Friday, February 28, 2014

Oscars 2014: The Films

All of the feature films nominated this year are worth seeing.I saw all but The Wind Rises, The Grandmaster, Omar and The Missing Picture, though I may be able to see The Wind Rises and The Grandmaster this weekend. Thanks to Netflix, all of the documentary films were on instant view and the Cable Car ran the shorts programs. Wonderful to have these films available when you don't live in a big city. Again, all of the nominated films are impressive. Keep an eye out for them when you are looking for rentals this year. Who will win the Oscars? I think Best Picture will go to Gravity. Best Animated Feature will probably go to Frozen. Best Foreign Feature could go to The Broken Circle Breakdown, or maybe The Great Beauty.  My favorite Documentary Feature was Cutie and the Boxer, but the Oscar will probably go to The Act of Killing. For shorts I'm picking The Voorman Problem for live action, Room on the Broom for animated and Cavedigger for documentary.

Pop the popcorn, get out your ballots and keep your fingers crossed for an entertaining awards show. C'mon Ellen. And the Oscar goes to.......

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Oscars 2014: The People

When I look at the lists of actor, actress and director nominees, there's not one that would be a bad choice for the Oscar. This year was was rich with passionate performances and skillful direction. If the Oscar went to the most powerful performances Chiwetel Ejiofor, Meryl Streep, June Squibb, Leonardo DiCaprio or Barkhad Abdi would win. If it went to the most nuanced performance it would go to Jared Leto, Mattew McConaughey, Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench or Lupita Nyong'o. Every director nominated turned out a film that was a signature piece. I'd like to see Martin Scorsese win, but Steve McQueen or Alfonso Caron will probably win. I think the actors who will win are DiCaprio, Streep, Nyong'o and Leto. If I were running the academy, I'd just buy an extra 20 statues and give them all a hearty "well done!"

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Oscars 2014: The Stories

There is a wealth of material in this world on which to base a good story. In film an adapted screenplay is drawn from already existing material. I think Before Midnight was the most well written adapted screenplay this year. I'm torn between Her and Nebraska for original screenplay. Both were original and the dialog was outstanding. An interesting trend this year was the many films that were based on true stories.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Oscars 2014: The Sounds

Especially in a theater, the sounds of a film envelop us. It builds a mood and punctuates the drama. The film I felt this most in was Lone Survivor. I'd like to see the Oscar for sound editing go to this film. The music, along with the sounds of the city would make Inside Llewyn Davis my choice for best sound mixing. The music is the heartbeat of the film. the song Let it Go worked well with the story in Frozen. The score in Gravity worked with the visuals to take us to outer space.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Oscars 2014: The Sights

A very important aspect of any film is the visual. The images need to translate to a huge screen for the theater. It is a craft. The best this year has been in the movie Gravity. Taking place in the wide expanse of space and the small, claustrophobic confines of a space capsule, much of the drama is in the visual. I think Gravity could take the Oscar for Visual Effects, Art Direction, Cinematography and Editing. I wouldn't be surprised to see Prisoners grab the statue for cinematography because Deakins did some nice work there. I think the award for costumes will be between The Great Gatsby and American Hustle and makeup could go anywhere. Bad Grandpa would be deserving.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Broken Circle Breakdown

Tribeca Film has been singing the praises of The Broken Circle Breakdown for a year or so now. Then it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Then I saw it. This is a story of love, heartbreak and survival with some beautiful musical performances. A couple falls in love, suffer a terrible loss and struggle to keep it together. As sad as this sounds, it was rather uplifting and the music was delightful. I really liked this film.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ernest and Celestine

The charming French film Ernest and Celestine played at the Providence Children's Film Festival this year. I was thrilled to see a 200 seat theater fill up with families. The kids behind me were chattering about all of the films they had seen over the week. Very knowledgeable little cinephiles! The film is hand drawn, beautiful, has a good message and is very funny. The laughter was frequent and genuine. Thanks to PCFF for bringing this film to RI. Kudos to the parents who brought their kids to see a quality  French film! I loved this Oscar nominee.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

The Lego Movie

Visiting my family this weekend, my daughter proposed that we take my 3 and 5 year old grandsons to see The Lego Movie. Having read positive reviews, I was all in. We arrived during the previews and sat second row. The film was sold out. It was fun to be so close, everything was huge. The plot was clever and the popular characters received cheers in the theater. There is a great reveal that enhances the plot. I really liked this film and so did the the kids. "Everything is Awesome..." Fun film!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Crash Reel

Extreme sports have their risks. Beautiful to watch, but catastrophic when things go wrong. The Crash Reel documents the beauty and the agony of extreme snowboarding. It follows Kevin Pearce's rise and fall....and what a fall. I had a boyfriend who survived a brain injury and this film brought back so many memories. Especially when Kevin wants to go back to the activity that caused this life-changing injury. This is an excellent documentary.