Saturday, July 19, 2014

Camille Claudel (1988/1989)

The film recounts the troubled life of French sculptor Camille Claudel and her long relationship with legendary sculptor Auguste Rodin. [imdb]

Nominated for 2 Oscars* (*as a 1989 film):

Best Foreign Language Film (France)
Actress: Isabelle Adjani

All signs indicate that I should've liked this film more than I actually did, because it started like a... I don't want to say epic. But an impressive period piece / biographical film. It has a certain rhythm and especially two dynamic characters. But as soon as Camille has to become crazy inside the screenplay, it all gets a bit confused. It's true I saw the 158 min version, not the 175, but I doubt that's the issue. Somewhere around the second half, the screenplay stops justifying actions and behaviours, and that hurts the film.

Depardieu is quite ignorable in this role, it's all about Isabelle, nobody steals the spotlight from her; and it's indeed a flashy performance (more on it on the other blog, tomorrow). I would also mention the technical aspects, especially the production design, with all the sculptures that had to be recreated (at least most of them).

My rating for the film: 7/10. It loses its focus in the last hour.

The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

It's about two brothers struggling to make a living as lounge jazz pianists in Seattle. In desperation, they take on a female singer, who revitalizes their careers, causing the brothers to re-examine their relationship with each other and with their music. [wiki]

Nominated for 4 Oscars:

Best Actress: Michelle Pfeiffer
Best Cinematography
Best Music, Original Score
Best Editing

This film played a lot on HBO when I was a teenager, so I had seen scenes from it before, it just didn't grab my complete attention back then. And it's a good film, it's relaxing and rather entertaining which works great for it. The writing is ok, the kind that would receive an Oscar nomination, but I guess it was just a crowded category that year. 

I'll save my comments about Michelle for the other blog - she won almost every single critics' award for this performance, and might I say I think she is/was a bit overpraised (don't shoot!). Jeff is fine, and Beau Bridges should've received a Supporting Actor nomination, for a performance that's both funny and seems way too easy to do (which I'm sure it was not). The cinematography nomination feels a bit unusual.

My rating for the film: 7.5/10. Enjoyable, not too dated.

Music Box (1989)

A lawyer defends her father accused of war crimes, but there is more to the case than she suspects. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:

Best Actress: Jessica Lange

This is another film to surprise me recently, first because it starts so painfully bad, and then because it shifts completely becoming a very interesting film, a courtroom drama. There's a slow start for everyone: from the poor dialogue to Armin Mueller-Stahl's questionable acting to Jessica's hesitation and overpreciousness. Luckily it gets better as soon as the trial starts and it's an uphill journey from then on.

The music box twist comes as a nice surprise, so was the trip to Hungary. Jessica's acting just keeps getting better, though unfortunately Armin's doesn't. In the hands of the right actor (a bigger name, maybe), it could've also been an Oscar nominated performance. I hear Kirk Douglas and Walter Matthau were both considered, both better choices. 

My rating for the film: 7.5/10. I get it why some don't like it, because it simplifies things too much, but I enjoyed the second half, by contrast to the awful first half an hour. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wag the Dog (1997) (2nd time)

Shortly before an election, a spin-doctor and a Hollywood producer join efforts to fabricate a war in order to cover up a presidential sex scandal. [imdb]

Nominated for 2 Oscars:

Best Actor: Dustin Hoffman
Best Adapted Screenplay

I think it's been almost a decade since first watching this film and I was curious, really curious, to see it again. I remembered parts of it, but I wasn't sure my feelings on it were still accurate. You know how sometimes you're maybe too young for some of these smart films. Also, Dustin's Oscar nomination is still fascinating - don't get me wrong, he fully deserves it (!) as he is fantastic in the role - but it seems like an unusual one, for a role that's not flashy in the classic Oscar way, nor dramatic.

So I liked the film even more the second time. Because it's relaxing, easy to watch, amusing and very well written. There's not one boring moment in it. Anne Heche is surprisingly good, De Niro is fine, but it's Dustin who steals the spotlight. He brings the humour and the outrageous aspects, in an exciting performance.

