As the Oscar approaches, I am of course devouring one best picture nominee after the other, so I can be good and ready come February 26th. This week I watched “The Artist”, “The Tree of Life” and “The Descendants”.
I’m intentionally not watching trailers beforehand, so I was pretty surprised while watching “The Descendants”. It’s a very good film, but I think I expected it to be bigger somehow. I mean, with all the buzz around it, I didn’t expect a small family film. But that’s the movie’s strength, really. We can all relate to it better than to huge war trilogies. The acting is very good, and I felt that it displayed the kind of distance that sometimes builds up between us and our immediate family members very accurately. There were a couple of scenes that were a bit cheesy, but that’s just Hollywood sometimes.
Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” was probably the movie I was most biased about. Everyone said it’s so weird, I was prepared for anything. Maybe that’s why I loved it. The movie starts with a mother receiving notice that her son died. After that, we go back in time and get to know the family’s story – but not in depth. Malick presents exactly the minimum amount of information necessary. Yes, it’s not the most simple viewing experience, but it’s the kind that makes you think. To me, this movie is mainly about faith. How do you keep loving god after something terrible happens to you?
As an Israeli, It’s fascinating to watch a movie that deals with this because faith is always an issue (or a question) living in Israel.
Acting wise, Jessica Chastain is amazing in this role, and I find it odd she’s nominated for her role in “The Help” and not in this. Brad Pitt is Brad Pitt. I think I have reached the point where I can no longer believe him as any character other than Brad Pitt. And I fear the day this will happen to me with George Clooney is near. At this point they’re celebrities more than actors.
I went to “The Artist” with my fiance, and we disagreed about it. I thought it was a different and refreshing movie experience (as the movie is almost completely silent) and found Dujardin’s character to be extremely charming, and my fiance, well, slept most of the time. Deeply. What I take from his nap is that this is not a movie for everyone. I love cinema, so I found it interesting to watch a movie about the transition from silent movies to `talkies`, and honestly, after about 25 minutes, I stopped noticing it’s silent. As for the best actor category, I think Dujardin’s performance was better than Clooney and Brad Pitt (nominated for “Moneyball”).
I still have 3 more nominees to go, so I’ll keep you posted!
As a farewell treat, here’s a “funny or die” clip featuring Jean Dujardin auditioning to every villain role available in Hollywood in the upcoming year: