Sunday, February 08, 2009

You will mistake me.

I have been loading up on Oscar-nominated films, and of course I have some thoughts.

I finally saw Doubt, and I thought it was great. First of all, this film is more or less an acting powerhouse.  We know that Meryl Streep is brilliant, and we know that Philip Seymour Hoffman can out-act just about anyone . . . but when these two share scenes, they fill the screen with such craftsmanship that I sat in awe.  But the scene-stealer is Viola Davis, whose bracing and beautiful performance completely transforms what the film is about.  Amy Adams also does great work in this all-nominated cast.  John Patrick Shanley's script leaves many more questions than answers, as is appropriate, and I found Doubt to be intriguing, profound, and powerful. 

A weird little British film called Happy-Go-Lucky, starring Golden Globe winner Sally Hawkins, puzzled me a bit.  The film tells the story of an almost-always-cheerful school teacher bouncing through life trying to stay happy.  Director Mike Leigh, whose "script" is nominated for an Oscar, generally works with his cast through pseudo-improvisation, and this film has some delightful moments, as well as some creepy ones.  I liked it, but I am not quite sure what think about it.

The Visitor, on the other hand, leaves me no doubt -- what a quiet little gem. Richard Jenkins, one of the great actors working today, gets his first lead role in this small film about a disillusioned economics professor who discovers an immigrant couple living in his second home.  What follows is a moving tale about friendship and loneliness and being forced out of a life rut.  I really recommend this film.  Jenkins shines in just about everything, from Six Feet Under to Burn After Reading to his show-stealing turn in Step-Brothers (that's right).  He deserves his Oscar nomination for this film.

And of course today marks the end of my Bromine Year.  Stay tuned tomorrow for my birthday post.


At 9:52 PM, Blogger Sherri posited...

Have you seen "Slumdog" yet? Can't remember if you have - just wondering what your thoughts on it are.

At 10:06 PM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

Yes, I have seen it twice. I love it. Here is my initial review.

At 10:07 PM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

What about you? What are your thoughts?

At 8:33 PM, Blogger Sherri posited...

Thanks for the link to your review - I totally agree with everything you just wrote it much more eloquently than I could. I was very moved after watching it - the scenes of the poverty, and the children in the dump, had me in tears...and then I was cheering at the end. And - I liked that it was an original story line - it seems like we're saying the same ole' story line over and over...everything just keeps getting recycled!

At 10:48 PM, Blogger undulatingorb posited...

And it doesn't hurt that Richard Jenkins is from Dekalb. Hooray for Illinois!


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