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Posts Tagged ‘movies’

My Top Ten Movies of 2009

Posted by samgr on January 2, 2010

The rules are that I have to have seen them.  Also, I separated them into fiction and documentaries for some reason, despite the fact that I saw fewer than ten documentaries.

FICTION

#10 — Bright Star

A romance between Keats and Fanny Brawne.  Mostly makes it in because everyone in it is an incredibly good actor.  The characters seem like real people without getting caught up in weird speech patterns and silly costumes.  And Paul Schneider gets mad props for his extremely entertaining (and for all I know, accurate) Scottish accent.

#9 — Il Divo

Neat, stylish biopic of Italian PM Giulio Andreotti.  Unflaggingly entertaining, and frequently extremely funny.  Has a killer (and bizarre) hybrid opera/punk soundtrack.

#8 — Sugar

Story of a Dominican who goes to the US to play baseball.  Realistic, interesting, and ultimately unexpectedly optimistic.

#7 — In the Loop

Amazingly funny satire of how we got into the Iraq War in Britain and the US.  Really really grim, or it might have gotten a higher spot, but has the best swearing I’ve ever seen in any movie ever.

#6 — Avatar

Yeah, what the Hell.

#5 — The Hurt Locker

Basically a really well-made action movie about bomb squads in Iraq.  Manages to say something about the Iraq War without being preachy.  All the acting is great, and it has a lot of approximately thirty-second cameos from big stars without being distracting.

#4 — Coraline

Beautiful stop-motion animation, which I really want not to die, and a smart story.  Also 3D!  Hooray for 3D.

#3 — Goodbye Solo

Don’t really know how to summarize this…  A Senegalese cab driver n North Carolina befriends (sort of) an old guy who may or may not be planning to commit suicide.  It’s great.

#2 — Moon

I loved this movie: Sam Rockwell on the Moon with only Kevin Spacey as a computer to keep him company (sort of).  More or less hard science fiction, but smart and funny and beautiful.  All the special effects look amazing despite the film having a very small budget.  ($5 million, considerably less than the overrated District 9!)

#1 — Star Trek

Yeah, I know.  The thing is, I think I enjoyed Star Trek more than anything else I saw last year.  There was not a single second that I was watching it when I wasn’t having a really good time.  The acting was good, everything looked cool, it had Leonard Nimoy, there were spaceships and monsters: I dunno.  The plot is kind of stupid if you take a moment to think, but the writing is good enough moment-to-moment that it’s very easy to sit back and happily miss the forest for the trees, which is okay by me.  I feel like I would immediately jump at the chance to see this movie again at almost any time.

DOCUMENTARIES

#1 — Anvil! The Story of Anvil
#2 — Beaches of Agnes
#3 — The Cove
#4 — Tyson
#5 — Every Little Step
# 6 –Under the Sea 3D
#7 — Of Time and the City

BONUS — BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Bruno — This was really a bummer.  I loved Borat, whereas Bruno was just stupid and mean-spirited; you felt like they were missing the point.  Bruno’s character and intelligence-level seemed to vary wildly scene-to-scene.  And it just wasn’t very funny.  Boo.

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Oscar Picks

Posted by samgr on February 19, 2009

With two caveats:
    One- Only movies I’ve seen.
    Two- I’ll stick to English-language movies except for the foreign-language category.

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
From the nominees:  SEAN PENN in MILK
If I could choose:  SEAN PENN in MILK

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
From the nominees:  HEATH LEDGER in THE DARK KNIGHT
If I could choose:  HEATH LEDGER in THE DARK KNIGHT
(Pretty close between Heath and Eddie Marsan in Happy-Go-Lucky)

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
From the nominees:  MELISSA LEO in FROZEN RIVER
If I could choose:  SALLY HAWKINS in HAPPY-GO-LUCKY

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
From the nominees:  TARAJI P. HENSON in BENJAMIN BUTTON
(She’s not all that great, but it’s the only one of the five I’ve seen!)
If I could choose:  ROSEMARIE DEWITT in RACHEL GETTING MARRIED

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
From the nominees: WALL-E
If I could choose: WALL-E

DIRECTING
From the nominees:  GUS VAN SANT for MILK
If I could choose:  MIKE LEIGH for HAPPY-GO-LUCKY
(I’m a broken record)

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
From the nominees:  ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD
If I could choose:  ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
From the nominees:  WALTZ WITH BASHIR
(Only one I’ve seen, weirdly, most of my favorite movies this year were foreign.)
If I could choose:  FLIGHT OF THE RED BALLOON

MUSIC (SCORE)
From the nominees:  WALL-E
(When I think about it, I liked Wall-E’s score more than Slumdog’s.)
If I could choose:  WALL-E

MUSIC (SONG)
From the nominees:  O SAYA from SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
If I could choose:  O SAYA from SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

BEST PICTURE
From the nominees:  MILK
If I could choose:  HAPPY-GO-LUCKY

VISUAL EFFECTS
From the nominees:  IRON MAN
If I could choose:  HELLBOY 2
(Actually, the most impressive FX in and of themselves were probably from Benjamin Button, but I thought those of both Iron Man and Hellboy 2 are better used to tell a story.  Hellboy 2 gets street cred for being weird and innovative and having a tiny fraction of the budget of these other movies.)

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
From the nominees:  SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
If I could choose:  SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

WRITING  (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY):
From the nominees:  HAPPY-GO-LUCKY
(Some love from the academy for Happy-Go-Lucky!)
If I could choose:  HAPPY-GO-LUCKY

I still haven’t seen Wendy and Lucy or the Wrestler, both of which I might like a lot. I’ll update this post if they lead me to change my mind about anything.

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My Top Ten Movies of 2008

Posted by samgr on December 28, 2008

With the obvious caveat that I can choose only from movies I have seen.

  1. Flight of the Red Balloon
  2. Let the Right One In
  3. WALL-E
  4. A Christmas Tale
  5. The Dark Knight
  6. Ballast
  7. The Visitor
  8. Happy-Go-Lucky
  9. Frozen River
  10. The Band’s Visit

A strange list now that I look at it… But I think accurate as far as my opinions go.

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