My rating for the film: 9/10. It was my initial intention of going with 8.5/10. Most people would find the 9/10 waaaaaay too generous, but hey - I enjoyed it, for the silly satire it is.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Shirley Valentine (1989)

Shirley's a middle-aged Liverpool housewife, who finds herself talking to the wall while she prepares her husband's chip'n'egg, wondering what happened to her life. [imdb]

Nominated for 2 Oscars:

Best Actress: Pauline Collins
Best Original Song

 By now I have already seen the film twice, and I was more than surprised when I first saw it. And it's not just Shirley's performance - she's good; great, actually - it's the screenplay itself. I expected some silly romantic comedy, not a deep & meaningful comedy about life passing by and missed opportunities. 

There's something a bit strange about it: the film itself is quite dated, especially in the directing style. But the screenplay feels timeless and important and funny. On that note, it would've clearly deserved an Adapted Screenplay nomination. The acting is fine, but it's clearly a one-woman-show when it comes to the focus of the film; Shirley succeeds, though I find the performance less flashy than the material would led to believe.

My rating for the film: 8.5/10. It's a surprisingly important film that I think everyone should see.

The Straight Story (1999)

An old man makes a long journey by tractor to mend his relationship with an ill brother. True story. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:

Actor: Richard Farnsworth

  As if we needed more proof that 1999 was an excellent year for films, I finally got to see David Lynch's most atypical film, a low key low budget film that might seem boring to some, but still keeps some of Lynch's trademarks (mostly from the camera shots). While this is not the most exciting film, it kept me interested and it's quite a special piece. It has heart, not just subtly-presented style.

Other than the cinematographer, Farnsworth is the star here. He gives the most realistic performance and his acting, just like most of the elements of the film, is very subtle. The eyes do most of the work and the performance feels even more effective if you know the real-life story of the actor, who was dealing with last stages of cancer while filming (Farnsworth killed himself 1 year after the film's release). So that makes it all more sad and touching. Overall, his nomination is much deserved and a win wouldn't have upset me.

My rating for the film: 8/10. I might've went for a different ending, but I have to respect Lynch's choices.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Splendor in the Grass (1961) (2nd time)

A fragile girl's love for a handsome young man from the town's most powerful family drives her to heartbreak and madness. [imdb]

Nominated for 2 Oscars:

Actress: Natalie Wood
Best Original Screenplay

 How is it that I liked this film quite a lot when I saw it as a teenager, but found it much more dated this time around? Is it me growing up or just gaining more film experience? Something felt flat this time around and the film itself is rather redundant. Not to say there aren't good elements to it: I actually like the ending. And there are motivations in the leading character that I do understand.

But... rather unusual for a film from the era (because usually there were other elements fucking it up, like the screenplay), I couldn't name you one great performance in the film. Which is a shame, because we're talking of Elia Kazan. Natalie just isn't for me, though she has her fans. Beatty is visibly lacking experience, and the casting in some of the juicy supporting roles is quite disappointing.

My rating for the film: 6.5/10. It has moments of honesty that aren't exploited well enough.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) (3rd time?)

Struggling writer Paul Varjak moves into a New York apartment building and becomes intrigued by his pretty, quirky neighbor Holly Golightly. [imdb]

Nominated for 5 Oscars:

Best Actress: Audrey Hepburn
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Original Song
Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture
Best Art Direction, Color

Can we just forget about Mickey Rooney for a second? Looking back at his casting, director Blake Edwards said the he didn't think about the implications of casting a white actor in a role as a Japanese person, but "looking back, I wish I had never done it... and I would give anything to be able to recast it." So that's that.

The film is not perfect and neither is Audrey's performance, but they both work. It's a charming film that surprisingly stands the test of time (I feel) and there's enough elegance, likeability, charm and good acting in close-ups to make Audrey's performance feel special and somehow the right one for the film. Moonriver is a classic I've adored for years and it's perfectly used in key scenes of the film. And this picture even has cat(s), so what else do I need...

My rating for the film: 8.5/10. It's a lovely film and everyone should see it. There's depth behind all that fashion.

