Friday, April 19, 2013

Something Else

Since I only received one vote on my poll ("What Should My Next Post Be About?"); and the vote was for "something else", I am scrambling.  Nevertheless, here I go.

(FYI ~ I will be extending my poll, so please vote!)

The Oscars, you say?  You are probably scratching your head right about now.  I don't blame you.  When were the Oscars?  February?  Well, I don't often go to the movie theater.  I catch my movies on DVD.  Therefore, I am playing catch-up.

I don't think I've ever reviewed movies before, so in an effort to expand my horizons, I thought, what the heck?

Granted, these are not Roger Ebert-length reviews, because who really cares what I think?  I am just a "person"; not a "critic".  I would like to think, though, that movie makers target their movies toward people, but maybe they just want to please the critics.  Pleasing critics, though, is a thankless job.  Just ask me.

There were nine films nominated for best picture this year, and I have seen only three of them.  That does not necessarily make my reviews incomplete, since the three I did see were three of the four frontrunners.

The movies I didn't see and why:

Amour ~ well, it's French.  I did see last year's Oscar-winning movie, The Artist, which was a silent film with subtitles, and I enjoyed it.  I actually would like to see Amour, even though the subject matter is rather depressing.   My husband picks out our DVD's, though, so chances are slim that I will ever see it.

Beasts of the Southern Wild ~ Eh.  I know that little girl was in it, and maybe it's good.  I have no idea.  Perhaps I will catch it one day on On Demand ~ when it's free.

Django Unchained ~ Not a Quentin Tarantino fan. His movies are too unnecessarily violent.  There's enough violence in the real world.  I don't need to see the director's stylized vision of it.

Les Miserables ~ I don't like musicals, unless they are Grease.  And this one looks depressing.  Great song, though.  I saw Anne Hathaway singing it in the previews.

Silver Linings Playbook ~ My husband and I saw the trailer for this movie, and it looked awful.  I have been told that the movie is actually really good.  But who am I to believe?  Those people, or my own two eyes?

Zero Dark Thirty ~ I like history, but history that has at least exited the current news cycle.

The Oscar-nominated movies I did see:

Lincoln ~  Did I mention that I am a history buff?  Especially the Civil War era.  My husband one time allowed me to choose the movie we would see, and I debated between Lincoln and Argo.  I chose Argo because I just had a feeling....

Last Sunday, we watched Lincoln on DVD.  I fell asleep. I mean, I literally fell asleep.  Daniel Day Lewis was great as Lincoln.  I have no idea (nor does anyone else who is alive) what Abraham Lincoln sounded like, but Day Lewis's portrayal seemed....right.  

I have absolutely no quibbles with the acting in the movie.  Sally Field was great.  Tommy Lee Jones was greater.  But the script...blah blah blah; talk talk talk talk talk talk talk.  It was as if we were watching modern-day politics played out in real time.  Soul-crushingly boring.  C'mon!  This was an exciting time in history!  This movie was duller, and as slow-moving, as Days of Our Lives.  I was disappointed.  Also, this was really Tommy Lee Jones' movie.  He stole the show.  

My thought is, if one is going to make a movie about Abraham Lincoln and brashly name it "Lincoln" (!) one might want to be a bit more encompassing than, well, blah blah blah; talk talk talk talk talk talk talk.

The movie wasted precious minutes showing old Abe sharing his many "amusing" anecdotes.  They reminded me of my dad telling me one of his long stories that ultimately had no punchline.  And Abe would begin sharing at the most inopportune times.  Everyone is all fiery and mapping out strategies for winning the war, and Abe plops himself down on a stool and says, "Did I ever tell you about the time....?"  Apparently, Abe Lincoln was a boring son-of-a-gun.  No wonder Mary went crazy.

Speaking of critics, I was curious about the reviews this movie garnered, so I looked it up.  Essentially all the critics gave the movie four stars.  "Brilliant!"  "Mesmerizing!"  (they said.)  What movie were they watching? This is why I do not trust critics.  My theory is that movie critics are handed a list of upcoming films, and they mark off the ones that are supposed to be "superb!"  Then they write their reviews based on that.  Plus, they're part of a little clique anyway, and nobody wants to rock the boat.  

If you want to see a brilliant, mesmerizing, superb Steven Spielberg movie, I recommend Schindler's List (if you can stand to watch it). 

I would (generously) give this movie 3 stars.  (The trailer is actually more exciting than the movie).

Argo ~ Well, as you know, Argo won Best Picture.  To be honest, this film doesn't rise to the level of Best Picture, but then, neither did The Artist.  

But it was a good movie!

Movies are supposed to keep you riveted, and not make you drowsy.  Argo kept me riveted.  I also appreciated the fact that there was humor mixed in amongst the drama.  

I (obviously) was alive during the Iran hostage crisis.  Ted Koppel featured the story every single night on his soon-to-be-named program, Nightline.  No one knew the back story of the embassy workers who were secreted out by one guy from the CIA.  This is a real-life action/adventure tale.

I also chuckled over the nineteen seventies fashions and giant eyeglasses.  One had to be there, I imagine.  

There are several memorable performances in Argo.  Ben Affleck's should not be discounted.  Though he is famously the (non-nominated!) director of the movie, his portrayal of CIA agent Tony Mendez is perfect.  I, too, enjoyed Alan Arkin and John Goodman; and especially Bryan Cranston (is there any role this guy can't play?)  

 I find myself describing Argo as a "fun" movie, which seems inappropriate; given the subject matter.  But it was fun to watch.  What can I say?  I enjoyed it.

Easily 4 stars.

Life of Pi ~ My husband saw the movie before I did.  He said, "I have to take you".  I thought, oh well, another dull flick that I will have to slog through.  At least there'll be popcorn!

Life of Pi is a disturbingly beautiful film. A boy leaves India with his family and his father's zoo animals, on their journey to emigrate to Canada.  They set sail on a ship that is ultimately battered and driven to the bottom of the sea by a sudden storm.  The boy, and a tiger (named Richard Parker) and a few other creatures escape to a life boat just in time.  

I don't have the words to explain it.

Just see it.

I had not read the book, so I was swept away by the story, unaware of the jolting plot twist that was to come.  

Sad, heartbreaking, scary....loving.  

A visually stunning film.

I was rooting for Argo, especially after Ben Affleck was snubbed.  But, to be honest, Life of Pi deserved the Best Picture honor.  I was not surprised that Ang Lee was named Best Director.

4.5 stars

Well, there you have it:  my first-ever movie review post; or, "something else", if you will.  I don't see a lot of movies.  2013 was an anomaly.  I generally lie on my couch and watch a sitcom or two and one night-time drama.  And lately, a certain trial that is going on...and on and on.

But one needs to take themselves out of that mundane reality sometimes.

See a movie.


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