Thursday, 29 December 2011

West Side Story

West Side Story, 1961
Directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise
Nominated for 11 Oscars, Won 10

Synopsis: You know Romeo and Juliet? Yeah, it's that story, but set in 1960's New York, a gang war between the Peurto Rican's and local New Yorkers, and with guns, knives, dancing and singing. You get the idea.

I don't know if it's because of the day and age we live in, but does it feel like there have been millions of Romeo & Juliet remakes/modern-day tellings/spoofs? While the story has been frightfully overdone, there is a still a lot of creativity in this film. The cinematography was interesting and urban, the art direction was lovely, and the dancing was fantastic. What lacked was the story, and the lines.

I applaud this movie for being very unique looking, urban and beautifully put together, but there were many flaws in the movie I couldn't get over, and it really hindered.

First off, I couldn't get over the fact that many actors in the movies couldn't sing. Sure, Natalie Wood was fantastic, but everyone else was slightly less than good, and it bugged me.

Secondly, Natalie Wood, who plays Maria, is cast as one of the Puerto Ricans, though she is extremely white. This just felt a little less authentic, and authenticity is an important role and something that is weighing heavily the race and colour of a person. The PR's are very proud of their heritage and it is brought up all the time. Yet, they couldn't cast someone of Latin American descent.

Thirdly, I found myself laughing a lot, at the lines. Maybe it's because I'm living in the 2011 while this film was made 60 years ago that I found many of the lines and excessive use of slang extremely cheesy and gaudy. I couldn't take most of the character seriously, and didn't find much about it authentic and heartfelt.

I know, I know, this is such an unpopular opinion, not liking West Side Story. Usually I love musicals from this time, and then complain that they don't make films like this anymore, but I just really didn't like it, and was glad when it finally ended.

As pointed out before, the film truly looked fantastic. The cinematography was great, and so many contrasting colours and looks and backgrounds, that it truly stood out. The art direction and costumes were great and the dancing was really, really good. I feel this would've been better to watch on stage than as a film. You can get away with a lot more in theatre than you can film.

Overall, this film deserved all the art awards it got, though I don't seem to understand why it won best picture. Maybe I'm born in the wrong era to truly appreciate it, or maybe I just didn't like it regardless. Whatever it was, it wasn't my favourite movie, and definitely not my favourite musical.

Acting- 6.5/10 
Directing- 7/10 
Screenplay- 6/10 
Visuals- 7/10 
Music- 7.5/10 
Emotional Connection- 5/10 
Entertainment- 3/10 
Rewatchability- 5/10 
Overall Enjoyment- 4/10 
Overall Package- 5/10       

Total: 56/100

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

War Horse (rewritten)

War Horse, 2011
Directed by Steven Spielburg
Possible Nominations Include: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costumes, Best Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing

Synopsis: Joey is an unusual horse. He is beautiful, and strong, and seems to change the lives of everyone he encounters. While still young, he is sold in an auction to a man, and is instantly loved by his teen aged son, Albert. But Joey is a wild horse, and the family feels they've wasted their money on him. They are already tight on money, and Joey must learn to plow fields in order for Albert's family to keep their farm. While everyone doubts him, Albert steps up for the job. And thus begins Albert and Joey's incredible relationship. But this story isn't about Albert. It's about Joey. He's eventually sold to go to World War I as a Calvary horse, but this film shows us just what happens to these horse, who are as much heroes as the soldiers themselves. We see the people Joey touches and changes, and the hardships he sees, and Albert's hope that he might be able to find his horse one day.

I've been really excited for this movie for most of 2011. I first caught wind of it around March or April, and watched the trailer immediately when it came out back in July, and was captivated by all the photos released over the year. Initially, I'll admit it, I was roped in by Jeremy Irvine's incredible good looks, but while that still remains, I was caught up with the story and the idea. And it just looked fantastic.

After watching the Tony awards and seeing the horses they used for the Broadway show, I decided to pick up the book. Luckily, the library had it On Order, and I was the first on the waiting list, and received it a month ago, and read it over the course of about a week. And I loved it.

I was nervous I wouldn't like the movie, though the book was great. I was a little of weary of how much they would change. It was told from the 1st person point of view of the horse, Joey, and didn't know how that would translate to screen. Also, RT stamped it with a 75%. Though not a bad number, it's not a stellar one either. So I lowered my expectations, convinced myself I would hate it (though knowing I would love, just not trying to expect so much as to ruin it) and found myself completely and utterly enthralled.

The bond we see between Joey and Albert is a very believable one. Jeremy Irvine (Albert) had never ridden on horses before the filming of the movie, nor had he had much interaction with them. But the chemistry between them was quite believable, which is what the first half hour, or so, of the movie is based around. We get a long introduction to build Albert and Joey's bond, through Albert's drunken father buying him at an auction, Albert training the horse, and the financial struggle in which the Naracott family (Albert's family) may lose their house. The solution to this it to plow their fields and to grow crops. But Joey isn't a farm or plowing horse. So Albert, once again, must train him, this time in front of the eyes of the community. By the end of this, Albert and Joey have formed a solid team, and a solid foundation for the rest of the film, making Albert's pursuit of Joey seem plausible.

Jeremy Irvine is a solid newcomer. He had been previously in the chorus of a community play, with no lines, before starring in this film. You can see a passion in him, as he acts out the innocence and earnest Albert Naracott. We see him wide-eyed and simple, but passionate in the first "Albert and Joey" act, and we see him (spoiler) beaten, scared and almost blinded (stop spoiler) in the second "Albert and Joey" act. His scenes in the war were perfectly done, mixing the levels of adrenaline, and fear in the trenches and on the battlefield. He embodied the emotions of a young soldier very well. Already being signed on to several more films (including the upcoming Great Expectations starring Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham-Carter), we shall see much more of him.

After leaving Joey, the film almost becomes a collection of short stories, all bound together by Joey, which shows us all different sides of WWI. We have the professional Captain Nicholls, the kind man who promises to look out for Joey. We have the underage German soldiers, who flee the war, because all they want is life. We have the French civilians, a young girl and her grandfather, who are occasionally raided by soldiers for food and supplies. And we have the horses pulling cannons, seeing the strain on them, and just how much the horses did for both sides of the war, and the men in charge of the horses. This film breaks down the idea of war, not into a good side-bad side, but into a human side. No side was shown as "evil", but were all shown that there are decent humans out there, and all they want is to live through the war and see their loved ones again.

In the height of the film, we see a moving scene of two soldiers, one British, the other German, meeting in No Man's Land to free Joey from an entanglement of barbed wire, which is one of the most touching scenes in film this year. It is an interesting contrast, seeing the two sides come together, something that happened for real in WWI on Christmas Day (though it included kick-about soccer games, and burying their dead), but it was well done, with a touch of humor and the revelation that, no matter what your background, or what country you serve, there are good people out there.

Additionally, the horses used in the movie were quite talented (for lack of better word). I've always found it interesting that they can train horses to 'act' as the filmmakers want them. But the horses used showed such emotion that you almost believed they were human characters. The showing of Joey's character was done well that we started to really understand the horse. Knowing when he was  nervous, or upset, or knew when he would or wouldn't like something.

Lastly, if nothing else, War Horse was a beautifully made film. Polish cinematographer, Janusz Kaminiski is no stranger to Steven Spielburg, or even the Oscars. He's been nominated 4 times, and won twice both for Spielburg made war films (Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan). I have no doubt War Horse can land a nomination this year, though it has tough competition, I have hope it can win. And was that last scene not stunning? The horse riding up the hillside, silhouette, and tiny against the landscape? And that nod to Gone With The WInd? Stunning, to say the least. I know the first time I saw it, I let out an audible "wow" more than once.

 Another non-stranger to Spielburg and  the Oscars is John Williams. While John Williams isn't usually my favourite composer (I respect all the scores he's written, especially his iconic themes like Harry Potter and Jurassic Park, I'm more of a strings-relaxed person, than a brass person) but I adored his score for War Horse. It was simple and innocent, but distinctly British, and early 20th century. It captured the spirit so well, and gave me chills when we see (spoiler) Joey, riding in the forest alone, showing us Captain Nicholls has died. Additionally, that scene was incredibly effective and chilling. The second time I saw this film, with a larger audience, there was a unanimous sigh of sadness, literally. It was a very well done, and effective moment, because you didn't see the death. (stop spoiler). I expect John Williams will be nominated once again. While I feel it's definitely his time to win again, we'll have to see. The Oscars never seems to award what I think should win.

Overall, I really, really liked the film. The strongest parts of it were the scenes with Albert, the beginning half hour, and the last 45 minutes or so, of the Battle of the Somme scenes at the end. While the stories in the middle are admittedly a little bit weaker, they are moving, nonetheless. This film was a very moving one, and taught me a lot about WWI. While I think it definitely has the stuff to compete and win Best Picture, not enough agree with me, though I'll be happy to see it's nomination, and see what awards it can garner in the art and visual categories.


Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Driving Miss Daisy

Driving Miss Daisy, 1989
Directed by Bruce Beresford
Nominated for 9 Oscars, Won 4

Synopsis: Miss Daisy, a Jewish woman, can no longer drive. She is getting older, and her son Boolie, insists on hiring her a driver, a man named Hoke. It's the 1950's, and this means her driver is black. At first Miss Daisy is quite resistant, but when Hoke points out he's being paid to do nothing, she starts letting him drive. And slowly, the two form a life-long bond.

Here I am again, reviewing for the second day in a row. And right after this, you'll be reading a review for War Horse! Christmas break is certainly the time to watch movies!

This film is certainly a touching one. Having watched 'The Help' only 2 days ago, I thought it would be interesting to compare the two. While both have quite comedic moments, and some very serious stuff to make you cry, they are very different movies. While The Help focuses on the relationship between all the black maids, and the children they care for, as well as other women they don't tend to, this is strictly a movie about a Jewish white woman, and her black driver, and how unlikely their friendship is too.

I must say I absolutely adored this movie. I have nothing but praise for Morgan Freeman, who played Hoke, the driver. Hoke is an enthusiastic, talkative and charming man, which is very different from the roles I've seen Freeman play (such as God in Bruce Almighty, Lucius Fox in the Batman series, and Eddie in Million Dollar Baby). He played the role extremely convincingly and I thought he did a fantastic job. I'm quite surprised he didn't win an Oscar for the role, but he had tough competition that year, being up against Daniel Day-Lewis, Kenneth Branuagh, Robin Williams and Tom Cruise.

On the other hand, I was also vastly impressed with Jessica Tandy, who played Miss Daisy (and subsequently won an Oscar for it). She was brilliant as a stubborn woman, and aged perfectly over the 25 years the movies is set in.

Additionally, this is one of the few times I really noticed make-up in a film (other than The Curious Case of Benjamin Button- another brilliant film). It was phenomenally done, and the aging was done perfectly. Nothing looked too cheesy, or too forced. It was shocking how well they really aged, and it deservingly won the award.

Overall, I thought the film was fantastic. It was well-told, extremely well acted, and looked fantastic. I laughed, I teared up, and I smiled. So far, one of my favourite winners.

Acting- 8/10 
Directing- 7/10 
Screenplay- 7/10 
Visuals- 7/10 
Music- 7.5/10 
Emotional Connection- 8/10 
Entertainment- 8/10 
Rewatchability- 8/10 
Overall Enjoyment- 8/10 
Overall Package- 7/10       

Total: 75.5/100


Casablanca, 1942
Directed by Michael Curtiz
Nominated for 8 Oscars, Won 3

Synopsis: Rick Blaine is an exiled American, living in Casablanca, Monaco, during World War II. He is running a hot nightclub in the city, which attracts all sorts of different people. It attracts Europeans who are trying to flee their homeland, to Lisbon so they may get to America. It attracts those selling Exit Visas for the desperate. It attracts Nazi's, who are seeking a man named Victor Laszlo, a Czech Underground leader who has escaped from a Concentration Camp. And it attracts Victor Laszlo himself, and his pretty lady friend, Isla. Rick is shocked to see Isla, a one-time lover, when he (and she) lived in Paris. He's very bitter towards her, for she left him, but there are many secrets between them, and those around them. Rick has been handed some important Travel Letters many people are desperate to have, and could be helpful in aiding Victor in his escape from the Nazi's. But Isla just may have more shocking secrets than Ricks...

Merry Christmas everyone! Happy Boxing Day! Happy Holidays, etc, etc. This is my first, of what will be many reviews, over the next few weeks as I'm off for the holidays! I settled down this Boxing Day Evening after a day of Christmas with family.

Opening up on this film I had absolutely no idea what this film was about. I didn't know Casablanca was a place, or that it was set in WWII, or anything. All I knew was that Humphrey Bogart was in it, it looked romantic, and is said to be a classic. Other than that I went into this film with very little expectation.

Like many films, this was in black and white (I didn't know this either, before starting it). It opened up, showing the nightclub, introducing the circumstances and political climate of the time, and why so many people flocked to Casablanca (it was easy to get to Lisbon, and Lisbon was constantly shipping people to 'The New World'- or America). We see those desperate Europeans, and we see the arrival of the Nazi's. And we are quickly introduced to our main characters, Rick Blaine, Isla, Victor Laszlo, and the Nazi's.

This story was told with suspense. We slowly learn bits and pieces about each character, and nothing is revealed quite off the bat. My mother and I were constantly trying to guess at what was going on, and what these characters were about. They were all portrayed with much mystery, which can be quite crucial. Nothing was obviously told to us, and it was very well written.

Of the nominations that year, this film racked up noms for Best Cinematography (Black and White), Original Score, Editing, Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, and Best Writing. All of which were very much deserved. Humphrey Bogart was great, and did a truly wonderful job as the mysterious, irresistible man, all while pulling off the heartbroken man, that is still in love with Isla. The Original Score was really great, and I really noticed it. It played up every moment really well. Swooning music for the love scenes, suspenseful music for the heightened scenes, and so on. The cinematography was also quite good; the film overall looked really nice, and well filmed.

In the end, I enjoyed the film, though it wasn't my favourite. It was well-told, and had enough romance, but didn't over do it. I liked it, it was a classic, though I don't find the need to watch it again. But that's just me.

Update (2014): I had the opportunity to see this film, along with a large audience, at Toronto's Roy Thompson Hall, and to have the Toronto Symphony Orchestra play the score live alongside the film. Watching the film with an audience, and hearing and seeing their reactions always gives new insight to films. Casablanca had more sarcasm and humor than I remembered. The score was especially sweeping and romantic, and the performances were larger than life. I have since updated several of the scores on my score chart, giving it with a final total of 80/100 rather than the 77 it previously held.

Acting- 8.5/10 
Directing- 8.5/10 
Screenplay- 9/10 
Visuals- 9/10 
Music- 9.5/10 
Emotional Connection- 7.5/10 
Entertainment- 7.5/10 
Rewatchability- 7.5/10 
Overall Enjoyment- 7.5/10 
Overall Package- 9/10       

Total: 83.5/100

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire, 208
Directed by Danny Boyle
Nominated for 10 Oscars, Won 8

Synopsis: Jamal Malik is an eighteen year old uneducated boy from the Slums of India. And he's one question away from winning India's Who Want To Be a Millionaire. But how could a boy, who's uneducated and from the slums, know answers and get farther than doctors and lawyers have? Jamal shows us, exactly how every question is answered, showing us his life growing up.

I'm going to start this off right now and tell you that my favourite film of 2008 was David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Yes, that long one, with Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt, who aged backwards. While it was my favourite, I know and accept why it didn't win Best Picture, and why Slumdog did. Even if I think The Dark Knight or Doubt were way more deserving (and subsequently not nominated)

The film was well-done in the way of telling Jamal's back story. The little boys who play him, and his brother Salim, were most excellent and I thought they were quite brilliant. They were hilarious, but they also dealt with the hard things in life, and saw so many things that many of us will never see in our lives.I appreciated the fact that, while this was sort of a story about Jamal's life, we saw the significance in everything. While I felt the love story line to be slightly detracting about from the film, overall it was well balanced between focusing on Jamal's life, and showing us how he knew all the answers.

The cinematography was quite excellent. Similar to The Hurt Locker, is was shaky, and "unprofessional" looking most times (especially when in the slums), and made you feel like you were there with Jamal and Salim. It creatively and beautifully portrayed the slums, the cities, the Taj Mahal, and everything in between. We see shots us children digging through trash, and being abused by cops, and just playing and having fun, not having much of a care in the world.  The colours were beautiful, and the use of Indian music in the film was great. 

This film gave so much interesting insight to the culture of India; the living conditions, the poverty, and exactly what people (children and adults alike) will do for money, including lie, cheat, steal and murder. It's an uncomfortable look that forces us to evaluate and certainly appreciate what we have, because there are so many others around the world who don't have what we do. It has such a strong story about real life poverty. Not the poverty we see on the TV ads, or read about in an article then don't look at again. It's a story of one boy's life, and how he deals with it, all the trouble he gets into, how awful he life really was, and how he still came out on top, knowing most of the answers on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? However, the fact that all the questions on the game show happen to be in chronological order to Jamal's life is extremely unbelievable, and I felt it very much detracted from the story. The film didn't shy away from too much, though often times it felt cliche and over-done. Like I mentioned before, the love story was a major detraction and the film would've been much better without it. The tension and relationship between the two brothers was far more fascinating.

This film definitely opened my eyes up to the rest of the world, and how fortunate I am to have the life I do, while I shall continue to pray and help other less fortunate than I am.

While this film wasn't my favourite of the year, many of the films I did enjoy from this year simply weren't nominated. While this may not have been the film I picked, it was a good pick for diversity-sake, and admittedly, a more mainstream and popular choice than it could've been.

Acting- 8.5/10 
Directing- 7.5/10 
Screenplay- 7.5/10 
Visuals- 8/10 
Music- 8/10 
Emotional Connection- 7.5/10 
Entertainment- 7.5/10 
Rewatchability- 7/10 
Overall Enjoyment- 7/10 
Overall Package- 7.5/10       

Total: 76/100

Thursday, 15 December 2011

A Look at the Pre-Cursor Oscar Nominations

Hello folks! Just wanted to quickly say, before I get started, thanks for all the international views! It truly means a lot! (:

Anyways, so as you all know, a bunch of Pre-cursor Oscar nominations were released within the last week. We had the Critics Choice Awards, The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Nominations, and the Golden Globes.

Starting with the Critics Choice Awards, we didn't see too many surprises here. All the Best Picture's were to be expected, and along with all the acting awards. Though one surprise, at least I thought, was the choice for "Bridesmaids" to be nominated for Best Acting Ensemble. I haven't seen this film, knowing it's only some raunchy movie that features women (instead of the usual men) and filled with sex, but other than that, i don't know much about it. Maybe it's not surprised, but to me, it was. Additionally, we saw the nomination of Andy Serkis for his motion capture role in the Rise of the Planet of the Apes. There's been a big lobby going on for his nomination at the Oscars, and it looks like it's starting to head in the right direction.