The Hustler (1961)

"Fast" Eddie Felson is a small-time pool hustler with a lot of talent but a self-destructive attitude. [imdb]

Nominated for 9 Oscars:

Best Picture
Best Director: Robert Rossen
Best Actor: Paul Newman
Best Actress: Piper Laurie
Best Supporting Actor: Jackie Gleason
Best Supporting Actor: George C. Scott
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography, Black-and-White (WINNER)
Best Art Direction, Black-and-White (WINNER)

I heard a lot of great things about The Hustler before I saw it and they were mostly confirmed; I knew it would be better than its sequel (The Color of Money), which I'd seen many years ago and frankly I don't remember much from it, except it wasn't exactly spectacular. But this is a good film and its quality is due to a well-written screenplay. The film didn't bore me and I thought it built up nicely to the final match. 

Everything happening around the pool table was interesting and intense. The love story could've been better, but it served its purpose inside the film. Paul Newman is excellent (had it not been for Maximilian Schell's great performance in Judgment at Nuremberg, Paul would've had no problem winning - it's the closest he ever got prior to Color of Money). Jackie Gleason is ok, Piper Laurie is good, George C. Scott gives a great performance. 

My rating for the film: 8.5/10. It's an entertaining film that does justice to its hero.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Executive Suite (1954)

When the head of a large manufacturing firm dies suddenly from a stroke, his vice-presidents vie to see who will replace him. [imdb]

Nominated for 4 Oscars:

Best Supporting Actress: Nina Foch
Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White
Best Costume Design, Black-and-White
There's no specific reason why I saw this film last night. I had always been curious about it, because I'd heard only great things and you have to admit the cast IS impressive: Holden, Stanwyck, March, Pidgeon, Winters, Calhern, Allyson, Jagger, Paul Douglas and... Oscar-nominee Nina Foch - her nomination is well deserved; she doesn't get big scenes, but she's a very reasurring presence.

It's probably one of the most business-y films I have ever seen, with a very serious tone and it grabs your attention. The speech at the end is quite excellent and the cinematography feels very special.

My rating for the film: 8.5/10. Stanwyck might just be best in show (though Pidgeon is great too). I assume she didn't accept to be campaigned as Supporting, otherwise she would've been nominated.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Two Women / La Ciociara (1960/61)

Cesira and her 13-year-old daughter, Rosetta, flee from the allied bombs during World War II. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:

Best Actress: Sophia Loren (WINNER)

This is a film that works very nicely up until the last 15-20 minutes, when it loses the tension it built up to till then. That and the terrible-terrible casting of the daughter role stop this film from being great. But it's a damn good film because it relies a lot on Sophia's charisma, which is always a good idea.

It's quite obvious that she's too young for the part, but she carries the film like no other would've. She also brings humour to the story in the no-bullshit line delivery and there's a charming realism to the role, that also applies to the overall film.

My rating for the film: 8.5/10. Recommended.

Summer and Smoke (1961)

Plain, repressed spinster falls for a dashing young medical student, but he prefers the wilder life, until it's too late. [imdb]

Nominated for 4 Oscars:

Best Actress: Geraldine Page
Best Supporting Actress: Una Merkel
Best Music, Drama or Comedy
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color

This was Geraldine's only 2nd feature film and it brought her a second Oscar nomination. It's a role she had previously played on stage, with it being an adaptation of Tennessee Williams' (not-so-successful) play. I won't share my thoughts on Geraldine, I'm keeping them for the other blog (where I'll do my Best Actress 1961 ranking in a week or so).

I've actually seen the film twice in a month and found it just slightly better the second time around. It's hard for the film to succeed when the two leading characters are dislikeable, each in a different way. But it's not a bad film, I would say not even boring. It's very very theatrical, if you can hold that against it. It has a touch of Williams' perversion which makes it quite... juicy (if not cool) at times. Elmer Bernstein's original score is excellent, Una's performance and nomination are rather ignorable and I will salute the scene/shot where Rita Moreno's character dances for Geraldine's. That was funny and a nice touch.

My rating for the film: 6.5/10. A big wink to the ending and the casting of the dude.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ball of Fire (1941) (2nd time)

A group of ivory-tower lexicographers realize they need to hear how real people talk, and end up helping a beautiful singer avoid police and escape from the Mob. [imdb]

Nominated for 4 Oscars:
Best Actress: Barbara Stanwyck
Best Writing, Original Story
Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture
Best Sound

I'm glad I got the chance to see this film again for the other blog, because when I first saw it many years ago (must be about 8-10 years), I gave it a lower rating. And watching it again I found it funny, because if anything the film is well written (a screenplay by none other than Billy Wilder) and I giggled a couple of times.
It has to be one of the last true screwball comedies and it mostly works: the story is silly, but the film never gets too boring and Barbara delivers quite a memorable performance in what seems to have been a great acting year of hers (with other raved performances in The Lady Eve and Meet John Doe).
My rating for the film: 8/10.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hold Back the Dawn (1941)

Stopped in Mexico by U.S. Immigration, Georges Iscovescu hopes to get into the country by marrying a citizen. [imdb]

Nominated for 6 Oscars:
Best Picture

Best Actress: Olivia de Havilland
Best Writing, Screenplay
Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture
Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White

This film was a very pleasant surprise; it seems the screenplay was written by Billy Wilder, which rather explains everything: it's very well put together, with interesting characters and a story that grabbed my attention. Charles Boyer is a captivating lead and gives an excellent performance (curious why he wasn't nominated; it's his film). Olivia is also memorable, playing the role that (maybe) fit her best: the kind, naive woman.
I can't say that I support the ending, but I understand why it went down like that, and I do respect the film a lot.
My rating for the film: 8/10
And some great piece of trivia: The original script included an early scene where Charles Boyer talks to a cockroach in his room. Boyer dismissed the scene as idiotic and convinced director Mitchell Leisen to delete it; screenwriters Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett were so incensed at Leisen for giving in they resolved to direct and produce their own movies from then on. [imdb]

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Big House (1930)

A convict falls in love with his new cellmate's sister, only to become embroiled in a planned break-out which is certain to have lethal consequences. [imdb]

Nominated for 4 Oscars:
Best Picture
Best Actor: Wallace Beery
Best Writing (WINNER)
Best Sound (WINNER)

The reason I saw this film was because it was recommended to me ;) and these days I seem to be in the mood for 1930s & 40s. And, of course, because it has a couple of Oscar nominations. The point is: I can't share the enthusiasm on it, because it IS terribly dated and there are moments where it sounded too scripted and fake. The problem is in the screenplay, which fails (except for the Robert Montgomery one) in developing believable characters. Why would x, y, z have done that?! Plenty of such questions crossed my mind. :)

The ending is fine, except for defying logic a couple of times and that silly last scene. The acting is mostly OK: I dislike Wallace Beery because of his personal life, but he gives a good performance here. The star of the film is Chester Morris: his performance is memorable and he is terribly charismatic. 

My rating for the film: 6/10. I just didn't enjoy it as much, and felt too dated to reward higher.

Blossoms in the Dust (1941)

It tells the true story of Edna Gladney who takes it upon herself to help orphaned children to find homes, despite the opposition of the "good" citizens who think that illegitimate children are beneath their interest. [wiki]

Nominated for 4 Oscars:
Best Picture

Best Actress: Greer Garson
Best Cinematography, Color
Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Color (WINNER)

I must be the only living person who is not a Green Garson fanatic who has seen the film TWICE. :) For my other blog, of course. But I'm glad when I see them more than once, because I get to appreciate the performances more. This might just be the best Greer Garson performance I've seen so far and she is way better than the film would demand. There's a certain energy in the performance that is lovely to witness - and she also looks great in Color - this is overall a nicely shot film, with the colors being a delight.

Other than Greer, the film isn't much. It pretends to be a biopic, but, with a simple check on wikipedia, you can tell this takes so much liberties it barely has much to do with the real story. But writers did that A LOT back in the day. In many ways, it's your average 1940s drama. Something to note: I don't remember ever seeing so many black actors in a film of that era (a film with a story that doesn't specifically require black actors - so Gone with the Wind doesn't count); sure, the main roles are cliches of servants or helpers, but they're also portrayed as nicely dressed, included in a community, almost on equal ground, donating money to charity. This was 1941 after all. I'm curious if Greer's personal activism had anything to do with this or if it was all on the director.

