Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Entry #3

... is dedicated to this year's Oscar-nominated films.

And if you're wondering what's on Kevin Spacey's T-shirt, go to this page. :)

This past week, I managed to see The King's Speech, The Kids Are All Right, and Winter's Bone.
And having already watched Inception, Toy Story 3 and The Social Network, I have to say that the lineup is pretty impressive. Though I expect Black Swan to blow me away when I get the chance to view it.

Considering the diverse selection, my current favourite at the moment is The King's Speech. Granted, it may not appeal to that many people, but I grew up with significant exposure to British fare ( books, movies, TV shows, music ), and really enjoyed this.

Director Tom Hooper has done a marvelous job juggling all the different elements without losing his bearings. The opening scene itself invokes a wide spectrum of emotions, as you watch the protagonist's futile struggle in front of thousands, his every choke horrifyingly audible.

What follows is a fascinating account of life in the British monarchy, albeit a rather dysfunctional version since throne abdication doesn't happen that often ( if ever ). The two princes couldn't be more disparate despite being the offspring of the same overbearing father. And Bertie's gradual transformation as his reluctant sense of duty gives way to triumphant jubilation is nothing short of exhilarating.

IMHO, Colin Firth is fully deserving of his Oscar nomination, and is well-positioned to win. I've seen him in quite a few roles, but he has outdone himself as George VI. His performance is finely tuned yet appears totally effortless. Watch for a segment just before his big WWII speech, when he rehearses with his therapist and uses every trick up his sleeve, resulting in a side-splitting explosion of vulgarities and assorted noises.

Geoffrey Rush, as always, remains a distinguished and unforgettable presence, scoring an Oscar nod as well. But this is definitely Firth's tour de force, and I am rooting for him all the way. :)

The Kids Are All Right will probably never make it to DVD here ( was it even shown in the cinemas? Oh well, who cares. ), so try to watch it overseas or online if you can.

Though nominated in multiple categories, I don't predict any major wins. Is it enjoyable? Yes. Is it jaw-droppingly good? Not really.

While the premise is interesting and the A-list cast helps it stand out from the rest of the pack, it didn't linger the way other nominated films did.
Inception almost drove me crazy for 2 weeks. Buzz Lightyear's Spanish phrases got stuck in my head. And The Social Network's cool one-liners dominated my tweets.

I do, however, appreciate Mark Ruffalo's turn as a homewrecker. Oops, apology about the spoiler. :)

Winter's Bone is a surprising contender, to say the least. A cast of unknowns, a simple story set in the middle of nowhere. For me, it was not easy to sit through, but I did it so I could see for myself what the deal was with lead actress Jennifer Lawrence, who nabbed her first leading role nomination at the tender age of 20.

She does possess an ethereal quality. Very pretty despite the minimal makeup and hillbilly attire. Reminds me of a young Renee Zellweger, without the squeaky voice. Unlikely to beat awards favourite Natalie Portman, but she still has a long career ahead of her, so let's hope she plays her cards right.

I'm probably going to avoid 127 Hours, purely because of the stomach-churning arm-amputation scene. I may be a medical professional, but for some strange reason, certain types of movie gore give me the heebie-jeebies. This falls in the same category as dolphin-slaying ( i.e. The Cove, which I also refuse to watch. ).

More next time.

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