January 16, 2014

Oscar nominees I've actually reviewed

Best Picture nominees:




"American Hustle"

"Gravity"

"Captain Phillips"

"Dallas Buyers Club"

"Philomena"

"The Wolf of Wall Street"

Glad to see Nebraska getting its share of the endless Oscar love for all things Alexander Payne.

My strong suit as a reviewer, however, is not telling you that good movies are good or bad movies are bad, but finding the ones that aren't quite what they seem to be.

For example, 12 Years a Slave could have been a very good movie by just adding one twist at the end. Remember how the guy comes home at the end from being kidnapped and apologizes to his family? It's a puzzling scene: why is he apologizing? Lots of deep explanations have been offered, but my guess is that the director had him apologize because the first 20 minutes of the movie were as phony as they looked: the weight of historical evidence suggests that Solomon Northup enslavement had started out with him as part of a con man ring playing the old skin game and something went wrong. What a kick in the gut to modern audiences it would have been with an ending in which Northup apologizes to his wife for trying to pull another con and getting caught. But, that would have been too disturbing and interesting for contemporary critics.

From what I've seen so far, I would probably vote for American Hustle. It's a thoroughly entertaining movie that seems like a respectable Interim Placeholder Best Picture until enough time has passed for us to actually figure out what really was the best movie. 

Gravity would be fine, too: my main complaint is that at 91 minutes it's too short, and thus stints on motivation, character development, and some explanations for the audience of Newton's Three Laws of Motion. The missing first act almost writes itself. But to say that you wish the movie were longer is not exactly a devastating criticism, whereas seemingly almost nobody would mind an Editor's Cut of Wolf of Wall Street.
   

58 comments:

Power Child said...

Confusing blog title. You've reviewed all the movies in that list, or that's the list of Oscar nominations and you've reviewed the ones with links?

I don't remember you reviewing Gravity, for instance.

Fake Herzog said...

I'd vote for "Gravity" -- it was just such a visual treat; plus I could forgive the weak character development since the director at least gave a pleasant nod toward spiritual themes.

Anonymous said...

It's not that Gravity is too short. It's that there's very little to it besides the (admittedly stunning) visual effects. The plot is as basic as it gets: Girl needs to return crippled spaceship to Earth. There are no subplots or even other characters around whom to create a more complex storyline (Clooney was just there to play the "Wilson" role from Cast Away). If the same story had been set in a more mundane setting -- e.g., a damaged boat at sea -- it would barely merit any praise at all.

Oswald Spengler said...

12 Years a Slave will probably win Best Picture because the Hollywood elite never tires of rubbing the wrong kind of white peoples' faces in the horrors of slavery and Jim Crow.

Hizzle said...

I think Thelma Schumacher has been Scorsese's life-long editor. When someone once asked how a nice little lady like her could edit such violent movies, she responded, "They're not violent until I make them that way."

Power Child said...

@Hizzle:

Typically, women on film crews work in the art, hair&makeup, costume, craft services, or production departments.

The first four build on skills many women already have: shopping for knick-knacks, decorating a space, doing hair, designing clothing and selecting outfits, cooking, etc.

The fifth involves interfacing with lots of people, multitasking, managing, attending to people, and moreover just lots and lots of talking.

So, I've always found it interesting that the one other department where women are fairly prominent is in editing, where much of the work is technical--especially the entry-level work--and basically all of it involves sitting in a room alone for long periods of time interacting with nothing but a computer (or, going back in time a bit, a Steenbeck or some other kind of film editing machine).

It's worth noting, though, that while women are prominent in editing they are still very uncommon in other aspects of post-production like visual effects, color grading, and even score composition.

pat said...

The other web services like Drudge seem to think the real news story was that Oprah Winfrey, Robert Redford, and Tom Hanks were not nominated.

Personally I find it hard to watch Redford anymore because of all the wrinkles. Blondes don't age well. I remember him from the Daisy Clover days and he seems now like a premonition of mortality - the Ghost of Christmas Future.

Oprah probably screwed up her own chances with that revealing hand bag incident last summer.

I haven't seen the Hank's movie yet but I'm sure he's at least very good in it. But of course the Oscars are only nominally about acting.