My rating for the film: 5.5/10. For either fans of old film or Greer / Best Actress fanatics.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Suspicion (1941)

A shy young English woman marries a charming gentleman, then begins to suspect him of trying to kill her. [imdb]

Nominated for 3 Oscars:
Best Picture
Best Actress: Joan Fontaine (WINNER)
Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture
This has to be the worst Hitchcock film I've ever seen (he's done plenty of films nobody's talking about, so I can't say it's his worst ever). But how surprising for him to craft such a bad film, especially only 1 year after the wonderful Rebecca. This film has nothing except for 1 or 2 good ideas (the glass of milk) that aren't even explored properly.

Cary Grant is dislikeable here, even beyond his character. Joan plays a VERY naive woman in an overly theatrical performance that makes for one for the most unfortunate Best Actress wins in history. The music is too much, while the ending - I was hoping for it to redeem the film - is just pure vanilla, probably forced upon Hitchcock by the studio. Let's skip it unless we have to.

My rating for the film: 4/10.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

The dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from Smaug. [imdb]

Nominated for 3 Oscars:
Best Visual Effects
Sound Mixing
Best Sound Editing

I am a sucker for the Lord of the Rings trilogy and I even enjoyed the first Hobbit (at least more than the others did). But I have to admit this one was... well... not exactly uneventful. More like unimportant. I mean: hey, I could've watched it for hours and hours, because I am fascinated by this universe, but there was nothing too fascinating going on. Like a mid-season so-and-so episode of an otherwise good TV series.
And why the hell was that dragon talking? :) Not too thrilled with the visual effects either. Hope the last episode will get to be the best - and somehow justify this entire new series of films.
My rating for the film: 7/10.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012/13)

Elise and Didier fall in love at first sight, in spite of their differences. He talks, she listens. He's a romantic atheist, she's a religious realist. When their daughter becomes seriously ill, their love is put on trial. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:
Best Foreign Language Film (Belgium)

I feel like I'm going to be unfair with this film, since many people DO enjoy it, and good for them. I've actually heard of one person hating it, but I don't hate it at all. I just think it goes for a couple of cliches that it could've avoided. I also think it reaches a high point in the plot way too early and then gets rather lost from there.
The actors do a fine job most of the time, but nothing spectacular. The music if fine. The directing is fine. The kid playing the little girl, she deserved to be named: Nell Cattrysse, brings some amazing Quvenzhan√© realness to the part, especially in the dead-crow scene. I can't get behind some of the dialogue, though, which seemed forced, almost out of place, and the ending was just a bit silly.
My rating for the film: 7/10. Since it never really bothered me.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:
Best Visual Effects

A sequel that gives me hope: this was (much) better than the original Star Trek from 4 years ago, that I mostly didn't like (wasn't it too cheesy?!). This one was more grounded, with a story that felt right, enough action to never be boring, a good performance from Chris Pine and a GREAT one from Benedict C. 

Had I seen this before the actual Oscar nominations were announced, I would've correctly predicted this nominations - the Visual Effects are quite amazing. A good effort.

My rating for the film: 7.5/10.

Iron Man 3 (2013)

When Tony Stark's world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:
Best Visual Effects

Time flies, and I can barely remember what happened in those previous films. :) I am the target of this film ONLY because sometimes I really enjoy visual-effects-driven stuff, but I have nothing to do with the whole Marvel thing. Too many of these already.

This was standard, if not a bit better than that. Not really boring, with decent performances, fine visual effects, Downey Jr still charismatic. Should I have asked for more?

My rating for the film: 7/10.

All Is Lost (2013)

After a collision with a shipping container at sea, a resourceful sailor finds himself, despite all efforts to the contrary, staring his mortality in the face. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:
Best Sound Editing

And here is yet another 2013 film that starts on the right note and doesn't end up so great. I appreciated the mood of the film, the big storms, the sounds and the visuals, but the story itself turns boring at some point. Robert Redford delivers a good performance, but this is not a film that would make an actor shine through his performance - it was all physically challenging, I bet, he gets one shouting scene, but otherwise it's all low key.

