Thoughts on the 2011 Oscars

March 1, 2011 in Entertainment, Misc

The winning actors!

I’m was pretty excited about the Oscars this year (because I’m a huge movie buff), but let’s face it, it’s usually long, boring and extremely predictable (particularly in the major categories) — thus ultimately disappointing.  Last night’s ceremony was no different.

Allow me to throw some random thoughts out there.  Let me just be clear — no matter how much I bash the Oscars, I still enjoy it and I’ll still watch it every year.

The Opening

The opening sequence is usually the most entertaining part of the night, and things usually go downhill from there.  This year they put the hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway, into clips of almost all of the Best Picture nominees (via an Inception-esque dream invasion courtesy of Mr Alec Baldwin and a tribute to Back to the Future), and the result was pretty hilarious.  Obviously it’s never as good as Billy Crystal’s ones from back in the day, or even as good as some of the MTV Movie Award ones, but it was good enough.

I couldn’t find any good quality clips but this is the best I could do.

The Hosts

Neither Hathaway or Franco were particularly outstanding (both were safe choices that appealed to younger audiences) — but I’m going to go out on a limb here and against the current — I liked Franco better!

Yes, the Franco that looked and acted like he was stoned the entire night and churned out his lines like he didn’t give a crap!

To me, Hathaway was chirpy and lively but she tried too hard.  I don’t know why, but there was just something about her that didn’t feel genuine.

On the other hand, Franco was just chilled out and mellow, almost like he was bored and thought the whole self-congratulatory ceremony was a big ego trip and a waste of his time.  For some reason it worked for me.

And how great was Franco’s grandma and Marky Mark?

The Outfits

I’m no fashion guru, but all the Aussie fashion experts I’ve been hearing on the radio here are proclaiming that Cate Blanchett’s outfit was the best of the night.  I thought it was the worst.  Judge for yourself.

There are lots of beautiful people in Hollywood, so to me, the high marks on this night should go to those who elevate themselves beyond how they normally look.  Sure, Halle Berry looked very nice in her dress last night, but she looks great all the time, so what’s the big deal?

So for me, the most impressive looks of the night came from young Hailee Steinfeld and Jennifer Lawrence.  Both looked so ugly/average in their respective award-nominated films but were stunning on the red carpet.  See below.

Hailee Steinfeld

Jennifer Lawrence

Kirk Douglass

Funny but for all the wrong reasons.

Corey Haim

Speaking of the in memoriam section of the show, where the heck was Corey Haim?  Come on.  That’s even a bigger snub than Christopher Nolan not getting nominated for Best Director for Inception.

The Musical Montage

Probably inspired by the Antoine Dodson Bed Intruder song — pretty good, especially the Twilight bit.  See both below.

The Awards and the Winners

The full list of winners is here.

I’ve already said this, but I’m disappointed The Social Network didn’t get Best Picture.  I knew Inception (the real Best Picture) didn’t have a chance and it was a two horse race, so I was rooting for the Facebook movie to take out the top gong despite The King’s Speech having all the momentum going in.

When Tom Hooper took out the Best Director, I knew it was all over.  Darn it.  Mark my word — The Social Network and Inception will both be better remembered than The King’s Speech years down the track.

As for the rest of the winners?  Glad Aaron Sorkin won.  Glad Christian Bale won (though any of the other nominees would be a deserving winner).  Melissa Leo was/is crazy and probably had the worst acceptance speech of the night, but nevertheless a deserving winner.  I am now desperate to see Inside Job and In a Better World (and I’ll be see a screening of Biutiful later this week).  Good to see Inception win the technical awards but I can’t believe Wolfman won for best make-up.  That’s my winner’s rant.

Final Thoughts

A fairly ‘meh’ year at the Oscars, though the nominated films were excellent and a step above last year’s.  Doubt we’ll see Hathaway and Franco host again.  Who will they get next year?  I have no idea, but whoever it is, it’ll be interesting.

Ranking All 2011 Best Picture Nominees

February 28, 2011 in Entertainment, Misc, Movie Reviews, Reviews

Source: screenrant.com

Now that I’ve finally watched all 10 nominees for Best Picture for the 2011 Academy Awards, here is how I would rank them from 1 to 10.  Click on the movie title for full review.

10. Winter’s Bone

This was a film for indie film lovers and critics.  I thought it was a brilliant performance by Jennifer Lawrence (deserved nomination for Best Actress), a fantastic depiction of the life of ‘cookers’ and their families in rural USA, and had me on the edge of my seat with some frighteningly tense moments — but unfortunately it was my least enjoyed film out of the top 10.

9. The Kids Are All Right

A surprise hit in my books because I didn’t expect to enjoy this so much.  Loved Mark Ruffalo in this and thought it was very quirky, funny and strangely moving.  Not usually my type of film but this was a standout.

8. True Grit

The muttering aside, this was a terrific Western, powered by a star-making performance by Hailee Steinfeld (another deserved nomination, though should have been for Best Actress).  Can’t say it’s one of my favourite Coen Brothers’ movies (I have so many) but it’s another example of their unique style and versatility.

7. Black Swan

As expected, Natalie Portman took out the Best Actress gong, and just as well — she was awesome in this, the best I’ve ever seen her.  I went in having no idea that this was going to be such a trippy, horrific film that made me turn away so many times (especially when it comes to skin and nails).  Nothing like The Wrestler (companion piece) but almost just as good.

