Okay, so yesterday I posted my brief review of the alphabetical first five 2013 nominees for best picture at the Academy Awards. Today I finish the list. The back four are much stronger than the first five. Tomorrow or maybe Thursday I will post my ‘summary’ of the themes and make some predictions.
Life of Pi–By far and away Pi was the hardest movie to make because of the dynamics of the story but also because of the whole tiger and human in a boat together thing. I don’t know what kind of technological wizardry went on with the green screen to get those shots, but it is seamless magic. I loved the story (I even got a good sermon illustration out of it) and the cinematography was marvelous. I do not think it it will win best picture (I wouldn’t be mad if it did) but I do think Ang Lee will win best director.
Lincoln—Lincoln is the favorite to win best picture, hands down. The reason for this is the difficult work that the movie does. It makes us care about the sausage making of congress in the passing of legislation. This movie could just as well be about the fiscal cliff negotiations. I adore and applaud the depiction of Lincoln by Daniel Day-Lewis as a human being and not a semi-divine character. Lincoln was a politician–a good one with good objectives but nevertheless he was a politician. And a lawyer. And he was married to a loon. But he had a great beard.
Silver Linings Playbook–I fell in love with this movie when Bradley Cooper’s character throws A Farewell to Arms out of the window in disbelief of the ending. I remember having a similar reaction to Hemingway. Originally I did not want to see this film as it looked like yet another formulaic romantic comedy. In fact, I wondered how it made the list? But as I watched it unfold with the bizarre quirky dialogue, mentally challenged characters, and the portrayal of abnormally normal behavior, I saw the appeal. This movie, more than any other (even Amour) depicts real life as I understand it–messed up families, messed up people, messed up relationships and somewhere in the middle of it people try to find a way to cope. I think all the characters in Silver Linings Playbook attend our church and it should be required viewing for church leadership.
Zero Dark Thirty–This movie is the only one I think can give Lincoln a run for its money in best picture. The opening 2 minutes of audio–no video but audio–of the 911 calls on 9-11 were griping. From that moment on, the film had me. The torture scenes were tough, but necessary and the way the movie depicts the bureaucrats is intentionally frustrating. It is hard to make a movie where everyone knows how it ends (c/f Titanic) and we all knew this movie ended with Bin Laden’s death and most people have heard the Navy Seal side of the story from the controversial book No Easy Day. However, this movie not only keeps our attention, it causes us to remember all over again. Jessica Chastain should win best actress.
Okay, so there you go. You know I will be watching Sunday night as soon as my small group is over.