Friday, July 31, 2009

The Three Faces of Eve (1957)

A doctor treats a woman suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:

Best Actress: Joanne Woodward (WINNER)

I look at the poster on the right and the woman looks nothing like Joanne Woodward :D these marketing guys are terrible. Other than that, I must admit I have a thing for Joanne. It's not sexual; and I don't think it's based on her acting talent, as I've only seen 5-6 movies of hers (but she's a great actress, still). I find her face to be fascinating; her eyes are some of the most gorgeous I've ever seen. She has an exotic feel (especially in her 60s movies) and she looks like someone I'd admire and respect. Somehow, most of her characters seem to be a bit whinny, but in the sweetest & most delicious way. I just want to hug her. :D
Getting back to the film: it's like a docudrama and it's based (though I'm not sure how accurate) on real events. The film is rather short, simple, nothing that special about. Truth is Eve depends entirely on Joanne's performance; based on the story construction, it's almost a one woman show. And she delivers, even though I didn't LOVE the performance. It's a tough role to play and multiple personality is not the type of subject I enjoy. But Joanne did her best and most importantly she made it look believable. The Oscar win might be worthy. And as I think of it now... the role sounds crazy baity, but it's not THAT flashy. I must also congratulate her for making all 3 personalities look distinctive; it really is a great achievement. (My favorite one was Eve Black, the naughty :P ).
My rating for the film: 7/10. Hard to rate.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Prizzi's Honor (1985) (2nd time)

A professional hit man and a hit woman fall in love, only to discover that they have each been hired to kill the other. [imdb] This is the imdb plot; the subject is actually more complicated.

Nominated for 8 Oscars:

Best Picture
Best Director: John Huston
Best Actor: Jack Nicholson
Best Supporting Actor: William Hickey
Best Supporting Actress: Anjelica Huston (WINNER)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Costume Design
Best Editing

I don't think I've ever seen Jack Nicholson give such an AWFUL performance; why didn't I remember it the first time?! It's not just that he's too old for the part, but... he has no idea what he's doing! His face expressions are ridiculous and he's usually so good with comedy. All those critics awards he's won for this... what were they thinking?! I'm starting to understand why William Hurt won Best Actor that year; such a weak category.
Surprisingly enough, the acting was generally disappointing, with one exception: William Hickey does an excellent job as the head of the Prizzi Family - he's perfectly cast and very good, in a difficult comedic role. He probably deserved to win. The director's daughter, Anjelica Huston, a much lesser-known actress back then, won the Oscar as a tricky mafia daughter. The win is totally undeserving; you can see the lack of experience all through the performance; and when you think she won over brilliant Oprah Winfrey in The Color Purple...
The film has its bad parts, mostly involving Jack Nicholson's flirting scenes from the beginning; I'm not kidding, he's THAT bad. Kathleen Turner is mediocre and the first half just doesn't work. But the second part... something delicious about it: the dark humour takes over and the last 30 minutes are energetic & very interesting.
My rating for the film: 7.5/10. I'm mostly being generous, it probably deserves less.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

It Happened One Night (1934)

A spoiled heiress, running away from her father, is helped by a man who's actually a reporter looking for a story. But then he falls for her... [imdb]

Nominated for 5 Oscars:

Best Picture (WINNER)
Best Director: Frank Capra (WINNER)
Best Actor: Clark Gable (WINNER)
Best Actress: Claudette Colbert (WINNER)
Best Writing, Adaptation (WINNER)

