It's become a bit of a new year's tradition - I end up cramming to catch up on Oscar nominated movies. So far, my journey has included:
* The Artist. In theater. Blogged about separately. I remain charmed by the film, it's references to classic works, its technique, its story and characters.
* The Help. Roku / Amazon rental. Felt kind of cleaned up and Disneyfied (like Fried Green Tomatoes, never did get over them making Idgie a tomboysih femme). It was a nice story and all, but I was not blown away.
* Moneyball. Roku / Amazon rental. Charmed in a way similar to A Social Network, Brad Pitt was good and more and more seems to be settling in to Robert Redford's shoes. Not a huge baseball fan but I remember those days, and I liked the end where the Red Sox owner offered a job (and went on to finally break the curse a few years later using a similar philosophy)
* Hugo. In theater, 3D. Not a huge fan of 3D, and Hugo had a little of that unsettling "almost real" quality of The Polar Express. It was also a little too "beat you over the head with the symbolism" that irks me in most Spielberg serious films. Interesting to see Scorcese's use of the technology, and I liked the homage to the silent film era. Good, not nearly as charming (to me) as the Artist.
* The Descendants. In theater. LOVED it. Probably could have used a little exposition (I had a hard time believing that Clooney's character could be as workaholic and distant as he was supposed to be). But I loved the setting (beautiful backdrops), I loved the characters (especially the daughters and friend Sid), I loved the small plot that did not go anywhere but went everywhere. Particularly liked the "cousins". Put Clooney up there with Brad Pitt as one of today's leading men. I would give it the Best Picture nod over the Artist only because the Artist was a little gimmicky.
* Midnight in Paris. Roku / Amazon rental. It's been a long time since I sat through a Woody Allen film, and I loved it. Owen Wilson was a great protaganist - not your typical Woody Allen nebbish clone. I loved all the historic figures and references, a sweet plot device, and a satisfying happily ever after. Loved the film, although really when has a Woody Allen romantic comedy not been a remake of Annie Hall? The whole opening sequence ws as much a paean to Paris as Annie Hall was to New York City. Not my vote for Best Picture but glad to see it.
So what else is there? Probably will not see War Horse, I seem to be averse to horse / animal films. Hate when the dog dies in a film, I cry and cry. Tree of Life is out of the theaters, suspect it's not on DVD yet. I'll keep an eye out for a rerun someplace. And Extremely Loud and Incredibly close is still in theaters, so there is always a chance. But I suspect I'd see The Iron Lady, Albert Nobbs, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, before I saw that one.
And I usually try to get to the Oscar Nominated Short Films over at Real Art Ways, playing Feb 10 - 15.