The SAG Nominations didn't hold all that many surprises, though, again, we saw Bridesmaids for Best Cast in a motion picture. And all the films nominated, at least last year, ended with Best Pictures nods. Could this mean Bridesmaids is going for Oscar Gold? Time will tell! The only surprises we have here is the nomination of Demian Bichir from A Better Life, and Armie Hammer being Nominated for J. Edger and Jonah Hill for Moneyball. Though Gary Oldman and Michael Fassbender both were snubbed in the Best Actor Category.

The Golden Globes, again, not too many surprises. The Descendants, The Help, Hugo, Moneyball, War Horse, The Artist, Bridesmaids, My week with Marilyn, Midnight in Paris, 50/50. You get the idea.

Overall, the Race seems to be on.

So far, leading the nominations are:
The Artist- 19 (6 GG, 3 SAG, 10 CC)

The Help- 17(5 GG, 8CC,  4 SAG)
Hugo- 14 (3GG,11 CC, 0 SAG)
Descendants- 14 (5GG, 7CC, 2 SAG

It looks like these 4 will be the big contenders for Best Picture on Oscar night.

Gary Oldman and Tinker Tailor Solider Spy were snubbed, overall, in general.

Harry Potter (though it's been included in several of the art & tech categories, and should do well come Oscar night) has also been unincluded in any of the Best Picture/Ensemble categories. The elusive Alan Rickman has also not appeared on any nominations list, though his performance was good, I'm frankly not surprised. They should hold out hope for an art/tech award and nomination only

Shame has also received very few nominations, though Fassbender was nominated at the Critics Choice Awards and the Golden Globes .

War Horse has received some but not many nominations, including Speilberg being snubbed for Best Director at the Golden Globes.

And Albert Brooks and Shailene Woodley both were, shockingly, snubbed out of the SAG nominations, though they will both, most likely end up with the Oscar nom.

Needless to say, the race has been shaken up a little, though has solidified many already favourites, and given perspective on what to expect January 24th. Predictions will be updated by tomorrow morning, and happy Christmas and awards season!

Friday, 9 December 2011


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Hugo, 2011
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Possible Oscar Nominations Include: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Costume<!- google_ad_section_end ->

Synopsis: It is the 1930's. And a little orphan boy named Hugo Cabret, lives in a train station in Paris, France. His father died in a fire, but before he did, they learned how to fix things. Clocks, wind-up toys, etc. But they're best project was automaton. But it's broken and rusted, and missing pieces. After his father dies, Hugo goes to live with his uncle, apprenticing as a clock repairman in the station. But his uncle is gone too, before long, so he lives in the train station, with automaton, trying to fix and repair it. During this time, he meets a cranky old man who works at a toy shoppe in the station, and his adventuresome god-daughter, Isabelle. When Hugo discovers that Isabelle, and her god-father Papas Georges might have a connection to do with his broken automaton, he embarks on his biggest adventure yet.

Before I write anything, I must apologize. I didn't like this film. Yes, yes, I know. You're crying out "but it's Martin Scorsese!" and shouting "but it's won so many awards already!" and bellowing "there's so much Buzz for it!" but I, whom frequently has unpopular opinions, didn't enjoy the film that much. But let me review it properly.

I thought the story was paced well. It wasn't action packed, but it wasn't slow either. There was always a new development going on, and Hugo was discovering something new. Asa Butterfield, who played Hugo, I thought, was terrific. He completely stood his own ground, and led the film on a journey. He was a good crier, which seems to be a terrible hard thing to do, especially if you are a younger male actor. And he did cheerful really well, and mischevious, and the whole time I was quite convinced that Asa simply was Hugo, and had no doubt about it. He gave a great performance.

Another solid point for this film was the Score. Howard Shore's score was really darling, and I quite enjoyed it. It was cliche French, but this was the 1930's Paris! It was fanciful! It was cliche! And I think Shore did a splendid job. I'd love to see this nominated, and I'm sure it has a good chance.

The tribute to Silent Films was very well done. When we get a big reveal from one the characters, it is very well done. This is where we see some fantatsic art direction, costume, makeup, etc. That was my favourite part of the movie, and thought it was a great tribute to Silent Films, and the entertainment industry of those days. This was definitely the strongest part of the film, while I felt the storyline with Hugo and Isabelle, and the automaton was weak.

On the other hand, I saw this film in 3D. I don't know if it's because I don't fancy 3D that much, or if this is true, but I thought it was too 3D. Like, the 3D was too much that I almost felt like I was watching an animated film a lot of the time. It didn't look realistic, and I think that really bothered me. While the Art Direction in general was good, I didn't think it fantastic. Though this could be the fact that the 3D was trying way too hard. Anyone else agree, or am I crazy?

Overall, the film disappointed me. I try to never go into a film with any sort of high expectations, but it'd been talked up so much that I got my hopes up. Additionally, I probably would've liked it better in 2D. Things wouldn't have looked so animated and unrealistic and...distracting. Asa Butterfield certainly impressed me, as I mentioned, and Chloe Moretz was fun and charming as Isabelle. It was an interesting storyline, and after taking an Introduction to Film Studies class, I felt having the knowledge about silent films, and even having seen some of the ones glimpsed at was fun. The Silent film era was an interesting one, and I loved the focus on that, and the background in it, which was true and interesting.
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Will it win Best Picture at this years Academy Awards? Certainly not, though it stands a very good chance for Art Direction, Costume and Original Score.<!- google_ad_section_end ->

Rating: 6.5/10

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The Descendants

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 The Descendants, 2011
Directed by Alexander Payne
Possible Oscar Nominations Include: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay<!- google_ad_section_end ->

Matt King is the "back up parent", as he solely puts it right at the beginning of the film. He is an attorney, an owner of a huge chunk of land of Kauai, and a descendant of Hawaiian Royalty and American Missionaries, a husband, and a father of two (messed up) daughters. Alex, 17, is recovering from drug addictions and drinking problems, while Scottie, 10, is acting way too old for her age, and is completely inappropriate on many occasions. How far they have fallen from the royal status. Matt's wife, Elizabeth was in a boating accident, and he receives news, after about a month of being in a coma, she's won't make it and will be taken off life support. After he tells Alex, who was recently (and currently) fighting with her mom, she reveals that she's been cheating on him. Meanwhile, his family's land on Kauai is going up for sale, and they're trying to decide who to sell it to. So, Matt, Alex, Scottie and Alex's friend Sid, all jet off to Kauai together, firstly to find the man Elizabeth has been seeing, and secondly, surprisingly, they change forever.

