Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, 2008
Directed by David Fincher
Nominated for 13 Oscars, Won 3
Lost BP To: Slumdog Millionaire

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is loosely based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It tells the story of Benjamin, who was born as old man, and who ages in reverse. That is, to say, he gets younger instead of getting older. In this film version, directed by David Fincher, Benjamin was born the day the Great War ended. His mother died in child birth, and his father was horrified by the sight of him. He was born with cataracts, wrinkled skin, and arthirits. His father contemplated throwing him in the river but leaves him on the doorstep of a home (whether random or not, we're not sure). A young black woman named Queenie, who helps run a seniors home, takes him in and cares for him. Thinking he doesn't have long left anyway, Queenie keeps him. And he begins to get younger.

This story is told by the way of a young woman, reading Benjamin's diary to her dying mother, who is in the hospital during, what we think is, the beginnings of Hurricane Katrina. The old woman's name is Daisy. The love of Benjamin's life. Benjamin meets Daisy when he's very young (or still very old), and she's around 6 or 7. Her grandmother lives in the seniors home, and they are kindred spirits and become pals- in the way little girls and old men do.

The movie is Benjamin's entire life. Him getting younger, leaving home, living on a tugboat in Russia, having an affair with a married woman, working the tugboat in WWII, being attacked by submarine there, falling in love with Daisy, being apart from Daisy, being with Daisy, and getting younger.

The idea for this film had been floating around for a long time. The rights to the story was bought back in the 70s, Jack Nicholson originally slated to star. Other buyers of the rights included Steven Spielburg (in the 90's, with a Tom Cruise slated as Benjamin) but went on to direct Jurassic Park and Schindlers List. Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall were sold the rights. Several different directors and stars were slated. Ron Howard (starring John Travolta), Spike Jonze, Gary Ross, and finally David Fincher, with several, several screenplays having been written. But finally, Brad Pitt was cast as Benjamin, Cate Blanchett was Daisy, and filming began in November 2006.

The film clocks in at 2 hours, and 46 minutes. The film spans Benjamin's entire life, from birth to death. The first time I watched this movie with my family, we complained it was so long, and so boring, and who cares. But then, as I've had before, I had the urging to rewatch it. So I did, and it's become a favourite film (just missing my top 10- taking the 11th spot). Many others have shared in my initial complaints that it was long and dull, and some have even compared it to Forrest Gump, being the story of a man born with defects that he eventually overcomes. He falls in love with a young girl while their both young, are companions, and aren't together for a long time (she rejects him), and eventually come together for a short time, shorter than they would've liked, lived on a boat, went to war, and had mother's who gave them quotes about not knowing what to expect of life. Eric Roth, penned the screenplays for both films and many have compared them, though they are incredibly different, even if they sound similar.

This is one of those movies that makes me feel an enormous range of feelings. Seeing Benjamin travel the world, making the most of his life, falling in love, and then, not being able to stay with Daisy makes me feel a lot of things. Its the movie that makes me feel the most.

Brad Pitt is, in my opinion, fantastic as Benjamin. He plays the subtleties just right, and acts the old man and the young man just right, making distinctions between both, all while having this wiseness beyond his years (ironically or not). Cate Blanchett is also lovely, playing both the teenage/young adult Daisy, the ballerina, and the dying woman we see in the beginning, who is unrecognizable. Other fun apprearances include Tilda Swinton, as Benjamin's first grown up love, in Murmansk, Russia and Taraji P. Henson as Queenie.

