Wednesday, January 14, 2009

5 Off My Head - Finding Flowers In Shit

Here's where I pretend that I am a positive and optimistic "glass half full" kinda guy - where I spritz on some Eau d' Poppy by Sally Hawkins - and give some love to the flicks that severely disappointed me this year. There are five big time awards contenders that came out towards the end of 2008 that left a very very bitter taste in my mouth, but instead of bitching them out (again) I'm gonna pinpoint a single thing about each that I did like. Because even if they didn't float my boat each of these films were made by a heap of admirable craftsmen and women, and just because the final product isn't doing it for me it doesn't mean there's not nothing I can't admire.

Australia - Okay, nobody's maintaining that Baz's flick is a "big time awards contender" anymore. Even Nicole Kidman is a hater! But the actual other "big time awards contenders" are movies which I would've deep-throated a hot poker before allowing myself to be dragged into the theater to see - I don't do Ron Howard or Clint Eastwood if I can manage escaping them, so suck it Frost/Nixon, The Changeling and Gran Torino - so that leaves Australia. Poor ignored Australia that I thought was a little better than everybody was saying it was. And since I already gave love to the best thing about it, I'll have to seek something else out. Hrm, I could say that kid Brandon Walters was fine, which he was, but blurgh, boring. So I will take this moment to give love to Australia itself.

The country, the locales that Baz shot so lovingly. You rock, Australia. Take a bow, former prison colony of my dreams!

Rachel Getting Married - Like I said in my review, Debra Winger is fantastic. And my beloved Annie is great too. Too bad it's all in service of such unbearable dreck... happy thoughts!

Slumdog Millionaire - The first forty-five minutes was captivating enough, and got the tone right for the fairytale they were trying to make. And as always Danny Boyle's eye for color and rhythm was impeccable.

Milk - I already gave some explicit love to Diego Luna's performance, and a shout-out to Josh Brolin, and a loving appreciation of James Franco's beautiful bare ass. So what the hell else is left for me to love? I'm on the record as not being that big a fan of Sean Penn or Emile Hirsch's performances. Allison Pill was good. And the costumes, the sense of place and time, seemed spot on. I liked the fact that a lot of the hairstyles and clothes were unflattering, which seems wholly true to the period. Usually actors pick the cute styles for themselves in their jaunts to olden days, but, for example, that fro and glasses ensemble that Emile was rocking wasn't doing him any favors. But mostly, I am thankful for the visual of Joseph Cross and Emile making friendly in the darkroom. That certainly lingers.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Visually, it's a very pretty movie. That is all I will say about that. Done.


J.D. said...

Am I, like, the only person who liked the last half hour or so of Slumdog more than the rest? I'm such a hopeless romantic, though, and I really thought it all worked in there.

I still hate the movie on principle.

Jason Adams said...

Yes, you're the ONLY person, JD. The only person on Earth! ;-) Honestly though I thought the resolution of his brother's story was completely laughable and it made me angry at everything.

Since you still haven't told what bugged you about the movie at your blog, JD, might I ask what the betrayed principle was that has you bothered? Something against little kids having their eyes scalded out?

J.D. said...

LOL, his brother in the bathtub was pretty WTF. I don't even understand that. I just love the love story. And Freida Pinto. Who may have made me straight.

If I had to blame stuff that's the film's own fault, watching a seven year old jump into a pile of shit was pretty much the antithesis of everything I hated in the movie.

But the thing I hate most is obviously the massive orgy for the film. I want to kill everyone who thinks it actually deserves to win everything it's won. Danny Boyle, who I usually LOVE, gave some of the weakest direction of his career, and he's going to WIN for it?! The cinematography and editing are way too flashy for the film's own good, and they're probably gonna win too.

And what the hell kind of screenplay was even THERE? The dialogue was idiotic, the non-linear telling was getting on my nerves all the way through, and even though I usually love "suspension of disbelief" stories like it, I could NOT get into the set-up.

Also, "Jai Ho" is fucking TORTURE.

(Also, I should be telling what I thought on my blog sometime tonight! If I hadn't done it all here. I'm doing a bunch of catch-up stuff, lol)