February 19th, 2008

movies, oscars

At long last, the Best Picture nominees

So, about those best picture nominees. I'll taken them in the order in which I saw them.

Michael Clayton is what I like to call "a really good example of the kind of thing that it is." What I mean by that is that it's about as good a genre film as you can make. It has a tight script and excellent performances from George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, and especially Tilda Swinton. I don't feel it brought anything new or revolutionary to the genre, but I really liked it. I wouldn't vote for it though.

No Country For Old Men is, as I've said before, a movie I thought was really good but didn't like very much. Good performances, well written, beautiful cinematography, but it never came together for me. That's a problem with being a plot whore; when you run across a movie that doesn't have a satisfying conclusion, like this one, it tends to leave you a little cold. I wouldn't vote for it, but I won't be disappointed if (when?) it wins.

Atonement was a great movie. It wasn't perfect; I think the performances were the weakest of the five best picture nominees (with the exception of Saoirse Ronan). But aside from that, I thought this was just about perfect. Well written, ambitiously directed and photographed -- loved that Dunkirk tracking shot! -- tremendously moving, and the best score I've heard in a long time. I loved the way Dario Marianelli incorporated various sound effects into the music. I would like to see Atonement win Best Picture, but I'll be heartbroken if it doesn't win Best Score. (And by the way, it's SEER-shuh.)

Juno was an interesting film. The dialogue is snappy enough and the acting strong enough that I didn't notice until several days later how formulaic it is. The arc of Juno and Paulie's relationship is straight out of a hundred romantic comedies and romance novels. Only the pregnancy angle saves it from utter conventionality. But you know, maybe it's just because I'm a sucker for romantic comedies, but it worked for me. I wouldn't have nominated it for Best Picture, but Best Original Screenplay? Sure, if only because of that Woody Allen joke.

There Will Be Blood was better than I expected, but maybe that's just because I had low expectations going into it. A great performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, to be sure, but I really didn't like the score. Not as bad as that of The Hours, but like that one I think the score made the picture worse.

In the final analysis, I'd rank them in this order:
  1. Atonement
  2. Michael Clayton
  3. Juno
  4. There Will Be Blood
  5. No Country For Old Men
I think No Country will win, but truth be told, I wouldn't be unhappy to see any of these walk away with the top prize. It's a solid class of nominees.

Ten random things: February 19

Ten inmates at the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado:

  1. Zacarias Moussaoui, inmate no. 51427-054
  2. Luis Felipe, no. 14067-074
  3. Juan Matta-Ballesteros, no. 37671-133
  4. Thomas Silverstein, no. 14634-116
  5. John Walker Lindh, no. 45426-083
  6. Francisco Javier Arellano-Felix, no. 00677-748
  7. H. Rap Brown, no. 99974-555
  8. Theodore Kaczynski, no. 04475-046
  9. Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, no. 26301-053
  10. Larry Hoover, no. 86063-024

Also: infamous serial killer Robert Morten, who was transfered there at the end of tonight's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode. What? I'm pretty sure that they aren't allowed to put it on TV if it's not true.

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