Monday, February 23, 2009

2009 Nominated Film Reviews: Spoiler Alert

Late at night, after the baby and hubby are off to bed, I've been sneaking out for double features of Oscar nominees. I've only seen five films (MILK, SLUMDOG, REVOLUTONARY ROAD, THE WRESTLER and THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTONS-at three hours, no double feature that night) but here are my humble opinions thus far:

MILK. Close to perfect film making for me. Great acting. Relevant story. Passionate moments. Attention to detail. Had a message. I was in San Francisco in 1978, and I remember the vibe and look of Market and Castro, very well. This film captured it perfectly.

I hated SLUMDOG. I don't know if it was the hype or being a mom but the violence to children was relentless and I saw every child as my own and I just couldn't take it. During the blinding scene I nearly vomited.

The last film that had such a physical effect on me was CASINO, when the actor's head was in the vice I got so nauseous that I got up to leave and I fainted. Luckily I was at the Director's Guild in Los Angeles, and someone took care of me.

Sure I thought SLUMDOG was clever in the way each of the answers to his questions could be woven into his life but I also thought it was a one trick pony and did not compensate for the violence.

This movie made me frightened to go to India and deeply saddened that people saw it as a love story and were not outraged by the injustice portrayed in nearly every aspect of their every day lives. I think our society is too desensitized to violence. Yes, I know that I am a bleeding heart, empath, overly sensitive psychic and I take that into consideration, but still, I saw this movie as an out cry for the Mumbai experience of most, not a love story of hope for a few.

I did NOT appreciate the Bollywood dance at the end. By then my sense of humor had been raped from my spirit and I was nothing more than an empty cavern of sorrowful remorse for my fellow human being.

Also wasn't impressed with THE WRESTLER, but could appreciate the attention to detail and the significance of the story we all will live out on some level. I thought the acting was good but not great. I was more impressed with the story. What was up with his white fingernails? Every person I ask has no idea what I am talking about.

REVOLUTIONARY ROAD: while I adore Kate, her acting wasn't what impressed me, it was the subtle thread of the feminist struggle that won me over. I saw her character as a modern day Virgina Woolfe. I thought the affectation of vocal cadence was distracting from Leo and Kate's acting. I got the joke about the 1950s and one's inability to be authentic in the face of convention during that era but I thought the direction was ceaseless on that aspect and could have been more of a spice than a main dish component.

Thus far my favorite film is (reluctantly) THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON. I get the Forest Gump comparison and I think most people have some part of their subconscious that isn't willing to fork over great acting accolades to a beautiful man who seems to have it all. But is was the only dog gone movie with hope, that took me away to a better place for three hours. And because of that, it was the first time I wasn't annoyed at a movie for being longer than 120 minutes, I was grateful. I say reluctantly because I don't consider myself a sucker for sap, I'm usually the one with the taste buds for edgier cinema. Perhaps it's the economy or the general state of fatigue in and around the world today but at this moment in my life, I feel too close to the edge to crave it. Right about now I like myself a bit of silly, happy fantasy WITHOUT violence against children, thank you very much!

Wait...I also saw THE VISITOR, early in the year. Loved it. Truly terrific acting. Deserves all its accolades.