The Impossible

This Spanish movie starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor depicts one family’s horrific ordeal after their vacation is cut short by the deadly 2004 tsunami. Based entirely on a true story, the movie leaves no one indifferent. The graphic scenes, the sense of powerlessness against nature, as well as the superb acting make for very emotional two hours.

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I have read that some people complain because the tragedy is told from the perspective of Caucasian tourists. What I cannot understand is how anyone can focus on THAT amid everything else that happens on the screen!! I was too busy fighting back the tears to think about anything other than the agony of all the survivors, not just this family of five.

If we did talk about whitewashing, I would say that the movie obliterates race and religion; that depicting wonderfully helpful locals and hospital staff evokes a sense of a unified humanity that we should all be lucky to live in. I would not be one of the complainers wondering why the movie depicted a family who survived. Instead I would applaud The Impossible for celebrating life, while reminding us not to take our presence here for granted.

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It is rather interesting how distressful situations bring people together. When Serbia was bombed in 1999 I was already living in Canada, but my friends and relatives spoke so much about the sense of unity that prevailed back then. Serbian people never loved each more than during those 3 months, a sharp contrast to our contemporary society (living in peace) when hatred is shooting from everyone’s eyes. It seems that collective suffering always brings out the best in humans, which is really sad if you think about it. This, however, will not deter me from my own path. As a dreamer and an optimist, I will continue to do my part in spreading the love. For succeeding to transmit the message that we should love one another, as well as life itself, I am going to label The Impossible one of the better movies to come out of 2012.

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The Oscars – Recap

Jennifer Lawrence, really? Like, for real?!? I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard it. Her role, and subsequently performance, was totally unconvincing. I am so incredibly disappointed. As you know, I felt strongly that Quvenzhane Wallis from Beasts of the Southern Wild should win. But oh well, let’s move on.

Next shocker: Michelle Obama announcing the winner. Really First Lady, you got nothing better to do? This just goes to show that politics (not just in the U.S.) are all a part of the show for the masses.

In any case, not the worst outcome there with Argo taking the statue. I’m glad, even though I don’t feel this was a masterpiece.

Amour at least won the Best Foreign Picture category, so that pleases me.

Ang Lee totally deserved the Oscar for directing. Life of Pi is not a book that translates easily onto screen, and he did more than a fantastic job.

Daniel Day-Lewis deserved to enter history by becoming the first to win Best Lead Actor three times.

Anne Hathway taking the Oscar home – that was a no brainer. I cannot not comment on how gorgeous her entire look was.

And I’m so happy that Christoph Waltz was able to take the podium, too (I know many of you feel the same as well). We all knew that Django wouldn’t win, just as we knew that Tarantino would be awarded for Best Original Screenplay.

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All in all, there were no spectacular surprises, considering the list was poor to begin with. I’m looking forward to seeing what awaits us in 2013, and I hope you’ll be there with me to comment on it.

Now tell me, are you satisfied with the outcome?

Les Miserables

Finally the list is complete. After seeing all the nine nominees for Best Picture, my opinion is that Les Miserables will win.

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Based on Victor Hugo 19th century novel, the story resonates powerfully today when the gap between the rich and the poor is more apparent than it has been in decades. There are probably millions of people in the western world who can identify with Anne Hathaway’s character Fantine who loses a job and is forced to sell her hair, her teeth and her body. Also, I couldn’t not think of the Occupy movement in the scenes when crowds sing of their misfortune, condemning the rich.

I must admit though that I thought it was slightly preposterous that these people who earn millions of dollars and belong to the 1% are playing the roles of the 99%. This irony has never been more apparent to me than while watching Les Miserables. I couldn’t help but wonder whether the movie inspired the actors to help out the poor, needing folk.

Nevertheless, Anne Hathaway’s performance is brilliant, and I’m pretty sure she will taking that golden statue home. Not so sure about Hugh Jackman though.

If this challenge to watch all Oscar nominees has proved anything, it’s that reception of the movie widely depends on the viewer’s mood. When first I attempted to watch Les Miserables, I couldn’t stand to see more than ten minutes. When I put it on a week later I couldn’t tear myself away from the screen. I was so emotionally invested in the characters, that I found myself on the constant verge of tears. Still I don’t regard it as being all that great film, mostly because it’s  just a tad too long for my taste. I miss the time when movies were 90 minutes long.

