and strong about the ones I have. Here I will have a quick one to two paragraph review of each nominated film, revealing which movie was my favorite of the year at the end. Also, along the way I will be talking about other major nominations and who I think should win them. Here goes nothing.
Yea, no. I am not seeing this movie. I know I said I saw all the movies nominated, but I honestly don’t even count this one. It’s a foreign film and they have their own category for best picture. We don’t have multiple best picture categories for all the other films to win in, so why should Amour? Not one fiber in my being wants to see this movie at all. I honestly don’t think I could care less about it either. Sorry for all you French lovers out there, this one is just not happening.
-1billion stars out of 4
This was one of the first movies I saw that I knew was going to be up for Best Picture, and wow does it deserve it. Affleck does nothing but deliver with this film and shows how great of a director he actually is. It’s outright ridiculous that he was snubbed out on the best director nomination for this film, because not only does he deserve the nomination, but the win as well. Argo was hands down the best directed film of the year. Every actor did a great job as well, and even though no particular performance is standing out to me, they all delivered. Alan Arkin of course did a great job playing Alan Arkin, but he shouldn’t get the win for supporting actor this time around. I found myself caring about the Americans trying to get out of Iran and almost worried they wouldn’t get out, knowing good and well that they did in the end. Everything was crafted so brilliantly by Affleck he makes you feel like you are there. But why is Affleck playing a Hispanic man?
4 out of 4
Beasts of the Southern Wild:
Alright, this is a tough one. There were things I really liked about this movie, things I thought that were really done well. When it comes down to it though, it just wasn’t good. I enjoyed the cinematography a lot. I also thought the narration by the young girl was interesting and I enjoyed that as well. The overall premise of the movie, however, just tried to hard to be artsy and deep. Bringing in these mythical creatures that were just supposed to be symbols, but having them interact with her in the real world? Yeah, I bet you’re scratching your head just reading about it. Obviously with most movies you don’t take everything at surface value, but there is a fine line between symbolism and trying too hard. Beasts of the Southern Wild crossed that line, and then sprinted for a few miles. Also, this girl didn’t really do anything special to deserve Best Actress nomination.
1 1/2 out of 4
I was fairly shocked this got a best picture nomination. Not because it was a bad movie–oh no, far from it–but because it just wasn’t close to Tarantino’s best. This was of course a fun ride the entire time like most of his films, but it seemed to drag on. Also, it seemed to get to the point where it was 2 and a half hours in and Tarantino was thinking, “Oh crap, we are gonna hit 3 hours soon…WRAP IT UP PEOPLE!” and everything is in a drag race to the end. In the last half hour of the film, a lot happens, and I mean a lot. Now don’t think this movie wasn’t good, because it was great. I just enjoyed some of his other films better. All the actors did great. Leo played a great villain, but Christoph Waltz shines just like in Tarantino’s last film and deserves a Best Supporting Actor award for it. Of course, being a Tarantino production, this movie is not for the faint of heart. A lot of blood and violence, especially in that last half hour. However, great performances by the cast and a funny and moving script show Django deserves the recognition.
3 out of 4
I don’t know if I have enough room to talk about how much I hated this movie. Before you start making excuses for the movie like “oh he’s a guy of course he wouldn’t like it” “he most likely doesn’t like musicals” “BLAH BLAH BLAH”. NO. STOP. I was very excited to see this movie. I had never seen the stage production, and even dragged my girlfriend along with me to see it in theaters the day after it opened. Boy was I disappointed. Now, this movie seems to be a lot like The Hobbit in that everyone is told that it’s good so they want to say they like it even if they don’t. So most people will force themselves to like it or except the bad things about it just because they don’t want to be caught saying it was bad.
Ok, lets start with the beginning. Les Miserables sets the scene on a 19th century France with a HORRIBLE CGI boat being brought in by singing slaves whom you can’t hear because the sound effects are too loud. Later, Hugh Jackman escapes Russel Crowe’s gladiator chokehold and is on the run. He now owns a shop of some kind and Russel Crowe comes to it and talks to Hugh about the one prisoner that got away, showing a precursor as to how awful people are at recognizing one another in the movie. Next, Anne Hathaway is there for like 20 minutes and dies instantly. So we get introduced to this bar with more singing that is hard to understand thanks to sound effects and accents. We see this girl (Cosette) who is pushed away by her guardians and given less attention than her guardians actual daughter (Eponine) who seems to be a stuck up snob. Nine years later we have to listen to her sing for five minutes because Cosette stole her love. Problem with that? GOOD! I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU! CRY MORE! Anyway…more people get introduced and immediately die making so many deaths plain laughable they are so dramatic. Don’t get me started on Russel Crowe’s death. I laughed out loud so hard at the comical sound effects added to his bone breaking, I’m shocked I was the only one. This movie gets THREE paragraphs.
