Monday, February 23, 2009

weekend round-up

Yay for the weekend!!! Since this week was my first attempt at a full 9-5 work week at 4 weeks post-op, it really goes without saying that I am tired. I am super mega-tired. This weekend is a perfect weekend for seeing the final onslaught of Oscar movies before Sunday - a lovely surprise for me because I really didn't think any more of them were going to come to our theatre. So I will need to chat a bit about some alterations to my Oscar rant of last week.

We kicked it off Friday by seeing The Wrestler which was 115 minutes of fantastic filmmaking. Truly a great film in the hands of Darren Aronofsky, director of one of my favourite films Requiem For A Dream (unfortunately not much of his other work has lived up to that. In the hands of another director, like maybe Ron Howard, I can see how this film could easily have been made about 45 minutes longer and therefore, a lesser movie. The pacing was perfect, the story was dead simple and the characters truly identifiable. If I had to nitpick, maybe Evan Rachel Wood's character could have been a bit meatier and a bit more developed but even that isn't really an issue for me. Mickey Rourke is the best he's ever been and likely will ever be. The fact that this role was supposed to have been Nicolas Cage terrifies me. If that had been the case, I would have never sat through it. Cage has been that character a million times and that fact would have just rolled this movie into the line of depressed characters played by stupid Nicolas Cage. Mickey Rourke is really what makes this movie. It is too bad he couldn't have won for this movie. Interesting gossip - apparently he and Marisa Tomei could not stand the sight of each other and still can't. Also, Lainey was kind enough to remind us of the time Mickey Rourke was arrested for beating the living daylight out of his then-wife Carrie Otis. Interesting considering how Chris Brown's musical career is likely over for doing the same thing to Rihanna but Mickey's same crime has been quickly forgotten and he is now everyone's favourite hard luck story. When you remember that maybe it's not such a surprise that he lost the Oscar? Who knows? Anyway, good on Sean Penn nonetheless. Milk was a brilliant film and a role like that in this current political situation? Timing is pretty much bang-on.

Saturday we had another puppy playdate with our Dogs = Awesome group and then on to The Reader in the afternoon. This film.......sigh. Hard to say. It's a good story, beautifully photographed......and dull really. It felt about 4 hours long when in reality it's a completely respectable 124 minutes. It had me, then it lost me and then kinda had me again at the end.  Makes me wonder how The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is going to be in the hands of Stephen Daldry. That's a jump around story too.  Anyway, Kate Winslet was good. Of course she was good, she's always good. And she finally got the Oscar formula right. 1) Do a movie about the Holocaust. 2) Don't wear any make-up and 3) Age throughout the movie ending up as a very old woman. That is how you do it people. So although I think she's deserving of an Oscar for her generally stellar film background, I think Anne Hathaway was really more deserving of this award. The one good thing about this movie is the fact that it wasn't Nicole Kidman in the lead role which was how it was supposed to be. That fact alone could be what saved this movie for me.

Saturday night I was pleasantly surprised to stumble across The Visitor on the movie channel so I was able to cross that film off the Oscar list too. I really liked this movie although there was nothing overly unique or surprising about it. Richard Jenkins, the guy who's in everything but whose name you don't know, was genuinely great in this movie but for me, not at all in the front-running for Best Actor in comparison to the others. Still a great little movie though. That said, I would have liked this movie infinitely more if it wasn't about djembe drums and drum circles - probably my least favourite thing ever in life is a drum circle. 

Sunday we finished with Frost/Nixon which was outstanding and paced like an action movie. Frank Langella totally knocked Brad Pitt out of the Best Actor running for me and if Brad had miraculously won over this guy it would have been a true miscarriage of Oscar justice. In his hands, Richard Nixon is funny, charming, dare I say even likeable and even sympathetic. Such a great film! And so much of it is taken right from the actual transcripts of the Frost interviews because you couldn't have written better material than what is already there. I loved this movie and it had me for every minute.

In other Oscar thoughts, I still hold my ground that Penelope Cruz should not have won for her role in Vicky Christina Barcelona. It was a pretty bad movie with annoying characters and for Woody Allen who generally does write tremendous women characters, it's a big disappointment for me. Seriously, why wasn't Rosemary DeWitt nominated for this for Rachel Getting Married? She was so amazing in that movie and has been hugely overlooked (I do love that she's in United States of Tara though). Boo to that Oscar voters. But yay for Slumdog Millionaire!!! So deserving for a film with so much heart and one that showed such heart-wrenching subject matter alongside a perfect love story without compromising either side. And again, in terms of political and economic timing no film was better placed to be the crowd favourite. When things are bad, people want to be happy and feel uplifted and this film accomplishes that and then some. Plus it had adorable little kids who were clearly everyone's favourites at the ceremony last night.

As for the new Oscar format, visually it was breathtaking with that Swaroski crystal curtain and the orchestra on the stage and the old-Hollywood feel to it. A million times better than the tired old rotating sets, presenters taking the long boring walk to the podium blabbity blah blah. Format-wise, I did like the presentation of the acting awards but they SO needed to be shortened down a bit. Did anyone else notice that they essentially announced each individual presenter twice? I love the idea of the presenters speaking directly to the nominees (Marion Cotillard getting all teary talking about Kate Winslet and Anne Hathaway's reaction to being announced by Shirley MacLaine - don't tell me you weren't even the tiniest bit moved). After all, who needs to see the same clips of those people again? You've all seen the movies already. If they could do the same thing but shorter, I'd be all over it. And the Jennifer Aniston/Brangelina face-off? Even I felt uncomfortable. I don't even like to see my exes across the grocery store let alone seated 2 feet in front of me with their new girlfriend looking all sexpottey while I try not to screw up my lines in front of billions of people as they unbreakingly stare at me and dish me out pity laughter. Man.......AwkWard. Good for you Aniston. I would have cried and run away.


kelly said...

Wait... what? Pleeeeease tell me you're kidding about the Nicolas Cage thing? Good heavens. I adored every single second of The Wrestler -- it shattered my heart and was one of those films that stuck with me for days afterwards -- but if it had been Nicolas Cage in that role, I never would have watched it, even on TV. He would have made the character all squinty-eyed and whispery-voiced and hairy-backed and totally unlikable in every way, and if I happened to unwittingly catch it on TV at some point, it would have made me want to stab my eyes out with a fork.

Ahem. Sorry. I had to get that out. I despise Nicolas Cage with the burning passion of a thousand suns.

tara said...

Totally serious. Big stupid faced Nicolas Cage. I would never joke about something like that.