Incidentally, I went and saw this R-rated movie with my grandmother and my father. I already found that a little bit funny, and just a little ironic. My grandmother was the one keen on seeing it, so my father and I joined in. Which I was excited about because I wanted to see it, but no one else wanted to go with me.

I was excited to see this film. I'd been hearing lots of good things about it. It's been getting lots of Oscar Buzz, is nominated at the Gotham awards this year, and it's Alexander Payne's first film since 'Sideways'. So I went in with medium expectations (hyped about the movie, but haven't seen anything by Payne, or watched many films with George Clooney in them).

The film was great. Like many reviews I've read, I was crying one minute and laughing the next. It was a touching film, and Clooney was really fantastic as Matt King. He gave an extremely convincing performance at being at a loss to do with his messed up daughters and how to handle them. He didn't know what to do about his wife being taken off life support, how to tell people and what to do next. And then he finds out she's been cheating. He's, again, at a loss. And Clooney gave a hilarious and heart-wrenching performance. I cried when he cried, and felt awkward when he did, and felt elated when he did too.

On another acting note, Shailene Woodley (a newcomer to film) also gave quite a good performance. She's messed up, and angry, but we see her transform throughout the film. She did an angsty, potty-mouthed teen well, and really stood her ground beside Clooney. The pair made the film so alive and so real.

Overall, the film was pretty good. The Hawaiian scenery was beautiful, the score was ironic (you'll understand when you watch) but well done. The acting was top notch, and the story itself was complex and interesting. We see the best and worst of humanity, but leaning more towards the worst. What would we do if we found out information about someone we loved, that would forever change our views on them, of what we thought we knew? We see in this film how we're all people, wherever we live, dealing with the crappy stuff, with the bad stuff, and you just gotta get through it, and appreciate what you have. We all make mistakes, and we all get angry and scared, but in the end, you have to make the most of everything you have, before it's gone.

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Will this movie win best picture at this years Academy Awards? Honestly, I don't think so. Will it be nominated? That's pretty much for sure. It was a great film, and really funny AND moving and I really enjoyed it, but I don't see it winning. However, George Clooney is one to be reckoned with for Best Actor. Mr. Pitt had better watch his back.<!- google_ad_section_end ->

Rating: 8/10

Friday, 2 December 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, 2011
Directed by David Yates
Possible Oscar Nominations Include: Art Direction, Visual Effects, Makeup, Original Score, and Best Picture<!- google_ad_section_end ->

Synopsis: Leaving off part I with a just-barely escape from the Malfoy's house, Dobby dead, only 1 Horcrux down, and Voldemort acquiring the Elder Wand, we know there's a way to go. With their next location to search being Gringotts and Hogwarts, the movie escalates into a high-action and powerful film that doesn't stop until it ends. Will Harry find all the Horcruxes in time? Will he defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named? Who will die? Who will survive? And what secrets will he unfold next?

Surprisingly, thus far of reviewing movies, I haven't mentioned that I'm a huge Potter fan. And I mean huuuuge. So anticipation levels were high when this movie was released in theaters in July. Sadly, I wasn't able to see it at midnight like I did for Part I (I was working at camp and didn't have access to a car, or permission to stay out all night), so I saw the film the day after it's release in 2D. The second time, in 3D, though I'll comment on that later.

Being a massive fan, I know this review will appear slightly biased with my undying love for the series, but I'll try to do my best.

The film opens up on Harry at Shell Cottage. We see him at Dobby's grave, and then see him question the Goblin, Griphook, about potentially breaking into Gringotts, the Wizarding Bank, and to Mr Ollivander, the wand-maker  about the Elder Wand. While we know Voldemort just recently acquired the wand, we realize what Harry's choice is... He's going to break into Bellatrix LeStrange's vault at Gringotts to search for a Horcrux. This involves stolen wands, polyjuice potion, more disguises of the non-polyjuice variety, and invisibility cloaks. To say this heist goes successfully is only half true. But you can watch the movie.

Next we land at Hogwarts, where the finale truly begins, 35 minutes into the film. It's ending.

Several things I must comment on now. Firstly, the visual effects were stunning in this film. I mean, seriously. And combined with the use of the 3D the film was a masterpiece for the eyes. I'm not, by any means, a fan of 3D (unless it were animated movies only, and were cheaper), but it's not really my thing. But I had the change to see the movie a 2nd time, and they chose to see it 3D, and I got in for free with my Scene Card. But seriously, I was a big fan of the 3D for this film. No, there wasn't anything jumping out at you, etc, but I felt like this film had infinite layers to it. I felt like I could stare really far into the distance and see so many different things. It felt very real, and like you're actually looking out a window onto all these scenes, not looking at a screen watching a movie. And the use of things flying away from you, in 3D, is also very cool, and has a much better effect. But enough about 3D. Overall, visually, this film was fantastic, and my favourite beside Part I and Prisoner of Azkaban.

Also, the music in this film was perfectly used. 4-time Oscar Nominee, and my favourite composer by far, Alexandre Desplat, combines new themes, themes from Part I, and themes from past films, predominantly using Hedwig's Theme and Harry's Wondrous World for particularly nostalgic scenes. But Desplat's original work is just as emotionally moving and fantastical as William's work. This film switches between 2 different themes. We have the 'Lily's Theme' Theme, which is shown in the emotional moments, or all things concerning Snape and Harry. And we have the 'Statutes' theme, which is the battle theme used throughout the film. Both of which are beautiful themes. And just let me say, the final Harry vs Voldemort battle tracks are just so triumphant and stunning. I could never choose a favourite track from this score. I would be surprised if this doesn't get Oscar nominated, as it's already been Grammy Nominated.

