Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Miss Bender pontificates on films she has not actually seen, but will in the next 3 weeks. Why wait for an informed review?

Isn't it more entertaining if I am wrong, as I was last year? And doesn't that give me 2 posts for the price of one?

The nominations for Best Motion Picture are...

...Benjamin Button
Shoot... me... now. Every year it seems there is one film that I never wanted to see. Some years I just don't (this means you, LOTR). 2 1/2 hours of Brad Pitt's face CGI'd onto a puppet. I am creeped out all ready. It would kill you to pay some more actors?

From a technical standpoint, I might be curious enough to watch a commentary reel/making of... But it will have to be the Premium Cinema with alcohol to get me through this haunted child/creepy puppet/insane robot freakshow.

Read the transcript. See also Good Night and Good Luck. Historically interesting, yes. Shot-for-shot/word-for-word re-do of something we already have on film? Why?

Remember when Frank Langella was Dracula? Now that's a vampire I can get behind.

Can you believe none of my boys waited for me to see this film? I see how it is.

The Times of Harvey Milk is a perfect documentary. It is one of the most moving, honest, reflective, intelligent films you will see. Watch it. It already won the Oscar. Sean Penn and Gus Van Sant - hat's off. I don't say we don't still need this message, or that you are not talented filmmakers. But you can not top this.

The Reader
In a post-war world, a beautiful blond woman and an innocent man-boy fall in love through the magic of literature. Her mysterious disappearance breaks his heart. Yes, Sophie's Choice was a very good film. This is nominated too.

Slumdog Millionaire
For people who thought The Kite Runner was just too sunny. We follow a slumboy through his life, where a lot of horrible things happen to him until they stop. The wafer-thin mint at the end of this feast of porridge makes you forget the deus ex machina twist. It's like the Arabian Nights written by Primo Levi on a theme by Charles Dickens. This is the kind of film you say is heavy, hard to watch, well-acted (because everyone is so miserable) and "important." It is the kind of film that wins Oscars. It is the front-runner going into Feb 22, but if I had been at home I probably would have turned it off. Please sir...I want no more.

Determining where the votes will land means handicapping the Hollywood mood of the moment, which could fall in several directions, depending on the message they want to send. SAG is in negotiations, so a good protest/little guy tribute like Milk could express what is on the actors' minds. Benjamin Button is the answer to that vote -- we can make movies without actors. Don't push us, SAG. Those votes might cancel each other out.

Few people in the movie biz are Republicans, and plenty of them lost all their money to Madoff. Frost/Nixon throws light on the corrupting force of power, but you have to be old Hollywood to still hate Nixon, and Paul Newman is dead. The Reader... even Ricky Gervais said that Holocaust movies = awards, and that is generally true. Slumdog took the Globes, and a lot of voters will take their lead from there.

So I'll predict Slumdog for now. Until I reserve the right to change my mind again.

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