philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)
I've got a lot of reviews still outstanding and I'm going to see if I can catch up a bit. First of all, I recently saw some old Oscar winners: "All About Eve" (best motion picture 1951) and "Life Is Beautiful" (best foreign language film 1999). I also recently finally got around to seeing "Brave" which won this year's best animated feature award at the Oscars.

All About Eve (1950)

The film opens narrated by George Sanders in his role as a film critic. He has a fairly small part but he seemed very familiar even though the only thing I seem to know him from is "Village Of The Damned" (asides from "Jungle Book" where he voiced Shere Khan... Awesome.) In this opening scene of "All About Eve" some kind of awards ceremony is taking place and everyone is expecting an actress called Margo (played by Bette Davis) to win, but in fact a younger actress called Eve (played by Anne Baxter) is presented with the award, seemingly contrary to all expectations.

Read more... )

Life Is Beautiful (1997)

How the hell did anyone get this idea? It has always puzzled me that this movie even exists. A comedy about the holocaust with widespread critical acclaim and beloved by audiences. It sounds like the sort of film that ought to have an outcry against it. How on Earth could anyone possibly make a comedy about the holocaust that was even remotely funny? It sounds more likely to be the final nail in Seth McFarlane's career rather than a highly praised Italian movie with multiple major film awards and 80% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Read more... )

Brave (2012)

"Brave" just won the best animated feature Oscar recently and a lot of people didn't seem too happy about it. There've been a lot of reports that "Brave" was a lacklustre Pixar movie and that, after the full Disney takeover, Pixar aren't what they used to be. Yet in spite of this, I still needed to see it. After the widespread condemnation of "Cars 2" by critics and the extremely unappealing marketing of "Brave" I was disinclined to watch it at the cinema, but on DVD I didn't feel inclined to miss it.

"Brave" is about a Scottish princess who  doesn't want to be a princess. The idea is not exactly novel. Naturally there's Jasmine from "Aladdin" who doesn't want to be married and, if you want a protagonist, there's Ariel who would rather be human than a mermaid princess. However, I actually think the better comparison is perhaps with "Sword In The Stone".

Read more... )
philosoraptor42: (Default)
While many were upset with the Oscars this year, it actually matched up with critic's choices a lot better than previous years. "A Separation" was the most widely favoured foreign language this year, while "The Artist" was the most widely favoured um... NOT-foreign language film(?).

More critics enjoyed "Arthur Christmas" than any other animated movie, though how many would say it was the "best animated movie of the year" might be a different matter, perhaps exposing the flaw in this method of judging films.

Below are the highest scoring films on Rotten Tomatoes compared to the Oscars winners. I've often got a different view and I've put my own choices in brackets. In cases where I've given no personal choice, I agree with the Rotten Tomatoes choice.

What do we reckon? Does this show that Rotten Tomatoes (i.e. critics consensus) is a better way to choose films than the Oscars, or are they both flawed methods? Is one method more flawed than the other? Is the fact that the Oscars' choices and Rotten Tomatoes' choices for Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film come out the same this year perhaps a sign that the awards are actually becoming MORE in touch with critical opinion rather than less?

Best Foreign Language Film:

2011 (used to judge Oscars in 2012)

The critics and the Oscars agree!

A Separation (99%)

(My choice: "Troll Hunter" - 82%)


Critics                                                  Oscars
Lebanon (90%)                       In A Better World (77%)

(My choice: "Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale" - 90% - fewer reviews on RT)

Read more... )
philosoraptor42: (Default)
Okay, I don't know about anyone else but I was peeved with the Oscar nomination choices. I was one of many pointing out that Drive had high critical praise (as well as popularity amongst ordinary viewers, judging from IMDB) and yet seemed to be completely snubbed. Like so many, I was wondering what other great choices were being undermined by a group of rich old white men who are too out of touch with the industry to be taken seriously.

However, when Rotten Tomatoes used their scores to compare previous Oscar winners (just highlighting that the general caliber of Oscar winners has not been high e.g. Forrest Gump, Driving Miss Daisy, Crash) it occurred to me that there was a way of checking. Rotten Tomatoes gives the average number of critics who enjoyed a movie. Now while there may be a number of critics who go for the lowest common denominator and others might be bats**t insane, the combination of all of them must surely come up with something rather more reasonable...

I've come up with the following lists by taking the Rotten Tomatoes "Top 100" for the year, removing all movies which didn't get at least 70 reviews (after all, it's understandable that the Oscars should be awarding films for their success as well as for their skill) and I'm then separating foreign films and animated films for the rest. (And disregarding documentaries altogether. When documentaries are good they do very VERY well on Rotten Tomatoes, with the top film in the best the year list quite often being a documentary, but I'm not going to worry about the documentaries here.)

So, before I start separating the choices into their various categories, here's the top 5 films with at least 70 reviews that aren't documentaries in the Rotten Tomatoes top 100 list for 2011:

99%     A Separation (2011)     (116 - reviews)
97%     The Artist (2011)     (193 - reviews)
96%     Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 (2011)     (275 - reviews)
96%     The Muppets (2011)     (190 - reviews)
96%     Pariah (2011)     (91 - reviews)

Now that's already quite different from the Oscars eh? (I know there are plenty of Potter fans who must be pleased to see where this is heading.)

But yeah, sadly A Separation would be shoved into the "foreign language" category so it seems that critics are just as responsible for "The Artist" being made the top film of the year. Still, I've heard good things about Pariah and it would have been nice to see a list of foreign language nominees where I recognised more than one of the titles.

Here's the five top foreign language films:

Winner - A Separation!
Other Nominees - Pariah, 13 Assassins, Of Gods And Men, Incendies

Read more... )
philosoraptor42: (Default)

I've actually found the build-up to the Oscars to be pretty exciting for the last couple of years. In both 2010 and 2011 there's been a personal favourite, a dreadful film expected to win and eventual success for the deserving underdog. During the 2010 Oscars I wanted A Serious Man to win, I was worried that Avatar would win and breathed a sigh of relief when The Hurt Locker won. During the 2011 Oscars I wanted Black Swan to win, I was worried that The Social Network would win and breathed a sigh of relief when The King's Speech won.

This year, I haven't seen any of the nominations at all. The film expected to win is The Artist, and that along with The Descendants are probably the only Best Picture nominees I'm at all interested in seeing. Below are my comments on all the nominees. Since these are mostly films I haven't seen and know rather little about, I'll probably regret these comments based purely on first impressions. Nonetheless, the following comments represent how I feel right now....

Read more... )

The Nine Main Nominees:

Read more... )
philosoraptor42: (Default)
I cannot believe that I have actually seen precisely NONE of the films nominated for Best Picture this year. I haven't been avoiding the cinema, but (of those already actually released in the UK) these simply weren't films that looked worth my time. We'll see if I regret those words later in the year (though I have as yet to hear a recommendation that makes me excited about "Moneyball").

Anyway, below are some of my favourites that weren't considered for Oscars. Yeah, some are obvious. Others, however, I'm rather more annoyed about. Particularly the award for Best Picture. Yeah sure, I don't expect my favourites to win. In 2011 I'd have picked Black Swan (it's frankly criminal that Darren Aronofsky hasn't got an Oscar for best director yet), in 2010 I'd have picked A Serious Man (which is my favourite Coen Brother's movie, by contrast to "No Country For Old Men" which I was far less impressed with) and in 2008 I'd have picked "In Bruges" (which actually wasn't nominated for Best Picture, but did at least get a nominated for Best Screenplay). So yeah, sure I made different choices, but at least I could find some mention of my favourite movies in the nominations. If there's a simulated oscars again this year, I'm not sure I'll be so excited. Right now, I'll have seen absolutely none of the best picture nominations so I'll have a tought time getting involved.

Read more... )

The Oscars seriously suck this year.
philosoraptor42: (Default)
The basic gist of the year so far is that the only films I've thought were absolutely fantastic are "Source Code", "Submarine" and "Kung Fu
Panda 2". Which one do you think will win "Best Picture" at the Oscars? :P

Okay, so the real contenders don't come until later, so I thought I'd check out what was still to come. I was surprised to
see that I'm actually really excited about a lot of different movies which are all coming to cinemas in the UK this year. Unfortunately I'm
not sure that this is going to make me terribly pleased with the year as a whole.

