we're smack in the middle of the awards season and i'm VERY behind on my movies-- especially the ones jockeying to make the Oscar shortlist come (gasp!) January 23. so what did i do during my winter break? catch the eff up on movie watching. and there's still a loooong way to go. i'm gonna have to prioritize after the noms go out...
the films i did get a chance to see all seemed to revolve around women dreaming (or fantasizing?) about better things:
And I am telling you...Jennifer Hudson is AMAZING. after reading all the reviews, i feared her performance was over-hyped. fortunately, i was wrong. her explosion on the screen was very real, especially during that much impersonated/lip-synched/karaoke'd rendition of film's signature showstopper. i really did get goosebumps. and don't let the ads fool you-- this is Hudson's film. Beyonce just gets to look beautiful in an endless array of costume changes. when Hudson (and the Eddie Murphy) wasn't on screen, the film lost some of its heat.
watching this at New York's historic Ziegfeld theater was quite also quite the trip. the sound was fantastic and the audience was always a) on the verge of tears b) giving a standing ovation, or c) crying 'you go girl!' at the movie screen. at the end, i think the line of men sitting in front of us were holding each other weeping. haha!
I have the biggest girl-crush on Kate Winslet. She is just so fantastic. And beautiful. And she never fails to wow me. I am sure she'll get a nomination for her performance as an unhappy wife who has an affair with an unhappy married man she meets at the playground (the perfect-looking Patrick Wilson). I will always admire Winslet's complete lack of self-consciousness in all of her roles.
Notes on a Scandal
this movie is a trip. it's billed as a drama but it is more melo-dramatic and packs a lot of tension and entertainment in a tight 90 minutes. Cate Blanchett (she of the ridiculous cheekbones) plays a upper-class bohemian art teacher with a frustrating personal life who becomes the not-so-subtle object of Judi Dench's affection. Dench's lecherous attachment/attraction to Cate and her family is both creepy and pathetic. Almost as creepy as Cate's affair with a 15 year old student, an entangelement that leads to her character's inevitable, yet brutal downfall. Nearly everyone in this film is unsympathetic but it is so wonderfully acted and cleverly written, you can't help loving every second of it.
Children of Men
it is 2027. and mankind has lost its ability to reproduce. the world is in a state of perpetual violence and chaos. if you can't guess already, please don't watch this film if you're looking for something light and uplifting. Children of Men is decidedly bleak, eerily realistic in its prescient view of our collective future. The film is often shot with a shaky hand-held camera, which captures the world in total grayness (sunlight does not seem appropriate for a time when a baby's whimper has become a lost artifact of the past). Clive Owen gives a performance that is Oscar-worthy and it would be a nice surprise to see his name come up on Tuesday morning.
what's next on my must-see list? Volver. I love Almodovar films. And they're the only way I can bear Penelope Cruz. Babel. Hopefully some choice Oscar nods will keep this movie in theaters. The Queen. Isn't it a given Helen Mirren will win? Isn't it also a given that Helen Mirren has the best cleavage for a 60 year old? and of course, The Departed. Why have I waited so long to see this one?!?! Oh well.