This last weekend was our 5th annual Parool Oscar Weekend. You know, where you go to the Pathe de Munt movie theater at Muntplein in Amsterdam and sit for 2 full days watching back to back Oscar nominated movies. I love it.
If you haven’t noticed, on the right side of this blog page I am now posting my Twitter feed. During this weekend event I sent out tweets summarizing my movie review and giving each movie a score out of 10. I’ll just expand on that a little bit here. Warning, it’s full of spoiler alerts. But then, you should already know how Lincoln and Argo end.
Saturday we started at 10:30am with Lincoln. This is the movie that starred Daniel Day-Lewis, who won his 3rd Oscar as Best Actor. I really enjoyed this movie. It helps if you are raised in the U.S. and know a bit of the history and can relate to the story and the times. It also helps if you are a native English speaker. The language in the movie is not simple or easy but it is beautiful and thoughtful and lovely to listen to. As a language lover, I really appreciated the care they used in recreating the sound of the times. It is also so interesting to contrast politics of that era with politics of today. In both cases it’s a dirty business. But in both cases there is one party that is ignorant and wishes the country to remain ignorant. What’s interesting is that those parties have switched titles over these 160-odd years. I highly recommend the film and gave it a 9/10.
Next, with a 30 minute break in between we saw Beasts of the Southern Wild. I really didn’t know what to expect of this movie. The main character is a 6 or 7 year old girl who lives with her father and a few scrappy characters in a swampy island that has been abandoned by the government and society. They are all a bit wacko. When a big storm comes most of them leave but not the most crazy ones and this girl must stay with her father. They end up at the end in a shelter, but then escape, and go back to the swamp where he father dies of some disease. Some parts of the movie were touching. Some parts were just more of the same. It wasn’t my kind of movie really. It went no where and didn’t seem to have a place it should go. I gave it a 6/10.
Finally Saturday we saw Argo, yet another historical fact/fiction movie about getting Iran hostages out of Iran. This movie was so suspenseful, even though you know how it’s going to end, that it had my stomach in knots. The acting was good and I have to say that Ben Affleck really outdid himself as actor and director both. And he doesn’t look half bad in a beard. It did remind me of All the President’s Men in look and feel, which is not a bad thing. I can see how it won best picture as everything was so real you lost sight of which parts were historical film reels and which was recent movie making. I gave it 8/10. It’s as well made as Lincoln, but there was something beautiful about Lincoln that got it the extra point for me.
And that’s all we saw Saturday. We had a concert to go to in Paradiso that night so cut it short at 6pm and only 3 movies seen. But we were back at it Sunday morning at 10:30 again!
We started Sunday morning with The Master. After reading the synopsis I was looking forward to seeing this movie. The first 30 minutes had me sucked in and I was really intrigued. And then it just droned on and on and on making the same points over and over and over again. Finally we end up in England for no apparent reason. The movie should have been 20 minutes shorter, or found something else unique to say. Having said all that, Joaquin Phoenix was exceptional in the lead role. Now this is acting folks, every bit as good as Daniel Day-Lewis. Too bad the movie was such a let down. I gave it a 6/10.
Next up: Prometheus. Seriously? Yes, seriously. And seriously bad. This is the pre-quel to Alien and poor Ridley Scott just can’t let it go. This movie was nominated for visual effects and that, folks, is ALL it had going for it. Laughable science, deadly predictable script. The very best part was the very last scene, which ties this movie to Alien. That’s it. About 20 seconds. 5/10.
Movie 3 on Sunday was Django Unchained. Some people don’t appreciate Quentin Tarantino’s movies or his point of view or his humor, but I’m a fan. Maybe you have to be a fan to be excited about seeing this movie. I think it’s his best in years. It was clever, funny, punchy, bloody, and never ever dull. Jamie Foxx is perfect in the lead and Christofer Waltz won best supporting actor as the German bounty hunter. If you like dark humor you have to go see this movie. 8/10. Oh, one thing, here’s a tip Quentin: don’t act in your own movies. It ain’t your forte son.
Finally, the last film for Sunday was Silver Linings Playbook. It’s your typical dysfunctional feel good movie. Screwed up boy meets screwed up girl, lots of screwed up stuff happens and finally they get together. That’s the plot. That’s it. What makes it so entertaining are the actors and the stuff that is just crazy enough to be real and just real enough to be crazy. You can see these people living next door to you. You feel for them. You root for them. You want them to be happy. When such a simple plot can do that to you then it’s a highly successful movie. 8/10. Go see it. Everyone should laugh and smile at the movies now and then.
And that’s it! Last year we saw NINE movies, this year only 7. Next year I’m aiming for 9 again. I can’t wait.