Tuesday, February 26, 2013
oscar 2013-real time

It started off with Seth MacFarlane reading badly from cue cards or the 'prompter'. Huh?? He has had months to prepare for this gig....I don't ever remember any host looking so un-prepared......I never thought I'd say that William Shatner saved-the-day at the Oscars...but, he did. temporarily!  Then.....too much time spent on not-very-good bits including rather tasteless and insulting stuff---(the audience will turn on you, so this is NOT a good idea)......And it took forever to get to the first Award....!  I had such high hopes for this years Oscar's......Well, it's early....maybe it will recover----it sure got off to a Rocky Start. Where is Billy Crystal when you need him?

"Life Of Pi" won for Cinematography. I LOVED this guy winning.....So emotional So Very Sweet.

"Life Of Pi"....again.....Visual Effects....Beautiful! I am getting happier

Costumes---Should be "Anna Karenina".....and, it is!!!  Gorgeous Gorgeous Costumes....!!!  In fact, I would say, the Costumes were the very BEST thing about this film.
Make-up and hair style---"Les Mis".....deserved, for sure!

Bond Tribute---Great to see Shirley Bassey and here her sing 'Goldginger'....(and, Hallie Berry looked incredible!!! GORGEOUS Dress!!!)  The fantastic Shirley B. brought the house down and got the first Standing Ovation of the night!

    More Commercials...and it's almost an hour into the show...

Strange 'dead air' when Jamie F. and Kerry W. come on....what is wrong with this....?? There always seems to be things that go wrong with these "pairings" of stars every year...I think it's no rehearsal!!!  They announce Short Films....I haven't seen these films, but I am happy for the winners.....Touching speeches.....

Best Documentary..."Searching For Sugerman"....Has won a  number of other awards----Cannot wait to see it!

Foreign Film.  I want "AMOUR" to win so very much. YES!!!!! HOORAY!!!!  It DOES win!!!  It makes me cry!  Michael Haneke, writer/director, gives a short but very sweet speech!!!

Tribute to Movie Musicals!  GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!  The tribute to Movie Musicals of the last 10 years....highlight for me....Jennifer Hudson from "DREAMGIRLS" brought the house down singing the anthem from that show, 'And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going'.....Another well deserved Standing Ovation. She really was Fantastic and she looked fabulous, too.....

"Chicago" first---Catherine Zeta Jones, Dancing and singing---lip synced--understandable---GOOD!

"LES MIS"....not my favorite....But this was more exciting than the film.....!  Another Standing Ovation....

Reviewing the Scientific Awards---Well Well Deserved.

Sound Mixing:  "Les Mis"

Sound Editing:  "ZERO DARK THIRTY" and "SKYFALL" a tie......Love It!

Christopher Plummer announces---Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway
No surprise there. 
My own choice? Helen Hunt for "The Sessions", though, in truth, that is a Lead Actress role. But what she did was superb.....!

I continued writing in "real time" and 'saved' all along the way....And I have absolutely no idea where all of the rest of what I wrote went....Blogger and Mercury Retrograde rears it's ugly head.....

So, the rest of this is from memory and not in any order of how it happened......

By the way, I never did warm to Seth MacFarlane.....I'm really not that familiar with him and his shows. He certainly is a talented guy, but.....his humor is not my cup of tea, I guess. And I found some of it more than rather offensive. I have heard previous people who have done this job say....'It's a tough gig!'
I believe it!

Adele won for BEST SONG for "SKYFALL", which sounded like a combination of lots other Bond songs to me.....

Christoph Waltz, won Best Supporting Actor. He was very very good, though pretty much the same as in "Inglorious Bastards". I might have given it to De Niro, or Tommy Lee Jones. (I know this award was much earlier----in fact, it was the first award given out.....oh well....)

The "In Memoriam" section was very classy, though many many people were left out---Good Lord, there is even a fight for 'billing' in death!!.......

And the finish was Barbra Streisand singing 'Memories' from "The Way We Were", in memory of Marvin Hamlish who died this past year. It was Great to see Streisand on the Oscar stage, once again....The last time she sang at an Oscar show was sometime in the 1970's.

'Life of Pi' won BEST SCORE.
I'm happy.
And the extraordinary Ang Lee won BEST DIRECTOR. for, guess what?
"Life Of Pi"
I was thrilled for him and for the picture.
And the audience gave him a standing ovation. This is a great great film!

BEST ACTRESS--Jennifer Lawrence....

So very talented! I wanted Emmanuelle Riva to win because there may not be another opportunity for her, at 86 years old, but I LOVED Jennifer Lawrence in "Silver Linings Playbook", and I'm willing to bet this won't be the only Oscar that will be on her mantel as the years go on. I think she is extraordinarily gifted!

