Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2012 Oscar Best Picture Of The Year Movie Reviews
In this article I will review the 9 films that have been nominated for Best Picture of the year, in no particular order and with spoilers.

1. The Artist- I had read a lot of good reviews of the film before I saw it in the movie theaters and to be honest I really wasn’t sure what to think about the film before I sat down and watched the film. I t was the year 2011 and I was going to watch a new silent film. (I had seen old silent films in the past and wasn’t sure how it would work in the present time.) The idea of the film is simple enough, a boy on the way down the film industry meets a girl that is on her way up and it is all because of a new invention in the movies, a film with sound. What I really like about the film was the dog, Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier, who plays the male’s lead dog in this film. In every scene that the dog is in, the dog becomes the comedy of the film. After watching the film, I was thinking that I had just seen an idea of a film that might not translate to the modern audience. If you like silent films then I think that you’ll love this one, if the idea of a silent film is new to you then please see this if it plays in the Korean theaters. I loved it because it told a great story and I never really knew what was coming next and by the end of the film, I was happy that I had seen a great film that need to be seen. Grade: A

2. The Descendants Now with George Clooney either I have loved his films (Up in the Air, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Ocean 11-13, O Brother, Where Art Thou?)Or I have really hated them (The American, The Ides of March, Letherheads, Michael Clayton, The Good German) I have very rarely had him in the middle. SO going into this film I knew that it had great word-of-mouth and that the film was directed by Alexander Payne. I loved his film “Sideways” and was looking forward to seeing this film. It is basically about 2 paths that Matt King (George Clooney)has to take. We are shown that his wife is now in a coma and will not recover and that the machine keeping her alive will be turned off. It is discovered that she had an affair and that Matt knew nothing about it. The 2nd part of the film is that Matt is the sole trustee of sole trustee of 25,000 acres of untouched land on the island of Kaua’i, passed down from his ancestors. The trust will expire in seven years, and the family has decided to sell the land and Matt has to decide who to sell the land to.The rest of the story I will leave unspoiled for you. What I really liked about this film was the way that George kept dealing with these 2 main issues and how it is affecting his 2 daughters in this film. I really believed that this was his family and that he was trying to keep it all together and he really was not sure how to do it. The more I watched the film, the more I believed what I was seeing. The magic that was in the film “Sideways” was also in this one and when it was over I was really glad that I had watched this film and I understood why George is getting serious Oscar talk for his role in this film. Grade: A

3. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close- When I first saw the preview of this film the trailer screen had the words, “This is not a film about September 11th, it’s a film about the days after.” I had no idea if I even wanted to see this film because of all of the anger that I still feel for almost 3,000 people killed on that day. I then decided that the film had a shot of getting the best picture nomination and that well. Why not see the film? After I watched the film, I was glad that I watched it. The film is a simple one, it is about a child who has no idea why his dad died on that day and how he has to live with it. The film never states it but it is implied that the son has some special needs and it was his father that truly understood how to deal with him while his mother at first is shown that she doesn’t know how to handle him. The child finds a key in his father’s belongings a year after the event and decides that this is there last adventure together and that he must find the mystery of this key. The journey of this key is what makes this film from a good one into a great one. You see a child trying to make logical sense of insanity and you see that he really isn’t doing a good job with it so he must go on this last treasure hunt that he thinks that his father set up for him. Along the way he meets a man only called the “Renter”, it is the scenes with him and the voice messages from his father on September 11th that left the audience with a hit that they did not see coming. The film ends with the adventure complete and the boy tries to go on without his father. Please see it when you get the chance. Grade A

4. The Help- Now I had heard that this was a small film that had made a lot of money by the time I got around to watching t and I hadn’t read the book about the film and I knew it was about the 1960’s in The Sothern part of the USA. I knew the history of that era so I really wasn’t sure what I was going to see but after I saw it I am sure glad that I did because it was a great film about stupidity and injustice. The idea of the film is very simple, a College Graduate returns home and want to write a book about the maids in the 1960’s but instead of one story she gets many and when the book becomes a huge best seller, then the film really takes off. I kinda had the feeling about how the film was going to end and when it ended in that manor; to me it was the only way the film could truly end. It made the film from a good one into a great one. If you are unfamiliar about the USA history of this time then this film will definitely educate you to what was going on in that part of the world. Please see it when you get the chance. Grade A

5. Hugo- Sad to say once again a lot of people saw something in this film and I sure wasn’t one of them. I found the film to be a complete waste of viewing and it just never clicked for me. If you like the director’s prior films then this one will be a surprise, I guess I was just expecting a better story that what this film delivered. Grade F

6. Midnight in Paris- Now with being a critic for many years I have come to realize that there are directors that I like and there are some that I just do not like and sad to say Woody Allen has always been one who’s films I have never understood why so many critics seen to like. So when I heard that this was his most popular film in years I decided that I was going to get a copy of this film and watch it to see if I would like this one. Well sad to say, to me it was the same old reason that I hate his film, a plot that went nowhere, too many stories trying to mix together and once again a smug director thinking that he is actually clever by some of his little trademark trick that I saw throughout this film. If you like his film I think that you are going to like this one, if you are like me and you don’t, then this film really won’t change your mind about him. The only time I smiled thought this film is when it was over and the credits rolled. Please pass on this film. Grade C-

7. Moneyball-Since my favorite sport in the world is baseball, knew he story of Billy Bean before I went into this film and I knew what the Oakland A’s had achieved since he became the General Manager of them. I knew the term “ Moneyball” and what it meant. So when I went to watch the film, I really wasn’t expecting that much. This soon became clear to me that I was wrong about my first thought about this film because the more it watched this film, the better it got. I must admit that I though the casting of Jonah Hill was a huge mistake but while I was watching the film it became real clear to me very fast that he was exactly what the film needed. The scenes where he and Brad Pitt work together to make “Moneyball” work were great and I can’t believe that Hill could actually act. So I wasn’t that much surprised when Hill was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. The film is a great look at the attempt of a few men to try and change how players are scouted. Please see it when you can. Grade A

8. The Tree of Life- As I said earlier there are directors that I like and some that I hate and then there are some who I just don’t quite understand and sad to say The director of this film, Terrence Malick has always been one of them. I really had no idea what to think about this film before I saw it and after I saw it, I still had the same idea, I really never could grasp what the director was attempting in this film. After I watched it and wanted to get more opinions about this film and when I read that one of the actors in this film, Sean Penn, had the exact same questions that I had about this film, I knew that I want the only one. I have heard rumors that there was a 6 hour cut of this film and maybe this film need to be one day restored back into that cut because I really did not get where this film was ever going. I hope that his next film will be better because I can see no reason why this film was nominated for Best Picture. Please pass on this film at all cost. Grade F

9.War Horse- As I kept watching the many previews for this film, I couldn’t help but wonder would I actually like this film? After his last 2 films, Tin Tin and Indy 4, I was wondering had the director, Steven Spielberg, lost his way. I am happy to report that the director not only made a good film, he made a great one. As this reviewer has stated in the past that he is a history major and a former US Army soldier, I take a very hard look at historical films and look for their accuracy. Sometimes the lack of accuracy doesn’t bother me (Gladiator) or the total lack of the truth (Braveheart) will really turn me off on a film. I kept thinking about that before I went in to see the film and wondering what I would see in this film. I can say that I saw a film that I, historically, that I actually could believe in. The idea of the film is very simple, a boy learns to train and love a horse. World War one has started and the British need all horses for the war effort and his horse is sold and the horse goes to war. For the rest of the film I was reminded of this fact, of the million horses that were sent abroad from the UK, only 62,000 returned, the rest dying in the war or slaughtered in France for meat. World War 1 had a massive and indelible impact on the male population of the UK: 886,000 men died one in eight of those who went to war, and 2% of the entire country’s population. The film is shown through the Horses reaction and to what happened to him. The bells scenes made that fact very clear to me in the film. My favorite part of the film is when the horse is trapped in barbed wire and a German and British Soldier both work together to free the horse. The sheer lunacy of this moment in the War made me believe in the film more, the film then takes you where usually dramas will take you, so you won’t be surprised by it but you might actually like it. The ending was pretty easy to see coming but after the adventure of this film, this is the way that this film had to end. After the film was over, I realized that I would want to add this film to my collection and to show it to people who need to see that great films are still being made in 2011. Please see it when it plays in South Korea. Grade A+

And if I had my vote it would be for “The Descendants’ based on these 9 films. Please try to see all of these films on DVD, VOD, or at the local CGV.

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