In the end, this film was well-balanced, having Part I been all talk, and Part II, most definitely, being all action. Some complained that the film was non-stop and the story got lost, but I disagree. As Harry put's it in an early scene, "we plan, we get there, all hell breaks loose" and that's precisely what happens. There's not a solid plot (hence the vague synopsis earlier), but that's okay. Battle and war isn't solid, it's crazy and unplanned and chaotic. So many different things happen to Harry this day (if you were really paying attention you'll notice pretty much the whole of Part II, minus a few scenes, takes course over 24 years. Yep) that it just can't be mapped out of planned. It's a very strong film, with a very strong story. Love is the guiding light, and something we cannot live without.

Overall, I loved this film (maybe not as much as Part I, but I adore Part I). It was visually beautiful, well-acted (specifically from Alan Rickman, duh, and Helena Bonham Carter.. her imitation of Hermione is brilliant and spot-on), and was overall a fantastic film. I foresee many nominations for this film, and if we're lucky (fingers-crossed) a Best Picture Nomination could be on the way. Though we'll see about that one, it's for sure, and would be nothing less than robbery, should HP still not achieve winning the Little Gold Man, in any category.
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Will Harry Potter finally receive a Best Picture Nod at this years Academy Awards? It could go either way, honestly. With the new voting system the academy instituted for this years nominations, this could either be a good thing for Harry, or a bad thing. Had it been last year, and 10 nominees were for certain, it would've definitely been nominated. This year, we'll have to see, and cross our fingers.<!- google_ad_section_end ->

Rating: 9/10

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

American Beauty

 American Beauty 1999
Directed by Sam Mendes
Nominated for 8 Oscars, Won 5

Lester Burnham is depressed. His life is boring and ordinary, and his marriage and relationship with his only daughter is strained and almost non-existent. But then, he swoons and falls (lustily) for Jane's good friend Angela. Meanwhile, Jane is striking up a relationship with a drug dealer next door, who films everything he sees, and his wife is also looking for a way to break out of this boring life she has.

I'm just going to throw it out there now, but I didn't particularily enjoy this film. Granted, I'm not particularly enthused by the story of a 42 year old man fantasizing and lusting after a 16-18 year old girl. I'm also not into drug dealing, affairs and swearing. So this movie wasn't exactly my cup of tea.

I'm not sure if it was the fact I'm not good at watching films the whole way through on my own (which I did for this one) or if I just didn't like the film in general, but I found it went by very slowly, and wasn't all that exciting. Lester Burnham I was found very embarassing. I felt embarassed for him when he couldn't stop staring (obviously) at Angela when they first meet, or just how obvious he is about everything else about his obsession. But I guess that was the point?

What made this film sad was the attitudes of every single character in this movie. I just don't understand how someone can let their marriage fall apart, and then proceed to complain, even though they didn't even try to save it, like we see in this movie. Or how daughters complain that her father doesn't care when she isn't making any effort at all. Or how people can have affairs and be attracted to younger women and not be ashamed of themselves.

It saddens me to see how selfish every single character was in this movie. And that's just whats so wrong with America, and North America, and so many other places, today. We're selfish people, and blame others when things go wrong. And I didn't like that about the movie. They didn't realize how much they themselves were at fault and continued to blame others.

There was just too much sexual references/content, drugs, swearing, and selfishness for me to even feel sorry a single character in this film. Harsh, but true.

While I thought Thomas Newman wrote an excellent score, and Annette Benning was great, overall, this movie wasn't exactly my thing, nor did I enjoy it, though the ending was a twist, and was suspenseful. Sorry, unpopular opinion, I suppose.

Acting- 8.5/10 
Directing- 7.5/10 
Screenplay- 7/10 
Visuals- 7/10 
Music- 8.5/10 
Emotional Connection- 3/10 
Entertainment- 5/10 
Rewatchability- 4/10 
Overall Enjoyment- 5/10 
Overall Package- 6.5/10       

Total: 62/100

Saturday, 26 November 2011

MillIon Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby, 2004
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Nominated for 7 Oscars, Won 4

Frankie Dunn has coached some amazing boxers in his time, but he "doesn't train girls". At least, that's what he tells Maggie Fitzgerald when she comes up to him after a match, when she joins his gym, and when she won't go away. After a little convincing from his old partner that helps him oversee his gym, Eddie Scrap-Irons Dupris, and when his best fighter leaves him for another coach and goes on to win World Champion, he finally agrees to take her own, and she tells him he'll never regret it.

I got this movie out from the public library. I got about halfway through it when it started acting up, and then just stopped working completely. At that point, while I searched for the rest online (shhh) and loaded it up, I thought this movie was so-so. Hilary Swank was pretty good, Morgan Freeman was great (when he had screentime), and Clint Eastwood... well, he's not really my favourite actor, though he also did a good performance.

The story was interesting, albeit progressing really slowly, with not too much action besides the odd might (which Maggie always seems to be losing, or owning). It was more talk than action, and I haven't decided whether that was a good thing or not. I wasn't exactly sure where this was going when we got to the halfway point.

It's hard to make any comments anymore because the second half of the movie completely makes up for the slow and drawn out first. This is where all the performances truly shine. Swank blew me with her performance, as did Eastwood. Though Morgan Freeman, who won an Oscar for this performance, didn't have a whole lot of screen time.

The lighting, also, I thought was interesting in this film. I know that's kind of an odd thing to remark upon, but I really noticed it. Many times, faces were shadowed while bodies had light cast upon them, or half faces were illuminated, and half weren't, or only one characters could be seen. It was an interesting technique.

I'm not sure what else to say about this film because if I say anything else, I would spoil so much of it. This is a tough rate because the 2 halves of the movie were so different, and I felt so differently about the two of them. I'm sorry I can't say more about this film, but this is a spoiler-free blog!

The only thing I was say more is, I haven't cried harder in any film. Yet. But I am, slightly, a movie-crier.

Overall, the film was an okay one. It's definitely not my favourite movie, not even my favourite boxing movie (The Fighter was just really good, sorry), but it had some great performances, looked really great, had an interesting story, and had potential, though I think it could've been done better, though I do applaud the ending, which was fantastically done.

Acting- 9/10 
Directing- 8/10 
Screenplay- 7.5/10 
Visuals- 7.5/10 
Music- 7/10 
Emotional Connection- 8.5/10 
Entertainment- 7/10 
Rewatchability- 6.5/10 
Overall Enjoyment- 7.5/10 
Overall Package- 7.5/10       

Total: 76/100

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

2012 Predictions

I've posted in the sidetabs, my current predictions for the 2012 Nominations. They are made up mostly of guess-work, and buzz, as I've seen hardly any of the films so far (besides Moneyball, The Help, Harry Potter).

