Parool Oscar Weekend

Last weekend I spent over 20 hours in movie theaters.  I saw 8 Oscar nominated movies over 2 days.  WEEE!

How did I manage this?  The Parool Oscar Weekend of course.  This is the second year that we’ve gone and this year we went for both days.  We left the house both Saturday and Sunday before 9:00am and were home at midnight on Saturday and 10pm on Sunday – two very long movie watching days!

This event is always held at the Pathe de Munt theaters, on the top floor of the multiplex.  You buy a pass for the day(s) you want to attend and pick and choose which movies you want to see.  They had 5 theaters showing 5 movies each.  Everything was timed to more or less start and end at the same time.

What did we see?  Here they are, in order of appearance:

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – a Terry Gilliam movie.
My rating – 8
I really liked this movie, which isn’t surprising since I like Terry Gilliam movies in general.  They are always very, well, imaginative and interesting and visually cool.  This was the last movie Heath Ledger made, but didn’t quite finish making.  I won’t give anything away here, but the way Gilliam saved his movie after Ledger died is seamless and appears to be the way he really meant the movie to go.

The Hurt Locker – Oscar winner for Best Movie
My rating – 9
I did not expect to like this movie.  War movies are not my favorite genre.  This movie however was so well made and well acted that you couldn’t help but be sucked in and impressed.  I’m actually surprised to hear that so few people have seen it and it hasn’t been making much money.  Go see this movie.  It’s worth it.

A Serious Man – another Coen Bros. movie
My rating – 5
I love Coen Bros movies.  Some of my favorite movies are from Ethan and Joel.  But this one?  Oh man.  I just couldn’t see the point.  I just wanted it to end.  I really didn’t like it.  There were some good one-liners and I laughed a few times, but overall I just wanted out.

Precious – based on the novel by Push by Sapphire
My rating – 8.5
This was the last movie we saw Saturday night and I was afraid it would be so depressing that it would be a depressing end to the day.  Nothing could be farther than the truth of this movie.  It is a hard movie with hard things to watch.  But it is also so full of good souls and leaves you feeling hopeful even in the face of hopeless situations.  Precious is an abused teenager, obese and pregnant.  Her teachers have faith in her and she learns to have faith in herself.  The movie does not have a happy ending.  It has a hopeful ending and in this case that is a triumph.

A Single Man –  by Tom Ford
My rating – 8
What a lovely movie!  The atmosphere was perfect, the acting restrained and precise.  It was so nice to see a 60’s era movie without all the cliches.  (Ironically, A Serious Man was set in the same time period, but had all the kitsch and cliche you could want.)  The look of the movie brought back my childhood very strongly.   You had no idea how the movie would end, until it did.  It is a beautiful movie I highly recommend.

Coco Avant Chanel – Audrey Tautou grows up
My rating – 7
DB and I had mixed reviews on this one.  He was really bored.  I really liked the costumes and learning about the life of Coco.  The story begins with a brief view of Gabrielle (Coco) and her sister being dropped at an orphanage, but quickly moves to the two of them singing and dancing in a pub at night and sewing clothes in a dress makers shop during the day.  Choices for woman at the turn of the century were few and far between and the best thing you can do is find a man to support you – married or not.  No surprises there.  Coco fights fashion standards and society’s rules to become the most influential fashion design – ever.  Listening to fast French and trying to read the Dutch subtitles fast enough was kind of tiring, but the visuals made up for that.

Sherlock Holmes – Guy Ritchie director
My rating – 6
DB disagreed on this one a little too.  He liked it more than I did.  I have an issue with movies that take a historical period and story and shoot it like it is modern and current.  Unlike  Wild Wild West that turned the 1850’s into some kind of future science fantasy (which I HATED), this movie isn’t quite that bad.  But it has the FEEL of a modern movie, with sitcom punchiness and tossed out clever lines for the audience to laugh at.  I liked the Sherlock who could figure out crimes and people just through keen observation, but the rest did not impress.  Ho hum.  DB calls this “watch food”.  Like fast food only on a screen.

District 9 – Don’t order the prawns
My rating – 7
The movie opens with a huge alien ship parked above Johannesburg South Africa and a documentary style explaining the situation up til now.  Humans, as we know, don’t even get along with our own neighbors so how can we expect to treat aliens any better?  We lock them up in slums and keep them alive only to abuse them and wish they would go away.  But what happens when a relocation program goes wrong and DNA gets a little mixed up?  Who’s side are you on then?  This was a fun and entertaining sci-fi romp with some surprising twists and a realism that is often completely missing in this genre.  I liked the bluntness about the Nigerians, the ignorant racism of our hero, the fact that one of the very last shots is a man in a prison jumpsuit and the reason why he’s in prison (I won’t spoil it for you).  Just a well put together movie with good effects.

What’s missing?  Avatar of course!  We PLANNED to see it on Saturday but the bus was late and we just missed the train.  Ah well.  We had already seen it in 3D at the IMAX.  I wanted to know if it would wow me the second time around.  Maybe I’ll never know.

Should Avatar have won best movie over The Hurt Locker?  No, I don’t think so.  The story in Avatar was, well, crap.  The best movie really did win.

3 Comments

  1. Out of those movies listed I have seen The Hurt Locker and District 9..both not what I expected from them but they kinda grew on me during the viewing. I have Coco Before Chanel and The Education (oscar nominee)here to watch but they will have to wait. We are watching Saw 6 tonight..not expecting too much from that.
    P.s Im feeling much better thank you but still taking it a bit easy

  2. I really liked Sherlock Holmes! To me, it was “Sherlock Holmes meets The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the graphic novel *not* the movie”. I have read all the Sherlock Holmes stories, and I liked the way they went back to some of the original characters, like Holmes being a master boxer, and Watson being a tank and not just comedy relief.
    District 9 was absolutely excellent. Those are the only two I have seen, but plan to watch The Hurt Locker and An Education soon. That sounds like a fantastic weekend, though!

  3. This sounded so great last year that we went this year (but only for one day)! Saw “the Kids…,” “Winter’s Bone,” “Way Back” and “the Fighter.” (Couldn’t handle a 5th… perhaps more training next year 😉 )

    Really great day! Thanks for the recommendation!

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