Now, Hugh Jackman did a great job ACTING. Just acting. His dying scene made me choke up a little bit, I won’t lie. His singing, along with a lot of the main actors/actresses, was just plain cringe worthy. Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, and Samantha Barks all had great voices, though. None of this saves the movies at all. The live singing was cool, but was edited so poorly together there are shots where you hear someones voice, but they are clearly not singing or even moving their mouth. This is one of those movies that the more I think about it and talk about it with my friends, the more I dislike it. Tom Hooper will not be getting any awards this time around.
1/2 star out of 4
This is one of those movies that could have been good, but it seemed to not only get caught up in its own message, but also trip over it numerous times. This message, for those who haven’t seen it, is that Pi’s story will make you believe in God. On the surface, this doesn’t seem bad now does it? However, once he starts telling the story you see the problems. First off, Pi says he is a Christian, Muslim, AND Hindu. You’re most likely thinking, “Well that doesn’t make any sense,” and you’re right! There are millions of gods in the Hindu religion alone, so how can you tell a story convincing someone the existence of one, specifically one that says there are no other gods but Him? There is even a moment when Pi’s dad says, “Believing in all those religions at once is just the same as believing in nothing,” which is a thought which is never argued with one bit. Also, halfway through the film, the man Pi is telling the story to asks, “What part is supposed to make me believe in God?” to which Pi responds, “I’ll get there.” Now, unless there was some scene after the credits I didn’t see, Pi never got there. There was no big revelation or miraculous moment that seemed to hit hard or to be there to prove anything.
Now, besides there being all this stuff about some carnivorous island that has drinking water by day that turns acidic by night and back again by morning making NO sense, there is a good survival story here. It is interesting seeing the dynamic between the tiger and Pi at times. However, after seeing the entire movie, you had to sit through a synopsis of it by Pi to reporters where he replaces all the animals with people because they didn’t believe his animal story. Now this was dumb. I just watched the movie, I don’t want to hear a run through about it again. He is asked which was true and he says, “Thats for you to decide,” which is also stupid to me, because I’m going to decide neither story was true because they were both made up by whoever wrote the book! Some of the visuals were fantastic, but others were so disgustingly fake you would think you’re watching Ang Lee’s Hulk again. No substantial awards in my book from this movie.
1 1/2 out of 4
This is THE history movie. What I mean by this is anyone can enjoy it, and I, myself, who knows the basics of what happened in this time, did. However, if you are a history buff of any sort, you will adore this film. There was such attention to detail all around it amazes me. Daniel Day Lewis delivers such a fantastic performance that it’s almost hard to believe he is even acting, and that he is just Lincoln in real life. The cast all around was fantastic and was only given a boost by the amazing set, costume, and makeup design. One specific performance, other than Day-Lewis’s that stood out to me, was James Spader. I feel he should’ve been nominated for a supporting actor role for this, but instead it was Tommy Lee Jones who got the nod. Unfortunately for good ole Tom, his performance was not as good as Christoph Waltz in Django, so no award to him. The directing is spot on, but nothing particularly amazing besides the acting and attention to detail. You will feel as if you are in the 19th century while watching this movie. I was not interested in seeing this movie at first, but after seeing it I would highly recommend it to anyone.
4 out of 4
Silver Linings Playbook:
Here we have a somewhat romantic comedy that deals with a lot heavier issues in a lot less cliche way than most movies in that kind of genre. We follow the story of a man who has bipolar disorder coming out of an mental institution. He has it set in his mind that he is going to get back with his wife and everything is going to be just hunky-dory. Of course, things don’t go exactly as he had imagined, and as the story unravels, we find out what happened between him and his wife. During this, he meets a woman who has lost her husband by death, and together they try to help one another get better. A lot of the directing in this film really stood out to me. There were a good amount of interesting things done by the director to add to character development and move the plot along. Again, every actor comes and delivers a fantastic performance. Bradley Cooper shows how versatile of an actor he can be.
4 out of 4
Talk about a movie littered with controversy. People saying it’s too soon and that it glorifies torture. Well, the second one is somewhat true but not at the same time. This is far from a patriotic film, that’s for sure. There were many moments where I was thinking, “Wow, no wonder why other countries hate us,” and those thoughts came up mostly during scenes of interrogation. Near the end of the movie they are told they need to find out for sure if Bin Laden is in the house, and their response is basically, “How can we when we can’t torture?” This bothered me a good amount, but when it comes down to it, they found out what they needed to know using different tactics. Jessica Chastain did a great job and carried most of the film. You can definitely tell this was directed by the same girl as the Hurt Locker, in that there are many similar types of shots and things of that nature. Without giving away too much, I love the almost anticlimactic way she went about the ending. Doing so made it seem a lot more real and less of a complete Hollywood fabrication. A great movie from Bigelow, but it would be nice to see her explore different territory in her next.
3 1/2 out of 4
So congratulations to David O. Russell and everyone involved with the film. It must feel fantastic winning a fake award from somebody like me. Well, that’s considering that you would ever stumble across this article for some reason. In reality I’m sure you’ll spend the rest of your life having no idea that you got the win in my book. Or who I am. Oh well.