Movie Thoughts

I don’t think there’s ever been a year when I’ve seen all of the Best Picture nominations before the Academy Awards.  Until this year!  Chalk it up to living near the best theatre in Rochester, some time on my hands, and a love of movies!  I’ll attempt to give my thoughts about the nominees below.  As I’ve said before, I am not too critical as I love all kinds of movies and the movie-going experience.

2012 Academy Awards Nominees List

Best Picture

This was a great movie and one of my favorites from this list.  It was just beautiful.  The actors were beautiful, the music was beautiful, the silence was beautiful, the story was beautiful.  Big crush on Jean Dujardin, who is nominated for Best Actor for his role in this film.  There was a scene that was very unsettling but the resolution was perfect.  Berenice Bejo was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film and it received many other nominations and is expected to be a big winner. Ah.  I can’t wait to own this one.

George Clooney is nominated for Best Actor in this film, which I also enjoyed immensely.  The plot was unpredictable, which I like, and although it wasn’t a happy story, it was a great story and well-done.  Beautiful scenery, great performances by the kids and the friends and family.  George has been nominated for an Oscar before and won once for “Syriana.”  I’ve never seen it!  Is it worth looking for?

I’ve written before about this book and my love for it, so I knew what to expect going in.  The movie is different than the book (and just not as good, in my mind) but the actor portraying Oskar did a great job.  It’s a fair interpretation of the book and a decent movie.  Max von Sydow is nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role as the silent “renter” who helps Oskar in his quest.

I listened to this book on audio this summer with Gracie and Rees in the car, so I was excited to bring them to the movie this fall.  They both really liked the movie and so did I.  If I were ranking all nine of these films, it may fall #4 (or be in a tie for 3rd with a few others), but it was really good.  The love of movie-making and being transported by film is something I can relate to.  It is very true to the book (which is based on real people) and it is visually stunning to watch.  We didn’t spring for 3D for this movie and I don’t think it lessened our experience.  Martin Scorsese is nominated for Best Director and it received a bunch of other nominations as well, I think ranking up there with “The Artist.”
What a fun movie this is.  I saw this in the theatre last spring and knew that it would be one I would like to own and watch again and again.  I loved the beauty of Paris, the music of Paris, the depiction of the Golden Age in Paris, and I love Owen Wilson.  I bought it before Christmas with birthday money and have watched it a few times.  Good stuff.  It was also nominated for Best Screenplay and Woody Allen was nominated for Best Director.

We read this book for book club in 2010 and a bunch of us were able to see the movie together this summer.  Wow.  It is a great movie if you haven’t read the book but I think that reading the book really added to the depth of the movie experience.  I cried through most of the movie, simply because of how I knew the characters from the book.  Viola Davis (Aibileen) is nominated for Best Actress, and Octavia Spencer (Minny) and Jessica Chastain (Celia)  are nominated for Best Supporting Actress.  Great stuff.

I watched this on DVD in mid-January and it was a great movie!  It was so good that my mom watched it two nights in a row!  It was a long movie but never dull, which you think a movie about numbers and statistics would be.  It was just a good ol’ baseball movie.  Why are movies about baseball often so good?  🙂  Brad Pitt is nominated for Best Actor and Jonah Hill is nominated for Best Supporting Actor for their roles in this film.

This is the last nominee that I saw and I am glad that I saw it in the theatre!  I went to a late show one night with another movie-loving friend.  It’s a long movie and as we were the only people in the theatre that night, we were the last people to leave the building!  Good thing I was the Mayor of the theatre (on foursquare) at the time. 🙂  I haven’t read this book yet, but it’s on my nightstand in my TBR pile.  The movie was very well done, but I covered my eyes a bit during the war scenes.  Difficult stuff.  But the movie had an epic feel to it, with expansive shots of scenery that reminded me of Gone with the Wind or something.  It is nominated for Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography as well.  A great film!

