Thursday, March 06, 2014

Oscars 2014 - a roundup

Come Feb/Mar, it is the Oscars season and I try and watch as many of the nominated movies in theatres as possible. Of course, I've already seen few of them through 'other sources' but if you're eager to catch up with these flicks, now is the time to do so as studios typically try to cash in on the Oscar Buzz and release these films in Indian halls. This year has been really good with virtually all the interesting films being screened, including off-beat ones like Nebraska, August: Osage County, Inside Llwelyn Davis and Saving Mr. Banks.

Here are my quick thoughts on some of the films that I've managed to see and some of those I've deliberately given a skip

American Hustle: I enjoyed this film, really did but cannot for the life of me fathom how it could get 10 Oscar nominations. This is commercial, mainstream, fun cinema. I thought it was as entertaining as the Ocean's Trilogy. Almost. Still, doesn't take away the splendid performances. I loved Silver Linings Playbook as a novel and was quite disappointed by the movie version. Obviously, I wasn't particularly thrilled by Jennifer Lawrence's win last year but she's the current Hollywood darling and its not dificult to see why. She's a hoot as the completely cuckoo Rosalyn and is reason enough to pay Rs 220 at PVR to watch the movie. Jeremy Renner is good too as is the incredible Christian Bale whose physical transformation to play this role almost had me gasping for breath. Go for it

Captain Phillips & Gravity: I've already covered these in brief here

Her: Spike Jonze’s  movies are usually bizarre. His collaboration with that genius Charlie Kauffman (whom I finally "got" thanks to Eternal Sunshine) gave us the universally acclaimed Being John Malkovich and the delicious Adaptation neither of which were particularly liked by me when I first saw them.....and then, Where the Wild Things Are happened. This was a brilliant and hugely under-rated (73% at RT, you've got to be kidding me) film that actually worked for me the second time I saw it. And so, when I first heard about the idea / concept of Her, I was utterly, intrigued. This coupled with a starcast of Rooney Mara, Amy Adams (ok, there is Joaquin Phoenix also but he's actually good here) meant that I HAD to see this one.  Sweet, funny, soul-stirring, insightful, even melancholic in parts, this is a fantastic film. It is actually genre bending and a must-see for people

The Wolf of Wall Street: Finally a 3 hr Hollywood movie with no song and dance which actually justified its running time. Completely entertaining though I do wish I had seen it in the hall..but then, I wasn't sure if I would or would not be bleeped out. Leo will get his Oscar one day just like Scorcese did but it will be a real pity if he gets it for a not-so-deserving film in the end.

Dallas Buyers club: Not really my kinda film as I tend to stay clear of biographical dramas. I am going to get a lot of flak but I really used to like Matthew McConaughey in his braind-dead rom coms (read: How to lose a guy in 10 days, The Wedding Planner etc) that I am loathe to see him in this new avatar. I've been meaning to catch up with Mud for a long time now but from what I hear, he's awesome in Dallas Buyers Club and with True Detective also in his kitty, the McConassance is truly gathering steam.

12 years a Slave: Lincoln bored the hell outta me last year and if I don't know much about heavy, historical subjects like this, not sure I will care much for this film so skipped this one. If i still have to see a film on slavery, I'd rather revisit Django :-) 

Side comments:
  • I USED to like Meryl Streep. For one, she could act (18 nominations and counting) and she had genuine screen presence...and I absolutely adored her in The Devil Wears Prada for which she deserved an Oscar....but then I saw Doubt, Julie & Julia and caught parts of The Iron Lady. Jeeeeeeeeeeez. This woman is like the Major Sundarrajan of Hollywood. She can still ACT but she is always the same Meryl Streep. She KNOWS she can act and there are scenes which scream out 'Hey watch me ACT"....and, as my mom recently observed, if you go back and watch her old films like Kramer vs. Kramer or Bridges of Madison County, she's been doing it for ages. I just cannot stand her now.

  • Cate Blanchett won Best Actress for Blue Jasmine. She was the clear favourite by a country mile and won comfortably in the end and all the critics were happy that their prediction came true. Except that there was nothing extra-ordinary about the performance. I'm not dissing it, just saying I've seen similar stuff from Saritha and Rohini in Tamil films and I never heard anyone raving about them. A lot of this for an Oscar?? Just because it is a Woody Allen film, do people need to go so overboard?? Uffffffffffff

I'm usually not enamoured by the acting honours and tend to focus on the Best Picture and Best Screenplay (Adapted and original) categories but this has been a year of sterling, breakthrough performances by relatively new faces so do give some of the above movies a dekho.

No comments: