Monday, July 9, 2012

There Will Be Blood

There Will be Blood...

Preceded by some boring dialogue and predictable character development.

So after watching No Country for Old Men I decided I would finally take the time to watch There Will be Blood. This is a movie that I wasn't really interested in at all when it first came out, a movie about an American Oilman in the early twentieth century carries no interest in it at all for me. Added to that, the mixed reviews and hearing how it is on the slow side certainly didn't do it any favours with me. But over the years I have heard more and more good things about it from my friends and so decided to take the endevaour of sitting down and watching this epic.

Overall Shannon and I agreed, boring, actually that should be Boring. I found the first half hour to hour somewhat interesting but then it quickly devolved into an orgy with itself. It just seemed to go on and on without much need. Alright, we get it, Daniel Plainview is a very very cutthroat businessman, who will stop at nothing to make money and whose business and money comes first and everything else (including human life) second, but really did it need to be 2.5 hours of that?

Acting first. Yes Daniel Day Lewis did an outstanding job as Daniel Plainview, but that is about it. Paul Dano's preacher was annoying at best and awkward at worst, and why does he scream so high pitched so often in this movie? I think I much preferred his mute character in Little Miss Sunshine. The whole subcast of actors and characters had spotty acting throughout, I especially remember the father of the Sunday ranch (David Willis I believe), oh my lord that acting was awful, that is the sort of stiff awkward thing you see in a high school play, not a big Hollywood film. Although thankfully his character was very minor with very few lines which was much different than Dan Aykroyd's terrible terrible awful awkward acting in The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (a very nice Woody Allen movie with some of the worst overall acting I've ever seen, one should watch some of it just to see how bad of an actor Dan Aykroyd is, even if I still love the first Ghostbusters movie and hope the next one is good but doubtful). But after watching the movie and looking over the cast of the film it is clearly a movie wholly about Plainview and all the other characters are simply filler. What I found funny about Daniel Day Lewis is this movie is how much he looked and sometimes his mannerisms reflected a combination of Kramer from Seinfeld and the Soup Nazi, just something weird I noticed while watching. Oh and how the adult HW reminder me of a friend's (JR) boyfriend (PG).

I found this movie to echo many of the aspects of The Great Ziegfeld; the emotional and business rise and fall of a man at the turn of the last century. Albeit, the fall for Plainview at the end is not about bankruptcy but the idea of his fall from grace (very loosely using the word grace in Plainview's case) is there. To me, The Great Ziegfeld did a much superior job of conveying this feeling, and much more interesting and entertaining than There Will be Blood.

In the end this movie was boring and I didn't much care for any of the characters and the subject matter isn't particularly interesting either. This combined, I can definitely see how Daniel Day Lewis won best actor, but I can also see how No Country for Old Men beat it for best picture. Although part of me wonders how it even got on the list of nominated best pictures, yes this is how much I disliked it.
But we always have to consider that this, like many things in life, are a matter of opinion. If we all agreed on everything it would make for a very boring world, all perhaps a happier world in some respects.

Next to watch from this year is Michael Clayton. Another film that I had no interest in seeing when it first came out, but that interest has grown over the years. I always seem to have a love hate relationship with George Clooney. While I don't like him and never really want to watch his films, I usually end up really enjoying them, even if his clean cut nice guy with a chip on his shoulder/ulterior motive character seems ever present in his movies.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

No Country For Old Men (2007)

Bowl Cuts: They're Killer

Nominees: "Attonment" "Juno" "Michael Clayton" "There Will Be Blood"

He Said: Are we there yet?

I loved this movie when I first saw it a few years back (just after it won the Oscar) and loved it again this time through. I had to laugh when we were about 1 hour into it and Shannon turned to me and asked “when is it going to get good.” To me it already was great. It has everything you would want in a great movie: great story, great acting, a winding intriguing storyline, violence, a twist ending, and Tommy Lee Jones. Well maybe the last one doesn't make a movie great but he certainly brings the sheriff character to life.

This movie follows a man who stumbles into a pile of cash at a drug deal gone wrong and the various groups that are after him for the money, including the hero, Javier Bardem. I use the word hero loosely, as Llewleyn really is the character we are supposed to support and feel for, but Bardem's character steals the show and it really is about what a crazy badass he is. The acting is really good all around, even if there seems to be hardly any lines at all for anybody excepting maybe Tommy Lee Jones.

The seamless directing is great, and I absolutely loved how there was no soundtrack. Sometimes the music that they choose for movies just gets in the way or is annoying, this one features no music at all and I feel it pulled me even more into the world of these characters and made it seem somehow more real.

