Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top 10 Reasons why you should see all the Best Picture Nominations

No one really likes a job critique and let's face it none of these films or the people in them would have been selected if they were not award winning quality. I am just one of the billions and billions of opinions out there. They all received at least one "Oscar".

The asterisk at the end indicates "Academy Award" wins.

American Sniper Any movie that casts Bradley Cooper in a leading roll will get a wink and a nod from me.  I just like the guy, yeah he's sexy but he is also believable. Good at his job being precise and a good decision maker is certainly someone we all want defending us and our country and that quality and characterization is something we all want from our leaders. What I found hard to believe but maybe it is true is this. How can anyone experience the horrors of war, combat, conflict and anything else you want to call it without experiencing PTSD?  I can't imagine what his wife went through.  Was he really able to call her on the phone while he was right there getting ready to shoot someone? I am sure that does not happen in today's military. Even though she was not there, only on the other end of the phone, how can she not suffer from PTSD? It is a true story, the trial is going on in Texas right now. I find the timing a little off for the movie, maybe it should have waited till after the trial to be released. Sad but true it is not so uncommon to shoot down American heroes. It was hard to get tickets to this one, it was a box office smash with a big message about how much we do respect out military.  It is a tough job, the service they do for us. Some of the more poignant moments in the film were no sounds at all. Winner Best Achievement in sound editing. *

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)  I absolutely hated this movie. I felt attacked by it.  I didn't like the beginning or the ending or any of the people in it. The acting, however was excellent to invoke such distaste and this is  just my opinion, for what it is worth... The movie troubled me so much that it caused a lot of after thought.  A true sign of a good movie, provoking. While I felt  like I was being attacked in the movie, I was missing the point or was I? Here are just some of my crazy thoughts, we all have them : ).  We have demons, ideas of the way we want things to be and a conscious that we sometimes struggle with just about every day when we open our eyes to the new day. I would rather have a Jiminy Cricket character buzzing in my ear rather than a bird telling me to go take a leap. It is a tough job to live up to expectations of someone else let alone your own. Social media only seems to want a piece of you if you do something embarrassing or out of character. This is why people that did not see the movie were so critical of Neil Patrick Harris in his underwear. I saw the movie so I got it but it really didn't work.  I found the fine line between reality and fantasy in the movie a little confusing but very true to life as we know it today, especially the critic's message. A person's words (a critique) can destroy another person's character and life's work without even seeing their work just because they can.  I found this so dangerous and close to reality that was why I guess the movie was so disturbing to me.  I love Michael Keaton's work just as much as anyone else and I wish he took home a statue but I went with the guy from The Theory of Everything. I wish they both could have won. Birdman won Picture of the Year, Directing, Original Screenplay, Cinematography ****.

Boyhood I have to say this was not my favorite but I liked that I could "rent it" from cable and rarely will you find me saying something nice about cable.  I can be a critic too but I am not of the intention of ruining anyone's (cable companies) reputation.  I applaud the effort in this film and it was cool to watch this kid grow up.  It certainly lifted the curtain on a few struggles kids go through in those all important years. The one section that got most of my attention was the teacher and maybe I took it wrong but the teacher telling the kid he needed to focus on his real school work and things that were important. Maybe these were not the exact words but the kid said I am doing something important.  Of course as adults, we all know now that you get your education from all sorts of sources and rarely are the most crucial questions and answers on any standardized test. I am not faulting our educational system, I think it is tough to teach when you haven't gotten the proper training yourself, not everything is in a book. The teacher that teaches off book and strengthens the imagination to wander creates the transition in a more influential way in my opinion. It was interesting to watch how most of the people in the movie were too with adulthood to recognize the all important childhood years. I loved Patricia Arquette's acceptance speech and Meryl Streep's reaction. *

The Grand Budapest Hotel I am trying so hard not to be critical because you know, it's disturbing to me, but I probably wouldn't pay the big bucks to see this one in the theater but this is another one I enjoyed for $5 or maybe $6 on cable. The Academy disagreed with me, they loved it. I liked it. The story was zany but the scenery was spectacular so you know who got my cinematography vote. I loved the mountain scene. It holds your attention because you want to know just what will happen next. It was a fun show to watch which I can't say about any of the other nominations. Sad to say there isn't much fun in the other true to life films nominated so it was nice to mix it up with a zany one. Watch it on one of those evenings you want to escape the real world, some parts are really funny. I am a Big Finnes Fan, both Ralph and Joseph. It won Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Costume and Make-Up ****

The Imitation Game Wow is my first reaction walking out of this film. Those patterns in math class and solving puzzles do matter. I never read about Enigma in the history books and I am always fascinated to find out new information about secret war stories.  It is a fascinating story just imagine what technology can do today. There are a few other interesting components to the story as if this wasn't enough. We have improved on some of our beliefs and how we treat people yet we still seem to make judgements and decisions that do not compute. I really recommend this film. Imitation Game won Best Adapted Screenplay. I would have given it Best Picture, I was that impressed with the story it told. *

Selma despite all the hub bub and fact checking I thought this was a great film. For historical purposes, I suppose I should have paid more attention to the portrayal of LBJ but I didn't. I watched the film in a more personal rather than a political fact check.  I would have been approximately the same age, slightly younger, of those little girls that were killed at the 16th Street Baptist Church. I guess it shows how different information is relayed now than from back in those days. I don't remember my parents speaking of it. It was not breaking news on the Internet.  I remember having the opinion that George Wallace wasn't a nice man but never really fully aware of rights and "peaceful" marches. I remember the term being riots, it was good to get a clearer perspective.  I wondered why we were not taught about such things in school and then it dawned on me, it wasn't history at the time.  It was current news.  I hope today's kids are getting a more clear message and someday senseless acts and the suspicion  and mistrust will be part of the shameful and sorrowful past. Selma won best original song and the presentation at the Academy Awards was powerful, so was the movie, I think it deserved more recognition. *

The Theory of Everything I have nothing but respect for the characters and the people who portrayed them so eloquently. I wish they were acknowledged more but it was a powerful field to choose from this year. My favorite scene in the movie was when he (Stephen Hawking) went to receive his award from the Queen and he invited his wife whom he was no longer with and his children and he turns to her and says "Look what we have done, referring to his children". He really is a brilliant man. I don't know if this movie was what made the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge so popular this summer but ALS is such a nasty disease.  Mr. Hawking did not beat the disease but he sure did "outsmart" it. I thought Felicity Jones did such a great job in playing Stephen Hawking's wife Jane, she is just as much a hero as her husband.  It really was her story to tell.  Stephen Hawking has a website if you would like to catch up on him.  The Theory of Everything won Best Actor *.

Whiplash The music was great and I read the drummer, Miles Teller did his own drumming, quite amazing. He gets best musician in my blog to date for endurance alone, very intense. It is a tough movie to watch. Hard work should pay off and you should be able to achieve your dreams but I have never been a fan of someone that uses abuse and criticism to drive someone to achieve. There is a fine line separating the men from the boys. No doubt, J.K. Simmons earned that award, he's such a nice guy, from the movie you would never know it.  That is acting!  It is a tough movie to watch, especially if you know anyone like that who destroyed dreams. I got that one right. Whiplash won Supporting Actor, Film Editing and Sound Mixing ***.

An Award Waking Moment for me watching the Academy Awards was Lady Gaga.  Her tribute to the Sound of Music was show stopping.  Are their many if any movies today, where the majority can sing along and know almost all the lyrics to the soundtrack of a movie?  The closest I'm guessing is "Frozen".

The Short Films aren't as easy to find and watch.  I found a website, filmsshort.com and you can watch some of the older ones for free. You may have to first go to the Oscars website and see previous winners and google the name and maybe get to see parts on YouTube but their are copyrights especially on the winners so maybe just a clip. The Phone Call short Live Action this year had the most impact on me. It tore at me and brought me to tears.  This year I liked the International diversity of Tibet, Afghanistan, Austria, U.K and Israel and I always like the Irish humor, perhaps I am a tad prejudice. I like funny. I also thought "Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak)" (Hu Wei and Julien FĂ©ret) was a good translation of people.  It showed  people are the same no matter where they live in this case Tibet.  We get fears and phobias about people and places because all the bad gets amplified.  I read a review online where someone said, I was expecting something more to happen. I think if you look close enough there was a lot happening in that short time frame.

I got a little chatty today, lots of caffeine involved. I almost didn't make it to the end of the show but I had to see who won. It was over around midnight.  I was happy for all of them. I find it interesting how people pick up different things in movies.

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