Thursday, January 22, 2009

oscar flicks, in 15 words


Now that the Golden Globes have been doled out, it's officially Oscar time again! My one true disappointment upon hearing the nominations this morning was the snubbing of Kristin Scott Thomas, who absolutely rocked in the übertense drama, I've Loved You So Long. That said, I'm glad the Academy didn't fall for all the garbage that Clint pulled in Gran Torino. Yeesh.

Okay, nitpicking aside, and without further ado, here are some 15-word reviews, to be updated regularly as I scramble to see more movies until the Academy Awards are presented on February 22nd!

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Main concept was brilliant, but the execution much less so. Also, t'was way too long.

The Dark Knight: Everything a sci-fi superhero movie's supposed to be, and then some. Ledger should win.

Doubt: I'm boycotting what should have been O'Byrne and Jones's shot at Oscar. Business as usual.

Encounters At the End of the World: Herzog deftly captures how life—human, avian, aquatic—thrives on the bottom of the earth.

Frost / Nixon: The tension is palpable in Ron Howard's gripping recreation of David Frost's historic Nixon interview.

Frozen River: Worlds collide in this stark view of poor, Northern life. Prepare to be on edge.

The Garden: This is the kind of eye-opening film that just makes you mad. Greed really sucks.

In Bruges: Three hit men blundering in Belgium. The plot's fun; Ralph plays an excellent bad boy.

Iron Man: Would that we could fly! Downey's spot on, but the effects really steal the show.

Kung Fu Panda: Black leads a stellar cast of characters in this whimsical, yet eye-popping, animated kiddie comedy.

Man On Wire: The stunning story of a dreamer's impossible feat seems unreal, despite archival footage. RIP, WTC.

Milk: Could be confused for a documentary. Penn nails the role, but something is still missing.

Rachel Getting Married: Hathaway is remarkable in her struggle against an unbeatable personal demon. Intense but rewarding ride.

The Reader: Winslet, Fiennes, and the superb Cross master the subtleties of their characters' complex, turbulent histories.

Slumdog Millionaire: Feel-good movie of the year will probably take top honors. It's as good as any.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona: Another Woody fantasy. Catalan identity? Yeah, right. Acting is fine, but plot seems forced. Meh.

The Visitor: A fable for our generation. Jenkins richly deserves a nod for his searing, understated performance.

WALL-E: Utter saccharine, though the characters are lovable. Animation (excepting humans) is out of this world.

Waltz With Bashir: Fresh graphics, moody electro soundtrack, and moving remembrances of mind-bending war experiences. It's a winner.

The Wrestler: Like a car wreck: Seriously depressing, but Rourke is so mesmerizing, you can't turn away.


And for the shorts, we'll make it 5 words:

Smile Pinki: Modern medicine saves the day!

La Maison en Petits Cubes: Global sea rises, spirit lives

Lavatory - Lovestory: Everyone loves a secret admirer

Oktapodi: Run, quick, for the sea!

Presto: What's really up his sleeve?

This Way Up: That's what I call "deadication"

Auf der Strecke (On the Line): A devastating mistake costs dearly

Manon on the Asphalt: Today could be your last

New Boy: Starting anew: frustrating but invigorating

The Pig: Can't we all get along?

Spielzeugland (Toyland): Some mistakes do save lives

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