Posted by Pat


Best Picture Nominees From Least to Most Favorite Pt. 1

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The Oscars are coming up quick, and I have managed to see more of the nominated movies then ever. From my least favorite to most favorite, these are the ten movies nominated for best picture. This list isn’t a representation of which movies I think are the best, just how much I liked them. If I was to rank them from best to worst, this list would be much different.

10. Avatar

This movie is fun, and very pretty. I do like it, but it didn’t really give me much desire to ever see it again. It deserves all of the attention it’s getting, but I can’t really call it a great film as in my opinion story is most important. I’ve seen this story in countless movies, few worth remembering. I can’t really fault Avatar for not being everything it isn’t, as it’s intention is not to be anything more. But I’m not terribly interested in the same old plot in a pretty new package. No one will argue that it’s a technically beautiful movie, with groundbreaking visuals. Beyond that, it doesn’t have much going for it.

9. An Educationмаси и столове

I don’t have much of an opinion on this movie. I don’t love it, I don’t hate it. It’s a sweet little story, with decent acting. It just doesn’t have anything that stuck out and grabbed me. It’s just kinda bland. But, coming of age stories are not usually that interesting to me. The little twist is not what I had expected, although I probably should have. It is neat in a way to see this sorta movie end in a way you don’t necessarily expect. You can’t really say that it has a happy ending, or a sad ending… It is in a way both. That’s what this movie is, it’s the average movie, not one side or the other of anything. I feel like Crazy Heart probably should have taken An Education’s nomination. This is the only nomination in Best Picture that I don’t necessarily agree with.

8. The Hurt Locker

The general idea of this movie was that once you have committed yourself to the life of a soldier, you can’t really find your way back to any other life. They did a pretty decent job at it too, and delivered some of the most intense and engrossing scenes of 2009. The movie lacks the drive I was hoping for, and about half an hour of the movie I felt was unnecessary and took away from it all. I feel this movie is really pushing to something great but doesn’t quite reach it. There are scenes in the movie that grabbed me in such a way that the world around me disappeared. But there is a good chunk of the movie that just made me roll my eyes. Of all of the movies up for the nomination, this one disappointed me the most.

7. District 9

This is a neat movie. It’s a sifi movie filled with political and social commentary, with an examination of human nature. The first two thirds of the movie is something special. It builds itself a fascinating world, a dense story and a rich atmosphere. It’s just as much a political drama as it is an action sifi. The last bit of the movie turns into a real let down. It seems like they had no idea how to resolve the movie they built so well. It just kinda gives up and quickly deteriorates into the usual shoot out action. That’s all fine and good, if that’s what the movie was about from the beginning, but in this situation it just feels like they ran out of ideas and settled for less.

6. Precious

I watched this twice so far. I watched it once, read the book, and watched it again. The book was not very long for how much power is in it. This gave the filmmakers an opportunity to not be forced to neglect any of the content. The characters and atmosphere are perfectly imagined, and they managed to amplify the power of the story. They take some very interesting direction approaches that I did not necessarily expect from this sort of the movie, it reminded me a lot of something Darren Aronofsky, although that is a stretch.

Stay tuned as I rank my top five movies up for Best Picture from 2009.


I Really Want To Like Lady Gaga

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I think the first Lady Gaga song I heard was Just Dance. I’m usually not a fan of pop like that, since so much of it is the exact same regurgitated stuff in a different package, I figured she would be no exception.

Then I noticed a lot of people, who wouldn’t normally be into that sorta thing really liking her.

Then I saw this video of what happened when she had a soundboard failure and gained a whole new level of respect for her. One of the things that drives me nuts about popular music these days is it has completely lost the ‘show must go on’ attitude, I need not mention all the lip singing scandals in recent years.  When they tried to pull her off the stage she said, “I promised them a 30 minute set, and I’m not stopping.” That is awesome, more artists should follow her example. It’s good to see a popular artist that really understands this.

Then I saw this video of a performance before she became Lady Gaga. You can’t ignore that talent. She knows how to play and man she can sing. That video knocked me over. In a same respect this is a more recent video  with an acoustic performance of Poker Face.

And most recent was this video with Elton John at the Grammy awards. It’s fantastic and I can’t in any fair mind call it anything else.

The evidence of her talent is overwhelming, you just can’t ignore it. But I can’t get into her normal pop style. It’s just not the kinda thing that sounds good to me. I feel like she isn’t playing what’s right for her… but I guess she wouldn’t get the audiences she does if she did anything else.

I guess I’ll remain a fan of her side stuff, because it is fantastic.


Random Thoughts On All the 2009 Awards

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Avatar? I don’t really know what to say about all the awards it’s been handed, other then I guess you really can buy awards. I did enjoy Avatar, and it really was the most technically impressive movie I have ever seen… So give it best director, or best CGI, or best visual design. Not best motion picture. Certainly not when there are movies like The Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds, Precious, and Up In The Air, which were all exceedingly superior overall. Hell I would have a hard time picking the best out of that lot, but to even put Avatar in the same ballpark as those is criminal.

The Critics Choice awards had it right. They gave Avatar best action movie, best cinematography (although I don’t totally agree wit this, but I’ll survive), best art direction, best editing, best visual effects, and best sound. those were exactly the things that were great about Avatar, but those were the only things that were great about Avatar.

Okay, enough about Avatar.

So, when I first read about The Lovely Bones I was pretty stoked. I was excited to see Peter Jackson and his writing team step away from their usual fare of epics, and go into something smaller. The movie itself was a bit of a disappointment, but I can understand why Stanley Tucci is getting all the attention for it. Hell, if I hadn’t known he was in it, I never would have guessed. He did a great job at transforming into the character. Whenever he spoke it seemed a bit forced, but a majority of his part was without dialogue.

Tarantino has gotten completely shafted this year. He must be used to that by now.

I think one of the biggest surprises from 2009 would have to be Mo’Nique’s role in Precious, the awards seem to agree. I’ve never been a fan of hers, probably because she has only been in in awful movies. It’s clear now that given real content she’s a rock star. I hope she lands more quality stuff in the future.

Up in the Air was probably my favorite movie of 2009, It wasn’t just great at a few elements that make up film (I’m glaring at you Avatar), but everything was balanced beautifully. I’m glad it’s getting all it’s nominations, but I can understand why it’s being beaten out. Anna Kendrick was especially fantastic, and I hope she doesn’t get typecasted with her role in the Twilight Saga. After Up in the Air that would be a serious shame.

In my opinion Christoph Waltz had the most impressive performance of 2009. His part in Inglorious Basterds was legendary in a role that Tarantino thought was impossible to cast. I’m so glad he’s getting the attention he deserves. It’s a shame that it has taken this long for him to be seriously discovered.

I think Pixar is going to implode the first time another animated movie beats out one of their flicks. It should be alright though, because that probably will never happen.

Oscar nominations were just announced. Usually if you pay attention to award shows leading up to the Oscars you can make a pretty good guess at what will be nominated, and usually you can guess pretty accurately what will win. I’m glad that District 9 got a nomination for best picture, but it doesn’t need to win. I also hope Tarantino gets more from the Oscars then what he has gotten from the other awards. If Avatar wins best picture at the Oscars I’ll probably have a seizure.

List of nominees

…I guess you have to hand it to Cameron, he knows what the world wants… I guess… I’m not bitter at all I swear.


Five Movies You Probably Haven’t Seen, But Really Should

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Whether it’s just poorly marketed, or just a small indie flick, there are some movies that for whatever reason just don’t get seen as widespread as they should. It drives me nuts when a great movie slips through the cracks. There are a lot of great movies that people just haven’t seen, or haven’t even heard of. Here are just five of the first that came to mind, in no particular order.

Moon (2009)

This was writer/director Duncan Jones’s first major film, and a very ambitious one. It saw mild international success with little in the states. It’s likened to Kubrik’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, but it stands on it’s own. It’s difficult to make a movie like this and have it be original, I basically felt I knew what to expect getting into it. I was thrown for a loop when I found out the plot was not to be expected. Sam Rockwell was given a roll that really would be difficult for any actor to pull off, and did it in a way that really lets the audience buy into it. This is important because his role gets very surreal and at points it would be easy to loose the audience. Moon is a great movie, and it is a shame that it saw as little success as it did. In 15 years I see it being one of the huge cult science fiction classics. Maybe it is just a little before it’s time.



Eagle Eye

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Review spoiler warning: minor plot spoilers

I have a firm belief that every type of movie can be great. Eagle Eye is part of a subgenre of film that has in general, has gotten a bad rap. This is in part due to the major amount of crap that is out there within this subgenre of ‘super-computer becoming too smart and goes crazy starting to destroy everyone and everything.’ In truth, Eagle Eye is the first movie in a long time within this subgenre that I would even consider good. Eagle Eye is a decent, action packed experience that I can honestly say I was not expecting.

After the tragic death of his twin brother, Jerry Shaw (LaBeouf) is forced into a deep plot, that brings him into the realization that his brother may not exactly be who he thought he knew him to be, and that he is neck deep in something he could never have imagined. We follow Jerry and his female companion thru an emotional and political whirlwind. With a decent story and decent acting, Eagle Eye was a decent cinematic experience for anyone who loves a car crashing, gun slinging, politically driven, evil super computer containing (who has a GUI any tech-buff will drool over), action packed movie will love. Oh, and there is a pretty good, thick story, and decent acting thrown in there too.

I am consistently impressed by the progression Shia LaBeouf has taken into becoming a good well-rounded actor. It is hard to remember him as the awkward pre-teen he played in Even Stevens, after cranking out good performances in pretty much every movie he has been in sense. Eagle Eye was no exception to this trend, his script seemed very rushed at parts, and he worked with what he had like the great actor he is turning into.

I think it is safe to say I enjoyed this movie, and I think anyone looking for just a decent action flick will too. One thing when you do see it, yes, there is a much simpler way to deal with the main problem of the movie, we all can see this. But hey, where would the fun be in that?

7/10 stars

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and for language.


Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

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If someone were to sum up “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist,” in one word, that word would be mediocre. A mediocre script, with mediocre camera work, with a mediocre story, and mediocre acting. Simply put, this is not a flick with much to it; the kind of flick that requires you to turn your brain off to enjoy.

Everything about this movie could have been so much better, it is obvious to see everything they were planning to do, they just did not execute that plan very well. It felt as if the screenwriter, Lorene Scafaria, was attempting to be the next Diablo Cody (Juno). That was the biggest mistake. Nick and Norah’s needed its own special style, something to make it unique, not something that has already been done, and done well. This created a very fake forced feeling script that caused the cast to act very fake and forced.

Considering the material the cast was given to work with, the acting was alright. It’s still disappointing, because a majority of the cast has proven their skill in other films. They just didn’t handle the lack of script that was given to them. Michael Cera was his usual awkward self, as the character that he has been so horribly typecasted as. Kat Dennings managed to create one of the more convincing roles out of the worst-written character, and the rest of the cast only supported the general mediocrity of the movie.

The best part of the movie was the soundtrack. If the rest of the film had been created with the same focus with which the soundtrack was chosen, this review would have a completely different tone. With bands like Modest Mouse, Tekka Tekka, The Dead 60’s, and The Submarines, an atmosphere was developed that complemented the intended ‘indie’ style perfectly. The soundtrack was used very well within the film, continuously playing as to portray the idea of an infinite playlist. The soundtrack was a great way to tie the whole movie together, and keep the intended flow. Too bad this is the only great part of the movie.

The flick opens nation wide in 3 days, I’m not going to say don’t see it, just don’t expect to get much from it.

5/10 stars

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material including teen drinking, sexuality, language, and crude behavior.


Burn After Reading Review

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Review spoiler warning: minor plot spoilers

After finding a disk containing the memoirs of a CIA agent, Chad Feldeimer (Pitt) and Linda Litzke (McDormand) begin this quirky quest to return the disk in search of a non-existent cash reward, but not after leaving a trail of destruction behind them. In their funniest farce since the “Big Lebowski,” the Coen brothers grace us with a combination of their masterful screenwriting, film work, and editing with an unforgettable all-star cast.

The Coens’ sense of humor is very unique. They take the darkest of human nature and develop some sick twist around it to fit their nothing but cruel sense of humor. They have a way with shocking humor as well as subtle dark humor that only they have mastered. It is the type of thing that had you witnessed in real life, you would be telling your new shrink about it for years to come. It is without a doubt an acquired taste of humor; witch would explain the recent mixed reviews. “Burn After Reading,” is a screwball comedy, but one tailored for the darkest and cruel sense of humors, making it unlike any screwball comedy in recent times.

“Burn After Reading,” sets itself up with a list of characters that are so simple minded, that the events become nothing but believable. Brad Pitt’s role as Chad Feldeimer has the innocence of a child, and it becomes easy to think, “well, how can you blame him, he didn’t know any better.” This is a trend that is safe to say with any of the characters, from the paranoid misogynist that Clooney plays, to the in-way-over-her-head Linda Litzke as played by Frances McDormand. With the ruined life of John Makovich’s character Osbourne Cox, whose simplicity comes with the single line he repeats for the majority of the film. Finally with the no named CIA superior of J.K. Simmons who is just utterly clueless.

The tagline for this flick sums it up nicely, “intelligence is relative,” in this cruel, dark, hilarious new comedy by the unstoppable director duo the Coen brothers. How the Coen brothers consistently bring such good product to the industry is beyond me, I just hope they continue their momentum.

9/10 Stars

Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence