Friday, March 22, 2013

1928 - 2011

Nope the post is not a memorial to Jack Kevorkian or Juan Maria Bordaberry the thirty sixth President of Uruguay, but to the fact that I have now seen every best picture with the exception of Argo which just won this year.  It also means that I have finally watched Schindler's List.

Schindler's List (1993) - The last best picture for me to see, somewhat fitting since I swore years ago before I started this project that this would be the one best picture that I wouldn't see.  But I got to watch it and can honestly say that I do not ever need to see this movie again.  Is it a bad movie?  No, it's one of the most powerful movies I have ever seen.  But the subject is so depressing, the acting is so incredible, the film is so intense that it is one of the best movies ever made.  If you watch this movie and you are not sad or depressed, you don't have a soul.  It is based upon the life of Oskar Schindler during WWII as he tried to profit off the war and went from exploiting concentration camp prisoners to helping save their lives.  If you've seen it you understand, if you haven't you should see it once in your life.

As I now have seen four of the five films, it's obvious that Schindler's List is the best picture of the year.  I still have to see The Piano but I can't imagine it betting better than Schindler's List.

One Night Of Love (1934) - An opera musical that is also a romance film.  Staring Grace Moore as a woman who loses an American Idol type of opera contest on the radio and decides to still go to Europe and make it big.  She does as a singing waitress who is discovered by an opera teacher who then trains her under the condition that they won't fall in love.  Don't think I need to go any further in the plot, I'm sure you can guess how it ends.

This being the only year besides 1935 to have twelve films nominated, I have now seen ten of them and honestly this is down in the lower ranks.  It's no where as good as It Happened One Night or The Thin Man or Here Comes The Navy and I have to say The Gay Divorcee was much better and I am not a fan of musicals.  It's not the worst film that I saw that year, that is a death match between The Barretts of Wimpole Street and Flirtation Walk for that title.

Ruggles Of Red Gap (1935) - This is one of the funniest movies I have seen in a long time.  Charles Laughton plays an English butler who is lost by his employer in a poker game to a cattle baron from Washington State.  As a result he has to travel back to America and become their butler but is mistaken for an English Army officer.  Great acting, great script and Charles Laughton reciting the Gettysburg Address is amazing.  This is a lost gem that people should watch.

This too is the tenth movie I've seen from a year that had twelve movies, and while it may not be as good as Mutiny On The Bounty, which also has Charles Laughton in an terrific role, it is up there.  I would put it in the top five easily, it's just that good.

Disraeli (1930) - Biopic from 1929 actually since back then at the start of the Oscars they would have the movies across two years, like a hockey season when they are not on strike.  George Arliss won the best actor Oscar for his portrayal as English Prime Minster Benjamin Disraeli during the 1870's as England is attempting to purchase the Suez Canal.  Not the greatest picture you'll ever see but it is fascinating to see a movie from the 1920's.

As the third film for the year, it isn't as good as All Quiet On The Western Front but much, much better than The Love Parade.  Right now it's in the middle and I'll see how it will compare to the remaining two which will be on TCM in a few months.

The Pied Piper (1942) - My 434th film and ironically another one based in Europe.  An Englishman on vacation in France tries to get back to England when Germany invades.  He is asked to take the children of the inn he is staying at with him, and while he tries to get to England the number of children he has keeps increasing, hence the title.  The interesting thing is this is another war movie made during WWII so it has a different feel than movies made about WWII after the war ended.  Somewhat silly and sappy at times, but nevertheless a good movie, well acted.  Has Roddy McDowell years before he played his greatest acting role as Dr. Cornelius.

I am now at nine out of ten movies for this year and there is a lot of competition.  Also being three years from 1939 makes it still in the era of great movies.  As compared to Mrs. Miniver, another movie taking place during the war, it's not better.  Clearly it's not the worst movie, but it will have trouble climbing to the top five for the year.  I can finally place it when I see the last movie from that year I haven't seen, Wake Island.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Watching Paint Dry With The Backdrop of WWI

Never realized that horses could be so much more boring than I though they were.  That and a few more modern films make up this update.  I have a best picture I taped recently, not hard to guess if you've read previous posts, and if you haven't then read my previous posts.  It will be the headliner of my next post.  Until then let me tell you about boring.