So let’s just all sit back, and see what happens tomorrow.

 

Amour

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Definitely my pick for the Oscar.

Its simple title – love – has been confusing me since I first heard of the film. Naturally, I have had to watch it to grasp its true, complex meaning. While the story centers around a married elderly couple, Georges and Anne, and their lives after Anne suffers a stroke, the title is not reserved for them alone. Rather, it is there to point out the extent to which this word is absent from everyday interactions.

Georges who is left to look after his wife’s well being has to pay everyone else for their services – the hospital guys for delivering the wife back home, the neighbouring couple for going grocery shopping, the nurses – even the bad one. Love has been replaced with currency, Haneke (writer and director) suggests. No one in this film is motivated by the feeling, everyone is simply focused on what they will gain; except for Anne’s former student. He is the only one who acts out of gratitude. Before she suffered a stroke, Anne was a piano teacher. When the students visits, the couple recount about how much they loved his concert, and remark that they had neglected to buy his CD. They make a point of how they wanted to purchase his CD because they wanted to contribute to his career. Later on in the movie, they receive his disc in the mail. I felt a warmth around my heart at the gesture which stands out from the ruthless, business-like interactions among the rest of the individuals in the film.

Oddly enough, it is this absence of love that awakened my sense of humanity in me, making me even more sympathetic towards my fellow human beings.

The film also reminded me that life can always get worse, and that we should enjoy every single second of our existence. So have a good, JOYOUS life everyone!!

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Lincoln

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I had a hunch this would be a slow movie, but never did I imagine it would be so extremely dull. I can say, without a doubt, that Lincoln is the most boring movie I have ever watched.

I thought we would be seeing a biography, which excited me, because I know very little of this intriguing figure. Instead, it was like watching people read lines from a (dubiously accurate) history book. Can I get a yawn?

Honestly, I wouldn’t even know where to start commenting on this film. The entire premise of the movie revolves around Lincoln’s push for abolition of slavery. But there’s no enthusiasm, no interesting subplots. It’s just Congressmen arguing each other in fancy talk for 2.5 hours. The characters are completely void of personality, especially Lincoln himself. Such a terrible disappointment. What exactly did Spielberg want to achieve with this movie is completely beyond me. I’m surprised the actors themselves, the film crew, the camerapeople, the editors and the producers were all able to stay awake while making this monotonous, lifeless picture.

Django Unchained

This year there is a pattern among the nominees. There are three distinctly political films, and the rest are structured around profound personal struggle. Django Unchained, however, stands out from the bunch.

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While it definitely revolves around severe pain and injustice, it doesn’t go deep into the psychology of the suffering characters. It is everything you’d expect from a Tarantino movie – it’s violent, gory, overly dramatic, clever and entertaining; and its perfect musical score will once again make for a must-have soundtrack.

Django doesn’t seek to make a statement. It’s made purely for entertainment purposes, and splendidly so. Does it deserve to be in the Best Picture group? Absolutely! Will it win? Not a chance.

However, I suspect that Christoph Waltz will pick up the Oscar for Best supporting actor.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

I thought long and hard about why this movie filled with my heart with tremendous love. The answer is quite simple really: the lead actress, the 9 year old Quvenzhane Wallis. The kid is absolutely mesmerizing, and if she is not rewarded with and Oscar for her performance, it will be a grave injustice.

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The story itself requires patience and an open mind, and is not to be taken too literally.  It is a depiction of life through the eyes of a child called Hushpuppy whose world starts falling apart when her father and sole guardian becomes ill. The point that brave people don’t run, but stay to face their difficulties, is delivered in an unconventional, almost surrealistic manner. Confusing at the beginning, it is made so simple in the end that I couldn’t not feel an incredible sense of amazement and empowerment, after witnessing the world through Hushpuppy’s eyes. I hope that this newly acquired bring it on mentality never wears off for me.

Now tell me, did Beasts of the Southern Wild have the same impact on you?

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