Saturday, December 1, 2007

Early Oscar Buzz

I know that the Oscars aren't set to air until the end of February, and the nominations have not been determined, but I've been watching movies (so tell me something new) and some of them have been getting early Oscar Buzz.

First, I saw Across the Universe. This musical is a Beatles fan's delight. The entire soundtrack is made up of music written and made famous by the Fab Four. Even those who didn't grow up in the era will enjoy it. Evan Rachel Wood and Jim Sturgess star as Lucy and Jude - two star crossed lovers who navigate their story set in the 1960s. Notice their names? All the characters are named after people found in Beatle songs - Max, JoJo, Sadie, Prudence...It was surreal. The whole movie was a bit surreal, and there were times that I felt as if I were trippin on the LSD. (As if I've ever been on an actual LSD trip.) The movie is tagged PG-13 – with Drug Content, Profanity, Violence, Adult Situations, Nudity, Sexual Situations – ummmm…that’s an R by definition to me. It was a good movie, none-the-less.

Next up, I saw Elizabeth – The Golden Age – Cate Blanchett once again plays the famous monarch in this sequel. Geoffrey Rush, Clive Owen and Samantha Morton also star. The costumes, the cinematography and the acting were all top rate. They took some liberties with the historical facts, but this is Hollyweird we’re talking about. I loved it.

I really enjoyed Michael Clayton, starring George Clooney, Tilda Swinton and Tom Wilkinson. George plays a janitor for a powerful law firm with many clients – some of whom get themselves into situations that need cleaning. One of the firm’s clients is a company involved in a multi-million dollar lawsuit. The partner who is leading the defense quits taking his meds and has a psychotic episode. George is sent in to take care of the situation. It is a good story and the movie was well acted. Very good! Of the movies I’ve seen so far, it would be a contender for Best Picture.

If I had to pick Best Picture today, Lars and the Real Girl would win. It was so funny and it had a good story. People were rolling on the floor in the theater. It’s about a very introverted guy (and there is a reason for this personality trait) who buys himself a girlfriend – a life sized, anatomically correct doll. He treats her as if she is a real person, much to the dismay of his brother and SIL – who are already worried about his bazaar behavior. Soon, the doll takes on a life of its own. Excellent film!

Emile Hirsch stars in Into the Wild as Christopher McCandless, who graduates from college in the 1970s, leaves behind his possessions, burns his cash and hitchhikes to Alaska. He wanted to leave the materialistic world behind and live in the wilderness. William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Vince Vaughn, Catherine Keener and Jenna Malone also star. This film is based on a true story and it was directed by Sean Penn. It was pretty good.

Now, for a little violence, there's American Gangster . Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe and Josh Brolin star in this movie adaptation of a true story. Denzel plays Frank Lucas, a drug kingpin who brings in a better product and sells it for less than the competition. His way of smuggling it into the country is pretty innovative. Crowe plays Ritchie Roberts, the narc who brings him down. I liked it.

And if that wasn't enough violence, then watch No Country for Old Men with Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Kelly MacDonald and Tess Harper. This thriller, by the Coen Brothers, is supposedly a “distinctly American crime story that explores timeless Biblical themes in a contemporary southwestern setting.” A guy comes into a wad of cash from a drug deal gone badly, and he decides to make a run for it with the money. (As if…) He knew that someone would be coming after that money, but it didn’t stop him. Oh no…not him. Well, I don’t know about those timeless Biblical themes, but everyone knows you can’t throw good money after bad, especially if you’ve stolen it. Thou shalt not steal didn’t enter into anyone’s mind, apparently. The movie is set in Texas around 1990. It was graphically violent, yet well acted; however, it missed its mark somewhat with me. I left the theater wanting more...not more violence, just more.

So on that note dear Internets, I will leave you for now.

Merry Karma out.

1 comment:

madelinetosh said...

love the reviews.

My fav of course if Elizabeth, a lot of eye candy cinematography in that one.

I really want to see No Country for Old Men.