Friday, February 24, 2012

Wanderlust and My Fearless Oscar Picks

My ViewWanderlust (2012) A married couple (Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd) lose their jobs and decide to leave New York and move to Atlanta. On the road trip to Georgia, they stay a commune in the country and love it so much, they decide to stay. The commune is filled with eccentric individuals and is led by a charismatic hippie (Justin Theroux) who is just a little out-of-touch with how the world works these days. I liked Aniston in her role as the wife, who, initially doesn’t want to live at the commune, but then fully commits to it.  I felt, though, that Rudd was a little too restrained in his role.  And with most Judd Apatow films (he produced this one), it’s pretty raunchy in some of it comedic moments and it takes a few situations and milks them way too long.  Be warned - there is a ton of full frontal male nudity in this film with one of the main characters at the commune a nudist that makes wine.  Be sure to stay through the credits, there is a brief, very funny bit at the end of the film.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Wanderlust Website
Indyfest (A Look at a Small, Indie or Foreign Film)Rampart  (2012)Set in 1999 Los Angeles in the wake of the “Rampart scandal” of the 1990’s, a reckless cop (Woody Harrelson) tries to survive the bad choices that he keeps making. He is the type of cop who delights in antagonizing criminals he deals with, and his life becomes complicated when he is caught on video beating a man who crashed into his patrol car.  Harrelson's character is also a womanizer and picks up women on a nightly basis at bars while he has two ex-wives, each who have a daughter by him.  Ironically, the ex-wives live next door to each other, so it's convenient for him to visit the families at the same time.  Harrelson does an amazing job playing a man whom you end up hating, and the supporting cast in this is very strong, with Ned Beatty and Robin Wright in standout roles.  Overall, though, the script lets down the actors and makes this film a very long ride along with a very bad man.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Rampart Website
The Academy Awards was on Sunday. Here were my Fearless Oscar picks for the 2012 season:

I was correct on 9 out of 11 of my Oscar picks.  Hugo took home 5 awards (Sound Mixing , Cinematography, etc.), not surprising since it was the best use of 3-D I have seen since Avatar.  When an actress like Meryl Streep has been nominated a record-setting 17 times, you can’t say her winning was an upset.  I did, though, think Viola Davis was going to win Best Actress.  All the other major awards went as expected.  Let’s hope more movie-goers will give The Artist a chance now that it has won 5 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. 

Correct answers highlighted in Green, wrong answers in Red.

Actor in a Supporting RoleChristopher Plummer Beginners    Plummer is superb in the role of a dying gay man. Max Von Sydow, in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, who was the best thing about the 9/11 film, could sneak in, but I think Plummer is a sure bet.

Actress In a Supporting RoleOctavia Spencer The Help    I think Spencer will win and should win, as she has won just about every other award for her role. Berenice Bejo for The Artist could sneak in, but I doubt it. Spencer is the sure thing for the night.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Nat Faxon, Alexander Payne, Jim Nash The Descendants    Alexander Payne is well-respected for his writing talents. John Logan for Hugo might slip in because of Hollywood's love for Martin Scorsese.

Writing (Original Screenplay)Woody Allen Midnight In Paris    This is without a doubt the best film Allen has done in years. Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist just might get in because of a very creative script.

Foreign Language Film: A Separation (Iran)    This is almost a sure thing, though Bullhead (Belgium) has received lots of good reviews.

CinematographyEmmanuel Lubezki The Tree of Life    While a lot of people walked out of screenings for The Tree of Life, no one would say it wasn’t a visually stunning film. Guillaume Schiffman could win for The Artist if that film sweeps all its nominations.

Animated Feature FilmRango     The Johnny Depp voiced film will win in what is probably the weakest field the Academy has had since they started this award. This category had so few strong nominees that the Academy had to add two foreign films to fill out the category. The infrequently-seen Spanish film, Chico & Rita, could get in, but it’s a long shot.

Actor in a Leading Role: Jean Dujardin The Artist    Dujardin is brilliant as a silent film actor who sees his world crumble when sound comes to film. This year, this category is the most wide-open race, as George Clooney for The Descendants or Brad Pitt for Moneyball could easily win.

Actress in a Leading RoleViola Davis The Help    Her performance in The Help is the reason to see the film. Meryl Streep inThe Iron Lady probably would have won if the film was written better.

Directing: Michel Hazanavicius The Artist     Should be a big night for The Artist. Too bad there isn’t a Best Animal award for the dog, Uggie. Martin Scorsese could win for Hugo, another film that celebrates the silent film days.

Best Picture: The Artist     This awe-inspiring silent film (yes, it’s a silent film) should win the big award. The Help is the type of movie that Hollywood loves, with its big, sweeping cast in a film that runs full-circle with social meaning and message, so it could take The Oscar.

Until Next Time!

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