Meryl Streep should get a special Oscar for surviving the cruel Hollywood female actress fate. Hollywood generally is through with women at age 32 to 35. Amy Adams is very, very pretty but she only ahs a few more years as a female lead ahead of her. Paul Walker, being male, could still be cast in a 'pretty boy' role at age 40. Diane Lane - also very pretty - had to be cast as someone's mother by that age. Streep somehow escaped that destiny. Remarkable.

Once again by nominating this totally unknown Somali guy the Academy has raised the question - 'is there much of anything to being a good actor?' A generation ago they raised the same question when Haing Ngor, who had never acted before, and won an Oscar.

In every other job in the world you can't get hired without experience. You can't get hired in the stock room unless you were once a junior stock boy somewhere. Yet anyone can be an award winning actor right off the street.

An acting Oscar seems to be like the Nobel Peace Prize - it sounds impressive but in practice can be won by almost anyone.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

12 Years of Slave should win hands down. Just a beatufully acted and brutally honest look at the moral stain of slavery that haunts us to this day.

The masterpiece is a testament to what America was — and is, still.

NutuporShutup is jesus yo said...

Her is the most disturbing film of the year. It is about a guy who wants to have sex with his OS. And it is horribly unrealistic. White people with good jobs and education are unlikely going to be the first people who will want to screw their AIs. Instead it will be NEETs living on welfare or their parents who will form the first relationships with these AIs. Some fat guy with a fedora in his early thirties will someday buy a Windows 15 operated fleshlight; so he may truly enjoy his digital lover.

Also Sailer a new Gregory Clark book is coming out. It is called the The Son Also Rises.

Maxwell Power said...

They expand it to ten yet every year there are (at least) 5 obviously not going to win

weinsteining it said...

"Since 1981 no Best Picture nom has won unless also nominated for editing"

Anonymous said...

"Bad Grandpa" was nominated in the makeup category.

Anonymous said...

Since the Academy Award was modeled on Emilio Fernandez whose most famous role was as Mapache in THE WILD BUNCH, shouldn't we call the Oscar the Mapache?

It would also be more 'diverse'.

Anonymous said...

"Confusing blog title. You've reviewed all the movies in that list, or that's the list of Oscar nominations and you've reviewed the ones with links?"

Sailer reviewed the ones highlighted as links.

jody said...

i don't like the expansion of the category up to 10 possible nominations. even though the last several years they've only been using 9. i'd like to see that continue coming down until they're at 6 or 7.

i did agree with the original reasoning that 5 was not enough anymore in some years. in weak years 5 is more than enough. but in strong years now, because that the movie industry is this behemoth than can produce a lot of very good material all at the same time in some years, you do need more than 5. but only a few more. not 10. 2013 will probably be considered a very good year for 'serious' cinema, a la 1994 and 1999. a disappointment on the blockbuster front however, which was apparent by the end of summer.

one of the main problems with this category today is that the academy simply has to nominate 1 or 2 small budget, no wide release, nobody-saw-this, art house movies, apparently every show now, which under the previous 5 nomination system, would bump out 1 or 2 better, bigger movies. the new system allows them to accommodate their desire to foist momentary recognition on kinda boring, slow dramas that they want all of us to know about, while at the same time delivering the correct plaudits to the high quality wide release movies.

i've already posted about how they need to remove about 4 of the categories from the main television show, all the documentaries, shorts, and foreign language films that nobody saw, and put those awards in the untelevised show which happens the previous day. now the academy wants to stuff the best picture category with more movies nobody saw. surely i'm not the only person who has noticed this change. the academy didn't do this stuff 20 years ago, even 10 years ago it was rare.

Anonymous said...

"12 Years of Slave should win hands down. Just a beatufully acted and brutally honest look at the moral stain of slavery that haunts us to this day."

Maybe the film is good--I aint seen it--, but slavery was not the problem. It was blacks. Had all those blacks been brought here as free men, the problems we have today would be the same, or even worse as blacks would have gotten a head start in letting the good times roll and bad things befall the nation.

Yes, slavery was wrong, but had a different race been enslaved--especially ones smaller and weaker than whites--, the legacy of slavery wouldn't be haunting us today.

Also, 12 YRS gives a false impression of Southern Slavery if that was its intent. Most Slave owners were rather decent given the circumstances. Your average slave owner was not some psycho nut.

Anonymous said...

"Her is the most disturbing film of the year. It is about a guy who wants to have sex with his OS."


Coulda been worse. Imagine HIM with Anthony Weiner supplying the voice.

Anonymous said...

Buzz seems to be...

where is LLeywin Davis?

I aint seen much this year but other than GRAVITY, WORLD'S END is one of the most bravura-directed-edited-acted-written films I've seen in a long time.
MIDNIGHT RUN was like that even it had a few problems.
WORLD'S END is so perfect that it's indecent. I mean no movie should work so well on so many levels. It's impossible... or should be.

But it's not a SEEEERIOUS movie or has a SEEEEERIOIUS theme, so it's out.

Anonymous said...

"i don't like the expansion of the category up to 10 possible nominations. even though the last several years they've only been using 9. i'd like to see that continue coming down until they're at 6 or 7."

They should keep the 10 and get rid of the 'foreign films' category.

Hollywood yammers so much about diversity and inclusion but ghetto-izes 'foreign films', many of which are better than most American or English films.

Oswald Spengler said...

"12 Years of Slave should win hands down. Just a beatufully acted and brutally honest look at the moral stain of slavery that haunts us to this day."

"The masterpiece is a testament to what America was — and is, still."

--------------------------------------------------------------------

I see that Tim Wise has taken on a side job as a movie reviewer.

Anonymous said...

It's not that Gravity is too short. It's that there's very little to it besides the (admittedly stunning) visual effects. The plot is as basic as it gets: Girl needs to return crippled spaceship to Earth. There are no subplots or even other characters around whom to create a more complex storyline (Clooney was just there to play the "Wilson" role from Cast Away). If the same story had been set in a more mundane setting -- e.g., a damaged boat at sea -- it would barely merit any praise at all.

It also gets predictable when you realize in the middle of the movie that every little thing that can go wrong will go wrong.

Jokah Macpherson said...

Agree with others on the confusing title. I was kind of surprised you didn't review Philomena since it relects the current values of Hollywood in the questions that aren't raised in the movie. For example, Michael Hess has been dead many of AIDS many years yet his lifelong soul mate is still living and not dying of AIDS.

smoldering Russian hottie said...

"Oprah probably screwed up her own chances with that revealing hand bag incident last summer."

So, Oprah gave herself a handbagging?

norcal said...

The obnoxious morning-yokel guy on TV up here actually uttered the phrase, "Fruitvale Station was robbed."

dsgntd_plyr said...

"As Bryce J. Renninger suggested, the whiteness of [her]suggests a gentrified dystopia."

http://laist.com/2013/11/15/spike_jonzes_dystopic_vision_of_los.php

Anonymous said...

"12 Years of Slave should win hands down. Just a beatufully acted and brutally honest look at the moral stain of slavery that haunts us to this day."

Anonymous said...

"12 Years of Slave should win hands down. Just a beatufully acted and brutally honest look at the moral stain of slavery that haunts us to this day."

Why is this 'moral stain' such a big deal in America? Brazil imported many more slaves but don't gripe as much about the issue. I don't see much griping in Cuba or Dominican Republic.

Also, if we wanna be PC, what about the 'moral stain' of 'genocide' of Indians, the 'moral stain' of killing so many wildlife to make land for human folks, the 'moral stain' of taking a huge chunk of Mexico, the 'moral stain' of rebelling against a rather benign and generous king and igniting a war where Anglos killed Anglos, the 'moral stain' of starting the War of 1812 that led to unnecessary deaths, the 'moral stain' of Civil War where whites killed whites on a massive scale, the 'moral stain' of US imperialism in Philippine where 100,000s died, the 'moral stain' of getting involved in WWI and messing things up royally, the 'moral stain' of war crimes in WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iraq War, the moral stain of killing hogs, and etc. And the 'moral stain' of helping Zionists ethnically cleanse Palestinians. The moral stain of making alliances with mass murderers like Stalin and Mao. And we can go on and on and on.

So, why this business about the 'moral stain' of slavery? True, it was a stain, but where on earth was there no stain of slavery? Blacks sold blacks to whites after all.
And was it entirely a stain? Didn't blacks achieve quite a lot in America? Even as slaves, weren't they better off than blacks in Africa? Wasn't it through whites that blacks gained access to civilization, writing, idea of rights, idea of progress, and etc?

The whole history of humanity is one big stain of blood, sweat, tears, and shit. America is no different. It seems to me that all this 'moral stain' business is (1) manipulation by the Lib elites to use 'white guilt' as tool of mind control (2) American moral narcissism in action as if it's SHOCKING, SO VERY VERY SHOCKING that good ole USA would have done such a thing as enslave folks!!!!

Gimme a break. US was not and will never be no paradise or utopia. It made some progress, but it did a lot of bloody stuff like any other nation. Besides, the stain of slavery is much deeper among other peoples.

This American handwringing is the really the product of American arrogance premised on the notion of 'ours is a perfect union'. So, it is shocking to some that, gee whiz, America hasn't been perfect. Well, no shit!
America should be seen as a normal nation founded on lies as well as truth, blood as well as ink, brutality as well as peace. Well, that's just normal. So, get on with life.

It's funny that a nation that now blacklists and destroys lives on the basis of not supporting 'gay marriage' would be yammering endlessly about 'moral stains'.

Btw, why all the silence among all the good progressives and crunchy cons about the ongoing oppression of Palestinians by Fischer's clan? Why the silence over 100,000s of Iraqi women and children killed as the result of Zionist-led US policies?

Anonymous said...

GRAVITY shouldn't be longer. Its epic quality is depthoramaic than panoramic. It's about the panic of the moment than grand vision.

Paradoxically, epic in the traditional sense becomes almost impossible in a depiction of outerspace--unless you have STAR WARS like ships that can travel the galaxies.

DR. ZHIVAGO is epic in the traditional sense because of the contrast between small lives and a giant canvas of history(war and revolution) and land(Russia is very big). Though epic needs size, it requires limited size. It's like an epic painting is big but still has borders.
If a painting were to stretch out forever, it was be beyond-epic. Instead of smallness in contrast to bigness, there would no contrast of any kind at all.

GRAVITY takes place above earth where space stretches out forever and ever and ever and ever and ever. It's beyond big, beyond grand.
Also, in the traditional sense of the epic, we always have a general sense of where the characters are in the grand picture of things. We know where Lawrence or Zhivago is at in relation to war, history, and tragedy.
But in a film like GRAVITY, every square inch of space is like any other square inch of space: part of a vast never-ending infinity. Indeed, if not the for the general gravity of earth holding the satellites and space stations in orbit, they would have no meaningful place in the universe.

To the extent that the film contrasts humans to the earth below, it can be said to be traditionally epic. But to the extent that the characters are adrift in infinite space without boundaries, it's beyond epic.
When the scope is so vast and infinite, size and scale in the traditional sense mean nothing. So, GRAVITY really plays on depth--spatially and emotionally--than on breadth, width, and height, all of which are moot in outspace where there is no meaningful sense of up and down, this way or that way. Every way is up and down, every way is 'this way' and 'that way'.

Anonymous said...



Without a crisis, GRAVITY could have been longer, allowing us to luxuriate in the various facets of space travel and exploration. But once the crisis hits and it becomes about survival, the film has to be very mindful of suspense; it has to be tight. Same with HIGH NOON. Once the story is about Frank Miller and his goons coming to get the sheriff, every minute counts. It needs to be tight and well-paced than slack. It's difficult to sustain suspense of such intensity for more than 90-100 min. It's like PANIC ROOM aint that long either.

As for the human story, it's just there without having to be explained. Just like we don't need to filled in on the biographical details of the woman in PERSONA--who almost never says a word--, we don't need to be told much to get the essence of her emotional state. It's like we don't need much details about the characters in STALKER or SOLARIS to get a general sense of what's on their minds. If anything, the films falter when the characters try to put their feelings and ideas into words.

I like the contrast between Bullock's urgent/desperate scramble to live moment to moment and her timeless sense of loss that can't be healed with all the time in the world. It's like she wants more time to live(if only for the next minute), and yet no amount of time can restore her kid back to life. Time is both precious and useless.

2001 goes from dawn of man to the future, and it's about space travel to distant planets, and so, its pacing can be more stately.
But GRAVITY is about what happens during a crisis that brings a woman near death and makes her value life again. 2001 can stretch out, GRAVITY has to fold in.

Anonymous said...

The Somali guy nominated for Best Supporting Actor is one of the large expat community in Minnesota. But not for long. On the basis of this first-film success, he is moving to LA.

