Oscar Nominated Films

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Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby arsaib4 » Wed Jan 09, 2008 6:58 am

Muccino got this job on the strength of his two wildly popular mainstream Italian films, The Last Kiss (2001), which was recently remade, and Remember Me, My Love (2003). Both are available on DVD, in case you're interested in exploring him further. (I can't say I'm a big fan of either of 'em, though I like the energy of the former, not to mention one of its stars, Giovanna Mezzogiorno.) Muccino is set to direct Smith again for the upcoming Seven Pounds. For the record, I initially passed on Happyness but I may check it out now.
arsaib4
 


Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby wpqx » Wed Jan 09, 2008 7:20 am

Initially I thought the film would be predictable sentimentality, but perhaps due to my ridiculous watching of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but due to my research it was a film I eventually had to watch. I'm glad I kept some sort of open mind about the film, it was rewarding.
wpqx
 

Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby wpqx » Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:15 pm

Before Night Falls (2000) - Julian Schnabel

It's amazing that the more films you see the more cliches you get to spot. Schnabel's sophomore effort is full of them. Somebody wakes up in a sweat, they must be sick, everyone loves the revolution but will soon be punished, there's black people so better play some tribal music and have them dance, etc. That said Schnabel makes a point to not exactly spell everything out here. Characters come and go and we have a lot to assume. It's obvious to us that Reinaldo is dying of AIDS, but that is never said in the film. Javier Bardem gives a great performance which well warranted his Oscar nomination (far more impressive than Russell Crowe's win in Gladiator). There were a few moments in the film where I had to just scratch my head. So a teacher tells the patriarch of Arenas' family that Reinaldo has a poet's sensibility and the grandfather proceeds to get angry and cut down a tree then move the entire family to Holguin. Can anyone explain that to me? As a film it tends to be a little too long and too leisurely. Bardem did a fantastic job however.

*Before Night Falls was nominated for best actor.
wpqx
 

Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby wpqx » Mon Jan 21, 2008 7:55 am

The Apostle (1997) - Robert Duvall

Well after over six months I finished watching Duvall's directorial effort. The Apostle is a strange type of character film. Duvall's preacher is a sincere man of god but occasionally prone to some very earthbound urges. The film doesn't make him out to be a mockery and maintains a great deal of sincerity in faith and we never really feel like this preacher is a con-man (the way sooooo many of movie preachers are). Being a man of no faith whatsoever I can't say this converted me, but I can recognize the effort and there's something uplifting without being sentimental here. Duvall is great in his performance. His directing is without much embellishment so who knows how the film would have turned out in another person's hands. A well deserved Oscar nomination was given to Duvall for his performance. I found myself genuinely moved by Billy Bob Thornton's conversion and the film displays some sort of moral hope.

*The Apostle was nominated for best actor (Duvall).
wpqx
 

Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby arsaib4 » Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:03 am

You may have a point regarding Before Night Falls. Bardem, however, was certainly great (and let's not forget Depp's little cameo). This was painter/filmmaker Julian Schnabel's second biography of an artist (with Basquiat being the first). His third, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, premiered at Cannes last year and won him the Best Director award. It's currently in limited release in the U.S. I've been told that French actor Mathieu Amalric is quite wonderful in it. The work of Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (Munich) has also been praised.
arsaib4
 

Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby wpqx » Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:17 am

I've heard great things about Diving Bell and there is one theater in the city that's playing it.
wpqx
 

Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby wpqx » Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:25 am

Lady Sings the Blues (1972) - Sidney J. Furie

It's amazing how ahead of its time this picture was. Nearly every cliche of the musical biopic began here. Our story begins in prison then we go back to a time when our young heroine was innocent. She gets violated, goes to the city, washes steps and through the grace of god gets an audition to sing. This film wastes no time getting to the heart of the matter. With little exposition this film becomes about Billie's drug problem, and that's the tune it plays up until the end. The film is epic in length and nearly all of it has Diana Ross strung out. It's a relief to see her cleaned up and you want to reach in the TV and smack her across the face when she talks about using a little. Richard Pryor is excellent in his supporting turn as the Piano Man (who effectively got Holiday her start). Everything culminates in a nice resounding performance at Carnegie Hall (the highwater mark for any musician). What's funny is that the film hides the gruesome ending amidst applause. We are shown newspaper clippings of the sad end of Billie's life, leaving us to feel like she has reached a triumph. Diana Ross' performance is good for the most part, perhaps not the revelation it was proclaimed to be. I admire the fact that as a singer she doesn't even attempt to imitate Holiday, instead singing the songs in her own style and not resorting to parody.

*Lady Sings the Blues was nominated for best actress (Ross), best adaptation and original song score, best art direction, best costume design, best original screenplay
wpqx
 

Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby wpqx » Sat Jan 26, 2008 6:02 pm

Billy Elliot (2000) - Stephen Daldry

It's interesting how a well executed film no matter how cliche can win over audiences and even impress critics. Stephen Daldry made his film directing debut here, and I'd say as a point of comparison its quite a bit better than The Hours. That film was far too self important, whereas this film never really seems to take itself that seriously. Jamie Bell actually won a best actor award from the British Academy, which handed a veritable boat load of awards on the film. Julie Walters along with Daldry got Oscar nominations for their work here as well. I could care less about ballet but the film is endearing in its own right. Most of the acting is great particularly Bell and Gary Lewis as his father.

*Billy Elliot was nominated for best director, best supporting actress (Walters), and best original screenplay.
wpqx
 

Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby wpqx » Wed Feb 06, 2008 7:17 pm

Gorillas in the Mist (1988) - Michael Apted

It seems whites can't win in Africa. Either you have an Africa is a shithole and it needs the help of rich white Europeans mentality prevalent in the films of the 30's and modern day, or you get the 80's African film. Which briefly comments on the social issues yet bores you to tears with scenic photography and more whites learning to "love this strange new country". Gorillas in the Mist falls into the latter category. It briefly flirts with the shithole method and there is a civil war, but largely we're kept away from it to focus more on gorillas. There is an obligatory love story which seems painfully forced but helps break the monotony of hearing Weaver talk to herself. Of course Africans themselves are once again depicted as sexless aids to whites who are easily spooked and very superstitious. There wasn't much to hate in this film but god it was just boring. 130 minutes and not even that many gorillas. Sigourney Weaver was well cast and seems to do a good job in her role but the character itself leaves something to be desired. Her strong willed iron constitution gets melodramatic at times and I almost preferred the moments of weakness she was prone to. Michael Apted was certainly a gifted documentarian and this film doesn't feel like much more than an overly long national geographic special.

*Gorillas in the Mist was nominated for best actress (Weaver), best adapted screenplay, best editing, best score, and best sound.
wpqx
 

Re: Oscar Nominated Films

Postby wpqx » Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:53 am

Affliction (1998) - Paul Schrader

A bit of a downer that's for sure. I realized sometime that I don't think I had ever seen a film Paul Schrader directed. This one with an Oscar nominated performance from Nick Nolte and an Oscar winning supporting turn from James Coburn wound up being the unintentional first. Certainly a bleak film it had the air of being something of a mystery but took a sharp and painful turn deep into the picture. At times the film was almost unbearable and somehow I feel a little disgusted with it. However there is something deeper there. I couldn't however buy into Coburn's character, he was just too much of an #@@+%$+ to ever be believable. He was too caricature to make me think this was a real person. Nolte does a fine job in a role that lets him run the gamut of emotions. Although both Willem Dafoe and Sissy Spacek were great they did seem to be somewhat under utilized.

*Affliction was nominated for best actor (Nolte) and won for best supporting actor (Coburn)
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