Recently, I've been addicted to movies, as you will find out when I eventually get round to adding all the data I've accumulated over the last year or so to the website! But that's a long way off, and this years Oscars are fast approaching. So here is my take on this years movie award spectacle.
This years nominees for the Best motion picture of the year are:
Unlike Robert Nyman I have only been able to check out two of those films - Little Miss Sunshine and The Departed.
Unfortunately, Letters from Iwo Jima is yet to be released in the UK, but I am definitely looking forward to it. This film is the second film about the Japanese battle on the island on Iwo Jima by Clint Eastwood. The other movie Flags of Our Fathers focuses on the life stories of the six men who raised the flag at The Battle of Iwo Jima which is ultimately from the perspective of the Americans. Whereas Letters from Iwo Jima follows this turning point World War 2 battle from the Japanese, which is admirably films with native Japanese actors and in their native language. I have only seen the trailer for this film, but the actual war scenes look comparable to the groundbreaking and spectacular (but not glamourised) Spielberg epic Saving Private Ryan.
My local cinema hasn't started showing Babel yet (but I have been told it will be showing it soon, although it was released back in the middle of January). I have been reading many mixed reviews about this movie, with some people complaining it was too self-indulgent, pretentious and the fact one of the stories didn't really conclude. However, I'm looking forward to this movie solely because of it's director - Alejandro González Iñárritu — directed 21 Grams which is an extremely recommended movie and Amores Perros, a highly-acclaimed Mexican movie, which follows "a horrific car accident that connects three stories, each involving characters dealing with loss, regret, and life's harsh realities, all in the name of love" ...which I'm yet to watch.
Finally, I have had the opportunity to see 'The Queen' twice now, but, even after all the massive reviews and what has been said about Helen Mirren's performance, I am uninterested in the subject matter.
The Departed is definitely everyone's favourite, and it is about time Martin Scorsese won. It was a good film, well acted, interesting story-line, direction, comedy (Mark Wahlberg), action and cast. The twist/conclusion was pretty cool, but it didn't standout entirely for me. Although, I will definitely be buying it on DVD when it has become a little cheaper (and I've watched all the ones I've currently got!)
About the other nomination I've seen —Little Miss Sunshine— I thought this was an original, funny, extremely well shot, sad, yet strangely uplifting movie. The attraction about this movie are the small details and quirks which are often quite subtle and very pessimistic. Yet when this is combined with the premise of the movie - dealing with loss, disappointment, rejections and family – it relates to a lot of situations many people find themselves faced with. The climax to the movie is incredibly funny and heart-warming. I already own this on DVD and I highly recommend anyone to watch it.
I would also like to make a special mention about Pan's Labyrinth, which is notably up for 'Best foreign language film of the year' (amongst other nominations). I felt the movie was advertised as a fantasy - but certainly not for children - yet lacked equal screen time between the fantasy storyline of Pan and the harsh nature of her Nazi-occupied war-time reality. The fantasy had some great character design, which Guillermo del Toro is renowned for. But the Nazi storyline and cinematography was dark, scary and torturous and, for me, stole the movie away from it's fantasy roots.