Posts Tagged ‘Helen Mirren’

Oscar Predictions and Preferences – 2010 Edition

Samstag, März 6th, 2010

Award Season is Crazy Season. If you follow these things at all, you have been bombarded by information about the superiority of one film above another for months now. If you blissfully ignore all that stuff, you might even not have heard that a producer on The Hurt Locker is in trouble for trying to convince Academy voters to vote for his film instead of Avatar. His crime: sending an e-mail to his friends. Yes, things are crazy. So it is a good thing that with the Oscar telecast on Sunday, Award Season will be over. Until May or so, when the first discussions for next year’s favourites and winners will begin once more.

But before the Oscars, the most important of all the meaningless awards, are handed out on Sunday, it is time for my annual Oscar predictions. Last year, I picked 19 of the 24 winners. This year, let’s try to improve on that. But unlike last year, this year I actually feel like I am entitled to my own opinion, having seen 20 of the 58 animated films, 18 of the 38 feature films, and actually having seen all nominated films in three categories. So not only will I now predict the Oscar winners as promised, I will also tell you who should win. (Yes, my opinion constitutes objective truth in these matters.) The following list is ordered rather randomly and incomplete, an alphabetical and complete breakdown of all categories and predictions follows at the end.

(weiterlesen …)

The Last Station – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, Februar 10th, 2010


Famous Russian novelist Tolstoy has grown old and his followers, having formed a sort of cult around his teachings, quarrel with his wife, a countess, over his will. Caught in the middle of this is his young new secretary, who adores Tolstoy, but also understand how his wife feels. Around this premise the film develops, but it focuses much more on the characters and their relationships than on the plot. Central to this is the relationship between Tolstoy and his wife, which delves between love and despair. The film is expertly made, yet still often feels somewhat clumsy. The secretary as the anchoring point for the story often seems to be pushed to the side, instead focusing on yet another hysterical outburst from the countess or the sinisterly communist plans of the novelists followers.

Random Observations:

The Last Station at the IMDb

The biggest disappointment of the film is Paul Giamatti. Helen Mirren is good, as usual. Christopher Plummer is decent enough. James McAvoy is simply superb, also as usual. But Paul Giamatti, in what may be his most retrained role, is boring and mostly miscast.

Both Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer are Oscar nominated, but the best actor (and only truly likeable character in the film) is McAvoy, who would have deserved the nomination.

My Thoughts on the 2009 Oscar Nominations

Freitag, Februar 5th, 2010

By now, it has been three days since the Nominations for the 2009 Academy Awards, more commonly known as Oscars, have been announced, and everybody has had plenty of time to comment on them, despair over the obvious oversights and dreadful inclusions, and ultimately come to accept them as the meaningless bullshit they are. So now I thought it would be a good idea to voice my opinions on (some of) the nominations, a complete list of which can be found here. My predictions as to who will win will be up in this very space in early March, in time for the, glorious, gloriously ridiculous and ridiculously overlong ceremony on March 7th.

(weiterlesen …)

Minute Movie Review – State of Play

Samstag, Juni 20th, 2009


A journalist and a blogger for the respected Washington Globe uncover a conspiracy with the help of the politician which it tries to bring down, who just so happens to be an old friend of the journalist. The film is a pretty clear-cut political/journalistic thriller with all the usual twists and turns. But, refreshingly, instead of a clear moral message it focuses on the importance of journalism and the search for truth. Apart from that, though, there is nothing terribly original about it, making it solid entertainment that is easily forgotten.

Random Observations:

State of Play at the IMDb

The movie is based on a BBC mini-series of the same name.

The lead role of the film is played by Russel Crowe and despite my intense dislike of him both as a person and an actor, I didn’t really mind him all that much in this.

The following will reveal the end of the film, so if you haven’t seen it yet and plan to, you might want to skip this paragraph: I’m not sure whether the final twist was really necessary. Sure, it added a lot of moral ambiguity but in my opinion it would have been much more effective had it happened after the story was printed and the scene with the soldier was just ridiculous and the movie could have done well without it.

In general, the whole plot was a bit too complicated and interwoven to both make sense and be completely believable.

I read that in the mini-series, there was a car chase. Why was there no car chase in the movie? I demand a car chase! Every movie is made better by a bitchin’ car chase.

I never realized how much Ben Affleck sounds like his younger brother Casey. And yes, I put it that way deliberately.

The journalist has a picture of the reporters from the Watergate investigation in his cubicle.

The production company on the film was a GmbH & Co. KG, meaning that it was, for lack of a better word, incorporated in Germany. The film was produced and shot entirely in the United States. Isn’t it great how tax evasion has made films international?

Minute Movie Review – The Queen

Donnerstag, Juni 18th, 2009


After the death of Princess Diana, her former daughter-in-law, the Queen is faced with the problem of how to react. It is young and popular prime minister Tony Blair who saves the day for her – and by extension possibly even the English monarchy. The film, based around factual events, is expertly made and Helen Mirren was celebrated for her portrayal of the Queen, even winning an Oscar for it, but all things considered the film is mediocre at best. Only Michael Sheen as Tony Blair manages to shine with a combination of boyish enthusiasm and the gravity required in the situation.

Random Observations:

The Queen at the IMDb

There are only two characters in this movie that don’t come across as complete imbeciles – Tony Blair and Prince Charles. While I might buy that for Blair, the Prince of Wales never struck me as particularly bright.

There is quite a bit of archive footage, naturally, and it is rather annoying how bad the picture quality is to show that it is original.

Writer Peter Morgan is the new go-to-guy for political dram, having also written The Last King of Scotland and Frost/Nixon (also starring Michael Sheen) – two movies that I would highly recommend watching instead of this.

Minute Movie Review – Greenfingers

Montag, Juni 30th, 2008


(Very loosely) based on a true story, Greenfingers tells the story of a group of prisoners in a rather lax facility that are rehabilitated through gardening. It’s a simple little story without too much drama or comedy, yet still a nice movie – a bit too heart-warming for my taste. Almost instantly forgettable, it is nevertheless fun to watch – and maybe even more than once, because at most three months after seeing it, it will have completely faded from your memory.

Random Observations:

Greenfingers at

The reason I watched this was great British actor Clive Owen. In a performance before his rise to super stardom, he was decent enough. But the easily best actor in this was definitely David Kelly, whose fun was almost palpable.

The British sure are obsessed with gardening, aren’t they? It’s probably all that rain that makes the plants grow that much better.

“Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m about to fuck up, so what else is new” is probably the only memorable line from this film.