While this movie was nominated for 13 Oscars, the leading movie of the year, it only won 3. And the ones it won were truly, truly deserved. The Visual Effects, for the things like the "old man" baby, and the old Brad Pitt. In an interview with VFX Supervisor, Eric Barbra, he explains how the first 52 minutes of the film, is a 3D head. They made 3 head casts of Brad Pitt, aged 80s, 70s and 60s, then scanned into a computer, 3D. Brad would perform the facial expressions of a scene, as it was being digitzed, filmed from 4 different angles, and were matched to a scene/moment. Body actors were used on set, and essentially, Brad every facial movement and emotion was mixed with the digitized headcast (whichever age), and then photoshopped on top of the body actor. After the first 52 minutes, Brad does a full body performance, with makeup now deaging him, until he becomes a child and then a baby, when child actors are used. In the end, this gives me so much more appreciation for Brad's work on this film. Every facial expression was thought out, recorded without doing the action, only watching the body actors performance. It's incredibly complex, and the capturing of the facial expressions was the first of it's kind. (for more info on this all, see interview and the official Benjamin Button VFX Website). And how Brad Pitt doesn't have an Oscar yet is beyond me. Especially after this and Tree of Life.

In the end, I have a lot of respect for this movie, for how well it was performed, the technical and visual aspects, as well as the directing. And while it deserved the 3 Awards it won (VFX, Makeup, Art Direction), it deserved that and more. This should've been Alexandre Desplat's year for winning Original Score, in which his themes for Benjamin and Daisy was played forward, and then backwards (a technique used frequently in the film). He was truly, truly robbed. It's one of my favourite film scores ever.

However, I love this movie, understand why not everyone does, but I love it anyway. Forgive me for this long, technical review.


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Top 10 Favourite Movies of All-Time

Top 10 Favourite Films (In no particular order)
Since awards seasons is pretty dry right now, and I haven't had too much time to watch/review any past winners, I thought I'd compile a list of my top 10 favourite films, in no particular order. It's a variety of Best Pictures, Indie favourites, and musicals, and animated films. Here we go!

1. Pride & Prejudice (2005)
I was only thirteen when previews for this movie came out. And I was swept away. I had only briefly heard of the book, and had no idea what it was about. My parents were surprised I was interested in such a movie. After watching the movie, I bought the book several years later. I have read it several times over since then, after buying it at 16 years old.  I loved how the film was portrayed. The costumes were varied from simple and plain (The Bennetts), and grandiose (Ms. De Burgh, etc). Keira Knightly was well suited for Elizabeth, the fiesty young girl, and Matthew MacFayden had the look that was able to convince you he could be sinister, but was heartbreaking when painted with the face of someone in love (something I thought Colin Firth didn't quite get. I had a hard time believing anyone could find him proud and mean). It's romantic, and it was well-received, gained Kinghtly a Best Actress nod. Rightly so.

2. Julie & Julia (2009)
This movie is the story of 2 women, living in very different times. One is Julie Powell, a young woman living in Queens, New York and decides to blog about cooking through Julia Child's cookbook in 1 year, as a way of finding happiness and a hobby in her life. The other half of the story is about Julia Child herself, about her life in Paris and how she came to be who she is. Julie is portrayed by the cute and iridescent Amy Adams, and Julia is played by the famous Meryl Streep. I love the 2 stories about these 2 women, and feel empowered by both of them. Both portray their very different marriages (Julie and her husband are very young and presumably not been married very long, and Julia and her husband have been together a long time). Meryl streep is absolutely fantastic (obviously) and we also get performances from Stanley Tucci (who's a favourite of mine), and Jane Lynch. 

3. The King's Speech (2010)
Yes this movie only came out last year, and yes many people didn't think it deserved Best Picture as it was very Oscar-bait and very British. But I honestly loved this film. It's the moving story of King George VI (Bertie), and his unforseen ascension to the throne- and his struggle with a speech impediment. It has an All-Star cast, and the story is moving, funny, and very feel-good (in a good way!). This movie never fails to make me a little teary in the beginning, and Colin Firth is absolutely extraordinary, along with the lovely Helena Bonham-Carter and Geoffrey Rush.  

4. Oliver! (1968)
Another Best Picture, but this one very different from the last. Oliver! is the story about Oliver Twist, an orphan who runs away from the funeral home and orphanage in England, to "seek his fortune" in London. He gets involved in the company of child pick-pocketers, and mixed up in the crimes of the older thieves as well. All in musical form. I watched this movie several times growing up, and still love it to this day. The musical is fabulous and catchy, and the story is complex and interesting. I just love it, ok?

5. Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
I've been a Harry Potter fan since just after the 3rd movie was released in theaters. And while there were 8 movies to choose from (I loved them all), Prisoner of Azkaban is almost tied with Deathly Hallows Part I for my favourite, though I've loved this one longer than the other, and decided to include it instead. (DH1 is a runner up for the top 10 list). It's the first more grown up tale of Harry Potter and his friends, and is brilliantly done. Sirius Black is a notorious killer and he's escaped from prison, and he's after Harry. The tale deals with time-travel, criminals, and further secrets about Hogwarts and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Alfonso Cuaron took this film over from Chris Columbus, the director of the 1st 2 and put a new spin and a new look to the series. Everything looks a lot smoother, and artistically, is fabulous. While it isn't as true to the book as the 1st two, it captures the spirit and tone of the book perfectly, and the characters are more "teenaged" and look very much how the fans had pictured them. 

6. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
I thoroughly enjoy animated films, and it was hard to choose which one to include on this list. I'm a huge fan of Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc, but decided to go with How to Train Your Dragon, which I watched far more than I do the other 2. It's the fun tale about a young viking named Hiccup who lives on the island of Berk, which is frequently attacked by dragons. Dragons are the enemy of the people, and they are trained to kill them. But when Hiccup befriends an injured dragon, the one supposed to be the most vicious of all, he realizes maybe these animals have been misunderstood...all the while trying to fix the dragon's tail so he can fly again. It's a hilarious film which is funny for both kids and adults. And the score is amazing. Pretty much Scottish music meets Hans Zimmer. 

7.  Dan In Real Life (2007)
This movie is severely underrated. It's the story of Dan, a widower with 3 daughter, 2 of them teenagers, and one a pre-teen. He's a "good father, but a bad dad", as his youngest daughter tells him. He and the girls go up to a cottage for a large family reunion, and while out in town at a bookstore, meets a woman named Marie. Dan hasn't met a woman in a long time. They talk for hours, and then she leaves. And when Dan gets back to the cottage he realizes the woman he met is actually his brothers new girlfriend. You can imagine what ensues after this. This movie features Steve Carell as Dan, and Juliette Binoche as Marie, as well as fun supporting cast including Dane Cook as Dan's brother who dates Marie, Alison Pill as Dan's eldest daughter, and Emily Blunt as a hot blind date. It's a nice movie to snuggle up with on a rainy day. It's cute, romantic, and funny. 

8. The Dark Knight (2008)
Do I even need to explain anything about why I love this movie or what it's about? This movie is complex and epic, and the acting is top-notch. This movie is actually perfect. The Joker is just so insane, and Heath Ledger was brilliant. I have no doubts whatsoever that he truly deserved his Supporting Actor Oscar. Yeah, I think he would've still gotten it had he been alive. He really brought it and immersed himself in the Joker. Christian Bale, I don't know, I love him as Batman honestly. He plays a fantastic Bruce Wayne, and I really like him. Of course Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman as great, and the Harvey Dent storyline is also great. It's a complex story told in perfect, unfolding at just the right speed, with one of the best opening sequences ever. 

9. (500) Day of Summer (2009)
Cult classic and I love it. (500) Days of Summer tells the story of Tom, a young man who works at a Greeting Card company. He meets Summer, and the movie tells us their 500 day 'relationship', in no order. Zooey Deschanel's big break into the entertainment world (if we don't include Elf). Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the adorable and aggravating Tom. The story is told in such an interesting way, very reminiscent of Woody Allen's Annie Hall. We get musical numbers, and Expectations vs Reality sequences and character interviews. And the story has more to it than it appears, look closely and you'll see the scenes parallel each other, and we see Tom's bias opinion of their relationship and of Summer herself. It's a cute, fun movie, but is also smart, and complex. 

