Tag Archives: An Education

Best Picture Nominees

Avatar (20th Century Fox)
I didn’t end up seeing Avatar, honestly I’m not disappointed by  this fact. It looks kinda shitty and I have better things to spend $20 on. Also, I’m slightly bitter that Celine Dion won the Oscar over Elliott Smith. I blame James Cameron for that.

The Blind Side (Warner Bros.)
The feel-good movie of the year that will make you want to puke. Oh, fucking god! Another sports film. Not even that, the worst sport in the history of man, football. So, some random bloke drops two kids off at a private school, says, “here take them.” They take them, his wife doesn’t want one of the kids (who isn’t their own) and so they turf him. Rich chick finds him, invites him into the family. Make him play football. That’s about the whole story, after the first five seconds we never see the Dad who brought him to the private school, or the OTHER black kid.

There’s supposed to be some tension in the teaser where we see the football-playing-kid being interviewed for something we assume he did wrong, to hook the audience, but theres not enough tension there to be of interest, or of any reason why we’d need to see what happens two years before the majority of the film takes place. Those events then make sense when the film catches up to the teaser, but it’s a minor point that is the catalyst for the major dramatic tension. He runs away, he runs away, but within about five minutes all is resolved and good.

Simply the movie isn’t strong, it’s a boring docudrama about a boring subject. I’m sure this man is a wonderful football player, and a wonderful person, but who cares beyond that?

District 9 (Sony Pictures Releasing)
I saw adverts for this film on bus stops proclaiming “this bus stop for Human’s only.” That pissed me off, we’re Toronto, we accept people of all countries, why should we say no to those from outside of Earth. I assumed it was some lame action/sci-fi film that the genre had degraded into, then I heard that it was about apartheid, I went to see it that day.

It was a fantastic film, it was graphic and told an interesting story in an interesting way. It was what I thought science fiction should be, but rarely ever is any more. I will admit that the film isn’t the slightest bit subtle in how it treats the topic at hand, but it did what it set out to do well.

An Education (Sony Pictures Classics)
“You have no idea how boring everything was before you,” says Jenny to David in this incredibly creepy film, about a child and the man she falls for. While Jenny is truly an exceptional young lady, she’s a child in many ways, only slowly becoming a woman.

Also, that’s what a Jew looks like? That’s like getting an Italian to play a Mohawk.

The relationship between Jenny and David is well acted and, though very creepy, interesting.

Overall, I’d say it’s a rather incredible film, but it does suffer slightly from the 30 seconds of voice over during the end of the film. It is unneeded and deters from the emotion of the film.

The Hurt Locker
(Summit Entertainment)
War films are a very touchy subject, especially when the war in question is still raging. M*A*S*H and Full Metal Jacket do what I believe a war film should do; combine humour and drama in a manner to show the horrors of war, while simultaneously making it easy for the audience to digest. Instead of that, The Hurt Locker is instead more interested in portraying a group of bomb disposal soldiers, who have little conscience, little knowledge of local language or culture, little care for the country they invaded, little care for the lives of others, and little care for their own lives.

This film could have been reduced in time by at least half an hour, forty-five minutes perhaps. The extra running time, and what seems to be an overly ambitious film maker hurt the film, making it suffer from trying to accomplish too much, but accomplishing nothing. It takes the film far too long to get to the meat of the story.

In the end, I don’t know if they’re trying glorify, if so, that’s kinda hideous.

Inglourious Basterds
(The Weinstein Company)
This is the last film of the group I saw. Fortunately the Bloor was showing it the day before the Oscars. I was very reluctant to see it, because I’ve never enjoyed a Quentin Tarantino film. This is the exception, Tarantino’s really grown as a filmmaker since Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. It was definitely a great film, and I think needs a second viewing. The film is often hilarious, often horrid, and often beautiful. The suspense is impressive of a modern film that displays so much gore.

Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
Some of the best films I have ever seen in my life are extremely difficult to watch. Precious is among those. The story is of Precious, a teenage girl who’s education can best be described as atrocious, her relationship with her home life, a nightmare. Through this story she finds strength, knowledge, guidance and a life, but the past is impossible to comprehend.

I’m completely at a loss for words. I don’t know what to say about this film, but you must see it. It’s difficult to watch, but do it anyway.

A Serious Man (Focus Features)
Now I have to remember which was A Serious Man and which was A Single Man. Oh yeah! Serious was the good one, and Single was the incredible one. Looks like I’m talking about the good one, sigh! So, I understand why this is nominated for an Academy Award, Jews will like this film. I’m a Jew, I like this film, we control Hollywood (shh, don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret). However, are there people who like this film and aren’t Jews? Do any non-Jews understand this film?