I don't see this ending well.

Maxwell Power said...

Hollywood yammers so much about diversity and inclusion but ghetto-izes 'foreign films', many of which are better than most American or English films

At heart the Academy Awards is a trade show, a guild convention. Despite their 21st century financing sources I think they prefer some illusions about keeping the camel's nose out of the tent

peterike said...

I agree that "12 Years" will probably win because HOLLYWOOD HATES WHITE PEOPLE.

But since this is the age of the gay, do any of these films have a serious gay theme? That might trump the slavery business. Then again I predicted "12" would win the Oscar the very first second I heard about it. Some things are just obvious.

I expect the victory speeches will be pretty awful. Not that I'll be watching.

And "Blue Jasmine" got stiffed?

Anonymous said...

This 'legacy of slavery' stuff is really a social and political construct. While slavery did really happen in America, its so-called 'legacy' is not something that can be objectively quantified. Rather, it's socially and academically propagated, and it's an article of faith, a secular religion drummed up by the media.

While all historical events or realities do leave an imprint on later events, their true impact is also a matter of historical memory(and who controls that memory).

After all, the killing of Jesus was a minor event in the history of the world. I mean one man got killed in a world where millions got killed as bad or worse. So, why did the Crucifixion of Jesus change world history? Because it was turned into a grand narrative, and a whole religion grew up around the 'legacy of the sacrifice of Jesus and our sinfulness and all that'. And how come Jews got it so badly from time to time from Christians? Other than Jewish bad behavior, Christians propagated the narrative of the Jewish Legacy of the Killing of the Son of God forever. And even though Romans' feeding Christians to lions--true or not--should have faded into distant memory, it too was kept alive as part of the 'legacy of pagan oppression of Christians'.

In contrast, when peoples decided to just forget past events and let bygones be bygones, even the most horrible events came to fade away and life went on. THIRTY YRS WAR killed 1/3 of the German population, and Catholics and Protestants could have exploited it in terms of 'legacy of your people killing our people' to justify more hatred and more violence. But both sides said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, and moved on and lived in peace.

After WWI, Hitler decided to exploit the 'legacy of Versailles and stabbed in the back thing' to fill Germans with righteous rage for another damn war.
WWII was bigger, Germans were more guilty(than in WWI), killed more, and more horrors were committed, and yet its legacy was less poisonous cuz all sides decided to just make peace and get along with one another. So, how is it that WWI did more longterm damage than WWII even though WWII was much worse? Because after WWI, the winning side wanted to punish Germany really bad and because Germany then wanted to get revenge to reverse the 'legacy of WWI'. But after WWII, all sides decided to just get along, and so Europe has been peaceful since.

Given what happened to Russia during WWII, Russians can play 'legacy of WWII' and try to guilt-bait Germany forever. While Russians do take pride in WWII, they don't use it encourage never-ending hatred for Germans. But of course, Russians can if they so wished.
For a long time, Chinese communists took a live-and-let-live approach to Japan after WWII, but more recently, the Chinese have been playing the 'legacy of Nanking' card and making Chinese hate the Japanese. So, whatever may have happened at Nanking, the 'legacy of Nanking' is a political construct used by the current Chinese regime. No 'legacy' has power on its own. it has to be drummed up and drummed into the heads of all the suckers out there.

Anonymous said...

In contrast, Vietnam has every justification to use the Vietnam War to speak of the 'legacy of evil American imperialists' who killed millions, dropped agent orange all over, raped our poor wittle country, and etc.
But guess what? The Vietnamese elites and people have decided Americans aren't so bad, so the hell with 'legacy of war' and let's just do business and be friends and smile at one another. Better Americans than the Chinese.

And in Cuba, blacks never talk about the 'legacy of slavery' because Castro convinced generations of blacks that the 'legacy' has been resolved once and for all by Castro's wonderful leadership. So, even though blacks in Cuba have it worse than blacks in America, they think they are living pretty good under wonderful Castro and don't play racial politics against whites.

So, all this 'legacy of history' stuff is a social and political construct.

If others were in power, they could pull the 'legacy of black savagery', 'legacy of Jewish moneychanging', the 'legacy of Jewish communism' to explain the current ills of the world. It all depends on who has the power to frame the 'legacy' debate.

It aint us.

Anonymous said...

"The Somali guy nominated for Best Supporting Actor is one of the large expat community in Minnesota. But not for long. On the basis of this first-film success, he is moving to LA."

Was it a good movie? The Danish HIJACKING is very good. And it worked better for me cuz I didn't know the actors, so they seemed real. But seeing Tom Hanks, well, it's Tom Hanks.

Anonymous said...

"Gravity would be fine, too: my main complaint is that at 91 minutes it's too short"

GRAVITY is so intense, powerful, nerve-wracking, and stunning as a visceral experience that my head would have exploded at more than 91 min.

Not a minute too short, not a minute too long.

It's like the ROAD WARRIOR doesn't need to be any longer.

Anonymous said...

12 Years a Slave, Belafonte said, made him "proud to be an African." But Armond White, who was seated at the back of the room, evidently disagreed. From where I sat, I heard a few loud noises as Belafonte and McQueen spoke, and given White's history of disrupting the awards and his well-documented antipathy towards 12 Years a Slave, I assumed he was the responsible party. But it wasn't until I touched base with colleagues who were at or near White's table that I was able to discern what he and his guests had been yelling. Variety reported that White yelled, "You're an embarrassing doorman and garbage man! Fuck you! Kiss my ass." I was told by several parties that White also yelled out, "White liberal bullshit!"

http://blogs.indiewire.com/criticwire/armond-white-steve-mcqueen-harry-belafonte-new-york-film-critics-circle

Anonymous said...

"12 Years a Slave, Belafonte said, made him "proud to be an African."

REALLY? Does the Calypso fool know that it was BLACK AFRICA that captured and sold blacks to whites? Does he know that whites are the ones who believed slavery was wrong and ended it? Even the South saw slavery as a transition, not a permanent fixture of the Americas.

Proud of Africa? A place where slavery was invented and practiced before whites finally put an end to it?

Whiskey said...

"the moral stain of slavery?"

I WAS right. It IS a religion. The Crystal Meth of religions. Crystal Methodism?

Yes. Worshiping Blacks, and non-Whites in general. The original sin of Whiteness (or really, just beta male Whites). And the transforming redemption of Blackness (or really, just thug it up Alpha).

If White guys were REALLY villains, in Inglorious Basterds or Django or what have you, no one would care. Alpha up and be the worst villain and as long as you are on top the cultural mavens (females and gays) will lap up your pure Alpha-ness. Hence what Thomas Sowell terms madness by Black guys thugging it up with Whites has produced winners for them.

A Crystal Methodism, so it would seem. But that worship is vulnerable to just out-Alpha. It seems like the world of "Her" and other beta male worlds has no aggression and dominance, what's missing in these movies is any really aggressive, dominant male in the mold of Mitchum, John Wayne, Bogart, Heston, etc.

Its all beige beta male, all the way down. I just don't know how sustainable this estrogen-fest among guys who seem willing castrati can be. My guess is, not long. But its just a guess. Maybe all that plastic in the water.

Anonymous said...

Of those I saw:

"Her" - Good
"American Hustle" - Very good!
"Gravity" - terrible crap
"Captain Phillips" - passable
"Dallas Buyers Club" - OK
"The Wolf of Wall Street" - OK+

Anon87 said...

Shouldn't Wolf win just for the "Masters of the Universe" reference?

Anonymous said...

"12 Years of Slave should win hands down. Just a beatufully acted and brutally honest look at the moral stain of slavery that haunts us to this day.

" The masterpiece is a testament to what America was — and is, still."

Surely, you jest, about the "haunting," that is.

There is nothing left over from that era except the hucksters who 1) make money off it by using it as a hammer, guys like Jackson, Sharpton and 2) generations of black folk who, told by their hucksters like Jackson and Sharpton, and their churches pastors that it's not their fault they've not "become anything in life," are content not to become anything in life when they can get a monthly check from the rest of us. Uh huh! Yeah.

Anonymous said...

Why is no one attacking black Africans who circumcise females, female castration, in essence.

Where are the feminists? The screen writers? The producers and directors?

Anonymous said...

"Of those I saw:

"Her" - Good
"American Hustle" - Very good!
"Gravity" - terrible crap
"Captain Phillips" - passable
"Dallas Buyers Club" - OK
"The Wolf of Wall Street" - OK+ "

Captain Phillips was awesome. It was the only movie on the list that I've seen. Don't care to see any of the others.

Anonymous said...

Inside Llewyn Davis = Smart satire
The Wolf of Wall Street = Dumb Satire

Anonymous said...

"WORLD'S END is so perfect that it's indecent. I mean no movie should work so well on so many levels. It's impossible... or should be."

I liked the premise of the World's End (about middle aged guys completing a teenage pub crawl) and the first half of the movie. But the second half focusing on alien robots was ludicrous and generally unfunny.

vandelay said...

Ugh, American Hustle was a terrible mess of a movie. I'm not particularly concerned about the integrity of the Oscars, but of the nominees I've seen (Nebraska, Gravity, Hustle, Wolf, Her, Slave) it would be, by far, the worst choice.
It's like if you took Goodfellas and removed the coherent plot and reasons to care about any of the characters and replaced the acting with accents.

vandelay said...

"I liked the premise of the World's End (about middle aged guys completing a teenage pub crawl) and the first half of the movie. But the second half focusing on alien robots was ludicrous and generally unfunny."

I agree. I went in excited about the sci-fi aspect, but by the time that turn kicked in I was much more invested in the human story they were telling, most of which was abandoned.

rob said...

Pat said...

Paul Walker, being male, could still be cast in a 'pretty boy' role at age 40.


No. No he couldn't. Because he's dead. Thanks for reopening that wound.

Anonymous said...

"I agree. I went in excited about the sci-fi aspect, but by the time that turn kicked in I was much more invested in the human story they were telling, most of which was abandoned."

It's all the more amazing because the film undergoes radical surgery but keeps the same brains and heart.

It achieves what is nearly impossible--the mixing of two very different genres that have nothing to do with one another and making it stick. Usually, such attempts look stupid or may work as outlandish parody. But WORLDS END manages to smirk and keep a straight face at the same time. It took a master surgeon, and Wright is one of the absolute best in the business. A tightrope dancer. Stiff upper lip and loose lower hip synchronized perfectly.

That the idea is ridiculous goes without saying. What is marvelous is that the ridiculous is made so normal and plausible.

HOT FUZZ came close too but the violence was excessive in parts and some scenes were a tad overblown. WORLD'S END is fine-tuned perfectly from start to finish.

American comedies generally tend to be subtle/witty or wild/exaggerated. WORLD'S END stitched together two modes so seamlessly, we don't even see the stitch marks.

Anonymous said...

"The Wolf of Wall Street = Dumb Satire"

I haven't seen it, but is it satire?

When everything is so out in the open, realistic, and confessional, where's the satire?
Sounds to me more like LA DOLCE VITA.
It's an expose of a satyr, not a satire.

Anonymous said...

"Gravity" - terrible crap"

your mama

Rip van Antebellum said...

Paul Walker's dead??

John Mansfield said...

I would like Gravity to suceed so the idea may catch on that a good quality movie can be well under two hours long.

Anonymous said...

What if the whole world turns non-white and whiteness survives only in AI forms: images, sounds, voices, etc.

It sometimes felt like that in cities. A subway train filled with diversity, but a white-sounding recorded voice announcing the names of the stops and warnings to step away from the doors.

pretty boy floyd said...

"Paul Walker, being male, could still be cast in a 'pretty boy' role at age 40. "

well, yeah, if he were still. alive. Would just make it under the wire as a "pretty boy" still. But not at 50. The guys do get more lover roles for a longer time, but eventually, they too, must graduate. Richard Gere hasn't been in too many pretty boy roles lately, nor has, oh, Al Pacino. But they do graduate later.
The British have an entirely different approach though. I always have to adjust my headset watching male/female/ on Brit tv. They are less ageist to both genders, and the couples actually--with some egregious exceptions--look more like the real world.
Hollywood has always been for fantasy and the I am exceptional sort of icon.

Mark Caplan said...

The beginning of 12 YEARS A SLAVE seemed highly improbable. Freeborn Solomon Northup of New York agreed to travel through the slave state of Maryland or Virginia with two strangers to join the circus in Washington, DC. But is there evidence that Northup was a grifter, as iSteve alleges? Northup sued his two abductors for kidnapping him. Such a suit wouldn't have made sense if Northup had been engaged in a criminal conspiracy with his abductors.

Maxwell Power said...
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