6. The King’s Speech

I know, I know.  This just won Best Picture, but it’s not even in my top 5.  Don’t get me wrong, I thought this was a phenomenal film, but it’s not my kind of film, or at least not as much as the other films on this list.  Colin Firth was definitely a deserving winner for Best Actor, and Geoffrey Rush a deserving nominee.  Helena Bonham Carter?  Not so much.  Surely there were other supporting actresses more worthy?

5. Toy Story 3

Can’t believe I ranked a cartoon higher than 5 other films on this list, but Toy Story 3 moved me in a way I didn’t expect.  The franchise has always been superb, but the third film might very well be the best of them all.

4. The Fighter

Being an avid boxing fan might have coloured my opinion a little, but The Fighter is one of the best boxing films ever.  It’s gritty, gut-wrenching and utterly compelling and anchored by 4 amazing performances (2 nominations, 2 wins).  There’s nothing quite like a triumphant true story.

3. 127 Hours

Another film I didn’t expect to enjoy so much.  Kudos to Danny Boyle and James Franco for bringing this incredible true story to life.  Even with that inevitability looming over every second, I never found the film boring or tedious.  This was an exciting, riveting, horrific, and ultimately inspirational film.

2. The Social Network

I was so disappointed that this didn’t win Best Picture, even though I knew the odds were slim because The King’s Speech really garnered momentum leading up to the Oscars.  As far as dramas and films with a genuine chance of winning Best Picture (hence ruling out my no. 1), The Social Network was the best of the lot.  In 10, or maybe even 5 years, The King’s Speech will still be regarded as an exceptional film, but The Social Network will be remembered as a classic and a defining film for this generation.  Just my opinion.

1. Inception

I knew this had no chance in hell of winning, so I was just pleased it got nominated.  But come on — Nolan not even getting nominated for Best Director and getting snubbed for Best Screenplay.  At least the technical awards it won were a bit of a consolation.  Whatever.  Inception was still the most enjoyable movie experience I had last year.

My 2011 Oscar Predictions: Who Should Win and Who Will

January 28, 2011 in Entertainment, Movie Reviews

Source: Oscars.com

Well, the nominations for the 2011 Academy Awards are finally out, and as usual, there were few surprises.  Overall, I think 2011 was a pretty solid year for cinema, with some standout films, unique films, classic films and groundbreaking films.  Of course, there were some duds too, but apart from the massive overkill of pointless 3D films, I’d say it was a good year for cinemagoers.

As per the last couple of years, it’s time for me to predict the winners!  Here goes.

To read on click on ‘more…’

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Top 10 Films of 2010!

January 15, 2011 in Entertainment, Movie Reviews

Okay.  Finally.  About time.  Of the 110+ movies I watched that were released in Australia in 2010, here is my top 10.

A couple of things to note up front.  First, a movie is only eligible if it was released to the public in Australia (whether at the cinema or DVD) in 2010, which rules out films such as The Fighter and Black Swan (films I’ve seen advanced screenings of but are not yet released here).  I was tossing up whether The Next Three Days or Unstoppable ought to be included because they’re technically not eligible (but I watched them overseas), but neither made the top 10 so the point is moot.  Secondly, I didn’t just go with the star ratings from my initial reviews on this blog — with more time for reflection, my opinions and thought processes may have changed.

So here goes!  My Top 10 Films of 2010!

(to see the list click on ‘more…’)

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Observations at the movies

August 15, 2010 in Entertainment, Movie Reviews, Technology

I went to see The Expendables yesterday (review below) at Hoyts, which has this new concept called Xtremescreen — I suppose created as a challenge to Event Cinemas’ (formerly Greater Union’s) VMax.  It’s all a bit of a scam really.  Supposedly bigger screens, more comfy seats and better sound — things that audiences should get for free anyway, but instead they have to fork out a premium for them.

The good thing for Xtremescreen, at least, is that using cheap-ass movie money, we didn’t have to pay an extra cent (though on the Hoyts website it says you need to pay a $1.50 surcharge).  The screen was no bigger than it used to be, but the sound was louder and the leather seats were not too bad (at least easier to clean).

Anyway, when we were about to get our tickets ripped, this couple went up to the teenage attendant and asked what movie, out of everything that was showing, he recommended.

I could have bet my house (if I owned one) that the kid would say Inception, but instead he said Step Up 3D!

Okay, fine, he likes dancing, but the couple were two morbidly obese, unkempt people dressed in stained grey sweaters and track pants.  Somehow I don’t think they were big dance fans.

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with the coming attractions.  I want to know what’s coming out but I don’t want to find out too much or learn the entire plot in advance.  And you know they love to put in all the best bits in there.

Yesterday we got the trailer for Dinner for Schmucks (Paul Rudd and Steve Carrell), The Other Guys (Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg) and Piranha 3D.

I’m a big fan of Rudd, but Dinner for Schmucks looks pretty awful.  Very hit and miss, and judging from the trailer, more misses than hits.  The Other Guys looks more promising, with potentially more hits and misses.  Of course, it could be just the quality of the respective trailers.

As for Piranha 3D, I wouldn’t even know where to begin!  What an obvious rip-off of the classic film Frankenfish! (Just kidding, I’ve never seen Frankenfish but I always thought it was a cool name for a movie).  Anyway, it’s a Jaws homage with a bunch of really badly animated piranhas.  And to top things off, it’s in 3D, which I am totally over.  I’m sick of having to fork out the price of a small meal for a pair of really uncomfortable glasses and with a good chance that the 3D effects really suck and don’t add anything to the movie experience.  Bring back 2D, I say.