But I'll update in a few weeks after I've seen some more of the films (I plan to see The Descendants and My Week With Marilyn soon!), and predict some winners (:

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

An American In Paris

An American In Paris, 1951
Directed by Vincente Minnelli
Nominated for 8 Academy Awards, Won 6.

Synopsis: Jerry Mulligan is a struggling American painter, living in Paris after being a soldier in WWII. He gets discovered on the streets by a rich young woman, who decides to sponsor him, and get him set up with exhibitions and meet important people to become successful. But she's got more on her mind that Jerry's art. At the same time, Jerry has swooned for a French girl named Lise, who is already engaged to an acquiantence of Jerry's, though neither of them know this- yet. But, as we all know, it's going to happen eventually, and the situation will be quite comical indeed.

I watched the movie Singin' In The Rain for the first time about a month and a half ago, and absolutely adored it. The tap dancing, laughing hysterically at Donald O'Connor's antics, and may or may not have been swooning over Gene Kelly. SInce then, I've watched it once or twice more, and still love it. So naturally, when I was looking over the list of Oscar Winning Pictures, and looked into what An American In Paris was about, I was excited to see it was a musical- and Gene Kelly was in it!

I quickly made a reservation at the library for it (along with a couple others) and was eager to watch it. I snuggled into bed and watched this movie on a rainy night with my mother, glad for someone to watch a movie with, because I find I can hardly ever sit through a movie by myself. But I digress.

The story itself, unfolded quite nicely and quickly (though not too quickly). We are introduced to the three main men quite quickly. Jerry Mulligan, Adam Cook (Jerry's friend, another American in Paris) and Adam Cook's good friend Henri Baurel, a cabaret singer, and Lise's boyfriend/fiance. Not ten minutes later, have we met the two main women; Milo Roberts, the rich young woman who takes a liking to more than just Jerry's painting, and Lise Bouvier, the young dancer who works at a perfume shop, and is with Henri.

The situation quickly sets itself up. We open on the film with Henri telling Adam Cook about this woman he is in love with. We learn about Lise, without realizing she is to be a main player in the film. Then we see Jerry and Lise encounter each other for the first time at a smoky Jerry is instantly drawn to Lise, while he is out with Milo and some friends shortly after Milo and Jerry meet when she purchases 2 of Jerry's paintings. Lise is resistant, but Jerry is persistant, while Milo is still vying for his attention.

I quite enjoyed this film. It was a light-hearted romantic-musical-comedy, with some brilliant situational irony (you can just imagine what is happening at this point), dance numbers and okay songs. While I didn't think the music was mighty fantastic, I thought Gene Kelly was great. He was really convincing as a poor painter, and played obvious, adamant, and happy-go-lucky lover, so well.

Newcomer Leslie Caron (Lise) was also really good. While I didn't much care for her character, she's an extremely, extremely talented dancer, if nothing else. She really holds her own next to Kelly (I'm just biased because I love tap dancing, though I can't do it myself) and the 17-minute long finale was really quite something. She's a very very talented woman.

While I enjoyed this movie, I didn't love it. I thought the dancing was great, the music was so-so, Gene Kelly looked great, and the storyline was pretty good. While I enjoyed it, I know there are several other musicals that didn't win Best Picture I liked much better, though it was decent, and cute.

Acting- 8.5/10 
Directing- 8/10 
Screenplay- 7.5/10 
Visuals- 9/10 
Music- 9/10 
Emotional Connection- 7/10 
Entertainment- 7/10 
Rewatchability- 7/10 
Overall Enjoyment- 7.5/10 
Overall Package- 7/10       

Total: 77.5/100

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker, 2008
Directed by Katheryn Bigelow
Nominated for 9 Oscars, won 6.
Synopsis: A new sergeant, Will James, has come to take over a an elite squad of roadside bomb disposal team after their previous sergeant was killed on the job. James is reckless and wild, and very different from their last sergeant. He shows himself to be unafraid and indifferent to life, death, and everything around him, except disarming bombs. His two subordinates, Sanborn (a strong, fierce man) and Eldridge (someone suffering post-traumatic stress after the death of their previous sergeant) are both just trying to adjust and deal with this new, wild, reckless man leading them. But war doesn't leave you indifferent. If anything, it leads you to caring too much, and thus trying not to care.
At least, this is what Ms. Bigelow shows us in her (almost) documentary-style film about bomb disposal soldiers in Iraq.
I settled down to watch this movie with my boyfriend. I was interested in seeing this film. I had watched the first 20 minutes or so in film class, and wondered about the rest of the movie. Being extremely oblivious to war (Iraq, Afghanistan, etc), politics, and the like, I wasn't sure how much of this movie I would understand, or even like.
But I quickly found myself transported into this world that I had no idea existed. I see just exactly how war is affecting everyone. How tricky it is to weed out the citizens you want to help, with the citizens who want to kill you. How much you can't get attached, and how much you have to block out in order to not bleed to death from the hopelessness of it all.
All Oscars it won for the technical side were well-won. Film editing, sound mixing and sound editing. Everything was so rocky and raw and real that I felt like I was there in Iraq, wearing the bomb protection suit, or in the Humvee with them. 
The cinematography was indeed, also, very good. Very shaky, and amateur, but on purpose. To not try to take anything away from what's going on. So you can't put a glamour on what you're seeing. This is real. You also saw so much of what they saw. How many places you have to keep watch over; balcony's, minarets, windows, everything.  All the people who constantly around, and just how poor Baghdad really is.
I really appreciated this movie because even though I wasn't sure exactly what was going on all the time, it didn't dumb down the movie to make it simple for viewers. It threw them into the life of these soldiers, where they weren't beginners. You jumped right in, and there was nothing to introduce you, which I thought was refreshing.
I really enjoyed this film because of the character of Will James. He was a complex character, and I really felt so much sympathy for, not only him, but all of the soldiers. It's just so sad what's going on over there. That war like this is going on.  It really taught me a lot about what's going on in the world, or at least in Iraq, and just how much the American soldiers do. Or how much they suffer, and how much this is affecting them. And just how much we take forgranted here. America, and Canada.