Hmmm.  I got this one on DVD and it was so weird.  First, the DVD instructs you to turn your volume up very loud, as there is constant, subtle new age-y music playing under the dialogue throughout the movie.  The movie lost me when it got all weird so I didn’t truthfully pay much attention after that big weirdness.  I listen to a movie podcast and they had many reviewers on who chose this as their favorite movie of 2011 and I couldn’t tell you why.  I guess they thought it was beautiful and meaningful.  I like all sorts of different movies but this one did nothing for me.  Just too weird.
Other thoughts about Oscar nominees:
  • Rooney Mara is nominated for Best Actress for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” which is another movie that I loved!  I didn’t want to, as I loved the Swedish adaptation of the novel but I could not believe how true to the book this movie was.  It was just great.
  • Michelle Williams is nominated for Best Actress for “My Week With Marilyn,” which was just beautiful. She did an amazing portrayal of Marilyn Monroe.  Good stuff.
  • Kenneth Branagh is nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his depiction of Sir Laurence Olivier in “My Week with Marilyn.”
  • Nick Nolte is nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Warrior,” which was a great movie that really surprised me!  When it came in my Netflix queue I wondered what I was thinking – Mixed Martial Arts aren’t my thing.  But what a great story.  I cried.  Good film.
  • Melissa McCarthy is nominated for Best Supporting Actress and Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo are nominated for Best Original Screenplay for “Bridesmaids.”  A movie that I now own and have watched at least five times – laughing just as hard every single time! What a delight.
  • Only two songs nominated for Best Song and I’ll root for “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppet Movie”!  Loved “The Muppet Movie,” I love Jason Segal, and I love Bret McKenzie (the writer of a lot of the songs from the movie, of Flight of the Condchords fame!).  I think there’s a petition out there to get the two songs performed at the Oscars, because they didn’t plan on that!  Would be fun to see.
  • I watched one of the Best Animated Short Film nominees on YouTube (or somewhere on the internet) a few weeks ago – “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.”  Quite clever.
  • “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two” got a few nominees for MakeUp and Visual Effects.  Seeing that movie was a big event for me this summer.  I listened to all of the audiobooks and watched all the movies over the spring and summer in preparation and went to a midnight showing on opening night.  Good stuff, Harry.

I think “that is all I have to say about that!”  (Name that movie quote?) Goodness… Hope you stuck with me to the end!  And if you have, let me know what your picks are for the Oscars next Sunday or your plans for watching the big show!  Or let me know your favorite movie of 2011 – on the list or not!

And now… off to read!

Books: A Moveable Feast

English: Winter, 1922 Ernest Hemingway and Had...
Image via Wikipedia

 

It’s February and I’m reading A Moveable Feast with Wallace at unputdownables.net.  We’re halfway through the book now and I am enjoying it, although I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much if I hadn’t read The Paris Wife and heard the author tell of her experience in writing the book!  Many are not enjoying it as much – his writing style, his attitude and self-importance.  Below are the comments that I made on Wallace’s blog on this week’s reading (to chapter 17).

 

 

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I am caught up!

 

I am enjoying the reading and find myself looking things up all the time! From words that he uses (inaccroachable:http://www.fictionaut.com/groups/matchbook/threads/307) to the phrases that he uses (clearly marked for death: http://secondandpark.com/2010/02/hemingway%E2%80%99s-delightfully-callous-disses/ ).

 

Some things that I’m keeping in mind about him as I read this come from listening to the author of The Paris Wife and my suppositions that I arrived at while reading that book. He is very young during this time and had already faced tragedy in the Great War. He was injured and fell in love with his nurse, who wrote him a Dear Ernest letter after his recovery and return to the US. I think he probably had some “demons” (read: PTSD) from the war that affected how he had relationships with people. Paula McLain also talked about how he could never be without a woman. He went from relationship to relationship, never ending one until another was started. It is noted that he hated his mother, his father committed suicide (as did Hadley’s) and he received ECT (shock treatments) at Mayo Clinic in his 50s.

