In my recent senior years, with time on my hands, and enough cash to be comfortable, I have set January and February as movie time. After the Acadamy Award nominations are out, I set out to see as many of the best picture movies as I can.
There are nine nominated movies this year, and so far I have seen seven of them. Last night, after coming home from watching Zero Dark Thirty I opened a Word document and began typing my reaction to those I have seen so far.
Argo – A very realistic depiction of a real life event during the Iran hostage crises. Suspenseful and tightly enacted. Good acting, great attention to detail in set design, costuming, period details.
Beasts of the Southern Wild- Heartbreaking and heartwarming story of Mississippi Delta People in their primitive culture, as they survive, of not, Hurricane Katrina. Six year old Quvenzhana Wallis as Hush Puppy steals your heart from the opening moments on.
Les Miserables – The non-musical musical, in operatic style, is an epic in storytelling, staging and stardom. It’s a great story of kindness and cruelty, vengeance and forgiveness, courage and lost causes.
Life of Pi- A spectacle of a movie, amazing cinematography, wonderful storytelling, great acting of the character Pi. While many comment on the spiritual nature of the film, the message for me was revealed in the end, that survival of the fittest is acceptable in animals, but not in humans. Thus we invent the story we can live with.
Lincoln – I hung on every eloquent word of this historical enactment of the abolishment of slavery. Lincoln was a master politician, and spurred on by others with a strong moral compass, achieved what was nearly impossible. A message for today: It takes courage, and a bit political chicanery, Mr. President. This was an important movie.
Silver Linings Playbook – A good movie, but not a great movie, wonderfully acted. Two deeply flawed but very good people find their way back from the depths of despair and self-destruction by finding each other and the silver linings that life has to offer if you work for them.
Zero Dark Thirty – My fear of too much violence was assuaged by storytelling that was so tightly scripted, directed, acted and depicted that I was left in awe. One’s reaction may be determined by one’s political persuasion, but if you watch it in the apolitical and non-judgmental tone in which it was intended, it is an amazing piece of storytelling that has your full attention for the entire two and a half hours.
Yet to see: Django Unchained, Amour.
We'll see Django this week. We may not go to see Amour. It just came out here in limited release, and it is in French with English subtitles. Reading all of the dialogue is so much work.
So what is my favorite so far? #1-Lincoln; #2,3 &4, in no order - Life of Pi, Zero Dark Thirty, Argo.