The original score is superb and I'm sad it didn't get nominated. If any justice, it should win Sound Editing, though it won't.

My rating for the film: 7.5/10.

Lone Survivor (2013)

Marcus Luttrell and his team set out on a mission to capture or kill notorious Taliban leader Ahmad Shah, in late June 2005. [imdb]

Nominated for 2 Oscars:
Best Sound Mixing
Best Sound Editing

I wrote on Twitter that this film was in desperate need of Kathryn Bigelow, and I still stand by it. It's a poorly directed, exploitive film that has little popcorn fun to it, and never feels compelling enough because of some cliches and not-so-inspired directing choices. Some people fall for this, I found it offensive at times, both towards the "enemy" and also towards the real life heroes: did we really need to see the characters continuingly hitting their heads on rocks?! What was the point of that.

Oh nevermind. Not my cup of tea I guess.

My rating for the film: 5/10.

Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Author P.L. Travers reflects on her childhood after reluctantly meeting with Walk Disney, who seeks to adapt her Mary Poppins books for the big screen. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:
Best Original Score

It so happens that most of the times a film made from the so-well-known Hollywood structure doesn't really work out for me. This is a film with not enough depth, and when it does exist, it's only in Emma's performance - which is not some kind of treasure, but it's a fine effort, and the best in the film.

Hanks was fine, Colin and everything connected to the flashbacks not so much. It needed better writing, better directing. The original score is not that good either, by Thomas Newman standards.

My rating for the film: 6/10.

The Book Thief (2013)

In World War II Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books. Under the stairs in her home, a Jewish refugee is being sheltered by her adoptive parents. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:
Best Original Score

Next to Fruitvale Station, this wins my prize for the not-so-obvious worst film of the year. And the screenplay is not even the worst element of it: the directing is a nightmare, from the strange pace, to the flat, almost chiched acting, to some ridiculous choices (did you see how those bodies looked after a bombing?!). 

It's a dull story that we've seen tens of times before. Even the costume design choices are weird: children during war-time living in poor conditions dressed like from a Burberry catalogue. And, ah yes, the original score is nothing interesting.

My rating for the film: 3/10.

The Lone Ranger (2013)

Native American warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice. [imdb]

Nominated for 2 Oscars:
Best Makeup & Hairstyling
Best Visual Effects

Without a doubt, this was one of the most underrated films of 2013. The Razzie nominations are ridiculous - while it could've used a better screenplay, this film was perfectly entertaining most times. And forget the rumours: it didn't lose that much money if you count worldwide box-office. 

I thought it was really funny overall, I laughed outloud once or twice and enjoyed a lot the Wilhelm Tell train-action scene. The Makeup nomination, at least, is very deserving, and might've actually had my vote.

My rating for the film: 7.5/10.

The Great Gatsby (2013)

A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor. [imdb]

Nominated for 2 Oscars:
Best Production Design (WINNER)
Best Costume Design

Another adaption of a book I never really enjoyed. I will say this: Baz's version is better than the 1974 one, which was a borderline disaster. So... that's something, right? Some people seem to have an issue with the production design, but I thought it all looked lovely and the costumes are quite memorable themselves.

The weak element of the film must be the acting: I can't approve of either Leo or Carey, though Joel Edgerton is quite intriguing. Not a deep or meaningful film, but pleasant to watch and talk about that soundtrack...

My rating for the film: 7/10.

The Grandmaster (2013)

The story of martial-arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee. [imdb]

Nominated for 2 Oscars:
Best Cinematography
Best Costume Design

This film reminded me a bit of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, one of the best films ever. It doesn't reach it greatness, but it has a couple of very memorable scenes (train station fight) and its Oscar nominations are both very well deserved. It should actually win the one for Costume Design, though it won't happen. 

Ziyi Zhang delivers a good performance and the overall film was a pleasant experience, quite visually stunning.

My rating for the film: 8/10.