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Monthly Archives: January 2014

American Hustle

american hustleNominations: Best Picture, Leading Actor (Christian Bale), Leading Actress (Amy Adams), Supporting Actor (Bradley Cooper), Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Costume Design, Directing (David O. Russell), Film Editing, Production Design, Original Screenplay (Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell)

A con man, Irving Rosenfeld, along with his seductive British partner, Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for a wild FBI agent, Richie DiMaso. DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia. (IMDb)

So, the best part about this movie is the David O. Russell all-star team that he has assembled. Every single actor is totally on their game, hence the acting nominations for Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence. I also really liked Jeremy Renner and Louis C.K. in their roles as well. The whole thing is crazy, out there, and really funny. Side note, it should win the Oscar for Costume Design based on Amy Adams’ wardrobe alone. Anyway, my problem however is the plot. As in I don’t know where it went. I reached this point midway through the movie where I realized that I kind of had no idea what was going on. Which left the payoff at the end not as satisfying as it could have been. However, the characters are so fascinating, and so insanely fun to watch, that this movie is still a fun ride.

8/10

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Posted by on January 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Dallas Buyers Club

dallas buyers clubNominations: Best Picture, Leading Actor (Matthew McConaughey), Supporting Actor (Jared Leto), Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Original Screenplay (Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack)

In 1985 Dallas, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is himself diagnosed with the disease. (IMDb)

This was one I was looking forward to because I’ve heard nothing but good things. And for the most part, I really liked it. Everything said about the acting is completely true. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto are brilliant. I absolutely loved the two of them. The story itself is really interesting. For me though, it kind of ends there. It was a little slowly paced for me. For me, I thought it was almost a little too focused on the business, I would have loved to see a few more character driven scenes. Like the scene with Jared Leto’s character and his dad? I wanted more scenes like that, something that makes us care more about the people that we’re watching. But, I did still like this as a whole and it is definitely worth a watch.

7/10

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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August: Osage County

august osage countyNominations: Leading Actress (Meryl Streep) and Supporting Actress (Julia Roberts)

A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them. (IMDb)

To start with, I haven’t had the opportunity to read or see the play, and with an ensemble cast this loaded, as well as a screenplay written by Tracy Letts, the original playwright, I was super excited to watch this. And I wasn’t disappointed. First off, I think the Academy missed a nomination for Letts’ script. The verbal sparring and well placed twists and turns alone kept me on the edge of my seat. I haven’t reacted out loud so much to a shouting match in a long time. Then, layer the acting on top, and this is a really entertaining two hours. The combination of Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts is insane. The two of them bounce off of each other so well you actually think that they are related. They are also both uninhibited in their performances and its a lot of fun to watch. Both of their nominations are completely deserved. The rest of the cast fills out this dysfunctional family really well. Margo Martindale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Cooper, Juliette Lewis, and everyone make this a film worth seeing, and then being thankful for the family you have after you watch it.

8/10

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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12 Years a Slave

12 years a slaveNominations: Best Picture, Leading Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Supporting Actor (Michael Fassbender), Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o), Directing (Steve McQueen), Film Editing, Production Design, Adapted Screenplay (John Ridley)

In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. (IMDb)

Let me start this by saying that this is brilliant movie. But, I will say, it’s not a fun two hours. This is rough to watch, but it was so incredibly good. Every nomination is deserved. I can’t say enough. Chiwetel Ejiofor carries the whole film with ease, Lupita Nyong’o is absolutely heartbreaking, and Michael Fassbender is absolutely scary. The rest of the ensemble cast, from Benedict Cumberbatch to Paul Dano and everyone in-between is impressive as well. Something I caught at the end was the fact that the 12 years for me felt like just one long never ending year, which I hope was intentional, because at the end of the 12 years you realize how much he really missed. So, I put this movie in a category of movies like The Hurt Locker. I watch it, I’m emotionally not ok for a little bit afterwards, it’s brilliant and I love it, but I don’t think I want to watch it again. You know what I mean? But this is a must see. Go watch it now.

9/10

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Captain Phillips

captain phillipsNominations: Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Barkhad Abdi), Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Adapted Screenplay (Billy Ray)

The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. (IMDb)

Confession time. This was the Best Picture that I was least looking forward to. The story just didn’t really pique my interest. That being said, this was a pretty good movie, especially the first hour. I really enjoyed watching the crew and Tom Hanks’ character try to deal with having pirates on their boat. Where it lost me was the second hour. That’s when it turned into a hostage drama. A well acted hostage drama, but a hostage drama nevertheless. I guess there’s something more interesting to me about characters trying to help themselves and solve a problem, instead of waiting for the Navy to save them. Now, I do recognize that this was based off of a true story and that it was simply following what happened, I get that. But I just think maybe more time/emphasis could be placed on that first half? Because that was when Captain Phillips (the character) was the most interesting-we were seeing how good of a captain he really is. Another thing, this may be just me, but I got really tired of the really loud multi-language confused yelling really quickly. It happens a lot and it’s like we get it, there’s a lot going on, but I would kind of like to hear and understand what’s actually happening, instead of just watching a bunch of guys yell at each other incoherently. On the other hand, like I said earlier, the acting was very good, I liked Tom Hanks a lot. But where did Barkhad Abdi come from? I really liked him. He was the villain, but he was also really compelling and you understood him. Really nice job from him, he deserves the Oscar nom. So, for me, this was decent. Not my favorite so far, and I don’t think it’s going to win much, but it was decent.

6/10

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Gravity

gravityNominations: Best Picture, Leading Actress (Sandra Bullock), Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki), Directing (Alfonso Cuaron), Film Editing, Original Score, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects

A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space. (IMDb)

Cherish what I am about to say, because it’s probably never going to happen again…I wish I had seen this on the big screen in 3D. I think I could have appreciated the massive scope of the whole thing even more. That being said, I thought this was awesome. Some of the cinematography is absolutely beautiful. Sandra Bullock deserves major recognition in this. She basically carried the whole thing. She was the only person on screen for the majority of the last hour. Yet, I was engaged the whole time. I thought that in general was super impressive. Something like this can become artsy and slow, but I thought this was nicely paced. There were actually moments where I was on the edge of my seat actually. I don’t think this is going to win the Oscar, but it’s still a great movie that is definitely worth a watch.

8/10

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Wolf of Wall Street

the wolf of wall streetNominations: Best Picture, Leading Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), Supporting Actor (Jonah Hill), Director (Martin Scorsese), Adapted Screenplay (Terence Winter)

Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government. (IMDb)

I really like Scorsese/DiCaprio collaborations, but I think this is their best one yet. Three hour movies normally shouldn’t be three hours long, but I thought this actually filled up the time really well. Those three hours are completely filled with so much drugs, sex, and profanity, that I can understand why some people didn’t like it. Also, the treatment of the female characters is not great. I didn’t love that, but I also recognized that it was accurate to the story, and really showed how terrible these men were actually. However, despite all of that, I was laughing almost the entire movie. I heard it was a dark comedy, but I also wasn’t expecting it to be that dark or that comic. This is one of my favorite performances out of DiCaprio. He completely just went for it and it worked. Jonah Hill also did a really nice job, it was something different for him, and I loved it. Something else I really enjoyed the cinematography. All of the scenes where characters were high were filmed so creatively. So, while this may not be for everyone, this definitely worked for me.

8.5/10

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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