Monday, 28 February 2011

My cinematic adventure challenge

You know all about the Best Picture Nominees, and I in my mission watched them all. But the Oscars overlook so many films. The Kermodes addresses this from a critical standpoint, but what about those films which will be worth a watch but not critical darlings?

Here’s my pick of what you should watch instead of the overly publicised 10 Best Picture nominees:

127 Hours : Monsters – British director Gareth Edwards wrote, shot, directed and created the visual effects for this film about a journalist, tasked with accompanying his boss’s daughter to safety, sharing a precarious journey with his charge, where death could come at any second and normal life is both tantalisingly close and hopelessly distant.

Black Swan : Soulboy – Any film with Martin Compston is worth a ticket, this one has him dancing to a Northern Soul beat in 1970s Wigan.

The Fighter: Sons of Cuba – A moving documentary set in the legendary Havana Boxing Academy, a boarding school that hand picks 9-year-old boys, and turns them into the best boxers in the world.

Inception : Scott Pilgrim vs The World - Superb visual style cleverly meshing the lust of a dysfunctional teenager within a comic book/video game setting.

The Kids Are Alright : Abel – A young boy takes on paternal responsibilities when his father abandons the family. The kids may not be alright but they try to cope as best they can.

The King's Speech : Jackboots on Whitehall – An alternative British period piece in which Winston Churchill hides out in lawless Scotland, as an all-star cast voices an alternative animated history of WWII.

The Social Network: Catfish – The other Facebook Movie. Cynical and enlightening, this reminds you how little we really know our online “friends”, as a photographer whose ego is massaged gets embroiled with a mystery artist and her family.

Toy Story 3 : A Town Called Panic – A fun, frenetic Belgian animation, about a Cowboy and Indian’s surprise birthday plans for Horse, which backfire as they attempt to make a homemade gift, destroying their house in the process.

True Grit : The Last Rites of Ransom Pride – In 1910, a young woman tries to take the body of her murdered lover back home to Texas for burial ... with all guns blazing. Stylishly tipping its Stetson to the likes of Peckinpah, Leone and Tarantino, and featuring a genius cast.

Winter's Bone: Winter’s Bone – Watch it or watch it again. It was awesome and the least well known of the Best Picture Nominees. Great performances, I reckon Maddie Ross would concede that Ree has True Grit in hunting down her father to save her family whilst negotiating the underbelly of her rural community.

I hope these choices give you food for thought and much entertainment, once you’ve engaged this spirit of cinematic adventure – seek out the Foreign Language, Documentary & Short film nominees as they are probably all better than the majority of the big 10 and probably worked harder for their nominations (except Biutiful which I’m slightly reluctant to see).

Happy viewing!

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