War Horse (2011) - Steven Spielberg's offer for a best picture nominee about a English boy who has to sell his horse, actually his father does, to an army captain at the start of WWI.  He then ends up finding the horse about sixteen hours later at the end of the film.  It is a very good family film, cinematography was beautiful, but this is a kids movie and not a best picture.

This is not even in the top five for 2011, no where near The Artist or Midnight In Paris.  But an enjoyable film if you want to see a heartfelt family movie that doesn't offer much as a war film, you might enjoy it.

The Help (2011) - Much better than I thought it was going to be.  A fictitious story based in the early 1960's in Mississippi about the relationships between domestic help and their employers.  The domestic help is black and the employers are white.  Some of the characters are a bit cartoonish, but it helps tell the story.  The characters are well defined and does get a positive message out to the viewer.

As another film from the same year as War Horse, this one clearly was in the top five.  It wasn't as good as The Artist, but if there were only five films nominated this would have made it up there.

The Descendants (2011) - Can you tell I was getting a free preview of the premium cable channels?  A film about a husband dealing with his wife in a coma after a boating accident and having to deal with his children he has distanced himself from over the years.  It is a comedy-drama, kind of hard to guess after my summary of the film, but it is.  Well acted and it follows the ironic twists as he finds out about his wife's personal life and how it interferes with his business.

This was a good film, not a great film.  It did win best adapted screenplay, but that was more of the academy didn't want the film to go empty handed in my opinion.  No where as good as The Artist and I'm not sure if it will be in the top five.  I still have two more films to watch from this year but this one is still in the middle, but close to the bottom.

The House Of Rothschild (1934) - Put aside all of your conspiracy theories for a moment and enjoy George Arliss play dual roles as the Rothschild patriarch in the late 18th and early 19th century.  A very sugar coated version of history, but well acted.  Even has Boris Karloff who is creepy no matter who he plays.  It was made before WWII so it is strange to see the type of pro-Semitic cinema like Gentleman's Agreement but made in the mid 1930's.

This was a good film, not the best film of the year, that is still It Happened One Night.  It would sit lower down but not near the bottom.  Seeing this was one of two years where twelve movies were nominated, and this being the ninth film I've seen, I'll wait until I've seen all of them to properly rank this one.

Oscar Results

A surprising evening on a number of award winners, others what you would expect.  Who would of thought that Lincoln was so hated?  By the way anyone else see the irony of the First Lady announcing Argo as the winner only months after Benghazi?  Of course not, that never happened.  Here are the results.

Visual Effects
Chris - Life Of Pi
Adam - Life Of Pi
Winner - Life Of Pi
Adam - 1
Chris - 1

This film had the best screen effects, think of it a kid and a tiger on a boat?

Sound Mixing
Chris - Les Miserables
Adam - Les Miserables
Winner - Les Miserables
Adam - 2
Chris - 2

The only musical nominated in this category it was going to win.

Sound Editing
Chris - Life Of Pi
Adam - Life Of Pi
Winner - Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty
Adam - 2
Chris -2

I don't think anyone expected this to be a tie and if you did, you're lying.

Chris - Life Of Pi
Adam - Life Of Pi
Winner - Life Of Pi
Adam -3
Chris - 3

Another technical award claimed by Life of Pi.

Makeup & Hairstyling
Chris - Les Miserables
Adam - Les Miserables
Winner - Les Miserables
Adam - 4
Chris -4

I think this has a lot to do with the popularity of the films in this category that and if people have historic memories.  This was against Hitchcock and The Hobbit, and the only film where people weren't alive to remember was Les Miz, you have to believe the hairstyle was correct.

Costume Design

Chris - Anna Karenina
Adam - Anna Karenina
Winner - Anna Karenina
Adam - 5
Chris -5 

Everyone said it was going to win and it did.

Production Design
Chris - Life Of Pi
Adam - Anna Karenina
Winner - Lincoln
Adam - 5
Chris - 5

This could be a sign that Lincoln could start winning more trophies?