Acting- 8.5/10 
Directing- 8.5/10 
Screenplay- 8/10 
Visuals- 8.5/10 
Music- 7.5/10 
Emotional Connection- 8/10 
Entertainment- 8/10 
Rewatchability- 7.5/10 
Overall Enjoyment- 8/10 
Overall Package- 8/10       

Total: 80.5/100

The Help

The Help, 2011
Directed by Tate Taylor
Possible Nominations include: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song

Synopsis: Set in Mississippi during the 1960s, Skeeter (Stone) is a southern society girl who returns from college determined to become a writer, but turns her friends' lives -- and a Mississippi town -- upside down when she decides to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent southern families. Aibileen (Davis), Skeeter's best friend's housekeeper, is the first to open up -- to the dismay of her friends in the tight-knit black community. Despite Skeeter's life-long friendships hanging in the balance, she and Aibileen continue their collaboration and soon more women come forward to tell their stories -- and as it turns out, they have a lot to say. Along the way, unlikely friendships are forged and a new sisterhood emerges, but not before everyone in town has a thing or two to say themselves when they become unwittingly -- and unwillingly -- caught up in the changing times. (Source: IMDB)

I saw this film a while back, so you'll forgive me if I forget some things.
I remember coming across mentions of this film back in January. I had just watched Emma Stone in a movie, and wondered what else she was coming out in, and read about the Help. Then I read that it could be an Oscar Favourite. Then before it came out, I watched the trailer and was intrigued. So like the bookworm I am, I picked up the book and read it first, before going to see. I loved the book. Not knowing much about racism in the South, besides the little they teach in Canadian schools, I learned so much. Racism didn't make a whole lot of sense. And young Skeeter saw this.
I went to see the film with my mother on a Cheap Tuesday evening in early September. Yeah, 2 months ago, I know. I remember being a little nervous, because the book was so long, with several different story lines and characters that I wasn't sure how true to the book it was going to be. Being a Harry Potter fan, I become weary when a book becomes a movie because more often than not, it's not adapted well. But I must say, this one was.

The film was well done. They handled telling three different women's stories quite well. Skeeter's storyline was interesting, without making her too much the focus. You felt Aibileen's frustration and heartbreak, and you grow to love Minny, hilarious as she is, and also really sympathise everything she is going through- between caring for a "crazy white lady", having an abusive husband, and, well, being black in 1960's Louisiana. 

Additionally, this film was acted quite well. Viola Davis (Aibileen) is almost a lock for Best Actress, as well as Octavia Spencer (Minny) most likely being nominated for Best Supporting. Emma Stone, while her accent occasionally got away from her, held her own, this being (as far as I know) her first very serious role. Bryce Dallas Howard, was fantasticly evil, and brilliant.

Overall, I really liked this film. It's an interesting story, not too predictable, and educational. While it is likely to get nominated for Best Picture in 2012, it is extremely unlikely it shall win. As much as I liked it, I know it's not quite the Academy's sort of film, but we'll see when the show rolls around.

Rating: A-

No Country For Old Men

No Country For Old Men 2007, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
Nominated for 8 Oscars, Won 4.
Synopsis: In rural Texas, welder and hunter Llewelyn Moss discovers the remains of several drug runners who have all killed each other in an exchange gone violently wrong. Rather than report the discovery to the police, Moss decides to simply take the two million dollars present for himself. This puts the psychopathic killer, Anton Chigurh, on his trail as he dispassionately murders nearly every rival, bystander and even employer in his pursuit of his quarry and the money. As Moss desperately attempts to keep one step ahead, the blood from this hunt begins to flow behind him with relentlessly growing intensity as Chigurh closes in. Meanwhile, the laconic Sherrif Ed Tom Bell blithely oversees the investigation even as he struggles to face the sheer enormity of the crimes he is attempting to thwart.
(source: IMDB)
Before watching this movie, I was under the impression that this film was going to be extremely boring. It didn't look all that thrilling to me, and was sure I wasn't going to enjoy it much. I remembered when it came out, and seeing the previews for it. I didn't think too much about the movie, not did I remember what it was about when I decided to start this project, and picked up this film at the library.
Reading the back of the box, I felt optimistic. It said it was an "action-packed thriller" and the story about a man finding dead men, a truck full of drugs, 2 million dollars cash, and violence sounded pretty promisin Unfortunately, I came out of the film disappointed.
The film started interestingly. We see Javier Bardem, killing various people in shocking and unexpected way and we know this guy is going to be a mastermind, and a huge played in the film. Though his relevance takes a while to unfold. We are about 25 minutes into the film before we see why we are looking at this killer.
We also follow the storylines of Llewelyn Moss, a retired welder and hunter, who is the main, main protagonist of this film, and sherriff Ed Tom Bell, who is on the verge of retirement, but friendly with the town-folk.
I remember sitting through this, and the action had finally started. Chigurh was tracking Moss, and many people are getting killed. There's several moments of suspense, but not much else. I started to find some of this film fairly predictable. Chigurh is in the house, don't do in. Chigurh put a tracker in the money. Chigurh has already caught up to you, run fast! While the movie didn't end as I had expected, I sat on my couch, thinking about what had just happened. That was it? But where was the action-packed thriller that I was promised? Sure, there was action (sparingly) and suspense (in a few moments) but overall, I found the film to be lacking. Had I not went into this thinking this was going to be some constant-action movie, I may have appreciated it more. But there we have it, false advertising the summary on the back of the DVD holds.
That being said, everything else about the film was quite fantastic. The acting was great, Javier Bardem (who won an Oscar for this role, as Chigurh) especially. He was extraordinarily creepy, and his acting was spotless. He seriousness was flawless, and his character was stunning. Pulling huge and unexpected weapons from seemingly nowhere, and killing without a blink.
Additionally, it was visually stunning. The cinematography was fantastic, and the landscapes were beautiful. The cinematographer, certainly did a stunning job.
Overall, the film was a strange one, but just ok. Had it not been acted so well, or looked so good, I wouldn't understand the hype that this movie received. While I somewhat enjoyed it, it wasn't a favourite.

Acting- 9.5/10 
Directing- 8.5/10 
Screenplay- 8/10 
Visuals- 9/10 
Music- 7.5/10 
Emotional Connection- 6.5/10 
Entertainment- 6.5/10 
Rewatchability- 6.5/10 
Overall Enjoyment- 7.5/10 
Overall Package- 8/10       

Total: 77.5/100