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Sunset Blvd. (1950)
A Magnifacent Hollywood Satire
Sunset Blvd. is, though it is not considered, a satire. It tells a story of madness and corruption that thoroughly describes the way Hollywood was back then. There are three things that make this film great:
1)The Story: the classic tale of a star that has faded into Hollywood obscurity and driven herself mad by obsessing over the glory days of her youth. She finds her way back into the spotlight when she meets a young screenwriter and she thinks she is cured but doesn't realize that she is slowly fading deeper into insanity.
2)The Director: Billy Wilder's ingenious direction is what practically makes this film. His intricate eye to detail is one of the things that makes this film a success.
3)The Stars: Gloria Swanson, William Holden, Nancy Olsen, and Eric von Stroheim are the people that make this film what is today: a classic. Gloria Swansons stunning performance as Norma Desmond truly deserved the recognition that it received. I think her performance is the greatest of all time and was totally robbed of the Oscar for Best Actress.
All in all, this my favorite movie and it is one of greatest films ever made.(P.S. This so should've won Best Picture instead of All About Eve. I mean, All About Eve is a great film but not as great as this one.)
Jane Eyre (2011)
An Eerie and Beautiful Vision of Bronte's Classic
I have seen many reviews for this film saying that it is not true to the novel (which it is) but after seeing it for first time the I've realized that for this they only took certain parts of the novel for a reason. Though the film is not completely true to the novel, the film in it self is gorgeous. Let me start with the acting. I think that they did have some rather odd casting in this film but all in all it was very good. Mia Wasikowska definitely surprised me in this film because to me she played the title character with such grace and elegance that you can't help but love her performance. As for Michael Fassbender, to me, personally, he is the perfect person to play the character of Edward Rochester. Whenever he stepped on to the screen he had me in a grip that forced me to watch him every single time. I definitely can see some Oscar nods for both of them. The supporting cast was also very good. Judi Dench was magnificent as always as Miss Fairfax the housekeeper. Jamie Bell definitely shined his brightest of all the films I've seen him in. I think they might just reign supreme in the categories of Best Supporting Actor and Actress. The set and the cinematography are absolutely beautiful. It sets the perfect tone for the film that I rather liked. The film kind of played out like a thriller until the ending then it all made sense of the theme.
This film to me is not just eye candy it is by far one of the best films of the year. If it doesn't get at least get nominated for Best Picture at he Oscars this year it will have been robbed.
Peter Jackson's Best Film. Period.
The Lord of the Rings was something new to me when I first saw it. I was really young, of course, maybe about 6 or 7, so I really didn't understand what was going on. After I got a bit older, I watched it again to see what is what like to me now. All I can say is it held me breathless. My family and I are big fans of LOTR and my first screening of it was the extended special edition that my dad got for his birthday. As I said before, I watched it again when I was older and every time I watch it, it never ceases to amaze me. FOTR is by far the best because it stays more true to the book than the others did. It also introduces more to the world in which it is based in.
Middle-Earth was spellbindingly brought life right before our eyes and I always feel like I'm apart of it every time I watch the film. The cast by far is the best cast this film could have. Each actor went deep into his/hers character mind and acted as they did in the novel. The one actor who really amazes me is Ian McKellan as Gandalf the Gray. His performance so should've won the Oscar, but then again I am not part of the Academy.
Peter Jackson to me is one of the greatest filmmakers of our generation and this trilogy of outstanding films proves my point.
Black Swan (2010)
The Dark Side of Professional Ballet
Black Swan was something else when it first premiered at Sundance. I saw it when it came out at our local theatre. As I always write, I went into this movie not knowing what to expect. It seemed pretty interesting from what I saw in the trailers: a classic psychological thriller, only it was set in the world of professional ballet. I was thinking let's try something new, so I did.
I was utterly mesmerized. It was a near perfect film that brought me deep into a place that I didn't even know existed. Darren Aronofsky did something a little different from some of his previous. I saw Requiem for a Dream and absolutely loved it, so he was one of the reasons I was practically drawn to the film. Natalie Portman gives the performance of her career as Nina, the films White Swan, and so does Mila Kunis as Lily, the films Black Swan, for whom I have only known as Jackie on That 70's Show. She definitely stepped out of her comfort zone to play this role. Natalie's transformation from the soft and graceful White Swan to the seductive and sensual Black Swan was truly something to experience.