It Happened One Night is not just the 7th film to win Best Picture, but also one of only 3 films to ever win the 5 major Oscars: picture, director, screenplay, actor & actress. And it's an interesting film, probably ahead of its time. When I first think of it, I find it to be a bit too light, too soft for a BP winner. It's a comedy, with a very simple story. But the fact that it does function so well on all levels makes it the great, memorable film it is.
I've heard it campaigned as a screwball comedy; it's not, as I don't think it's wacky enough. The film is more romantic; the comedy comes just after the middle of the film and it's good to have it there, but there's nothing hilarious in the story. I did laugh in the hitchhiking scene, which is very funny.
The films works well do to a great chemistry between Gable and Colbert. Both of them are good, especially Claudette, who's not just gorgeous (look at that perfect face!), but also super talented. The screenplay is light, but written well and the direction is simple, supporting the story and the actors. There really isn't anything bad to say about it; it's a very good film, more entertaining in the 2nd half. It probably did deserve all those Oscars.
My rating for the film: 8/10. It's smart feel good and Claudette is charming.

*** Originally an 8.5, edited to an 8 :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Braveheart (1995) (2nd time)

William Wallace, a commoner, unites the 13th Century Scots in their battle to overthrow English rule. [imdb]

Nominated for 10 Oscars:

Best Picture (WINNER)
Best Director: Mel Gibson (WINNER)
Best Original Screenplay
Best Cinematography (WINNER)
Best Original Score
Best Costume Design
Best Editing
Best Sound
Best Sound Effects (WINNER)
Best Makeup (WINNER)

There are two sides to Braveheart. First: it's a homophobic, xenophobic, historically very inaccurate film. On the other hand: it's a well directed film with a good technical part, with memorable fighting scenes and a beautiful cinematography. So, one should choose for himself.
The original score and the cinematography are terribly good and the technical wins and nominations seem justified. Other than that: the acting is mediocre and the romantic side of the film sucks. I think the screenplay is overrated bullshit, from the character clichés to the huge lack of respect for the historical facts. Oh yeah: and everybody is so patriotic and it's so cool to day on the battlefield. I do think this film has its own target; and maybe I'm not included. :P But truth is: Mel Gibson knows how to direct! He didn't deserve the Oscar, nor did the film deserve Best Picture. But I must hand it to him that parts of Braveheart were very well directed. I don't want to leave the impression I hated the movie; it was enjoyable at times and the cinematography was a delight.
My rating for the film: 7/10. A bit too much, considering how paper thin the story really is.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Amadeus (1984) (2nd time)

The incredible story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, told in flashback mode by Antonio Salieri - now confined to an insane asylum. [imdb]

Nominated for 11 Oscars:

Best Picture (WINNER)
Best Director: Milos Forman (WINNER)
Best Actor: F. Murray Abraham (WINNER)
Best Actor: Tom Hulce
Best Adapted Screenplay (WINNER)
Best Cinematography
Best Art Direction (WINNER)
Best Costume Design (WINNER)
Best Editing
Best Sound (WINNER)
Best Makeup (WINNER)

You can tell right from the beginning this is a big, important film. It's a great story told in an interesting manner and it keeps you connected. The music of course is overwhelming, but in a good way. Mozart sounds miraculous and you get to hear lots of his pieces. Of course, this is not a true story, but it contains a lot of real stuff and as it's told through the perspective of one man: subjectiveness should be allowed.
The film has what I would call a classical direction: clean storytelling & direction, but done very well and which gives an intelligent feeling to the film. It looks serious and it's impecable from a technical point of view; I was especially impressed by the costume design, there's a mourning/funeral dress at the end that blew me away. The actors are all great and it's very difficult for me to choose between Abraham (Salieri) and Tom Hulce (Mozart); they are both leading men, very different roles, but excellent both of them. I can easily say the film also deserved its other wins, including Picture, Director & Screenplay. It really is a grandiose film.
My rating for the film: 9/10. It's more of a 8.5, but what the hell; this is my genre.

Sense and Sensibility (1995) (3rd time?)

Mr. Dashwood dies, leaving his second wife and her daughters poor by the rules of inheritance. It's about the stories of two very different sisters. Based on the novel by Jane Austen. [imdb]

Nominated for 7 Oscars:

Best Picture
Best Actress: Emma Thompson
Best Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet
Best Adapted Screenplay (WINNER)
Best Cinematography
Best Original Score
Best Costume Design

I hadn't seen this in years, and last night I wanted something pleasant, British, easy to watch. And it was all that and more, because S&S is a charming film. First of all, I didn't remember the screenplay to be that well written. Congratulations to Emma Thompson for winning a much deserved screenplay Oscar; her adaptation is beautiful and not boring at all.
And she's also great with her acting, of course. Even though a bit old for the part, she gives a very good performance, establishing herself as one of the most important actresses of the 90s. Young Kate Winslet is ok, good, but her performance felt a bit exagerated at times; yet she's a nice presence in the film. The rest of the supporting cast is great and the entire production looks serious. Ang Lee should have received a Best Director nomination and the film itself deserved to win Best Picture (out of the 5 nominated).
I love the 2005 adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, it's an alltime favorite. Sense and Sensibility is also very good, but in a different way; it's more mature, with a story that feels more complicated but also more structured. Great achiviements both.
My rating for the film: 9/10. It just makes me happy.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lorenzo's Oil (1992)

A boy develops a disease so rare that nobody is working on a cure, so his father decides to learn all about it and tackle the problem himself. [imdb]

Nominated for 2 Oscars:

Best Actress: Susan Sarandon
Best Original Screenplay

This is the last performance I needed to see for my other blog's Best Actress 1992. I've always had a feeling that I had already seen this film. I had seen parts of it on tv and, let's be honest, most of them are all the same so you're left with a sensation of familiarity. And Lorenzo's Oil is no big exception. It actually has a striking television feel to it; I've written some tv screenplays and this one needed a bit more edge to justify the cinema release.
The first 20 minutes are hard to sit through. Two negative elements hit you right from the start: first, the overuse of classical music, which is way way way too much in the beginning, it shows they's trying to hard to impress and made me curious what was the director thinking?! Second, Nick Nolte's HORRIBLE italian accent! The Razzie people should've done something about it!
Susan's performance is good and above the material. Even though it's a true (and really remarkable) story, the roles are clichés. There isn't that much for her to do except cry when she's needed, keep a balanced performance, show some anger and elevate the emotional moments. For sure, it deserved the nomination, but a win for such a thin role would've been too much.
My rating for the film: 6.5/10. It's an impressive story and an ok & rather predictable film.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Bad Seed (1956)

An ideal housewife begins to suspect her loving adolescent daughter may be a heartless killer. [imdb]

Nominated for 4 Oscars:

Best Actress: Nancy Kelly
Best Supporting Actress: Eileen Heckart
Best Supporting Actress: Patty McCormack
Best Cinematography, Black-and-White

I keep getting these great movies! The subject of The Bad Seed does not really fit my taste. Thinking of a demonic child brings me memories of a certain Macaulay Culkin movie. But this one is far from being a cliché. First of all, it seems way ahead of its time. Second, it’s not the little girl who gets the centre-stage, but her conflicted mother and we follow her desperation as she realizes what a cold blood killer she’s been raising.

The 3 main Oscar nominations are crazy deserving. I had doubts about the mostly unknown Nancy Kelly, but boy did she prove me wrong. Her leading performance is one of the best of the decade and she would've deserved to win the Oscar! The role is very very difficult as it requires her to go through a wide area of emotions. Her face is very expressive and it helps us understand the moral dilemma of the character.

The supporting actresses are both worthy of a win. The casting of Patty McCormack as the perfect little girl is dead on. She was probably 9 or 10 while filming this, but her acting is much more mature than you’d think. A huge achievement is her capacity of carrying long, unedited (!!!), highly tensioned scenes. Eileen Heckart plays the drunken mother of a dead boy; she gets two scenes, the second of which is rather redundant. But she’s that believable in the role and crazy emotional, that you fall for it and sympathize with this poor woman.

My rating for the film: 9/10. The last scene is a bit debatable :) but The Bad Seed is a thrill to watch, a really mature thriller with unbelievable acting.

Alfie (1966)

Alfie tells the story of a young man who leads a promiscuous lifestyle until several life reversals make him rethink his purposes and goals in life. [wiki]

Nominated for 5 Oscars:

Best Picture
Best Actor: Michael Caine
Best Supporting Actress: Vivien Merchant
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Original Song

Wow, wow, wow. I so didn’t expect this film to be THAT GOOD. Forgetting that the film is 95% crazy misogynistic, this is some serious piece of acting, directing & overall production. Sorry haters, but I didn’t feel offended at all. The screenplay is just brilliant and the decision to sometimes break the 4th wall (talk directly to the camera) fits perfectly the spirit of the film.

Now I really know why Michael Caine is considered one of the best actors of the last 40-50 years. His performance is excellent, making it one of the best male performances ever (really!); I’m not sure if it’s even his best one, as I find it hard to choose between this and his brilliance in Sleuth. I can't believe A Man for All Seasons (which I’ve seen) won all those Oscars and nothing for Alfie. The storytelling is excellently thought and the film is very captivating. Vivien Merchant gives a good Oscar nominated performance, but she’s just one of the many supporting actresses from the film.

My rating for the film: 9/10. What I would’ve done differently was probably change the last 5-10 minutes, not that it has a bad ending. A surprising, unpredictable film that should be considered a classic.

Cat Ballou (1965)

A woman seeking revenge for her murdered father hires a famous gunman, but he's very different from what she expects. [imdb]

Nominated for 5 Oscars:

Best Actor: Lee Marvin (WINNER)
Best Original Screenplay
Best Music, Scoring, Adaptation or Treatment
Best Original Song
Best Editing

Young Jane Fonda was so hot! This is some kind of a breakthrough performance for her and you know what? she really delivers. There’s not just the hotness going on, but she also proves great dramatic and comedy timing. Of course, this being a western comedy, the role doesn’t demand that much. But anyhow, the acting is good all the way.

The film is light, entertaining and quite funny at times. Lee Marvin won his Oscar for a double performance, but mostly for playing a washed up cowboy, a drunken loser hired by Cat Ballou to defend her father. Lee Marvin’s win is debatable and complicated to take sides. On one hand, the role is almost supporting and the film isn’t really about him. On the other hand, his comedic performance is creative and fabulous at times. Even so, the Academy rarely (almost never) gives a Best Actor Oscar to a comedy role.

My rating for the film: 7.5/10. It’s fun to watch, relaxing and the screenplay does have some smart moments.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Love Field (1992)

1963. A good spirited woman desperate to get to JFK's funeral crosses paths with a black man and his daughter, creating drama in their lives. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:

Best Actress: Michelle Pfeiffer

This small film gave me quite a surprise. I expected it to be a pain to watch, but at points it was really enjoyable and thrilling. So it was a nice surprise, and I would say the film itself is better than Michelle's performance. The story is dramatic, it's the type of storyline that would normally annoy me, with bad shit happening to good people. But it's not crazy disturbing, as I would've been upset if they would've gone too far.
It's a film about racism, loneliness and dealing with emotional pain. Dennis Haysbert gives a wonderful performance as a man who just wants to take his daughter to safety and tries to keep calm as everything goes wrong around him. Michelle Pfeiffer is definitely a presence, but not always a stellar one. Her performance has good moments, but it lacks focus at times or she overdoes the southern accent. The nomination seems fair, but definitely not a win. I would've also nominated it for Best Original Screenplay.
My rating for the film: 7.5/10. It's good drama and those who've seen it probably love as much as I do the scenes from the old woman's house. The film would've probably been better known had Denzel Washington accepted the male part.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Inside Daisy Clover (1965)

Daisy Clover is a 15 year old Tomboy who dreams of being a Hollywood star. And she makes it, though it doesn't bring her happiness. [imdb]

Nominated for 3 Oscars:

Best Supporting Actress: Ruth Gordon
Best Art Direction, Color
Best Costume Design, Color

What a boring boring boring boring film. Really now. It's almost unwatchable. The idea is not bad, but the presentation is sooooooo slow and uninteresting; the screenplay doesn't go anywhere, the tone of the film is too serious & a mess and the direction is lacking, to say the best.
Who can buy the fact that 26-27 yo Natalie Wood is believable as a 15 yo tomboy?! Come on!!! She's way way too old for the part and it's visible throughout the film. The Oscar nominations aren't really worthy. Ruth Gordon won a Golden Globe and received an Oscar nom for playing her cuckoo old mother; this is so undeserving because she does nothing more than just sit around. She's an excentric presence, but that's it! Just awful.
There are two reasons why this is not getting a 2/10 from me. The first one: there's a 5 minute scene towards the end, after a certain character dies and Daisy is going to the studio to record some voice and she has a breakdown. The scene has a very dark mood to it and it reminded me of Mulholland Dr. It's very tense, though the situation doesn't require it to. The music is perfectly strange and the camera work great. The other reason is the final shot, with the burning house. But that's it. I swear it.
My rating for the film: 3/10. A bore fest with one single excellent scene.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Heaven Can Wait (1978)

A Los Angeles Rams quarterback, accidentally taken away from his body by an over-anxious angel before he was supposed to die, comes back to life in the body of a recently-murdered millionaire. [imdb]

Nominated for 9 Oscars:

Best Picture
Best Director: Warren Beatty & Buck Henry
Best Actor: Warren Beatty
Best Supporting Actor: Jack Warden
Best Supporting Actress: Dyan Cannon
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography
Best Original Score
Best Art Direction (WINNER)

I usually give 6, 7 or 7.5 to films that are either very good & impressive but also have terribly wrong elements OR are just somewhere in the middle with almost everything they have to show. Heaven Can Wait falls in the second category. It’s boring at times, but still relaxing to watch, it’s impressive and surprising, but still not all the way.

The thing is: it doesn’t feel at all as Best Picture material. And I also don’t think it deserved nominations for Best Actor: Warren Beatty (not that much of a stretch), Best Supporting Actress: Dyan Cannon (nothing special), Best Direction (nothing revolutionary) and maybe not even for Adapted Screenplay. The film itself is rather light, but it’s a feel-good and some jokes are actually funny. The best performances come from Julie Christie and, unexpectedly, from Oscar nominated Jack Warden who gives the only touching, emotional performance. The big twist took me by surprise (as I haven’t seen the 1941 original) and lifted the rating with at least half a point. Oh yeah: and the Art Direction win is bullshit.

My rating for the film: 7.5/10. I am being generous, but I can’t find any major flaws to it and I did feel good at the end of the film, without it offending my intelligence.

Legend (1985/86) (2nd time)

A young man must stop the Lord of Darkness from both destroying daylight and marrying the woman he loves. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:

Best Makeup

Truth be told: this film sucks. How can a director like Ridley Scott miss the mark on this? He wanted it to look artistic and charming and just like a fairytale. But it’s a boring movie with a decent technical part. The worst things about it: the screenplay & Tom Cruise.

I get it: it’s fantasy, but that’s no excuse for bad storytelling and poor writing decisions. I hate the screenplay and especially the convenient ending. Tom Cruise was young, had no idea how to act or that you need good teeth to be a leading man. The one reason this film needs to be watched is Tim Curry! The man is an underused, underrated genius!!! Helloooo, where’s his Oscar nomination?! His demonic performance is so iconic and dead on and the voice work: just brilliant. He’s a scary devil and that’s also due to the excellent Oscar-nominated makeup (it lost to The Fly, which sadly seems fair).

My rating for the film: 5/10. A 10 for Tim Curry, a 2 for the film without him; no math intended. But I can see how the LOTR people might have been a bit inspired by this, at least in the makeup department.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cavalcade (1933)

A cavalcade of English life from New Year's Eve 1899 until 1933 seen through the eyes of well-to-do Londoners Jane and Robert Marryot. [imdb]

Nominated for 4 Oscars:

Best Picture (WINNER)
Best Director: Frank Lloyd (WINNER)
Best Actress: Diana Wynyard
Best Art Direction (WINNER)

The 6th Best Picture winner is a disaster. :) I can't even write about it. What's strange is that, judging by its subject, the story had lots of potential. It has a decent beginning and the ending was well performed. But truth be told: the film has no middle and NO real story to tell.
It's mistakenly promoted as some kind of a love story. It's not. It's also not an epic film, but a montage of various, uninteresting (!) moments from the life of a family. But the characters are so poorly constructed and the scenes so rushed and lacking any true emotion, that you DON'T give a damn what happens and you mostly go like: who the f*ck cares?! It didn't deserve any Oscar win, nor any nominations. Diana tries to act something, but she's got absolutely nothing to work with, especially in the 2nd part; but she really tries, and I'll hand that to her. I can only imagine this is the worst Best Picture winner ever, in my opinion; but we'll see.
My rating for the film: 3/10. Not less, because I don't hate it; but it did waste my time. Almost nothing to hold on to.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)

A town Sheriff fights to keep a historical whorehouse open when a TV preacher targets it as the Devils playhouse. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:

Best Supporting Actor: Charles Durning

I am usually against films that glorify prostitution and encourage polygamy. Pretty Woman is the best example of such unfortunate gloryfication. Although this film can be included in such a category, it's light nonsense, so no one can take it seriously. First of all, it's a musical. It's loud. It's strange. It's vulgar.

The Oscar nomination was a fortunate accident, justified mostly by the fact that Charles Durning was a well-respected, never nominated actor. His role as the Governor is tricky & strange. He has one big musical moment and there's also lots of dancing in it, something that you'd never except to see him do. Strangely enough, the performance feels right. But I don't know if it was worthy of an Oscar nom, as it was a pretty strong category that year.

The best moments of the film and the ones worth judging come from Dolly Parton's performance. She has lots of musical moments and all you can look at are her boobs. But she gets two dramatic scenes that blow you away. The first one: her big fighting with Reynolds. The second one: the magical performance of the original version of I Will Always Love You!!!!! Dolly fairly lost the Golden Globe to Julie Andrew's iconic performance in Victor Victoria, but I dare to say that she was a serious contender for an Oscar nomination. :P

My rating for the film: 5/10. I'm being quite generous as the film is 90% sooo vulgar, trashy & brainless, yet entertaining. :) I give a big 10/10 to Dolly Parton's dramatic scenes, that really lift up the film. Oh yeah: and the ending is too sudden.

***I've made this montage for youtube with Dolly's best moments in the film, including her I Will Always Love You performance. In case you're interested:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Grand Hotel (1932)

Everything seems to be happening at the luxury Grand Hotel, from romance to robbery to an accidental death. [wiki]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:

Best Picture (WINNER)

The 5th Best Picture winner holds a very interesting record: it's the only BP winner with no other Oscar nominations. This would never happen today. Yet, it's an unfortunate trivia: the film deserved more nominations, at least for Best Director and Best Actress: Joan Crawford. Grand Hotel is not the masterpiece many critics want you to believe; but it's a good film, quite interesting and the first one to have a true ensemble cast!

