I don't usually write about movies here (or anywhere really), and that's mostly because I hardly ever go see them anymore. Priced out of movie theaters, I've begun the practice of obsessively watching trailers online, patiently waiting for the movies to come out, and then excitedly looking up the spoilers on wikipedia. It's sad really, and I acknowledge that fully.
Last year, I had only seen one of the best picture nominations, despite the number being increased to 10. (Although strangely, I had seen almost all of the animated nominations.) However, this week when the Oscar nominations came out, I was happy to see that even with my negligent movie-going, I have actually seen a total of four of them. Naturally, this means I need to celebrate Astorian Dream style by blogging about my opinions of all those nominated (whether I've seen them or not). Spoilers may creep in, so consider yourself warned.
The Fighter: I've always had something against Mark Wahlberg. I think because I decided, irrationally or not, that he was trying too hard to be Matt Damon. That coupled with the fact that I don't particularly enjoy boxing movies (no, not even Rocky), means that this one really hasn't made a blip on my radar.
See? Poor man's Matt Damon.
Toy Story 3: Saw this one. Twice actually. This won't win naturally, but I'm content knowing it has the "Best Animated Film" award in the bag. My only quibble was that they had to sully the franchise by going the 3D route. I didn't notice any actual 3D effects, which was nice, but they still made me wear the glasses and pay an extra $5 to see it, which was not.
127 Hours: I can't be impartial about this movie for obvious reasons. I did enjoy how the trailer focused totally on the main character biking around to catchy music and hitting on hikers, when undoubtedly the majority of the movie was a much more somber, watching him drink his own urine and sawing off his arm.
I think we can all see who the real star of 127 Hours is. And it's not the guy whose face didn't even make it onto the movie poster.
The Kid's Are All Right: I thought this movie was pretty funny (once you get past the tool shed that is Mark Ruffalo); however, the Academy has so conditioned me to disregard comedies that I was almost confused to see it on the list. Granted, there is some substance behind the comedy, but I just don't think this one stands much of a chance. Also, the ending kind of dragged.
Inception: This was a fun one--well-paced, good concept, well cast. As long as you are willing to turn your mind off a little and not ask too many questions, it's an enjoyable ride. I think this could have had a shot last year, but this year, they're are too many movies on the list without questionable plot holes.
True Grit: Points to this movie for containing Matt Damon over Mark Wahlberg. Also, this was just a fun film. I only recently (within the last few years) realized I really like Westerns. That said, I don't think this will win, partially because the Coen brothers just won a couple of years ago with No Country for Old Men. I actually think True Grit is the stronger of the two movies, but I don't question the politics of the system.
Winter's Bone: Followed it when it first came out, and, based on the spoiler, have no real objections to it. Also, it's set in the backwoods of Ozark country, and I do have a soft spot for the unique beauty (minus the meth labs) of that part of the country.
The Social Network: I tried to rent this at a Redbox the other day, and it was already out. Now, I'm not saying that's David Fincher's fault...but it does make it more difficult for me to say anything positive about this movie. I do, however, like Facebook okay. Well, not "like" so much as "harbor the usual 20-something addition for."
Black Swan: One of my friends kept trying to get me to go see this with her, but having already read the spoiler (something I do as soon as soon as the movie comes out, if I have no intention of seeing it), I knew there were plenty of disturbing things I didn't want to see on film. Regardless of how well she does it, I just don't need to see Natalie Portman self-flagellating for 2 hours. I do appreciate that this movie made this fact possible (quoted from the No Strings Attached New York Times review): "[Portman] may be the only Golden Globe-winning actress to simulate sex on screen with two former members of the cast of “That ’70s Show."
Hasn't Natalie Portman been through enough without adding self-mutilation and losing toenails in the name of art to the mix?
The King's Speech: This is my pick to win. Based predominantly on the fact that I enjoyed the little mini Pride and Prejudice reunion it contained. Also, it was just an engaging, well-told story backed up by excellent acting. I found it to be not only an enjoyable watch, but the most Oscar-worthy of the films I've seen this year.
I guess it's a little early to be getting out the Oscar predictions, but I want to have mine on the record before they get diluted by my actually seeing more than half of the films in question. I think it was actually a pretty decent year for movies. I only hope 2011 can live up. Based on the trailers I've seen thus far, I'm not really sure. I can't seem to wrap my head around this one at all.
Also, on a completely unrelated to movies note, a friend of mine just started a fun food blog called the Ignorant Epicure. Check it out if you want some New York City restaurant tips. I haven't gotten her out to review any Astoria eateries yet, but I'll work on it.