I liked this film, the characters were interesting, and in the usual Coen brothers fashion, it was hilarious, but also stark and grimy. However, it definitely was one of their lesser films, it doesn’t compare to the likes of Fargo, or O Brother Where Art Thou? or No Country For Old Men.

Up (Walt Disney)
Now here’s a film that hands-down deserves respect. Pixar was able to make one of the best features of last year with Wall-e, and unfortunately it didn’t even get nominated for best picture, it obviously should have. Up continues with one story concept that Wall-e succeeded so well with, they delivered so much emotional content without dialogue. When Carl’s story is being told, the audience falls in love with this man, they smile at his achievements, they cry at his heartache and they cheer for him… and this is only within the first half hour of the film. The story is fun, and amazing, but the heart behind the story is incredible, and I think Pixar made one of their best films with this one, and that says A LOT.

Up in the Air (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios)
As Abraham Lincoln once said, “I have two words for you ‘BOR-RING!'” Up In The Air is an okay film about characters who have nothing that the audience can find redeeming. There is no emotional connection, the characters are two dimensional, the story is paper thin, and why it was nominated for such a prestigeious category, I have no idea.

Who Adam wants to win: Precious
Who Adam thinks will win: Avatar

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side (Warner Bros.)
Really? Her performance is boring? There’s nothing interesting in this performance, or the character. She’s a spoiled rich white chick, who feels bad for a boy, and lets him live with her. Good for her. Quinton Aaron, however stole the film. His performance as Michael Oher was wonderful. Thumbs up to Mr. Aaron, meh to Ms. Bullock.

Helen Mirren in The Last Station (Sony Pictures Classics)
I didn’t want to post any of these without having seen all of the films, the torrent I found for The Last Station wasn’t a real copy of the film, and I’ve been home sick the past two days, so I haven’t had a chance to visit the Cumberland to see this film.
I really want to see this film, because Helen Mirren’s awesome, and so is Christopher Plummer. So take my opinion with a grain of salt, because I’m completely omitting Ms. Mirren’s performance.

Carey Mulligan in An Education (Sony Pictures Classics)
I really liked Mulligan’s performance. At times she reminded me of a song by the Magnetic Fields (ADAM, SHUT UP ABOUT THE MAGNETIC FIELDS!), and overall, she reminded me of a 16 year old girl, extremely intelligent, and extremely stupid. She did a fabulous job. Also, CREEPY! Adults, please stay away from sixteen year olds. Adults, please stay away from those under 20… maybe 25. Eww!

I could dress in black and read Camus, smoke clove cigarettes and drink vermouth, like I was seventeen.

Gabourey Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire (Lionsgate)
Holy crap! That was a performance to remember, a performance to haunt you. Sidibe’s performance as Precious was everything you could want in a film. I can’t say anything more other than watch this. Now.

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Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia (Sony Pictures Releasing)
This was a fun film, and Streep played a great Julia Child. The film overall wasn’t too great, and I found the character of Julie to be more than slightly annoying. I think this colours how I view Streep’s performance, which is definitely over-the-top, but also a lot of fun, and a great way to spend a couple hours.

Who Adam wants to win: Gabourey Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
Who Adam wishes he could say he wants to win, because her performance was so good, but then he saw Precious and was blown away: Carey Mulligan in An Education
Who Adam thinks will win: Gabourey Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

February 2010, in review

In December, I set goals for myself, how many films to see this year, how many shows to attend, how many records to purchase, and how many books to read. This is the standings, as of the end of February…

Books I read (2/10 – 20%):
Heaven Is Small by Emily Schultz | Originally published 2009

Films I saw (19/52 – 36.5%):
Whip It | Originally released 2009
24 Hours On Craigslist | Originally released 2005
The Princess And The Frog | Originally released 2009
The Secret of Kells | Originally released 2009
An Education |  Originally released 2009
Invictus | Originally released 2009
The Blind Side | Originally released 2009
The Hurt Locker | Originally released 2009

Albums I bought (22/52 – 42.3%):
Next Year In Zion by Herman Düne (vinyl) | Originally released 2008
Realism by The Magnetic Fields (CD + vinyl)
The Beatles Stereo Box Set | Originally released 2009

Shows I attended (7/52 – 13.5%):
The Magnetic Fields (w/ Laura Barrett) @ Queen Elizabeth II Theatre; February 8, 2010
The Hidden Cameras, Owen Pallett, Thomas, Kids On TV, The Barcelona Pavilion, Mean Red Spiders, Neck a.k.a. Christiana, Boars @ The Garrison; February 14, 2010