Saturday, November 27, 2010

Toy Story 2 (1999)

When Woody is stolen by a toy collector, Buzz and his friends vow to rescue him, but Woody finds the idea of immortality in a museum tempting. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:

Best Original Song

I have continued my way through the Toy Story series and I really didn't know what to expect from the second one. Thankfully, I thought it was great!!! Even with a bit of a slower beginning, the film totally manages to rise up quality wise especially in the second part, making for another fun, smart, animated film.
The screenplay is, just like for the first Toy Story, the best in show. Some of the jokes were hilarious and the creativity of the storyline continues to impress me. Even moreso than the first film, this one has lots of heart; and it smartly kept using the funniest characters from the first part. It deserved a Screenplay nomination for sure; and had there been an Animated Feature category back then, it would've easily won.
My rating for the film: 8.5/10. I'm not the biggest fan of Randy Newman, but the nominated song really is memorable and perfectly used in the film.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Toy Story (1995)

A cowboy toy is profoundly threatened and jealous when a fancy spaceman toy supplants him as top toy in a boy's room. [imdb]

Nominated for 3 Oscars:

Best Original Screenplay
Best Original Musical or Comedy Score
Best Original Song
+ Special Achievement Award for Animation techniques (WINNER)

The perspective of having to see Toy Story 3 forced me into finally seeing this first film and, very soon, all trilogy. Why did I wait so long when I knew this was a revolutionary animated feature? It's because I thought it would look dated and that it would be a boring story. And, of course, I was wrong; but happy to be so.
While it doesn't blow you away like today's computer generated animation, the film WORKS and doesn't look gimmicky. It's colorful and MOST IMPORTANTLY it's very very funny and creative. I expected a simple story, but the screenplay is just great, with lots of twists and turns and always keeping humor and a sharp eye for detail. I actually think it should've won the screenplay Oscar. To me it's up there with all the newer stuff like Finding Nemo and Wall E!
My rating for the film: 8.5/10. Had I seen it back then, I would've probably given it even more! But a very entertaining, smart film and what a capable, strong direction!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nell (1994)

It tells the story of an adult woman who has to face other people for the first time after being raised by her mother in an isolated cabin. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:

Best Actress: Jodie Foster

You know, Jodie Foster almost didn't take the part, because she just wanted to direct the film. I can't imagine that. Later, she said that considers this to be her best performance. While I'm saving most of my ideas on that subject matter for my next week's profile, I will say that rarely have I seen so much prejudice on a performance like in the case of Jodie Foster's Nell. All you need is a careful look at it and see that it's more than jurd weird noises. I didn't expect what I got.

Getting back to the film: of course it has some cheesy, almost predictable moments. The screenplay is no masterpiece, but the acting makes up for other flaws: all actors are doing a good job, from Liam Neeson to Jeremy Davies playing a very offending redneck. The direction is mostly ok, but what convinced me not to go for less that a 7 was the last minute of the film. I've learned so much about Nell in those 60 seconds and it was a smart choice to end it with that final shot.

My rating for the film: 7/10. It's flawed, but I was captivated and that's because of you-know-who.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Little Women (1994) (2nd time)

The March sisters live and grow in post-Civil War America. Based on the well known novel. [imdb]

Nominated for 3 Oscars:

Best Actress: Winona Ryder
Best Original Score
Best Costume Design

I have to admit I have never seen the 1933 classic version with Katherine Hepburn and I've also never read the book(s). So this was my first contact with the story: I mention that just so people don't think I'm comparing it, when I'll start trashing it :)) kidding. :P
The thing is: we're seeing 2 movies here: there's the first part, which is joyful, easy to watch and mostly fun light entertainment. And then there's the second half, which is boring, predictable, cheesy, boring again and doesn't have Kirsten in it. The second hour reaaaaaally sucks. Other than that, Winona gives a good performance, but that's the impression left on me because of her charisma and not because she had any big aha-acting moment. More on her next week, on the other blog.
My rating for the film: 5.5/10. 1994 was responsible for some awful supporting performances, ignored by the Razzie. Christian Bale should've made the list, because he's pretty bad in this.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tron (2nd time)

A hacker is literally abducted into the world of a computer and forced to participate in gladiatorial games where his only chance of escape is with the help of a heroic security program. [imdb]
Nominated for 2 Oscars:
Best Costume Design
Best Sound
I have written before about that categories of movies that you respect more that you like; actually there's a bigger gap: while you might find them umpleasant, you still admit their certain achievement. In a way, Tron is that kind of a film for me. I think the story is silly, the screenplay is messy, but it really feels like a road opener.
And Tron became memorable because of the visuals (might look ridiculous today, but even so: they have their charm) and because of an interesting direction and some unusual special effects. The sound and sound editing are very efficient and the costumes feel inovative even through there were some execution problems. What it lacks the most is a good story, because as it is right now: it misses the suspense, the twists, all is predictable and with easy solutions at hand, which makes it quite boring at times.
My rating for the film: 5/10. I am REALLY waiting for TRON: Legacy, because I'm sure it's gonna be much much better and visually stunning.