"AVATAR"Avatar was not worth seeing 2, 3, 4, etc. times and certainly not best movie of the decade... in my opinion, that is. I'm going to assume that the people who think it deserves the Oscar for Best Picture were to caught up in the special effects and not paying enough attention to the weak story and not to mention the cheesy conclusion. What a predictable Hollywood ending too. On a lighter note, it doesn't take away from the energized pace and action and explosions. That was all great! It will probably take all the technical categories, which it deserves. After all that has been said, I am going to completely contradict my whole review and say that Avatar excels at providing visual stimuli and grabs you for the majority of the 2.5 hours. Time flies when you are watching a James Cameron flick! 3 out of 4 stars.
From the first line spoken An Education was sold to me by Carey Mulligan's charm and perky personality. The acting in the film was excellent and the chemistry between the characters was flawless. It felt like I was watching a film where old friends meet up with a prior history and are happy to see each other and strike up an interesting conversation that is very intriguing. The dialogue between the characters was just that. In addition, the story was very original and always felt new. There were no scenes that dragged along and had me looking at the time. The screenplay was witty, wise and observant. Very seldom do I come across a film of this type where I can connect with the characters. Here, however, I felt like anything that happens to the stars in the film could happen to me at any given moment. Mulligan is deserving of Best Actress without a doubt and I would consider this film to be one of the best in 2009. 3 and a half out of 4 stars.
"THE HURT LOCKER"
The film should have been titled "How to Defuse a Bomb in Less Than Two Minutes". The movie failed to capture my attention and ultimately left me questioning the overall purpose of story and why it is getting so much recognition. The acting was real and the wisdom that the film gives sums up the reasons for me liking it. I was expecting an action film with plenty of suspense and violence. The majority of the film takes place in an Iraqi desert and shows the relationships the soldiers form and how efficiently they perform their duty. If I had watched this movie prior to the award recognition, maybe I would be able to give it a better rating. I will pretend that I saw this in June with the rating I give. 3 out of 4 stars.
Inglourious Basterds begins in German-occupied France, where Shosanna witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa. Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris, where she starts a new life as the owner and operator of a cinema. Elsewhere in Europe, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) organizes a group of Jewish soldiers to engage in targeted acts of revenge. Known to their enemy as “The Basterds,” Raine’s squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) on a mission to take down the leaders of The Third Reich. The film transitions so smoothly through the chapters that it is organized into. The story was utter brilliance with excellent direction and cinematography. The acting of Pitt was pure and authentic (and hilarious at times). There is little to say about "Basterds" that hasn't already been stated above. Serious Oscar consideration in screenplay, and acting for Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, and Mélanie Laurent. 4 out of 4 stars.
Precious was one of the most touching films I have ever seen. From the start, it captures your attention and immediately hones in on the story with no fillers and fluff in between to waste screen time. The film felt raw, sobering, and pure. It showed the struggles many face. Precious succeeded at telling a heartbreaking story and did the same with giving you hope for what has yet to come. The only problem I see with the film is the abrupt ending. It makes everything seem too easy and doesn't show what she had to do in order to get her life together. Mo'Nique's acting was phenomenal and authentic. She portrayed a troubled mother taking her aggression out on her child so well and with such raw emotion. Sidibe does a fantastic job in her first role and gives an Oscar worthy performance. A must-see film that will touch you in places you have never been touched before. 3 and a half out of 4 stars.
"A SERIOUS MAN"
This film was utter brilliance. It's script and stellar performances of Stuhlbarg and Kind make the film. The Coen brother's direction is nothing short of flawless and it intrigues the audience. Though it is very, and I mean very dark, it isn't noticeable and the film is over before you know it. I wanted the story to continue because where it left off didn't satisfy my craving! What fascinated me was the symbolism the storyline held. It is very thought provoking and frustrating until you see the whole movie for what it's worth. I will be shocked if this film doesn't get nominated for the Oscars in the screenplay, acting, or best picture catagory. 4 out of 4 stars.
Carl Fredricksen, a quiet young boy, meets the tomboy Ellie in her clubhouse, discovering together they share the same interest in exploration as their hero, famed explorer Charles Muntz. Ellie expresses her desire to move her clubhouse to Paradise Falls in South America, a promise she makes Carl keep. Carl and Ellie wed and grow old together in the old house where they first met. Unable to have children, they also try to save up for the trip to Paradise Falls but other financial obligations arise. As she grows old and dies of old age, Carl is left in their home by himself. Until one day, a boy scout comes knocking, trying to assist Carl with anything around his house because he needs one last badge to become a "senior scout." Little does anyone know, Carl's house lifts off of the ground and into the sky above, where they embark on many challenges that challenge their loyalty and dependency on one another. My experience from the title to the credits was an enjoyable one. The 3-D animation was the icing on the cake. The images and story almost felt real. My eyes were stuck to the screen from start to finish. This fantastic Pixar film will leave you with a warm feeling in your heart because the movie shows just how valuable friendship really is. Another win for Pixar! 4 out of 4 stars.
"UP IN THE AIR"
Up in the Air excels at showing reality. While it's funny, the film also explores areas that are generally not touched upon. The sobering story succeeds at showing that not all films have a "happily-ever-after" fairy-tale ending. You can relate to Clooney as he plays a man who shows no personality and no regard for living a more decent life. This film is very different from anything Reitman has ever done. It shows that he can tell a story of a middle-aged man and the problems facing him. It was by no means a corky comedy, but rather a tragedy with a balance of humor and a sense of comfort in knowing that you aren't always alone. 3 out of 4 stars.
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