10. Singin' In The Rain (1952) 
Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, some extremely memorable songs and dances, and tap dancing. All together in one film called Singin In the Rain. I was introduced to this movie in my film class in college. And oh, how I loved it. It's exactly my kind of humor, and I discovered tap-dancing is pretty much the coolest thing ever. For those who don't know about this movie, it's about Don Lockwood, a silent film star who finds he has to adjust to the transition from silent films to talkies. While it may sound similar to the Artist, this film is a comedy in which Don agrees to continue in his career, but tries to figure out how to deal with his obnoxious co-star with an annoying voice, and is falling in love with an aspiring actress. And how to solve the fact that they're having troubles recording their voices at all? And the audience found their romantic, dramatic film exceedingly comical? This movie is just so hilarious, and it's just so good. One of my favourite movies, ever. 

There you have it! My top 10 favourite movies thus far. Wide variety, some Award winners, so not at all. 

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Rain Man

Rain Man, 1988
Directed by Barry Levinson
Nominated for 8 Oscars, Won 4
Up Against: The Accidental Tourist, Dangerous Liasons, Mississippi Burning, Working Girl

Synopsis: Charlie Babbit is living in LA, working as a down-and-out automobile salesman. When Charlie hears word that his father has died, he barely feels anything. He and his father have had an estranged relationship since Charlie was sixteen years old, when he borrowed his fathers 1948 Buick convertible without permission, with his friends, got pulled over for 'stealing a car', and his father left him in jail for 2 days while he friends all made bail. Charlie goes to his father's funeral, and then learns that his father's money ($3 million) is going into a trust, and Charlie has only been left the 1948 Buick, and his father's prized rose bushes. While in searches of finding out who the $3 million has gone to, he discovers he has an older brother. His name is Raymond, he's an autistic man living at a home for special needs patients, and he has inherited the $3 million. Charlie is angry, he never knew about Raymond, and that Ray has no need for this money. He decides to "take" his brother from his home, and tries to bargain him for the money, all while traveling cross-country with his autistic brother, hardly knowing how to deal with him.

When I started up this project, my mum was really excited that I would be watching this movie. My dad too, and several other people I knew told me this was an amazing movie. So naturally, I was excited to watch it. I was even more excited after watching Kramer vs Kramer, and seeing Dustin Hoffman as a great actor.

Personally, I found the plot a little slow. Most of the movie was spent in Charlie and Ray traveling across country, and Charlie getting annoyed and yelling at Ray, and Ray just being, well, Ray, and living in his own little world. There was a small plot about Charlie's car company, how it's about to go under, and how he'll owe people a lot of money, and he's broke. There's the little plot about the $3 million, and trying to gain custody of his brother so he can have the money. Oh, and all the funny things they do on their way to LA, like Charlie finding out Ray has a special talent with numbers. They go to Vegas and Ray counts cards so that Charlie can pay back his clients, with which their deals have fallen through. But this movie is really about Charlie and Ray. Charlie trying to come to terms on how to deal with Ray, about how Ray isn't "in there somewhere", this is just how he is. And just dealing with the fact that he had a brother he never knew about.

But above all, this was really a showcase for Dustin Hoffman. Dustin Hoffman playing Ray, the autistic man, who recites "Who's On First?" when nervous, watches Jeopardy at 5 everyday, has lights out at 11, and doesn't like to fly on planes because they crash, likes clothes from K-Mart, and memorizes everything he reads. While Dustin Hoffman was originally cast as Charlie, he changed his mind after encountering Leslie Lemke, who was blind, mentally handicapped, and had cerebal palsy but who could play full piano concertos by ear. He spent a year working with autistic people and their families to try and understand them better, and how they think, and deal with relationships. And this really paid off. Dustin Hoffman was so utterly convincing that I couldn't believe he was that father I had seen in Kramer vs Kramer, that he wasn't autistic. Even though Hoffman reportedly said that this was his "worst work" while filming, he won his second Oscar. And rightly so. His performance was absolutely incredible. While autism was known to some people in the 80's, Hoffman really give a face to what autism was, and really changed people's perspectives on it.

And then there's Tom Cruise. Many people seem to not mention how really good he was too. He and Hoffman had such great chemistry, and you really believed they were somehow brothers. Charlie is erratic and abrasive, and he simply cannot understand Ray at first, thinking his needs and antics are an act. But he slowly comes to terms with who Ray is, and what Ray is to him. And he plays this so well. He's really able to hold his own much of the time, and does a great job.