Film Editing
Chris - Life Of Pi
Adam - Argo
Winner - Argo
Adam - 6
Chris - 5

This is beginning to follow along in my theory and moves me ahead of the wife.

Music Original Song

Chris - Les Miserables
Adam - Skyfall
Winner - Skyfall
Adam - 7
Chris - 5

I'm moving ahead.  Everyone picked this song, I've never heard it, never saw Adele sign before, but boy can she sing and she is really good looking.

Music Original Score
Chris - Skyfall
Adam - Life Of Pi
Winner - Life Of Pi
Adam - 8
Chris - 5

Pulling way ahead now.

Writing Adapted Screenplay

Chris - Life Of Pi
Adam - Argo
Winner - Argo
Adam - 9
Chris - 5

Can't even see you in the rear view mirror.  Still following along in my theory of Argo winning Best Picture.

Writing Original Screenplay
Chris - Moonrise Kingdom
Adam - Zero Dark Thirty
Winner - Django Unchained
Adam - 9
Chris - 5

Really, do we have to give Quentin Tarantino another Oscar?

Short Film Animated
Chris - Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare
Adam - Paperman
Winner - Paperman
Adam - 10
Chris - 5

I was right they were being snobbish towards The Simpsons since it's a TV show.

Short Film Live Action
Chris - Death Of A Shadow
Adam -Death Of A Shadow
Winner - Curfew
Adam - 10
Chris - 5

And the reason why this film won is because there is water in the ocean.  Can't think of a better reason since there isn't one.  Talk about better odds playing powerball.

Documentary Short Subject
Chris - Redemption
Adam - Inocente
Winner - Inocente
Adam - 11
Chris - 5

I rolled the five sided dice and it landed on my number.

Best Animated
Chris - Brave
Adam -Wreck-it Ralph
Winner - Brave
Adam - 11
Chris - 6

I like how the winner took time to embarrass her daughter during her speech, that kid will be having therapy in no time.

Best Documentary
Chris - How To Survive A Plague
Adam - Searching For Sugar Man
Winner - Searching For Sugar Man
Adam - 12
Chris - 6

Maybe fifteen years ago How To Survive A Plague would have won, but AIDS films are no longer trendy, especially since we so much more to ignore like Benghazi, the deficit, wars, freedoms being eroded, failing economy, you know the things that don't exist so films about looking for a blues musician can win Best Documentary.

Best Foreign Language
Chris - Amour
Adam - Amour
Winner - Amour
Adam - 13
Chris - 7

It was nominated for Best Picture which it would never win, so it's going to win this one.

Best Supporting Actress
Chris - Anne Hathaway
Adam - Anne Hathaway
Winner - Anne Hathaway
Adam - 14
Chris - 8

The best part was Seth MacFarlane hitting on Sally Field dressed as the Flying Nun.

Best Supporting Actor
Chris - Christoph Waltz
Adam - Tommy Lee Jones
Winner - Christoph Waltz
Adam - 14
Chris - 9

I think there may have been a bias against Lincoln at the awards, more on that later.

Best Actress
Chris - Jennifer Lawrence
Adam - Jennifer Lawrence
Winner - Jennifer Lawrence
Adam - 15
Chris - 10

The funniest is her answers to reporter questions after she won, look it up on the web.

Best Actor
Chris - Daniel Day-Lewis
Adam - Daniel Day-Lewis
Winner - Daniel Day-Lewis
Adam - 16
Chris - 11

I have a feeling that they had no choice but to give him the award since no one was anywhere close.  But if they could avoid giving another award to Lincoln I think they would have.

Best Director
Chris - Steven Spielberg
Adam - Steven Spielberg
Winner - Ang Lee
Adam - 16
Chris -11

Like here.  Lincoln is about the first Republican president and seeing how Queen Obama the first gave the Oscar for Best Picture one may think the White House had some influence on the awards?  Probably not, but it felt a bit a little too much like North Korea to me.

Best Picture
Chris - Argo
Adam - Argo
Winner - Argo
Adam - 17
Chris - 12

The 85th Best Picture and I won this year.