Friday, 14 February 2014

oscar worthy

I confess: Oscar/bafta season does get me excited. I try to watch a lot of films anyway but I'm always interested to see what's been nominated for the big film awards. In the run up to the Oscars, there's normally lots of good stuff out so here's a little round-up of what I've been watching along with some poster art. I do love alternative posters. Also, if you're thinking of heading to the cinema for valentines movie night perhaps this might help...

Spike Jonze ('Where the wild things are', 'Being John Malkovich') has written and directed this, very beautiful, love story of a different kind. Set in the near future, writer, Theodor (Joaquin Phoenix) is recently divorced and rather lonely. He purchases a new type of operating system for his computer - intelligent, personable and capable of evolving. After answering a couple of initial questions and opting to make her female, Theodore's OS takes on a personality of her own. She (Samantha) and Theodore become closer and closer. Their relationship begins to change, evolving just as Samantha gradually expands and explores her humanity (of sorts). But is there a future for two 'people' with very different states of being - using being in the very loosest sense? Well I'm not going to say because I think you should watch it. I loved everything about this film - the story, the cinematography (really dream-like, the colours are beautiful), the characters, the little details (Theodore's job as a letter writer is v.clever, and the costume styling is ace) and the music. The music is particularly amazing - Arcade Fire and Karen O doing their thing can never be wrong. I also liked how it seemed believable. Yes it's set in the future where OS's have artificial intelligence but, we are already incredibly dependent on technology and it's evolving at an insane rate. Who's to say people wouldn't become attracted to their computers if they built up a rapport with them? It would be hard not to if they sounded like Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). Although she never appears on screen (Samantha doesn't have a body of course) her voice essentially carries the film forward. I read that someone else had originally been cast as Samantha and that Johansson had been a last minute change, recorded over the top of the original actress. A little harsh perhaps but Johnasson's voice is so full of life and has such an impact on everything throughout the story. I'm really rooting for this to scoop the 5 oscars that it's up for. Kinda romantic but not in a gooey-way.

The Wolf of Wall Street
The tale of stock broker, and massive jerk, Jordan Belfort (Leo DiCaprio) - it's one hell of a ride, an incredibly debauched, drug filled ride with a little bit of Jennifer Lumley thrown in for good measure. As all the trailers have suggested, it may have the words 'Wall Street' in the title but you don't really need to know a thing about stock markets, brokering etc to be able to follow this film (thank god, as I don't understand any of that stuff). Instead, what you get to witness are the fruits of the Belfort's corruption: namely having more money than he knows what to do with. You'd have thought there were only so many drugs to snort, cruise boats to crash, women to *ahem* bone, dwarves to throw, cars to crash, people to screw over, but not for Belfort. It's 3 hours long but you won't be bored for a second. The pace is fast, the script is sharp, it's superbly acted (Leo is awesome) and it's funny. It's been described as a black comedy - much of what happens is shocking (those work parties are essentially orgies) - but I laughed a lot, much of the time with open-mouthed horror. It deserves the hype and is definitely worth a watch, especially if you're after something rather
anti-valentines-y this evening.

12 Years A Slave
I put off watching this for a good while mostly because I knew it was going to be harrowing. But, all the reviews, comments from friends and Mitch persistently suggesting we should see it, were working against me so I caved. It is beautifully shot and incredibly well acted (terrifyingly well acted in terms of Fassbender) but it is absolutely devastating. Based on the memoirs of Solomon Northup, a free man leaving in New York with his wife and children, is was kidnapped in Washington DC and sold into the slave trade. It is heart-aching stuff, I cried almost the entire way through. And not silent crying, oh no, I was ugly crying. The brutality, the injustice, the shear lack of humanity that it is displayed in that film still haunts me. But, it is an amazing movie and thoroughly deserves all the praise it's getting. I'm glad I've seen it but I shall never ever watch it again. My advice? Make sure you've got something up-beat and light-hearted to watch afterwards if this is your choice tonight.

In spite of my fairly 'meh' feelings towards it - happy valentine's day! Hope you have a good one if you're a celebrator (tonight, we're staying in, making burgers and watching Wall-E). But more importantly, happy friday to all!

picture sources 1 // 2 // 3

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