Saturday, March 20, 2010

Crazy Heart

Well, as we all know, Jeff walked away with the best actor award at the Academy Awards. Did he deserve it? Well, I haven't seen all the nominee's performances, but from the ones I have seen, yes.
It's the story of Bad, a washed out country singer with a jealous feud running with his old successful protege. Bad drives all over the vast dry lands of the USA playing in bars and clubs, sleeping with aging groupies and drinking his way through the bottle shops. He is then interviewed by a young journalist (Maggie Gylennhaal) and his life changes forever..
This film is truly wonderful. It really doesn't succumb to any of the cliches. In less experienced hands, the role of Bad could have been really yucky when it came to the May/December love scenes, instead it left you feeling rather envious of young Maggie. Jeff Bridges has always oozed laconic charisma and charm and it's still there, by the bucket load, with a passable singing voice to match. The actor totally emerses himself in the part, he is stripped bare of all vanity and at times it's very painful to watch. Maggie is good as the love interest, I really like her usually but found her quite irritating, rather reminiscent of that highly annoying actress Meg Ryan. I am hoping it's just the character. The ever impish Robert Duval is just wonderful, and the usually two-dimensional Colin Farrell was great, with a dynamic voice to boot, but still looks like he could do with a good wash. I thoroughly recommend this film, it's a tale of hope and strength and is just a delight. Even this confirmed Country music loather left the theatre with toes-a-tappin'. CRAZY HEART: Will have yours melting by the end. Bravo Jeff. 8/10

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

And the Oscar goes to.......

How sad am I. I have spent the last month mulling over in my little mind who will win, who will be robbed, and I'm still outraged at some who weren't nominated! Enough of the ruminations, here are my (almost) unbiased predictions and also my personal picks. Don your best frock (or tux) get a bucket of half sweet and half salty and enjoy the fabulous ride that is the 82nd Academy Awards hosted by the incomparable Alec Baldwin and a newly startled looking Steve Martin. Weep at the 'in memorium', gasp at the glamour, yawn at the chairman of the Academy, thrill at the leading men (or women).....Gotta love that business of show.

Best Actor
I'm happy with Jeff, George or Jeremy, but the Oscar will go to Jeff.

Best Supporting Actor
Would love to say Matt but can't go past Christoph Waltz, a completely sublime performance. A nod goes to Stanley Tucci, who would have thought that someone so funny and warm could be so evil?
The Oscar will go to Chrisoph.

Best Actress
Happy with Sandra, Carey or dear Meryl, but the Oscar will go to Sandra.

Best supporting actress
Would like Maggie, but it's Mo'Nique (did I spell it right?) Shave those legs lady!

Best Animated Feature
For me, it's Up or the fabulousness of Fantastic Mr Fox, but I think Up will beat the fox.

Art Direction
I would like The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus or Sherlock Holmes, but I think we all know that Avatar's a shoe-in.

The Hurt Locker or the overlooked and divine Inglourius Basterds, but again, Oscar belongs to Avatar.

Best Costume
It can only be Bright Star, please say it can only be Bright Star.

Katherine Bigelow, take one for the girls please, although Jason and Quentin are equally deserving in my books.

Best Picture
I would do a jig for 'Up in the air', 'Inglourious Basterds'(the academy would never be so bold), 'An Education' or 'The Hurt Locker', but I think Katherine's in for a double whammy with 'The Hurt Locker'.

And so ends my predictions for this year, usually wrong I have to say, but I always have a blast trying!

The Blind Side

I have to admit, I have always loved Sandra Bullock. I have also been very frustrated with her, because she could easily be accused of being a lazy actress. It's all the more annoying when you see how talented she can be when you see some of her lesser known work, as author Nelle Harper Lee in the brilliant 'Infamous' and the multi layered Jean Cabot in the equally great 'Crash'. I think she's beautiful and sweet and charming, and when she sets her mind to it, a really talented, thoughtful and generous actress.
The Blind Side is a good film. It's the 'based on truth' story of the very rich Tuohy family (courtesy of Taco Bell franchises), headed up by the fierce Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock) with unwavering support from her loving husband Sean. Sean is portrayed extremely ably by Country and Western singer Tim McGraw who brings a warmth and strength to a role that could easily have seen the husband as downtrodden and hen pecked. The Tuohys are a good Christian family, and when Leigh Anne is given the opportunity to help a homeless young black student Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron)from her children's school, she doesn't hesitate to put her money where her mouth is and assist him in every way possible. Michael has not had a good life up until he meets the Tuohys, a crack addicted Mother, pushed from pillar to post, drug dealing friends, you get the all too familiar picture. When Michael's huge frame is put to good use as a player in American Football, it's shown he has a talent for the game, even if he needs some encouragement and guidance to get him there. There's a lovely appearance by the ever wonderful Kathy Bates as his tutor, and the Tuohy children are well acted, especially the mischievous young Sean JR (Jae Head, we'll be seeing more of him I'm sure). There's a lot of sadness in the film, but also a lot of humour and hope. I felt that the role of Michael was a little miscast. In the film, it was explained that he hadn't had much in the way of schooling, but was a bright kid. That didn't come across, to be honest, most of the time Aaron portrayed him as someone with all the lights on, but noone's at home. When you see the real life pictures of Michael at the end (now a successful football player) you can see the spark in him that isn't in the film. It's splitting hairs a bit because it's a lovely feel good movie. Leigh Anne's love, warmth and tenacity are at the heart of the film. Sandra Bullock is also at the heart of this film. In a lesser actress' hands Leigh Anne could have been seen as irritating and bossy, instead she is feisty, tenacious and fun. Yes, it's a bit schmaltzy, but what's wrong with that? I personally really love a good bit of schmaltz, who doesn't? It's a great story, that leaves you feeling that the Tuohy's were really lucky to have found Michael as well as vice versa. The movie won't win the Acadamy award but as for Sandra, well Uncle Oscar just might visit...The Blind Side: The film won't blind you with it's brilliance, but Bullock will have you looking through blurry lenses for a while. 6/10