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Best Picture!

So, with the Oscars coming up, I made sure to see all five of the Best Picture films.

Here are my thoughts, without spoilers.


I thought this movie had beautiful cinematography, and Saoirse Ronan, the young girl who plays young Briony Tallis, who's been nominated for Best Supporting, definitely deserves the nomination, although the little girl who plays young Lola is exceptional in her tiny role. Keira Knightley was very good in a role that breaks out of her usual 'type' and James McAvoy was very good as well.

I didn't feel like the main "twist" of the story, which is more effective in a written novel, works very well in a movie. The last five minutes seem like a tacked-on afterthought and it's not as powerful. While it was a good romantic drama, I don't think like it broke any new ground and I was a bit surprised to see it nominated.



Juno was an outstanding, really outstanding comedy, and I remember walking out of the film being truly impressed with Ellen Paige's performance in this movie-- seeing an actress that young who can navigate so smoothly between comedic and serious, heavy dramatic performance is really refreshing and I was pleased to see her nominated. Best picture? Compared to Atonement and Michael Clayton, yes, because it was a very refreshing twist on a teen comedy with excellent writing that tackled a lot of Serious Issues without ever being preachy or making moral judgments. Compared to No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood? I don't even think it's in the same league.



While I am a big fan of Tilda Swinton, after seeing this, I was surprised at the supporting nomination for her in what is a good job in a fairly bland role. Tom Wilkinson was the highlight of this movie-- George Clooney was good, but he was playing a typical George Clooney role and didn't do anything outstanding or anything we've never seen from him before. Wilkinson definitely deserved the supporting nomination and in a year that didn't have Javier Bardem, I'd expect him to take this one. The movie was worth seeing for Tom Wilkinson, but other than that, I found this movie to be pretty typical popcorny suspense and not really something I'd expect to win a role. Shoddy editing to cover up for a lack of real tension does not add tension, and the attempt at creating dissonance in the timeline just plain didn't work in this film.



I love the Coen Brothers and I felt like this was an excellent addition to their CV. I felt like this movie made some really important statements about the direction of film and audiences in contemporary America and why the Western died as a genre at the end of the last century. Does it offer up any explanations for why it's slowly coming back? http://www.livejournal.com/update.bml
Post an Entry I'm not sure. But I thought this was a truly fabulous movie. However, I also felt like it wasn't so accessible to a mainstream audience to necessarily be a Best Picture; I'm not sure. The highlight of this film is definitely Bardem's supporting role, and he's my pick for that award, which might be the most competitive category this year.



I tend to have a love-hate relationship with PT Anderson's work-- I love his characters, hate his pacing and stories (or lack thereof, which is usually the problem for me). There Will Be Blood felt like the movie where he finally got it right. Every single element in this film was perfect for me-- the soundtrack, with its dramatic and discordant swells reminiscent of old silent films, was chilling, and Daniel Day-Lewis should be able to pocket the Oscar right now for an absolutely brilliant, brilliant role. I was surprised Paul Dano wasn't nominated for his equally creepy and sympathetic character, but like I said, it is probably the most competitive category this year. The sweeping scenery, the feeling of desperation that the entire film evokes is wonderful, and while I feel like my personal favorite this year is No Country, I think that this is definitely a more universally powerful film that manages to use an important contemporary issue and look at its history in this country through a fictional tale, so this is my pick to win.

Comments

teaberryblue
Feb. 7th, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
It's definitely my favorite of the movies up for best picture, and probably one of the most important movies of recent years, from a film geek perspective. The only reason it's not my pick for Best Movie is because I think that There Will Be Blood is a bit more timely and more accessible to a regular audience. Javier Bardem, who plays the villain, is absolutely in-freaking-credible.

My other favorite Coen brothers movies are Barton Fink and O Brother, Where Art Thou? I think it's probably as groundbreaking as O Brother, in that it completely messes with ideas of archetype and legend, but not in the same way O Brother does, because it's mainly focused on doing it within the realm of film genres. I liked it much better than The Man Who Wasn't There, which is probably the closest thing to this they've tried to do in the past, but I felt like No Country was much more successful. It doesn't have nearly as much of the offbeat comedic feeling that you get even from some of their thrillers, though. Even the funny bits in this are uncomfortably funny and a bit chilling.

I posted a really long post of my reactions to it here if you want more!
http://community.livejournal.com/cineholics/tag/titles:+no+country+for+old+men
bubonicplague
Feb. 7th, 2008 08:27 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you!

My absolute favorite is Barton Fink, which to me makes perfect use of their absurdism (though really one can see it in all their films.) I'm rather disappointed that there do not seem to be more funny bits that are just funny in this one. (Leg in a wood chipper? Classic.) Still, seeing a really stellar performance will be worth the price of admission alone, and from all I have heard Javier Bardem really deserves to take the award. My guess is he will, but that the film won't win best picture.