Saturday, May 19, 2012

Cabaret (1972) (2nd time)

A female girlie club entertainer in Weimar Republic era Berlin romances two men while the Nazi Party rises to power around them. [imdb]

Nominated for 10 Oscars:

Best Picture
Best Director: Bob Fosse (WINNER)
Best Actress: Liza Minnelli (WINNER)
Best Supporting Actor: Joel Grey (WINNER)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography (WINNER)
Best Music, Scoring Original Song Score and/or Adaptation (WINNER)
Best Art Direction (WINNER)
Best Editing (WINNER)
Best Sound (WINNER)

Cabaret holds the distinction of winning most Oscars (8) without a Best Picture win among those. This happened because the Best Picture winner for 1972 was no other than The Godfather, so that makes sense. Even so, the musical won 2 acting Oscars and Best Director, over Coppola. Many would say that The Godfather has aged better, and I have to agree: while Cabaret is a nice musical, with plenty of funny moments, The Godfather is a true classic to me and an alltime favorite.

But I understand why Bob Fosse won Best Director: he does a nice job with the musical numbers and most of all knows how to keep it subtle and smart, with a great integration of historical events inside of what it seems to be a silly musical. More on Liza on the other blog, but she's certainly as charming as possible; the Joel Grey win is harder to agree on: he is great at what he does, but we basically know nothing about his character, which results in the performance being very one-note; yes, he's as entertaining as you'd see someone in a music video, but you wouldn't give them the Oscar for that: not when competing with Al Pacino or James Caan. Still, he really is almost-brilliant at what he does for the film.

Most of the songs are classics, Michael York is very nice to look at, Marisa Berenson should've received an Oscar nomination, but the film doesn't feel as focused or fun in the second half. I respect it, I like it, but I never fell in love with Cabaret.

My rating for the film: 8/10. Also, not all of the technical wins feel worthy.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Jane Eyre (2011)

A mousy governess who softens the heart of her employer soon discovers that he's hiding a terrible secret. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:

Best Costume Design

5 minutes into this film all I could think of was: I bet this film is better than the book. This happens because I think the film has a good start, with beautiful landscape, artistic direction and a screenplay that seems to correct the story mistakes the book does. The other reason would be that I am not a big fan of the book, I think it has its good parts, but it's overall mediocre. 

To the screenplay's credit, it almost completely ignored the childhood scenes which are indeed the weakest in the book. To the screenplay's fault, it doesn't sell the love story enough, and that's why the 2nd half fails a bit inside the film: the characters are nicely developed, but I didn't feel the twisted love connection between Jane Eyre and Rochester. Had it looked more believable, it would've made the film better.

Mia is simple enough to be right for the part and she gives a good performance, though nothing groundbreaking. Judi Dench is memorable, while the best performance comes of course from Michael Fassbender - he does the best he can with the character, gets the dark side of Rochester, but I feel like he's not the right casting choice: not because he wasn't good, he really IS, but because Rochester was a well-built, but unattractive man in the book, and Fassbender is... well... quite gorgeous here. I didn't appreciate that.

My rating for the film: 7.5/10. The costume design is worthy of the nomination, also beautiful Cinematography.