 

He’s definitely not a sympathetic character, but that last paragraph (see below) does give insight into the depth of his feelings for Hadley and his acknowledgement of her hurt. I guess he contacted her late in his life – a few weeks before his suicide. It’s hard to see much of Hadley in this book (so far… I haven’t read ahead!) but I guess I keep in my mind other accounts of their relationship.

 

Hadley and I had become too confident in each other and careless in our confidence and pride. In the mechanics of how this was penetrated I have never tried to apportion the blame, except my own part, and that was clearer all my life. The bulldozing of three people’s hearts to destroy one happiness and build another and the love and the good work and all that came out of it is not part of this book. I wrote it and left it out. How it all ended, finally, has nothing to do with this either. Any blame in that was mine to take and possess and understand. The only one, Hadley, who had no possible blame, ever, came out of it finally and married a much finer man than I ever was or could hope to be and is happy and deserves it and that was one good and lasting thing that came out of that year.

 

Off to read!

 

 

 

Dickens & other Discussions

photo of Charles Dickens

My brain power is waning… I’m loving the new job but it’s exhausting learning so much!  It’s such a good thing!! Yay!  Earlier today I had so many thoughts about what to say in a blog… and now it’s kind of gone!  Oh well… I’m enjoying the learning so much that I don’t mind if I aren’t as creative as I want to be right now!  It’ll come again.  🙂

But I wanted to recognize the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth with a short blog post.  I loved A Tale of Two Cities and am going to put it on my list of books to re-read in 2012.  It’s been a long time since I first read it, so it’ll be fun to read again.

In other news…

  • I have really slowed in my reading.  I’m plugging away on “A Moveable Feast” but behind in the assigned reading for last week and this.  Some aren’t enjoying reading Hemingway, but I think it’s fun to read after reading “The Paris Wife” and hearing the author speak.  I’ll keep on trucking…  It has been easy to read it on the iPad.  I tried to look up a word within the book, but it wasn’t in the dictionary.  He must have made up words!
  • The blogs I read daily really are taking up a lot of my reading time.  I must figure that out.
  • I’ve been enjoying old episodes of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix instant.  How fun to meet these characters in the beginning!  I just started watching (and loving) the show a few years ago and it has many seasons under its belt!
  • I love love love Downton Abbey!  I’m going to watch a bit of Sunday night’s episode tonight.  It’s hard to believe this season is almost done!  Love the fast pace of the British series.
  • Book club is coming up on Thursday!  We read “The Center of Everything” and I’ll have to refresh my memory, since it seems like I read it a while ago!  I look forward to seeing those peeps!
  • And SocialICE is this weekend!  The ice bar downtown.  It has been a fun event every year and I can’t wait to participate in another!  It’s fun to see the fur hats, coats, and boots that come out, but I’m afraid I won’t be sporting any of that!  Uggs and wool for me!

Off to read!

2/1/12 (2112)

I love words but sometimes numbers are just as fun.  A palindrome is a palindrome, right?

It is hard to believe that it’s February, that’s for sure.  I didn’t read as much in January as I “should” have (is someone keeping tabs on me? is there really a “should”?).  I have focused on non-book reading – magazines, blogs, tweets – and how to cut down on reading blogs and tweets and now am reading ‘A Moveable Feast’ by Ernest Hemingway with Wallace’s Unputdownables blog.  My TBR pile next to my bed keeps growing and growing so hopefully I’ll tackle a few of them in February.  I have so many good ones there!

A January snapshot:

Penny Man at St. Paul Winter Carnival January 2012

Not much to say, but I will post soon about the nominated movies I loved.  So far the job is just great.  Today was the first day working with social workers and they are amazing and the job seems amazing.  I have 6+ weeks of shadowing social workers in all realms of the hospital and I can’t wait to see the great things they do!  I feel so lucky to be working and to be working there.  Life is good.  🙂

Off to read!