Thursday, March 10, 2011

Two for the price of one!

I'm sorry for the quality of the last two posts. I was tired. I watched movies that didn't do much for me. My creative juices were exhausted. I needed to get something up, though. I'll make it up to you today by going over two movies! Not only that, I'm awake. I had an energy drink and will have coffee in the middle of the post. I have things to say about the movies. Man, it's going to be awesome. Check it:

One of the Oscar categories I didn't even make an attempt to finish was Best Animated Feature Film. In reality, this would have been the easiest category to finish with only three films nominated and having already seen one of them in Toy Story 3. It may well have also been the most pointless category to finish because, even more so than Best Actress, I felt that the winner would be decided regardless of the merit of any other contenders. I was right, too. Toy Story 3 won, and it's a shame, because How to Train Your Dragon is a damn fine film.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Well it's been a hop, skip and a jump since I posted. I haven't been consuming too much to write home about, but I did catch a couple movies recently.

Before we get to that, though, I wanted to give a shout out to Brian who is supposedly blogging over at Thingz I Consume. I meant to start this blog with my brother years ago, but I couldn't muster the time. Now I drink coffee. I was getting more serious about actually putting some words to screen when Brian told me he was going to do the exact thing I had been meaning to do. Well, I couldn't let that happen. Instead of having him killed, though, I decided to just go ahead and start my own blog.

It took a while for me to get a name I liked. I was going to do Life Review, but that's been taken (and dormant) for years now. Anyway, I feel like A Critical Life sounds more legitimate and less Web 2.0ish - but not in the (non)sense of terms such as Meebo, Orkut or YouMeo. That's all a round about way of saying, hey, go check out Brian's blog, and leave him the comments you don't leave me.

So a few days ago I watched Hereafter.

I had heard pretty decent things about this movie. I'll admit, Matt Damon is the only actor in the film I had heard of. I'm not a big Damon fan, but he doesn't ruin an experience for me. The real breadwinner here, though, is Clint Eastwood directing the film. Not only that, but Peter Morgan (The Queen, The Last King of Scotland, Frost/Nixon) wrote the screenplay. There is certainly a pedigree here, so I hoped it would all click.

Friday, March 4, 2011


I watched Cyrus the other day. Claire picked it up from a RedBox, and I'll say it was worth the dollar.

Cyrus is the first movie penned and directed by Jay Duplass that you might have ever heard of. It helps that it has actors that, you know, have starred in movies with national releases. Cyrus is billed as a romantic comedy of sorts. You'll see names like John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill and think comedy. You'll see a name like Marisa Tomei and think drama. You'll see Catherine Keener and figure she can bridge that gap. The plot goes something like Keener convinces her ex (Reilly) to go to a party. Reilly meets his dream girl (Tomei) but soon realizes Tomei has a twenty-one year old son (Hill) that she is total BFFs with.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscar retrospective

Okay, I promise this is my last Oscars post. Let's see what happened.

Visual Effects
My pick: Inception
The Academy's pick: Inception

My pick: 127 Hours
The Academy's pick: The Social Network

My pick: The King's Speech
The Academy's pick: Inception

Screenplay based on material previously published or produced
My pick: 127 Hours
The Academy's pick: The Social Network

Screenplay written directly for the screen
My pick: Inception
The Academy's pick: The King's Speech

My pick: Black Swan
The Academy's pick: The King's Speech

Supporting Actress
My pick: Jacki Weaver
The Academy's pick: Melissa Leo

Supporting Actor
My pick: Christian Bale
The Academy's pick: Christian Bale

Lead Actress
My pick: Michelle Williams
The Academy's pick: Natalie Portman

Lead Actor
My pick: James Franco
The Academy's pick: Colin Firth

Best Picture
My pick: The King's Speech
The Academy's pick: The King's Speech

Well, the Academy and I agreed on three out of elven picks. I don't care that they didn't agree because it's my opinion so therefore I'm right. Anyway, there's always the political aspect of any vote, and that makes me sad. I won't go over what we agreed on, but I'll take a quick look at where we differed.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Best Picture

  • Toy Story 3
  • Inception
  • Black Swan
  • The Kids Are Alright
  • The Social Network
  • The King's Speech
  • The Fighter
  • 127 hours
  • Winter's Bone
  • True Grit
Okay, these movies are roughly in order, but I'm sure it's not quite accurate. In any case I'm going to do a bottom five and a top five because I happen to like the brevity of having five options in a category. I like that best picture used to be five instead of ten. Why? Because there aren't ten movies here that deserve to be nominated.

Friday, February 25, 2011


There are a number of categories I'm going to breeze over here. I am going to have to maintain brevity if I ever hope to finish, and if I hope you'll actually read this post. So, then, let's get to it. I'm not going to order these by when I viewed them, and I will italicize anything I haven't seen.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thoughts on gender roles

There's something I've been realizing more of late, and it's an answer to a question I've had for many years. Why do I tend to like women's roles so much less than mens? The answer, I think, is pretty well exemplified by the nominees this year.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Best Actress

  • Annette Benning - The Kids Are Alright
  • Natalie Portman - Black Swan
  • Jennifer Lawrence - Winter's Bone
  • Nicole Kidman - Rabbit Hole
  • Michelle Williams - Blue Valentine
I'm not looking forward to this post. I don't feel like there was a slam dunk like there was in supporting actress or a number of very strong roles that excited me like lead actor. I was by and large pretty disappointed, so don't be surprised if I don't sound really excited when I talk about any of the performances here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Best Actor

  • Jesse Eisenberg - The Social Network
  • Colin Firth - The King's Speech
  • James Franco - 127 Hours
  • Javier Bardem - Biutiful
  • Jeff Bridges - True Grit
This is the best field I have to work with this year, although I had great concerns when I started out. I'll admit, I'm not a big Jeff Bridges fan, nor am I of James Franco. I didn't recall Javier Bardem's name despite his win with No Country for Old Men and the fantastic The Sea Inside, and I had missed the news that Biutiful is an Iñárritu led film. Firth has been in a number of films I've been largely uninterested in. It was enjoyable to come in without a bias towards anyone.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Best Supporting Actress

I took you all for a little ride before we got to the good stuff last post so let's get right to the nominees.
  • Jacki Weaver - Animal Kingdom
  • Helena Bonham Carter - The King's Speech
  • Amy Adams - The Fighter
  • Melissa Leo - The Fighter
  • Hailee Steinfeld - True Grit
They're again listed in the order I saw them in. I think I'm going to maintain that as best as I can. This category was a no-doubter for me, and I'll go ahead and spoil it for you. Jacki Weaver ran away with it before I even saw another performance. The funny thing is, this is one of the few performances you probably haven't seen. I strongly encourage you to see Animal Kingdom for her performance alone. I'll get back to Jacki, but first let's run down the other actresses.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Best Supporting Actor

Today, I'm going to tackle the Oscar nominees for best supporting actor. This is the first category I completed out of the ones I tasked myself to finish. I had originally meant to publish last night, but I watched True Grit instead, and finished three other categories in one fell swoop (picture, actor and supporting actress), so hopefully I can get some work in on those posts early to make sure I keep on schedule.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

So let's kick this blog off.

I'm honestly not entirely sure what to make of it yet. My plan is to pretty much review a myriad of things in my life: movies, books, food and whatever else catches my fancy.

We'll start with movies. More specifically, I'm going to run down a number of the Oscar categories to give a flavor of how I feel about things that a lot of you also have feelings about. I'm planning an entry each for best actress, actor, supporting actor, supporting actress and picture. I'm thinking I'll finish with best picture and throw in a bonus post before encompassing things which I have a little sense for such as best director, screenplay, cinemetography and whatever else I find out I've seen most or all of the nominees. That gives us six posts. The Oscars air on the 27th. That gives me, including today but not the 27th, eight days to get all these articles done. Oh, and I still have three movies to watch for the categories I'm sure to write on. You can pretty much count on a post a day, so bookmark me, add me to your RSS feed or just make me your homepage. Please give me any thoughts you have throughout in the comments. I'd love to not only throw my ideas out to you, but also to learn from the readership I don't yet have.