I've had this in my digital library but kept putting off playing it. But after watching Ang Lee's Life of Pi, I decided now would be a good time to take a listen. I wasn't disappointed.
Jeff Woodman reads a credible Pi with just the tinge of an Indian singsong accent, while Alexander Marshall is the perfect counterpoint as the Writer (and he sounds exactly like the foreigner to the world Pi narrates). ✍
I don't know why Kathryn Bigelow wasn't nominated for Best Director, along with the Best Picture nomination for Zero Dark Thirty, in this year's Oscars. They did nominate Mark Boal for Best Original Screenplay, Jessica Chastain for Best Actress, and nominations each for Best Editing and Best Sound Editing.
The movie, with the logline "The Greatest Manhunt in History," culminates in that 30 minutes after-midnight raid on UBL's hideout in a middle-class enclave in Pakistan. But that gripping raid scene, made more realistic and immediate with shots using night vision goggles, is built up through the tedium of intelligence work - especially of the single-minded zeal (not so much different from the fanatical allegiance of the al-Qaeda militants) - punctuated by the depiction of brutal interrogations of captives and of suicide bombings and assassination attempts - as ably portrayed by Chastain in her role as the seemingly delicate but dogged CIA operative Maya. And that ending, with Maya boarding a military cargo plane as its sole passenger, sums up what the manhunt may have meant to her and to the rest of us.
And that buildup to its finish is why Bigelow should have been nominated. ✍
It's difficult to make a movie out of an idea; better to concentrate on the man. But Lincoln wasn't just a man, he was also an idea personified.
And that's exactly what Steven Spielberg (nominated for Best Director in this year's Oscars) capitalizes on in his Oscar-nominated biopic. With Tony Kushner (nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay), he focuses the film around Lincoln's legislative struggle to pass the 13th Amendment calling for the abolition of slavery.
Spielberg is wise enough, though, to embody the conflicting ideas of that period through a superb ensemble of actors whose performance transports viewers to nobler heights even as they witness the gritty and dirty backdoor politicking. Leading the ensemble cast is Daniel Day-Lewis (nominated for Best Actor) who plays Lincoln, Sally Field (Best Supporting Actress nominee) who plays Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd. Tommy Lee Jones (Best Supporting Actor nominee) plays Thaddeus Stevens, leader of the Radical Republicans, who tempers his (then) extreme views of racial equality to rally support for Lincoln's 13th Amendment proposal.
And that is how to make a biopic. ✍
Based on Yann Martel's novel of the same title, this film adaptation of Life of Pi (nominated for Best Picture in this year's Oscars), written by David Magee (nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay) and directed by Ang Lee (nominated for Best Director), is a visually mesmerizing movie.
Nominated for eight other awards (Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Visual Effects, Musical Score, Original Song, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing), I would not wonder if this movie sweeps most of the awards in these categories. Ang Lee truly inspires with this visual feast that surpasses his other films. Bravo! ✍
Beasts of the Southern Wild is, indeed, "the most magical film of the year" if only for Quvenzhane Wallis's spellbinding performance as Hushpuppy -- which earned her a nomination for Best Actress, the youngest ever, in this year's Oscars.
I like how Benh Zeitlin (nominated for Best Director) and Lucy Alibar (nominated with Zeitlin for Best Adapted Screenplay) turned Alibar's one-act play, "Juicy and Delicious," into a fantasy movie that melds real-life issues (like global warming) with a young girl's coming-of-age story.
But what I like best in this Best Picture nominee is Wallis's gripping performance of a daughter growing up in the wilds of a Louisiana bayou and how she confronts life and death plus the dreaded aurochs head-on. ✍
While nominated for Best Picture in this year's Oscars, Ben Affleck who directs and stars in the film was snubbed for the Best Directing nomination. He does win the Golden Globe award for Best Director and the movie for Best Motion Picture (Drama).
Argo was a thrilling movie to watch, even if I knew beforehand that the six made it out of Iran (the story is based on Joshuah Bearman's 2007 Wired article). Affleck and Chris Terrio (nominated for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay), ably aided by William Goldenberg (nominated for Best Achievement in Editing) and Alexandre Desplat (nominated for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score), deliver a well-paced and exciting film that is certain to keep you on the edge of your seat. ✍
A day after watching this, scenes from the movie continue to haunt my thoughts. Perhaps because my parents are in the same situation -- my Tatay takes care of my Nanay after she suffered a stroke two years ago. All my fears about my parents rose to the surface while I was watching the film. I can only console myself that my mother is doing well and my father remains very active even at his age.
But this is not really a movie about old age and death but of love. How will love fare when taking care of your partner becomes a daily chore, when irritation becomes the norm (the wife resenting her condition, and the husband becoming annoyed at his wife's umbrage), and patience IS a much needed virtue.
Amour (2012) is another disturbing film by Michael Haneke nominated for Best Picture in this year's Oscars. From the opening scene with the police breaking down the doors to the old couple's apartment to find only the dead wife, Anne (played by Emmanuelle Riva, who is also nominated for Best Actress), and the husband, George (played by Jean-Louis Trintignant, who should also have been nominated for Best Actor), nowhere to be found, the narrative takes a step back to a scene at a piano concert of Anne's former student. Upon arriving back at their apartment from the after-party, the couple finds the lock unsuccessfully jimmied from an aborted burglary. At breakfast the following morning, Anne "spaces out" -- a result of a stroke -- and this scene marks the beginning of a downhill spiral for the couple.
I won't say anything more about the film's narrative except that it is a gripping portrayal of an abiding love. I haven't seen all of the Best Picture nominees, but this sure is a strong contender. ✍
Poetry and fiction workshop with Tim Tomlinson, 9:00-12:00, Monday, 14 Jan 2013, AVR, CHSS Wing, Admin Bldg., UP Mindanao. Tim Tomlinson is co-founder of the New York Writers Workshop and co-author of The Portable MFA in Creative Writing (2006). The workshop is sponsored by the BA English (Creative Writing) Program and the Department of Humanities, CHSS, UP Mindanao
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