Overall, this movie was a wonderful treat. The acting was superb, even if the story was a tad weak and didn't really wrap everything up in the end. Hoffman gave one of the best performances I've seen thus far. This film also features Hans Zimmers first Hollywood score, and got Dustin Hoffman his second Best Actor award, as well with winning, Picture, Director and Screenplay. Overall, a good movie.

Acting- 9.5/10     
Directing- 7.5/10     
Screenplay- 7/10     
Music – 8/10    
Visuals- 7.5/10     
Entertaining- 7/10    
Emotional Connection- 8/10     
Rewatchability- 7.5/10     
Overall Enjoyment- 7.5/10     
Overall Package- 7/10      

Total: 76.5/100 

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Terms of Endearment

Terms of Endearment, 1983
Directed by James L. Brooks
Nominated for 11 Oscars, Won 5
Up Against: The Big Chill, The Dresser, The Right Stuff, Tender Mercies

Terms of Endearment is a mother-daughter story. Aurora lost her husband when her only daughter Emma was a young girl. It's been the two of them for most of Emma's life. When Aurora tells Emma, the night before her wedding, that marrying her fiancee, Flap, will be a catastrophic mistake, things get tense for the two. Emma marries Flap while her mother doesn't attend the wedding, and the two move away because Flap gets a job teaching English at a university.

During their time living apart, we follow their 2 different stories. Aurora is on her own, living with only herself and a maid or two. She strikes up an extremely unlikely relationship with her drunken, womanizing, ex-astronaut neighbour, despite the fact that she is prim, proper and strict, hardly able to tolerate his (Garrett's) ways. Meanwhile, Emma and Flap are having troubles of their own. They now have several kids, and are short on money. Emma starts to expect Flap is cheating, while she goes out into a little affair herself.

The movie doesn't have a plot, exactly. This is a movie about life, and the struggles and joys within them. Both Debra Winger (Emma) and Shirley MacLaine (Aurora) give fantastic performances. Debra Winger as the awkward and headstrong daughter, and Shirley MacLaine as the prim, proper and harsh mother. Also, both Jack Nicholson and Jeff Daniels give great supporting performances.

I commend the movie for giving such real performances and portrayals of life. Life doesn't have 'plots', it is just moving along, and there are good things and bad things, but we must have relationships, especially healthy ones.

What I wasn't crazy about in this movie was we didn't really get to know the characters. We saw flashes of their lives at different points in time, over several years, but never did we really get to know their characters. We never got to see why Aurora fell in love with Garrett, and what changed about what she felt about him. We didn't the gradual breakdown of Emma and Flap's marriage, we only saw them happy one moment and then angry and yelling the next. I felt this movie would've been a lot stronger had the character been portrayed more 2D. But that's just me.

While I don't usually spoil reviews, this one I can't really help. The last half hour, when Emma is in a bad position with Flap and her children (her eldest son seems to really hate her), but having a decent relationship with her mother, she discovers she has cancer- and is dying. This would've been a much more moving bit if I'd known the characters and cared for them more than I did. But I didn't. And that's just why the movie almost worked for me, but not quite.

Acting- 8/10     
Directing- 7/10     
Screenplay- 6.5/10     
Music – 7.5/10    
Visuals- 7.5/10     
Entertaining- 6.5/10    
Emotional Connection- 6/10     
Rewatchability- 5/10     
Overall Enjoyment- 6.5/10     
Overall Package- 6.5/10      

Total: 67/100

Monday, 5 March 2012

Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump, 1994
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Nominated for 13 Oscars, Won 6
Up Against: Four Weddings and A Funeral, The Shawshank Redemption, Pulp Fiction, Quiz Show

Embarassingly, I haven't seen this movie before. Actually, I don't know if it's embarassing to admit. The only things I really knew about this movie was "life's like a box of chocolate..." and "run forrest! run!" Other than that, I didn't know a whole lot about it. Though I knew people quoted it a lot. But overall, no idea really going into this.

