Posts Tagged ‘Oscars 2010’

Haiku Review: ‘Up in the Air’

May 17, 2010

No sooner do we get (back) to reviewing this year’s Oscar crop than we find ourselves staring down the barrel of the NEXT movie season. ‘Iron Man 2’? ‘Just Wright’? Already?!? WE NEED MORE TIME!! (Just…humor us.)

An actors’ movie
At once breezy, heavy, and
Filled with Clooney smirks

Once upon a time in a land called Who Cares?, Up in the Air was the movie to beat at this year’s Academy Awards. It was an adult comedic drama overloaded with the kind of stuff you roll your eyes at it sounds so blatantly false: a “timely, buoyant script”; “energetic performances”; a de-Juno-fied Jason Reitman. (Not to mention a feature article in American Way magazine, the premiere periodical of the skies!) Basically a movie just waiting for its Oscar night coronation, when it would waltz past James Cameron and Gabourey Sidibe en route to a tidy gold statue cleanup.

But anyone who remembers Sideways‘ Oscar luck in 2005 knows that we don’t live in Who Cares?, we live in FANTASYLAND. And Up in the Air, despite meeting — and exceeding, in my opinion — all pre-release expectations rises from the dusty cinematic battlefield of late 2009 as just another also-ran. A near-flawless, unfairly snubbed also-ran.

We straight TELL IT after the jump.

Haiku Review: ‘Avatar’

April 26, 2010

Lifting Fog continues its (belated) Academy Awards countdown roundup today with a review of another Best Picture nominee (…loser): HMFIC James Cameron’s ‘Avatar.’ “We see you,” jerks!

Story? …Just enough.
But who cares! Special effects
Will make you shit bricks

So is it Star Wars
For a new generation?
I mean kind of, but…

Say what you will about G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, but 2009 was a pretty great year for movies. And across the board, too: boundary-pushing sci-fi in District 9; the (hilarious!) revisionist history of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. The Hurt Locker, Precious, Watchmen, Up. (500) DAYS OF SUMMER?!? Really just one of the more thoroughly satisfying — and amazingly diverse — array of films assembled in recent memory. We’re spoiled. But one movie unquestionably stands out even in that accomplished crowd, a movie that pushed the technological edge of filmmaking farther than it’s ever gone and silenced critics (…including me) who had written it off as “that Ferngully sequel” months before its release. The movie in question, of course, is Avatar, directed by a guy so ego-maniacal even his baseball cap seems to YELL at you. And while the story isn’t much, there’s no denying one thing: it sure looks great in blue.

Now hop into that Avatar-linking neuro-chamber and let’s GO.

Obligatory Post-Oscars Post 2010

March 8, 2010

So the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences REALLY hates James Cameron. Not that The Hurt Locker didn’t deserve to clean up — it did in a big bad way — but one can’t help but look at the winners of categories like Sound Mixing or even Original Screenplay (which Cameron wasn’t nominated for, of course, but a vote for The Hurt Locker was a vote AGAINST Avatar) and not imagine the director’s peers flipping him off as they mail in their ballots. “Who’s Avatarded now?” laughs one Academy member to himself. “King of the world?” asks another. “You’re barely a prince!” And so on with the funny and original puns. For a lot of Hollywood, James Cameron is as easy to hate as a scum-sucking Republican!

But petulant dismissal of a STAGGERING CINEMATIC ACHIEVEMENT aside, the Academy did manage to do one thing right last night: naming Kathryn Bigelow Best Director, the first woman to win the trophy in the ceremony’s 82 years. You’re King Queen of the World, Kathryn! And LONG OVERDUE!

Photo from The New York Times

Not even Babs presenting the award (or Oprah’s wholly inappropriate appearance ten minutes earlier, but that’s an entirely different post…) could ruin what was an undeniably special and important moment in Oscar history. It meant too much; the victory was practically cosmic. And we’ve finally arrived, one hopes, at the beginning of a label-less era of film direction — one where “female” is no longer synonymous with “Nancy Meyers” (and “terrible”), but simply means that the person running the show…happens to have lady-parts. Equality, baby.

Haiku Review: ‘The Hurt Locker’

February 25, 2010

No apologies this time — that is SO 2009 — but we’re about a week away from this year’s Academy Awards and waaaayyy behind in our reviews. In the pipeline are ‘Avatar,’ ‘Inglourious Basterds,’ ‘Up in the Air,’ and… ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,’ but first we’ve got some things to say about the best-yet movie about the Iraq War, ‘The Hurt Locker,’ Bombs away!

A war movie that
IMPORTANT. Just great.

Hitchcock-like tension
Except in place of psychos
You’ve got f**king bombs

At next Sunday’s Oscars, the fight for Best Picture and Director will come down to two movies — The Hurt Locker and Avatar — directed by two people who were once married. The former Mrs. James Cameron made a tense war movie brimming with authenticity; Mr. Kathryn Bigelow used 3-D cameras to tell a story about giant blue cats. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is all about inclusion this year in a BIG WAY. But if they’re separated by subject and budget (and by law), the two movies are united in their creative accomplishments: Avatar, for pushing the boundaries of film and galvanizing a relatively new technological movement; and The Hurt Locker, for finally “cracking” the Iraq War by telling a story whose focus isn’t squarely political. They are both winners in my book!

And so are you, if you keep reading!