Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Awards Season Has Begun!!

This week it was announced that The Hurt Locker won Best Picture at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, and boy was I excited to hear film season has officially begun with a BANG! So many other films have been released- or their trailers have, at least- and I am sure this will be another exciting and provocative Oscar season.

Some films on my Must-See List are:

-Cold Souls
-The Road (McCarthy's other novel won Best Picture two years ago. Will this more stunning cast- Viggo Mortenson, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, and Guy Pearce- and even more chilling apocalyptic tale bring more awards?)
-Up In The Air (Will George Clooney bring this over-played movie trailer to life?)
-A Serious Man (The Coen Brothers brought us the largely nominated and hilarious Burn After Reading last year)

-The Last Station (impressive cast, intriguing storyline)
-Broken Embraces (when is Penelope Cruz not stunning in a performance? Maybe she'll upgrade to Best Actress this year)

-Nine (starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, Fergie, Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman, and Sophia Loren. What more is there to say?)
-Invictus (Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon up for Best Actor, Clint Eastwood for Best Director)

Some Foreign Films:
The White Ribbon
Give Me Your Hand
The Stoning of Soraya M

More to come!!

Push on Precious!

Precious is the fairy tale you never saw coming, and I mean never! I have known about this movie ever since it starred at the Sundance Film Festival two years ago, and ever since then I have been dying to see this movie. It received outstanding awards at the Sundance, including the Grand Jury Prize, and won more awards this past year.
Precious showcases the harsh reality of Clareece 'Precious' Jones, an overweight, illiterate teenager that is pregnant with her father's second child.  She does not want to succumb to living off of welfare like her mother, and finds the path to her dreams ridden with hardships she is willing to face.  Her mother treats her terribly- she physically abuses Precious, forces her to eat grease-soaked homemade dinners, blames her for her father's absence, teaches Precious that school is worthless and will not get you any money, and throws her babies around like they are toys.  Precious fights back- hard!
A very prominent theme in Precious is hope. Precious always 'pushes' on, harder and harder, so that she does not become just another homeless Harlem citizen. Certain flashes during the movie show Precious achieving her dream and becoming a famous model and actress. The director uses subtle techniques to symbolize hope as well. For example, when Precious enters the 'alternate school' classroom for the first time, the door shines like a star and then the screen fades to white.
Precious, played by Gabourey Sidibe, has an outstanding performance along with the rest of the ensemble cast. Mariah Carey as a social worker, Mo'Nique as Precious's mother, Paula Patton as a schoolteacher, and Lenny Kravitz as a male nurse all have outstanding and noteworthy performances (who would expect Mariah Carey to be makeup-less?)  Sidibe is definitely a top breakthrough actress for 2009.

Did I know before I saw Precious that the movie would be up for Academy Awards? Yes.
Did I still think so after? Heck yes! Now that there will be 10 Best Picture nominations at the Academy Awards,  I can be sure Precious will be in the running.  Even though it is a most deserved heartwarming film, I do not think it will be a rightful winner for Best Picture; however, I can say it will be a forerunner- if not winner- for Best Adapted Screenplay.

This is definitely a film you should see as Oscar season is well underway!