Directed by Steven Spielberg
Screenplan by Steve Zailian, based upon the novel by Thomas Kennealy
Starring Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes
I’ll say it: Schindler’s List might be the most important film ever to win Best Picture. It represents a true cinematic achievement and, even if it was not revolutionary in the sense that Jaws was revolutionary, it full demonstrates how you can take a deadly subject matter and, by using all the tricks of the trade, can produce an important film about a tough subject without making it fee didactic.
That all being said – this is not a film you sit down to enjoy. There truly is no enjoyment here. It’s a tough film on a tough topic and there’s no enjoying that. That being said, it’s not punishing either, nor is it a chore to watch. Rather, it’s emotionally cathartic and the sort of thing you’ll put on only when you want to have your guts ripped open.
Directed by Sydney Pollack
Screenplay by Kurt Luedtke, from the books Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen, Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Story Teller by Judith Thurman, and Silence Will Speak by Errol Trzebinski
Starring Meryl Streep, Robert Redford and Klaus Maria Brandauer
Out of Africa is a typical 80’s movie. Not in the way that Top Gun is an 80’s movie, with all the bombast, jingoism, reductionist story-lines and bonanza box office. No, it’s an 80’s movie in the way Ordinary People and Ghandi and The Killing Fields are all 80’s moves: it’s earnest, epic, about something sort-of important, and, above-all, fairly dull.
In other words, it’s the movie the Academy typically fell in love with in the 80’s and dumped a butt-load of Oscars on.
Even as I say that, with all the weariness and disdain I can muster V just imagine me rolling my eyes when I write typically – it really comes as no surprise bloated, boring epics were the name of the game in the 80’s, as far as the Academy was concerned. Giving awards to this kind of film was just what they did. And honestly, just like this isn’t the first time I’ve said it, it probably won’t be the last I say it, either. No, what will be said here first – at least by me – is the reason I think the 80’s went the way they did.
Directed by John Madden
Screenplay by Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman
Starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Collin Firth, Ben Affleck, Judi Dench and Tom Wilkinson
The essential question with Shakespeare in Love is this: By winning the Oscar for Best Picture, did it deprive, i.e. rob, Saving Private Ryan of it’s just reward? Yes, there are other questions we can ask, and other rabbit holes we can dive down – plot summary, anybody? But all of those other questions and discussions will pale in comparison to the big one.
Was Saving Private Ryan robbed?
The short answer? No. Continue reading
Tedious and boring and unimaginatively directed. Importance of subject and quality of movie is a false equivalency. The most interesting parts were the machinations to get the amendment passed. All other business – the son’s return, the soldiers at the beginning, anything to do with Mrs. Lincoln, anything within twenty minutes of the ending – were extraneous. When it was over I really believed there was a fantastic 100 minute thriller about the politicking involved in politics being smothered inside a 150 minute movie. At least Daniel Day-Lewis was good.
(Apologies for this being less-than-terse, but as Lincoln seems fated to win Best Picture at the Oscars, it seemed fair to go big.)
In honor of both Lance Armstrong admitting his Tour de France victories were a sham, and Manti Te’o getting caught up in some weird catfish-nonsense about his online-girlfriend, it seemed a good time to run out a list of movies you could draw from to program your Hoax-themed film festivals this weekend. Continue reading