Tilda Swinton spoke about her what cinema means to her as an art form and her answer was awesome:
“In a nutshell, what it is for me is this amazingly humane opportunity to put yourselves in the shoes of someone else. It’s no more complicated and no less powerful than that. You go in, it all goes dark, and you put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see through their eyes. That’s just mega, it’s so powerful. Even a painter, who can do it, only can do less. A painter at one time is showing you one frame, but a filmmaker can take you into an experience and an existential atmosphere that may be a trip for you. It’s like a magic carpet. This is how I feel about cinema.”
Here are my picks for this year’s Oscars®:
12 Years a Slave
Actor in Leading Role
Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club”
Actor in Supporting Role
Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club”
Actress in Leading Role
Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine”
Actress in Supporting Role
Lupita Nyong’o in “12 Years a Slave”
Animated Feature Film
The Act of Killing
Documentary Short Subject
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Foreign Language Film
“The Great Beauty” – Italy
Makeup & Styling
Dallas Buyers Club
“Let it Go” from “Frozen”
The Great Gatsby
Animated Short Film
Get a Horse!
Live Action Short Film
The Voorman Problem
12 Years a Slave
I’m a big fan of Spike Jonze and if you haven’t, you need to watch his earlier films like Being John Malkovich and Adaptation to truly appreciate what a great director he is.
Having said that, I was really excited to watch this movie. On the surface, this movie gives us a glimpse of where we could be in the not-too-distant future where an Operating System’s intelligence is so advanced, we could possibly fall in love with it. Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, a dreary writer who finds solace and love in the voice (played by Scarlett Johansson, no less) of his new OS, Samantha
On another level, this love story is heady mix of comedy and tragedy. Like most young couples, Theodore and Samantha’s relationship range from warm and tender to angry and bittersweet. As we see their relationship blossom and develop, we see parallels with real human relationships as they crumble and break down. The themes and emotions are identifiable and authentic because it’s so universal.
However, the second half of the film felt like it went downhill. After an hour of watching Theodore talking to his phone, it felt empty and slightly expected. If this was intentional and was meant for us to ponder the hollowness of a virtual relationship, then perhaps it served its purpose. Without giving away the ending, I felt a little let down by close of the picture. It’s not bad, but it’s like having a great starter and awesome main course, only to be disappointed by a pretty normal dessert.
Overall, it’s a really enjoyable film with some fantastic moments and riveting performances. The sound design and cinematography were outstanding and like top notch actors themselves, every sequence is a treat to take in. With a nomination for Best Picture, this film needs no further assurance to the outstanding quality of Jonze’s work. Despite my slight issues with the second half, this movie remains highly recommended.
Based on a true story of the Somalian pirate hijacking to which we already know the ending very well, this thriller kept me glued to my seat from start to finish.
The movie starts off slow but I thought the juxtaposition between Rich Phillips and Muse, the pirate going from home to ship was really clever. Director Paul Greengrass, having previously helmed United 93, masterfully steers us from that point to the end, turning up the suspense at every beat.
Tom Hanks was a great choice for lead role and his performance is believable and noteworthy – I think this is probably his strongest since Castaway. Also, Barkhad Abdi, who played the conflicted yet determined pirate is also worth commending. Bringing no prior acting experience before this role, he played it with gut-wrenching conviction and credibility that at some points in the film, you actually catch yourself feeling empathetic towards him.
There were some recent controversy over how Captain Phillips was portrayed in the movie, with the real crew claiming that the movie’s captain was lot more heroic than he was in real life. This doesn’t bother me at all. With 6 nominations in this year’s Oscars, including Best Motion Picture of the Year, Captain Phillips is one of the strongest films of 2013. If you haven’t seen this movie, you definitely should.
I missed the theatrical run entirely and I’m not sorry that I did. There are a few exceptions but I generally enjoy most comic book movies. Thor: The Dark World is one of those exceptions.
I enjoyed the visual spectacle that Marvel’s movies have delivered. Marvel truly understands how to take the story from page to screen and make it more enjoyable. This movie delivers nothing short of that over-the-top sci-fi spectacle.
Beyond that, it does very little for me. For one, I’m not sure why that plot was a story worth telling. Narratively speaking, it felt weak compared to previous offerings. Thor fighting very hard for peace in the nine realms – yes we knew that. Thor loves Jane Foster to death – we know that too. Bad guy eventually defeated by the mjolnir – yes, I saw that coming too. The other characters brought nothing new to the table either.
The strongest performance in the film goes to Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, who had the best moments and the best lines. It’s almost as if the plot was written around Loki, one of the best anti-heroes on film.
Overall, I found the film a little flat and I think it’s completely missable. It felt like Marvel just wanted to release a sequel for the sake of it and it lacked the conviction of their previous films.
If I were to describe this film in one sentence, it would be a “lo-fi romantic comedy with believably-flawed characters”. I enjoyed this enough to sit through the whole movie, and while it won’t change cinematic history, it definitely has some moments of magic.
The movie feels authentic and intimate, and casually observant on the subtle ebbs and flows of relationships. I liked the movie for a few reasons. One, nothing much really happens and that’s deliberate. Two, the actors are so relaxed, it doesn’t look like they’re acting. Three, Olivia Wilde. In the words of a co-worker, “I don’t know what this film is about, but ninety minutes of Olivia Wilde was well worth it.”
This film is a smart and fresh take on an otherwise tired genre. The usual romantic comedy formula of encounter-conflict-happy ending is glaringly absent and really works flawlessly in this film. I’d definitely recommend this movie for those who are looking for something a little different from the usual Hollywood offerings.