I definitely think the Academy was right with this one. I may not have seen the other movies, although I would like to see There Will be Blood, but this one was excellent through and through and I couldn't imagine another movie in this year being better than this one.

She Said: No Movie for Shannon.

I didn't think I would like this one, and, lo and behold, I did not. Even when it first came out and I saw the previews, I knew it wasn't my kind of movie. Not that I can tell you what my kind of movie it is, exactly, but just that it usually involves humor, pathos (I love a good cry), and a real romance, not confusion and general indifference. In other words, "Juno" was much better, in my opinion.

That said, I went into it with an open mind. Kurt said it was great. My friends said it was great. I was prepared to be overwhelmed with it's greatness. Instead, about 1 hour into it, I asked Kurt "when is it going to get good?" to which he responded "It IS good." So much for that.

I did enjoy the second half of the movie much more than the first, though, and I thought the basic premise was interesting, if a bit typical: man stumbles across mass murder, takes the money, and is chased by a cold blooded killer, who is in turn chased by the police. All in all, though, I found it too understated and not compelling enough for my tastes. I just didn't care if the main character got caught and killed, or if the assassin man gets away, or how stoic Tommy Lee Jones could be in the face of everything (I hated the ending: what the hell did it have to do with the rest of the movie?!) Which isn't to say I wasn't intrigued at certain points, but it was only momentary, entirely based on plot minutia, and had nothing to do with the characters whatsoever.

As for the other nominees, a friend recently told me that he believed "There Will Be Blood" to be one of, if not THE, best American movie ever made. Which just makes me want to see it more than I do already, though my initial impetuous for seeing it is perhaps not suiting his praise: I LOVE Paul Dano, cause he rocks in "Little Miss Sunshine". I have a sinking feeling, however, that it won't be "my kind of movie" either...

Verdict: Split Decision

Sunday, February 26, 2012

2012 Oscar Awards

The Artist cleans up as Oscar winner in numerous categories

He Said: Boooring

Okay, so it seemed fitting that since we are doing a blog about the Oscar winning movies that we watch the Oscars and do a little blog of things we thought were interesting about the show, and at times this will seem a bit disjointed since it is just thoughts as the show goes on. As a reminder Billy Crystal was hosting after Eddie Murphy pulled out or was kicked out sort of at the last minute, and there were a bunch (nine) of movies nominated for best picture but we hadn't seen any of them and none of them seemed like blow me out of the water movies, although The Artist does seem like a really interesting movie.

Damnit! I was hoping to not have seen any of the nominees this year in any category, but I did see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. We feel they were all wrong with all their choices this year (not really just going with the title of the blog). After the first 4 awards, 2 of them did seem wrong though. No I haven't seen much of any of the nominees, but how does The Artist win for Costumes and Iron Lady for makeup? As much as a I hate Harry Potter, not sure how that didn't win for makeup, all they did is smack a bit of makeup on Meryl Streep and off you go, whereas Harry Potter was like major makeup. For the record Sacha Boren Cohen is still the funniest man outside of Hollywood, he knows how to have fun as seen on the red carpet, it was funny to see how pissed Ryan Seacrest was, although it was just hilarious in general that he was carrying around an urn with Kim Jong-il's ashes, I think Shannon even snickered over that one. Sandra Bullick dresses like an old lady, let's all clap for her German language skills!

As a side note, Morgan Freeman must be the oldest man with an earring, Hiliary Swank still looks like a man, Billy Crystal sucks this time around and he is getting too old for high definition tv, guess we won't see him back again. Not that I have anything against Billy Crystal, I think he is hilarious and awesome and I loved the first 8 times he hosted, but I think age is getting to him and his writers really let him down.

It would have been much better with the Muppet old men instead of Kermit and Miss Piggy, they could have been dissing Billy Crystal or the old Hollywood types, too bad, they had the chance and missed it.

Cirque du Soleil was amazing, even if they had a fall. How the hell do you flip someone with your feet? WOW!

Chris Rock, you're da bomb, hopefully he comes back next year as host and blows them all away, although I think someone really sarcastic like Don Rickles would be great.

How high of heels was Emma Stone wearing. Apparently she is 5'6” and Ben Stiller is 5'8” but she cleared his head by at least 4 or 6 inches! Shouldn't they have to consult with someone in charge of the show so they don't look so silly on tv? I'm talking to you Brian Grazer.

Christopher Plummer! Yay him and Canada! 82 and running up the stairs! I couldn't imagine my grandma moving around like that. P.S. he still does a great Jim impersonation.

Shannon finally got to see Sacha Boren Cohen as himself discussing what makes a great movie (she is always complaining about how he is never interviewed as himself but instead as one of his characters) and what does she say? “He's hot!.” Then they show Adam Sandler who looks very much the same but a lot more like Mr. Regimbald, and any of you from Paul Kane High School know who I'm talking about.

The penis length innuendo comparing movie length and penis length was just weird and seemed a bit awkward.

Time for the dead people part, I love this part for some reason and I always am surprised at some of the people that died this year that I never knew either died or died so recently. Although we were only surprised at Elizabeth Taylor, I forgot that she died and Shannon forgot that she died this past year.

The Artist cleaned up this year and was the best picture, a bit of a surprise, and I know I am really really looking forward to watching this one at some point in the future as it comes up on the list, I think I will have to wait until it comes up rather than watching before even though I would really like to see it sooner, but patience is a virtue, or something like that.

All in all, a really boring procession at the Oscars tonight and the best part would be Sacha Boren Cohen on the red carpet and Cirque du Soleil.

She said:

The best part of the Oscars was when I dumped a glass of water on your head.

Verdict: The Academy was partly wrong, totally boring, and we will wait and see how we feel about this year's best picture winner, The Artist, when it comes up on the random list.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

"Look what I can do with my finger!"

Nominees: "Gosford Park" "In The Bedroom" "The Lord of the Ring: Fellowship of the Ring" "Moulin Rouge"

He Said: A Beautiful Movie...The First Time You See It

Another long delay between movies. No particular reason, just haven't gotten around to watching this until a few weeks ago and then a delay on writing the review. I think part of it was that we both saw this movie ten years ago and felt like we have seen that done that already kind of feeling. At any rate, on with the review.

Basically the movie is about a real-life genius mathematician, John Nash, played by Russell Crowe, who has severe mental disease and poor social skills. It follows his life through graduate school at Princeton and on through his life to his eventual Nobel Prize award.

Terrific acting all around. Not sure how Russel Crowe didn't win for this, although he erroneously won for Gladiator and Denzel Washington should have won for Hurricane but instead got it for Training Day. So the Academy messed up those two, but they did deserve the awards, just in opposite years, so I guess it doesn't really matter much. As for A Beautiful Mind, really really good acting all around from supporting people like Paul Bettany and Ed Harris, to the stars Crowe and Connelly. Directing was good and I really like how we see things through the mind/eyes of John Nash for most of it, it really puts you in his mind and you feel more connected to him and how he truly believes in what he is seeing.

On that note, I saw this movie once already so I knew the story more or less, whereas when I saw it the first time I was really interested in what was going to happen next. This time there was none of that suspense and I didn't relate and empathize with the characters much so it was a bit of a dud this time around. So it is really hard for me to pinpoint the exact problem with the movie. As stated earlier, it has great acting and everything else technically seems good, but it is just missing that certain something.

I did notice how old fashioned the visual effects were, albeit this movie is not a high-powered action movie, but it does have some special effects and they just seemed old and simple, which is funny as this movie is only 10 years old. It made me want to watch some 10 year old action movies to see how far visual effects have come.

Ultimately it seemed like a fairly poor movie year and I could give this or the first Lord of the Rings movie the best picture, but that is more out of necessity than merit. Gosford Park was certainly not Oscar material, and I never saw the other nominees but none of them seem to stand out in my mind.
I am not sure if this is allowed on our review thing, but I call this one a push. And of course this is allowed, this my blog damnit and I can make up the rules as I go along like Richard Branson did in his reality show The Rebel Billionaire: Branson's Quest for the Best where he would change the rules and elimination rules each episode, so odd but kind of cool at the same time. So I say the Academy is somewhat correct on this one.

Next up, No Country For Old Men. A movie I absolutely loved when I first saw it, time to see how it holds up to a second viewing.

She Said: Stupid Computer Gods.

I wrote a fabulous review for this movie. On time even, and before we'd watched the next one. It was charming- funny, thoughtful, and only a little bit rant-y about mental illness and how it's never portrayed very well, and it's all just in your head. In the words of Albus Dumbledore, "Of course it's all in your head Harry, but why should that mean it's not real?" (Sorry, brief digression).

The point is, the review was good. I had decided that The Academy was probably right....

And then my computer ate my review. So this is what you get instead.

Verdict: The Academy was right. We guess.