BEST ACTOR---Daniel Day-Lewis
....a given. No surprise there.  But I have to sat, he gave me the biggest laugh of the night when he said that Meryl Streep,(Who presented the Oscar to him) was Stephen Spielberg's first choice to play Lincoln.....and then also said, HE was supposed to play Margaret Thatcher but that just didn't work out....This was wonderfully entertaining.....

I had not gotten around to writing about this film....I think it is a very good film; very entertaining and filled with a lot of suspense. It would not have been my choice for Best Picture---My Choice? "Life Of Pi".  But I'm happy for all involved with "Argo", especially Ben A.......

And then we had a closing song about 'The Losers'....who's idea was that?? OY!

So, that's it! The 85th Academy Awards is now History.
I was thinking that I have been 'listening' to and/or 'watching' the Oscars for about 75 of those years. I still look forward to them and still try to see all the films that  have been given nominations in whatever category.....
And this year I saw ALL nine of the Best Picture Nominees.
Personally, I think this was an exceptional year for the movies! Not an exceptional year for the Oscar show though, with some outstanding exceptions....
And now, on to next year......!


More To Come......

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

This is a beautiful, painful, touching film.
It is about the twilight years of a long-time married couple, and the declining health of the wife. The collaboration of the two leading actors and the director is inspiring and truly shows when there is trust in the material and all those trying to bring something special and truthful to the screen---miraculous things can happen.
First....the two actors: Both, longtime stars in the French Cinema, Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant....are sublime!
What they bring to this extraordinary film is a history of performance and an understanding that goes way beyond being actors. It is who they are as people----the weight and depth of who they are and who they were, 'back in the day'. To cast these two people was genius, on the part of Writer/Director Michael Haneke!
Emmanuelle Riva was best known in America for the great great film, "Hiroshima, Mon Amour"
And Jean-Louis Trintignant was known here in The United States for "A Man And A Woman", as well as a number of other films: "Umberto D" and "The Conformist"..... 

Two brilliant actors, each of whose careers span close to 60 years. And this is a huge part of what they bring to this remarkable work of art! 
And this film is a true work of Art!
Everything about it is perfection.  It is deep and thoughtful and filled with love and what it means to love.
Part of the great beauty of this film is the economy of movement that the director has chosen in which to tell his story. 
The way the film is shot, he often leaves the camera in one place for an entire scene. The result of this is an intimacy that makes you feel that you are sitting in the room, with them.
This film is up for Best Picture and Best Foreign Film, as well----it deserves both these Awards, and Emmanuelle Riva is up for Best Actress---at 85 years old, the oldest Nominee, ever! (She turns 86 on Oscar Sunday, February 24th....I hope she wins!)
The great Michael Haneke is Nominated for Best Director as well as for his Original Screenplay.
"AMOUR" won the highest honor at The Cannes Film Festival and it has garnered many other Awards, including, Ms. Riva winning the Best Actress at the BAFTA'S, just days ago.

This is not an easy picture to watch in many respects because it deals with very hard and painful things.
I urge you to see it in spite of that. The rewards are great. "AMOUR"  is all about Life and Love and Loyalty.
You can't go wrong with these precious things.

More To Come.......



Thursday, February 14, 2013

"LINCOLN" is a very important film in many ways....Historically speaking, it covers just that portion of Lincoln's life and legacy that involves the 13th Amendment to the Constitution----the abolishing of Slavery. This Amendment was, in my view, and in many people's view, one of the most important in our Nations history
The film was based on historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's book about Abraham Lincoln and the Screenplay is by Tony Kushner, most well known for his epoch "Angels In America".
The film was directed by Steven Speilberg and the brilliantly talented Daniel Day-Lewis, plays Mr. Lincoln. One might say, he IS Abraham Lincoln.
It is a stunning performance.
My personal feelings about the film are mixed. There is no doubt that it is a very moving and important film, but I found it rather 'dry'.  It is talkie and at times I found myself zoning out. Maybe seeing it on the small screen---(I saw everything on DVD's at home because of my health issues---) takes something away from the film; I don't know that. But, I watched it twice to make sure I didn't miss anything....
My biggest problem with the film started just a few moments into it.
There was a scene at the very beginning that seemed false to me---something I believe never would have happened---and that set a certain tone that took a lot away from the film, for me. That scene was not truthful, in my view, so that made me unsure of everything else that followed----NOT the passing of the Amendment itself, but all that led up to it, and how it actually was able to be passed. I think that was really unfortunate. And leaving out that one scene at the beginning would have changed everything about the honesty of the whole picture, for me, and I believe without that one false note, this would have been a much better film.
There are some truly wonderful performances in this film. Some say that Daniel Day-Lewis is a shoe-in for Best Actor---And it is a great performance, but....you never know.
Besides Daniel Day-Lewis, there is Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, in a performance that shows why she is a two tine Oscar winner already..
And, Tommy Lee Jones, who was wonderful as well. In fact all the actors are exemplary.
This is going to be a very interesting Academy Awards. There are so very many truly wonderful and varied films and so very many extraordinary performances.