In the end, I walked out the theatre having learned a lesson: that someone's perfection can be their greatest imperfection. Natalie depicted that perfectly. I would not change anything about it. (BTW, I saw the Oscars last night and was so hyped Natalie won. I think she truly deserved it):)
Song, Dance, and All That Jazz
I first saw Chicago in August of 2010 and I didn't know what to expect from it. I had never seen the original musical and I only heard that it was good from people who told me so I rented thinking lets give it a shot. I have to say, I was exceptionally pleased with what I saw. All the songs and musical numbers were filmed perfectly and the performances were absolutely amazing.
My first impression of this film was that it was a satire, which it is, and I don't think I've seen to many satirical musicals. When I heard the plot I didn't think it was going to be that great and I wondered how this had become a smash hit musical. After a while, I realized that the plot was the reason it had become a smash hit on Broadway.
As I said what really drew to the film was the music and the performances. "All That Jazz" is one of my favorite songs and I hadn't realized that at the moment that it had come from this film. "Cell Block Tango", "Razzle Dazzle", and "Nowadays" is also on my top 100 songs list from this movie.
Then there's the performances and I all I had to do was watch the opening number and Catherine Zeta-Jones had a 10 for her performance. I think we can all agree that Catherine's performance was by far the best. I could not have seen anyone else as Velma but her. Renee Zellweger also gave an equal as Roxie Hart, the star of the movie. Her transformation from a timid, soft-spoken housewife to an outrageous vaudeville was absolutely priceless. Richard Gere played the perfect Billy Flynn: He was slick and cool all the way to the end. How he didn't win an Oscar or even get a nomination still eludes me. Queen Latifah showed a side I hadn't seen coming. I knew her from being a famous rapper, now I only see her as Matron Mama Morton.
All in all, this film is spectacular and deserved to win Best Picture that year. Rob Marshall delivered a masterpiece and I can't wait to see what he will do next.
Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
Very Entertaining but not Accurate
When I first saw Memoirs of a Geisha I didn't know what to expect. From the trailer I saw a very interesting movie which it was, but it was also completely inaccurate.
Arthur Golden's novel tells the story of a young girl in 1920's Japan who is sold to a geisha house as a servant girl. As the novel progresses, we see how she achieved her goal of becoming a geisha. The novel depicts geisha as women who sell themselves for an extremely high price, but in actuality geisha are merely entertainers; However, there is a recorded period during the Great Depression where geisha had to go to such measures to earn money.
Although, I have to say that Rob Marshall's depiction of this novel is very well done. There may be some parts here and there that are not part of the novel but it is very entertaining. I don't think anyone in the film industry could have directed like he did. The film's appearance was also very amazing. Dion Beebe's cinematography, John Myhre's sets, Colleen Atwood's costume designs, and, above all, John Williams' excellent score make this film as exotic as the country its based in.
The film received six Academy Award nominations, winning three for Beebe, Atwood, and Myhre. I personally think that the film should have received more recognition including a Best Picture nomination. I also think that Gong Li should have gotten a nomination for Best Supporting Actress because her performance was by far the most outstanding.
Memoirs of a Geisha may be inaccurate but I think it is one of the best films of 2005.
An Absolute Masterpiece
That's all I can call it cause that is what it is. Bob Fosse intricately weaves his own style into what I think is a pure masterpiece. The acting is great, the sets are unbelievable, and everything was so real I actually felt like I was in 1930's Berlin.
Liza Minnelli is absolutely amazing as the vivacious Sally Bowles. She certainly did deserve her Oscar. Joel Grey gave a equally stunning performance as the impish Master of Ceremonies and he so owned his Oscar, and yes,he did beat Al Pacino that year, but he still deserved it.
Almost everything about this film is perfect, and anyone who doesn't think the same has been living under a rock for a long time.