Then again, there are 18 titles on this list (though the last three are kind of "honourable mentions" since they don't actually have a release date for the UK yet). See what you think. The full list is on imdb here if you want links.)

The Troll Hunter
: 09/09/2011

The trailer reminds me of the trailer for "Rare Exports" which a lot of people seemed pretty impressed with. It just looks like great fun, if not high art.

Oscar? Hardly. Wrong sort of movie, I'd have thought.
Read more... )

So... anyone got any other movie recommendations?
What do you think about this selection?
philosoraptor42: (Default)

Edit: On Moviebuffs Myrrhmade posted a really good article on this issue, so I thought I'd include a link here.

Statement from the Association of Black Women Historians:
On behalf of the Association of Black Women Historians (ABWH), this statement provides historical context to address widespread stereotyping presented in both the film and novel version of The Help. The book has sold over three million copies, and heavy promotion of the movie will ensure its success at the box office. Despite efforts to market the book and the film as a progressive story of triumph over racial injustice, The Help distorts, ignores, and trivializes the experiences of black domestic workers. We are specifically concerned about the representations of black life and the lack of attention given to sexual harassment and civil rights activism.

During the 1960s, the era covered in The Help, legal segregation and economic inequalities limited black women's employment opportunities. Up to 90 per cent of working black women in the South labored as domestic servants in white homes. The Help’s representation of these women is a disappointing resurrection of Mammy—a mythical stereotype of black women who were compelled, either by slavery or segregation, to serve white families. Portrayed as asexual, loyal, and contented caretakers of whites, the caricature of Mammy allowed mainstream America to ignore the systemic racism that bound black women to back-breaking, low paying jobs where employers routinely exploited them. The popularity of this most recent iteration is troubling because it reveals a contemporary nostalgia for the days when a black woman could only hope to clean the White House rather than reside in it.

Both versions of The Help also misrepresent African American speech and culture. Set in the South, the appropriate regional accent gives way to a child-like, over-exaggerated “black” dialect. In the  film, for example, the primary character, Aibileen, reassures a young white child that, “You is smat, you is kind, you is important.” In the book, black women refer to the Lord as the “Law,” an irreverent depiction of black vernacular. For centuries, black women and men have drawn strength from their community institutions. The black family, in particular provided support and the validation of personhood necessary to stand against adversity. We do not recognize the black community described in The Help where most of the black male characters are depicted as drunkards, abusive, or absent. Such distorted images are misleading and do not represent the historical realities of black masculinity and manhood.

Furthermore, African American domestic workers often suffered sexual harassment as well as physical and verbal abuse in the homes of white employers. For example, a recently discovered letter written by Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks indicates that she, like many black domestic workers, lived under the threat and sometimes reality of sexual assault. The film, on the other hand, makes light of black women’s fears and vulnerabilities turning them into moments of comic relief.

Similarly, the film is woefully silent on the rich and vibrant history of black Civil Rights activists in Mississippi. Granted, the assassination of Medgar Evers, the first Mississippi based field secretary of the NAACP, gets some attention. However, Evers’ assassination sends Jackson’s black community frantically scurrying into the streets in utter chaos and disorganized confusion—a far cry from the courage demonstrated by the black men and women who continued his fight. Portraying the most dangerous racists in 1960s Mississippi as a group of attractive, well dressed, society women, while ignoring the  reign of terror perpetuated by the Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizens Council, limits racial injustice to individual acts of meanness.

We respect the stellar performances of the African American actresses in this film. Indeed, this statement is in no way a criticism of their talent. It is, however, an attempt to provide context for this popular rendition of black life in the Jim Crow South. In the end, The Help is not a story about the millions of hardworking and dignified black women who labored in white homes to support their families and communities. Rather, it is the coming-of-age story of a white protagonist, who uses myths about the lives of black women to make sense of her own. The Association of Black Women Historians finds it unacceptable for either this book or this film to strip black women’s lives of historical accuracy for the sake of entertainment.

Ida E. Jones is National Director of ABWH and Assistant Curator at Howard University.
Daina Ramey Berry, Tiffany M. Gill, and Kali Nicole Gross are Lifetime Members of ABWH and Associate Professors at the University of Texas at Austin.
Janice Sumler-Edmond is a Lifetime Member of ABWH and is a Professorat Huston-Tillotson University.

(Via "And We Shall March")
X- posted to moviebuffs
Another article for more information on this issue.

philosoraptor42: (Default)

Hitchens has decided to get very upset about the portrayal of history in "The King's Speech". Now complaining about bad history in a movie is pretty common. Goodness knows that Oscar-winners "Gladiator" and "Braveheart" didn't worry one bit about their complete lack of historical accuracy. Oscar nominee "Elizabeth" was another one that made some big mistakes (with Elizabeth's love interest being randomly turned into a Catholic traitor).

Christopher Hitchens argues that this is serious business because it's propaganda. Propaganda for what though?

What follows might be spoilery for people who haven't yet seen "The King's Speech" so you've been warned. Anyway....

Read more... )
philosoraptor42: (Default)
Now, for me this is a lot more exciting than the end results. As has been noted by most people at the actual post, the votes for the simulated oscars came out pretty much as you'd expect the real voting to turn out and some recent predictions on The Guardian come out pretty similarly for BP and BD. So yes, so far so depressing. It seems The Social Network is pretty likely to win and, for me, that's like Avatar winning last year (and in case you haven't got the message, I find this prospect extremely irritating).

But who were the main rivals (for LJ voters at least). Well sadly only one person voted for Winter's Bone in their top spot (and I must admit that it wasn't me) so they got ruled out very quickly indeed. Instead the most popular movies, asides from Social Network (with 16 votes), were:

Inception - with 11 votes   Black Swan - with 9 votes  and  The King's Speech - also with 9 votes

The other scores on the first round of voting were:
True Grit - 3 votes
Toy Story 3 - 2 votes
The Fighter - 1 vote
Winter's Bone - 1 vote
127 Hours - 0 votes
The Kids Are All Right (It should be "Alright" dammit!) - 0 votes

So considering that Social Network starts massively ahead of all the other entries, it's quite remarkable how close the final vote was. Even more peculiar is which movie was vying with The Social Network for the top position....
Click here to find out which movie was vying with TSN for the top spot!... )

Click here to see the full Best Picture vote breakdown of the Simulated Oscars on LJ.
philosoraptor42: (Default)

They ended up giving "The Social Network" both Best Picture and Best Director. I really want to see the breakdown of votes so I can see just how well my personal favourites "Black Swan" and "Winter's Bone" did. Last year, the breakdown of votes for the LJ Simulated Oscars showed that things had not gone at all well for my personal favourite "A Serious Man" (though admittedly the film was more popular than "District 9", "Avatar" and "The Blind Side" straight off the bat).

Last year's winner for Best Picture was "Inglorious Basterds". If there's one thing you can give this simulation credit for, it's not predictable. Still, "The Social Network" winning feels as horrible to me as if "Avatar" had won last year. David Fincher was great when he made "Seven" and "Fight Club" and even "Alien 3", but after the instantly forgettable "Zodiac" and the by-the-numbers "Panic Room" with its gimmicky CGI kettle, it feels like entirely too late to start praising him for his direction.
philosoraptor42: (Default)

[ profile] breakattiffanys  is doing a simulation of the 2011 Oscars to find out who would win if LJ users were doing the voting rather than the ordinary Oscar judges. Please encourage as many people as possible to vote. Click on the image above or here to find the instructions and make your choices.

The results for 2010 can be found here.
philosoraptor42: (Default)
The Oscar-Winning Animation Short "Logorama" (the whole thing). Following that, there's the spoof trailer of every Oscar-winning movie ever.

(Both Cross-Posted to Moviebuffs)
philosoraptor42: (Default)
Okay, for those who don't give a shit about my taste in movies, you can find the actual long lists here.

For anyone who fancies comparing views, my favourites on the lists are under the cut. :D

Also, wherever you decide to check out the long list, a star (*) next to an entry means that they've been selected as the top 5 for that category. (While I can understand there being experts in the categories of direction, music, visual effects, etc. I'm not so sure how you have an expert in leading actors or leading actresses, but there you go...)

Warning! Imminent picspam under cut! )


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