(image courtesy of AMC Entertainment)
For the fourth year, AMC Entertaiment presents the Best Picture Showcase. I had the pleasure of taking in last year’s event, which featured five of the films nominated for Best Motion Picture for the 2009 Oscars. The moment that event wrapped up, I immediately began looking forward to this year’s presentation. With 10 films getting the nod for the Best Motion Picture race, AMC decided to split them into back-to-back Saturdays leading up to the Oscars on Sunday, March 7th. After seeing the first five movies on February 27th, I returned to see the remaining five nominees along with my partner in crime and resident movie geek Jeff Smith, was joined again by Bryan Truta of 105.1 Jack FM and recent addition to the AMC family, Shane Adams.
If there were an Oscar award given for “Excessive Cuteness”, Up would win it – hands down. Excellent movie, and Pixar delivered (as they typically do). It’s definitely not catered towards kids as much as it is to the adults, though. Some of the content might be a little strong for kids, which is justified in its PG rating. Perhaps my favorite part of Up was the dialogue expressed through the “canine-to-English” translator collars. The artwork is worth noting as well, if you’re into that sort of detail. I would love to see this be the first film of its type to win for Best Picture, although I think its competition is just too strong. With that said, Up is a MUST-SEE film, whether you’re 10 years old or 110 years old.
A beautiful example of just what kind of quality work can come from the other side of the pond. Carey Mulligan’s lead role is brilliant, while Dominic Cooper’s character also stood out to me. Plenty of beautiful scenery due to the filming locations, and director Lone Scherfig did a wonderful job of depicting what (I can assume) is a pretty accurate depiction of London in the 1960’s.
The Hurt Locker:
Reasonably strong as far as war movies go. Its main focus is around an Army bomb squad, and part of the enjoyment of the movie is seeing how the unit comes together as a team after somehow getting their lead bombsuit operator (portrayed by Jeremy Renner) under control. The action is well-played througout, as each scene gives off the feeling of “something could go horribly wrong at any moment”. Call it a simple aspect of the overall movie, but I enjoy any scene that depicts the skill and necessary perfection of a sniper/sharpshooter.
A Serious Man:
My brief Twitter review of this stated: “Like a bad laxative, it really didn’t move me”. I’ll elaborate more here. Of all my years watching movies, “Bride Of Chucky” is the only movie I ever went to see in theaters and walked out of it, asking the venue’s manager for a refund. After seeing A Serious Man, I will never speak a negative word of BoC ever again. Utterly horrible movie, and while I did have a few spots which had me snickering at the dialogue, but even that wasn’t enough to save this trainwreck. It’s not even an issue as to whether or not I “get it” in regards to the applications of math and science. Typically, I’m not opposed to movies with open endings, because it keeps the possibility for a follow-up out there. Unfortunately, A Serious Man was an hour and 46 minutes of my life that I can never get back, and I dread even the thought of there being more where this came from.
It felt a lot longer than the hour and 52 minutes that it is, but managed to not lose my interest overall. I was originally going to comment about shortening or outright cutting several scenes to improve the flow of the film and cut down on time, but after looking up the actual runtime, I retracted those thoughts. Part of that, however, may have been a result of my trying to wake up and recover from my mind being raped as a result of the previous film. Because of that, I do plan to give District 9 another viewing sometime, and I’m fairly sure my opinion of it will improve. For this viewing, however, it just didn’t have enough to pull me into it the way I had hoped it would. I’ve never been the biggest fan of the genre of alien movies, so there’s something to be said for that.
Out of these five films, I have to go with Inglorious Basterds. Hands down. If I had to rank them, I would go:
1 ) An Education
2 ) Up
3 ) The Hurt Locker
4 ) District 9
5 ) A Serious Man (only because I couldn’t rank it any lower)
Given my ranking of these five movies, and running that together with the five from last week (which I’ve had extra time to think about), I’ll give my opinion for how *I* would vote for this year’s Best Picture, based on nothing more than my own opinions as a movie fan.
1 ) An Education
2 ) Inglorious Basterds
3 ) Up In The Air
4 ) Avatar
5 ) Up
6 ) The Blind Side
7 ) The Hurt Locker
8 ) District 9
10 ) A Serious Man