Forrest Gump is the story of, well, Forrest Gump. Forrest is peculiar. He is sitting at a bus stop and starts telling his story to a woman (the 'audience' changes various times). He was a peculiar kid. He has leg braces, giving him a funny walk, and has an extremely low IQ. He meets a girl named Jenny on the first day of school. She's nice to him while all the other kids are mean. We are told they become lifelong friends. The story continues; Forrest telling us about shedding his leg braces, falling in love with running, playing football in college, serving in the Vietnam War, having his own shrimp boat, and finding Jenny again.

I'm just going to put it out there that I thought this movie was pretty weird. It was quirky, and odd and just really weird. Some things were so unrealistic, and hard to believe. That being said, I didn't enjoy this movie as much as I thought I would. Sure, it was a nice movie, but it was pretty odd, and I kept wondering how this won Best Picture. Again, not terrible, just okay. However, Tom Hanks was utterly amazing. He really owned the part of Forrest, and truly brought him to life. He completely shines and is overtaken by the role. He really knows his character, and is able to embody him in all ways. The accent was great, the manner of speech, the body language.. The best thing about this movie was Tom Hanks.

This is a movie about life, and following Forrest through it. Through this movie, I was continually thinking of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I really loved that film, and thought it was so heartbreaking, and so interesting. And I could see so much of CCBB in this (or vise-versa I suppose). Interestingly enough, both movies had the same screenplay writer, Eric Roth. Roth really understood his source material for this film though. It was funny, and really followed through on Forrest, really embodying him the same way, the entire film even though the film was a little too long. Much could've been shaved off.

For some of this film, I was sure whether it was supposed to be taken seriously, or to be joked off. It went back and forth between these two things, being very extreme on the 2 side to boot, that it was a little hard to take in, since it seemed so choppy. One moment Forrest is rescuing his fellow soldiers from an attack and bombing in Vietnam, the next he is eating ice cream in the hospital while recovering from being shots "in the buttocks" and wearing an enormous bandage/cast. The next we're learning about his friend, who lost his legs, and is mad Forrest didn't let him die out in the attack, and then Forrest is becoming a ping-pong champ and hitting at "amazing" speeds. It was very back and forth, and made it hard to take the serious stuff seriously, and the funny stuff in a jokey way. Not that other movies aren't like that, but there is a fine line, and having the serious stuff and funny stuff on two very different ends of the spectrum, it was hard to swallow.

Overall, the film was a little all over the place. There were recurring jokes of showing Forrest with celebrity icons before they were famous and inspiring them (John Lennon, Elvis), and him being put into old footage of football teams meeting the president, when the first black students arrived at Forrest's university (University of Alabama). We see contrast between Jenny's wild life of sex, strip clubs, drugs, and hippie lifestyle, with Forrest living a simple life, being in the Vietnam war, living on a shrimp boat, and their on again, off again relationship. It's a story about life, and love, and how you never really know what you're going to get in life, but that it's your life, and it's worth living to the fullest. While it was a cheesy at some points, purely lame at others, and just full-out unrealistic at others, Forrest Gump is an alright movie, but is extremely mediocre when you think about it winning Best Picture- particularly over films like Shawshank Redemption, Pulp Fiction and Quiz Show.

Acting- 8/10     
Directing- 7/10     
Screenplay- 6/10     
Music – 7/10    
Visuals- 7.5/10     
Entertaining- 6.5/10    
Emotional Connection- 6/10     
Rewatchability- 6.5/10     
Overall Enjoyment- 6.5/10     
Overall Package- 7/10      

Total: 68/100

Sunday, 4 March 2012

The Artist (re-review)

The Artist, 2011
Directed by Michel Hazanavicius
Nominated for 10 Oscars, Won 5
Up Against: Moneyball, War Horse, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Midnight in Paris, The Help, The Descendants, The Tree of Life, Hugo

Yes, I reviewed this movie already. I reviewed upon first seeing back in January. However, I went and saw it again after it won Best Picture and just thought I'd give it another very brief review/thoughts.

I really, really enjoy this film. And a lot of what I wasn't sure of last time, I was more warmed up to. I love, love, love the soundtrack now. At first I thought it was alright, but I guess hearing it all awards season, every time it won something, got me to warm up to it. I love it now. I thought the style of music was better suited and it felt like it stopped and started again at better times than I had originally thought the first time.

Jean Dujardin was just as brilliant as always. His performance was so expressive and everything that silent film stars were. And does anyone else think Berenice Bejo's performance was underrated? I know she was up for all the Supporting Actress awards, but I thought was she also incredibly charming and brilliant, and didn't get as much recognition as it deserved.

Also, what's interesting about this film is that it would've worked just as well as a non-silent movie. While the whole silent-black-and-white thing was a gimmick, it still would've been just as good a movie, and the performances just as charming had it been in colour and with sound.

While I really loved this movie, it came in tied for 4th place in my BP nominee rankings. (Moneyball first, then War Horse and Descendants, and tied with the Help). It's an extremely well put together movie. It's charming, yet has depth to it. Peppy and George were incredibly well developed for a silent movie (and just a movie in general!). The acting was superb, and the sets, design, and costumes were great. While the story was a little slow-moving, and not the most in-depth one, it's a charming film, and a great movie.

Acting- 9.5/10     
Directing- 8.5/10     
Screenplay- 7/10     
Music – 9/10    
Visuals- 8/10     
Entertaining- 7.5/10    
Emotional Connection- 7.5/10     
Rewatchability- 7/10     
Overall Enjoyment- 8/10     
Overall Package- 8/10      

Total: 80/100

A Man for All Seasons

A Man For All Seasons, 1966
Directed by Fred Zinneman
Nominated for 8 Oscars, Won 6
Up Against: Alfie, The Russians are coming! The Russians Are Coming!, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Sand Pebbles

This movie tells the story of Thomas More, a Chancellor to King Henry VIII. Thomas was a moral man, and stood up firmly, for what he believed in. And in this case, he disagrees with Henry wanting to divorce his current wife so he may wed Anne Boleyn. And this movie tells of how he stood up against it all, and in the end, paid for it with his head.

While I found the first hour or so to be a little slow, the second half was a lot more interesting. The first half told of how Thomas More rose to become a Chancellor, and how the King kept trying to gain his approval for the divorce and new marriage, whereas the second half was about how King Henry deems himself Supreme Head of the Church so he can warrant his own divorce rather than waiting for the Pope's approval, how More resigns rather than accepts this, as he see's it as an abomination to what God wants for his people. A new oath is instated about the marriage, and must be signed or you are guilty of high treason, which More eventually is.

As mentioned, it took a little bit to get interesting (for me), so the storytelling was a little choppy. However, the acting was good. Paul Scotfield, who played Thomas More, won Best Actor for this role, and rightly so. He was calm and clear, but very powerful and authoritative. John Hurt was great as Richard Rich (who was apparently an unknown at the time, and this helped launch his career. Crazy to think he plays Ollivander in Harry Potter, he was such a little dweeby character), and just all the supporting cast was great. As I understand, it was a pretty all-star cast.

The costume design, additionally, was great. They were colourful and you could very much tell the difference between the rich, who were overly decked out, and the more middle-class.

The story itself is an interesting one. More is an amazing man, who stood up for what he believed in all his life, and even died for it. He was a Man of God, and really lived it, and made sure others knew it too. It's truly an inspiring story. The movie really showed his strength and conviction and the screenplay, as well as More's character itself were really well written.

Overall, it wasn't my favourite BP, nor was it near my least favourite, and it hit around the middle of the 25 I've already seen. (I'm keeping a list of best to worst, which I'll post when I've watched all 84 winners... though it could be 85 by the time I'm done..). But a good movie, a strong message and story, with solid acting.

Acting- 8/10     
Directing- 7/10     
Screenplay- 7/10     
Music – 8/10    
Visuals- 8.5/10     
Entertaining- 6/10    
Emotional Connection- 7/10     
Rewatchability- 6/10     
Overall Enjoyment- 7/10     
Overall Package- 7.5/10      

Total: 72/100