Is "LINCOLN" worth seeing?

In spite of my reservations----
This is film-making at it's finest.

More To Come

NOTE:  A Very Happy Valentines Day to all of you!

Friday, February 08, 2013
silver linings playbook

I really loved this film! It has everything that a good film should have: A great story; wonderful actors; it makes you laugh and it makes you cry, and, it has a happy ending!
I love this picture because it is about flawed people---every person in it is flawed, just like 'real life'. They are all kind of crazy---to one degree or another----just like real life, and they are all lovable in their craziness and in their flawed-ness! And most importantly, this film is about love and the power of love.
"Silver Linings Playbook" has been nominated in 8 major categories: Best Picture, Best Director-David O. Russell & Best Adapted Screenplay-David O. Russell, Best Editing-Jay Cassiday and Crispin Struthers, AND, the four main actors--Bradley Cooper-Best Actor, Jennifer Lawrence-Best Actress, Robert DeNiro-Best Supporting Actor; Jacki Weaver-Best Supporting Actress, have all been nominated for an Oscar---this hasn't happened since....well, I'm not sure when....but it was a very long long time ago!
It is wonderful to see De Niro in a role that gives him the opportunity to show all his many extraordinary gifts as an actor. It reminds you of what a truly great great actor he is.....
And Jennifer Lawrence is such an incredibly talented actress---she has great power on the screen, and devastating vulnerability, as well, and she is a wonderful  comedian, too! Plus, she is so very Beautiful to look at!
Bradley Cooper is incredibly attractive and proves in this film that he is an actor of great depth as well as being such a fine comedic performer. His is a very touching performance, and it is funny and real, too. (I have loved him since "Alias'!)
Jacki Weaver's performance is a very subtle one---I watched this film a second time and was stunned by the un-showy quality and the right-on-ness of her performance---a performance that could have easily been dismissed or overlooked by the Academy voters, but it wasn't. (I LOVE Actors--I really really do!)
If you haven't seen "Silver Linings Playbook" yet, do yourself a favor....Go see it or rent it, when you can.  It is, in my view, a kind of perfect film. If you don't leave the theatre smiling with your heart, you are either a grouch or just too darn jaded!


More To Come......

Sunday, February 03, 2013
les mis

I may be alone in my feelings about "Les Mis", but as I have said, whatever I say is just my opinion.
As you can see from the top picture, I chose the logo's for both the Stage Show and the Film, which are shown, side by side.
I saw the show in it's pre-Broadway stop here in Los Angeles back in whenever that was. I liked it a lot, but I cannot say that it was ever a very favorite show of mine.  I loved the people in it, and the story is epic, but I honestly was not crazy about the music, with some exceptions, of course. Basically Les Mis is really Opera, and that's fine, but it means you really have to have great voices to give this operatic score the justice it deserves.
And there in lies the rub, for me, where the film is concerned.  
With maybe one exception, (almost two)---no one in this film really has "the chops" to sing this complex Operatic score.
No one.  Not even the fantastically talented Hugh Jackman---and brilliantly talented he is, for sure.
Eddie Redmayne (Marius) comes the closest, for me.
the rest....including the highly lauded Ms. Hathaway, just didn't do it for me.  I know, I know---this is heresy....sorry, but this is how I feel.
And this was really brought home to me when by coincidence one of our PBS Stations here in L.A. showed, once again, the 25th Anniversary Concert of Les Mis, about a week after I watched the film.  It was stunningly superb!  Lea Salonga, playing  'Fantine', was sublime!
What can I say?
There was an opportunity making Les Miserables into a film, to open the story up and not be limited by the proscenium.....that just didn't happen.
The film is beautifully produced and beautiful to look at, but.....well, I found it a disappointment. ALL that singing in close-up....No. Not for me. This is not an intimate story.....It is a huge story with enormous things happening, with some very intimate moments within the whole....It had this Hugeness on the stage----the battle scene on stage was simply amazing and inventive....and that is ironic when you think of the limitations of seeing something on a stage. The film could have gone way beyond what was possible within the proscenium. And it didn't.
For me, the film of Les Mis was a big Mis Step!

More To Come.....

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