Monday, February 28, 2011

Until Next Year, Oscar...

Well, there you have it folks.  The 83rd Academy Awards are officially over and hopefully you enjoyed them as much as I did.  Well, not so much for the hosts of the show who killed it.  Let's just say I was disappointed with childish Anne Hathaway and a seemingly under-the-influence James Franco.  However, the rest of the show was spectacular!  (May I mention Helen Mirren's french bit?)  The opening sequence was hilarious ("The dance of the brown duck.") (Youtube) along with the Oscar Mashup with Harry Potter's "Ball of Light" trumping the lot. (Youtube)  You can't say they didn't have a few tricks up their sleeves this year!

Now that they're all over, it's time for everyone to go out and see the winners from tonight; if you haven't seen The King's Speech, The Social Network, Inception, or Black Swan yet, you're one of the few. But that's all right!  I'll definitely be needing to see a few myself: The Illusionist, Rabbit Hole, Inside Job, and all of the Foreign Language Film nominees except for Biutiful.

The ending was cute when the P.S.22 students sang Over The Rainbow and all of the night's winners came out to the stage front to be honored one last time for their outstanding performances.  All in all, 2011 was a great year for movies and I can't wait for the next batch of possible Oscar nominees to be released!

Check out my ballot from tonight, despite my pretty embarrassing finish with 14/24 categories correct.  In a way, having such good competition made for more surprises throughout the night!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Not a Happy Love Affair

It started out with a call for a lost dog from the child of a love-lost couple. Was she calling out for more than just her dog and for her last connection to a true family: a family she may have once had or a family she longs to call her own?   The shots representing seclusion further show the far-off love her parents have after 6 years of marriage.  Blue Valentine is not for the faint of heart or for those who try to put those childhood memories of parental fights behind them.  It juxtaposes the harsh reality of love with the excitement of creating a new and seemingly life-long relationship with another person.
The film follows Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) through their relationship by cutting between present day and 6 years ago when they met and got married.  Subtle humor is intertwined with the couple's misadventures ("We're in a robot's vagina", "This is how they laugh in the future"), thankfully to provide comic relief to such intense acting and moments but also to catalogue Cindy's building exhaustion and frustration with Dean's actions ("I thought the whole point of coming here was to have a night without kids").
What makes this movie so compelling is the dialogue and the intensity of both of the actors' performances.  Many of the conversations are about love but give much insight to the reality of how hard it is to remain in love with another person.  I don't want to spoil too much of the movie, but you can even tell by the movie's trailers that it's not going to be the most uplifting film of the year. 

One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Dean and Cindy collaborate for the first time; he plays his ukulele while she tap dances in front of a store window.  This is in one of the trailers for the movie, and it shows a very personal moment between the two.  It is extremely hard to take my eyes off the the two's gritty but expressive love for each other as they form an immediate connection.

With a few plot twists along the way, Blue Valentine remains emotional until the very end.  The final scene is my second favorite scene in the film because it intercuts the two biggest moments in their relationship with a very dramatic momentum, leading to the finale where only one conclusion can be made.  

I don't ever want to be like my parents. 
I know that they must have loved 
eachother at one time right? Did they just 
get it all out of the way before the had 

Is life always going to be a repeat of the generations before us?  What is the limit to happiness in a relationship?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Songs of the Week

During these days of intense Oscar film screening, I think we all deserve a pat on the back.  It's not usual that we get to see great movies back to back to back in theaters.  So while you're scanning the internet for more reviews on those artsy films, give your fingers a break by listening to these songs that have been hand-picked for your enjoyment!  Each of these songs comes from a score nominated for this year's Best Original Score.  I hope you enjoy!  Do you have a different favorite from each score?

King's Speech: 

How to Train Your Dragon:
also worthy: "Battling the Green Death"

also worthy: "Waiting For A Train"

The Social Network:
also worthy: "In Motion"

127 Hours: