Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Oscars

Time for my grumpy and ludicrously ill-informed assessment of the year's best films.

I don't care who wins the Oscars, but it's hard to ignore the whole business completely. Titanic won the Oscar for best film and it is my standard for the lowest possible rating to give to movies. 5 stars = I would happily watch again, 4 stars = exactly my kind of movie, 3 stars = I liked it OK, 2 stars = turned it off before it was over, 1 star = as bad as Titanic.

This year the nominees for best film are: 
  • The Artist: I haven't seen it, but from the preview it looks terrible--smug and whimsical 
  • The Descendants: pretty good, but more 3 stars than anything else. Worth seeing, but forgettable. 
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close: not very good, according to David Denby 
  • The Help: not something I want to see 
  • Hugo: nice to look at, and interesting history of the movies, but pretty thin really, and the early scenes of the trendy-looking kid laughing at the fat man and the crippled veteran are a bit uncomfortable 
  • Midnight in Paris: "lightweight but fun, and features lots of very appealing views of Paris," as I said when I saw it  
  • Moneyball: pretty good. Another 3 star movie, really, telling an interesting story well without creating any really memorable characters, scenes, or lines (except maybe at the end, which is sweet). 
  • The Tree of Life: "it's got a lot going for it. But it also seems often like an extended music video for church music." Possibly the best movie on this list, but could fairly be called pretentious bull too. As JEH Smith says: "I respond well to Malick's vision of the world. But I wish he could get it across without the voiceovers, without the Rockwellian kitsch, and without the glossiness and unctuousness of the big-name, big-budget spectacle."    
  • War Horse: the play was supposed to be good, but from what I've seen it's a horse in a war. World War I, of course, so that everyone can wring their hands and shake their heads over the senseless slaughter and how bad war is, without ever taking a stand on anything controversial, like current wars and uprisings. I think I'll pass.
My vote goes to Tree of Life, but it's a winner in a slow race.

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