Posts Tagged ‘The Hurt Locker’

In the Valley of Elah – Minute Movie Review

Dienstag, März 23rd, 2010


A soldier returns from Iraq only to immediately go missing. His father, a former soldier himself, starts to investigate. Before long, the body of his son is found, horribly mutilated. The remaining question is, who is responsible. As he encounters opposition from the military police and little help from the local police, he sets out to uncover his son’s fate. The film is a combination of a fairly straight-forward whodunnit and an examination of the effect war has on soldiers. There is little subtlety to the message and the last scenes are especially superfluous, but that does not detract much from the simple truth and honesty of the well-made film.

Random Observations:

In the Valley of Elah at the IMDb

The film is based on a true story, albeit one that is never referenced or mentioned directly.

The title refers to the valley where the mythical fight between David and Goliath took place.

The story was written by Mark Boal, who also wrote the Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker. Similarities between the two films can not be denied.

Directed by Paul Haggis, whose previous film Crash also won a Best Picture Oscar. It was similarly obvious, but nevertheless true.

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 Hurt Locker – Minute Movie Review

Montag, März 1st, 2010


A US Army bomb squad in Iraq loses its leader and his replacement turns out to be less concerned with rules and safety and more with the adrenalin rush of disarming bombs. The film follows their and especially his story in 2004 Iraq in a combination of action thriller and character study. Both parts are not perfect, but the combination is intriguing, with many suspenseful scenes as well as some interesting insights into the human psyche. Sadly, the film is less of a coherent story and more of a series of anecdotes, thus preventing any real connection with the protagonists and their situation.

Random Observations:

The Hurt Locker at the IMDb

Seventh of the ten Best Picture Oscar nominees I have seen and so far the only one who even remotely deserves that award.

The film has been criticized much both for its lack in realism (apparently, there are numerous mistakes in clothing, equipment and bomb disarming technique) and for it’s stand on the Iraq War (or as I like to call it: Vietnam II). Both criticisms completely miss the point: the depiction of war as hell (at least for most soldiers) is realistic even if they have the wrong guns and the film does not take a stand on the justification of the war at all.

Up in the Air – Minute Movie Review

Sonntag, Februar 7th, 2010


George Clooney lives in the air – on planes and in airports. 322 days a year, he is on the really high road (sorry for that horrible joke) in his job of professional employment terminator, i.e. he fires people and helps them cope with the situation by painting it in bright colours as a chance for a better life. And he is happy in that life of hotels and airports without any real human connections. Things change when he meets a woman he actually falls for while also encountering the enthusiasm of a young colleague fresh out of college, who invented firing over the internet. He takes her on a trip to learn the ropes while his life of solitude slowly dissolves. The film is often extremely funny while also dealing with a real dramatic problem (being laid off), but ultimately falls a little flat. It’s great fun to watch for the most part, but the end is hardly satisfying and feels disconnected and unreal.

Random Observations:

Up in the Air at the IMDb

This is the sixth of the ten Best Picture Oscar nominees (more about the Oscar nominations here) I’ve seen and I’m still rooting for one I haven’t seen – The Hurt Locker. The film is also nominated for Best Director (Jason Reitman), Best Adapted Screenplay (Reitman and Sheldon Turner), Best Actor (Clooney) and Best Supporting Actress for both Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. Out of those, Clooney’s performance and Reitman’s direction are the most deserving winners, but both are unlike to walk away with the Oscar exactly one month from now.

Because there was an unusually long queue at the ticket counter, I actually missed the first few minutes of the film, something which I absolutely hate, and feel somewhat reluctant about the validity of my critique.

For the most part, the film worked as a realistic tale of human life, but the fact that  somebody whose company fires people for other companies thinks that it might be a good idea to do so over video-chat, was too contrived and repeatedly took me out of the movie.

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 …)