That means 5 big names: Garbo, Crawford, the two Barrymore brothers and Berry. In a way, they're all supporting and the storylines aren't always interconnected. The screenplay has great parts, but also some that aren't so interesting. But I understand that it was difficult to write and what seems obvious now was quite revolutionary back then. It's not a film I love, but I admire its class and acting. Lionel Barrymore is great, Garbo is devine to look at, but Joan Crawford is the one to watch. I haven't seen almost any of her early films (from the 30s), so I was a bit surprised by how beautiful & talented she was. She gives a wonderful, likeable, flirty performance.
My rating for the film: 7.5/10. I might change my mind and give it more. There were some boring parts I can't get over. But anyway, it's a very interesting film, and possibly worthy of its win.

Indochine (1992) (2nd time)

It is the story of Éliane Devries, a French plantation owner, and of her adopted Vietnamese daughter, Camille, with the rising Vietnamese nationalist movement set as a backdrop. [wiki]

Nominated for 2 Oscars:

Best Foreign Language Film: France (WINNER)
Best Actress: Catherine Deneuve

It felt like it lasted forever. I've first seen it about 2 years ago and it was actually a bit better the second time around. I wouldn't have given it a second chance, but I will write about Deneuve's Best Actress nomination for the other blog. Indochine is a serious film and, technically, it's done very well. And I'm also counting on the fact that it's historically acurate.

The foreign language film nomination seems obvious. I'm not sure about the win, though. The film has an epic feel to it, but the story itself is flawed in many ways. Catherine Deneuve's performance is just ok and the rest of the actors are quite mediocre. Young Vincent Perez is gorgeous and a pleasure to look at, but his acting is so bad especially in the beginning. Ironically, the best part of the film has almost nothing to do with Deneuve; it's the 2nd part, focused on the adopted daughter, her lover & the communists. When there's action going on, the film is actually quite good.

My rating for the film: 7/10. Nice execution and history. Lovely landscape to look at. A very interesting perspective on the communist uprising. But the film will sometimes test your pacience.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Poseidon (2006)

On New Year's Eve, the luxury ocean liner Poseidon capsizes after being swamped by a rogue wave. The survivors are left to fight for survival as they attempt to escape the sinking ship. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:

Best Visual Effects

I watched it just for the visual effects; and even those weren't that spectacular. I've seen the original (1972's The Poseidon Adventure) two or three years ago and it was great. This one is shit. I've read a comment of someone who said: with a 150 mill. $ budget, couldn't they've afforded a good screenplay?! And it's so true.
The screenplay is crap (I guess it was written in like... 2 days): it's predictable, the characters are very uninteresting (unlike the original), the dialogue is bullshit and it all feels cheesy. More important: you just can't believe it!!! It's way too exagerated and I know it wasn't meant to be so. The acting is mostly ignorable, maybe except for leading man Josh Lucas, but what can the poor guy do with such an empty story?! A plus for the film is the editing, which actually manages to create some intense moments. The direction, however, is a disaster of its own.
My rating for the film: 2.5/10. An unnecessary remake which really offends the viewer's inteligence. Those waves do a better job that the actors & crew.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Passion Fish (1992) (2nd time)

Soap actress May-Alice Culhane is paralyzed from the waist down in an accident. She returns to her old home in Louisiana, where she befriends her nurse Chantelle, whose stubbornness matches her own. [imdb]

Nominated for 2 Oscars:

Best Actress: Mary McDonnell
Best Original Screenplay

I've watched the film again for the other blog, where I'll soon discuss Mary's performance. The film itself is not bad, it has a Hallmark touch, but if so - it is more intelligent that the average. The film starts as being May-Alice's battle with her paralysis, but ends up as a film about an unusual friendship between two ex-addicts.
The performances are quite good. Actually, I didn't remember Alfre Woodard giving such a rich, emotional supporting performance. I think she was the runner-up for an Oscar nomination. Unfortunately, she didn't get it. Mary is good, very good, but the screenplay & character don't give her the opportunity to be excellent. However, in a pretty weak year like '92 was, it's a worthy nomination. Same with Best Original Screenplay - weak category, but it deserved the nomination.
My rating for the film: 7/10. Today they'd send this type of film straight to tv. It's good, but vanilla.