Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Major problems at the A Critical Life offices as my computer is down for the count and my tablet (extra fritzy now that I've upgraded to Lollipop) is incredibly painful to use for long form without the keyboard I seem to have lost. So, here I am on my limited library time trying to squeeze in some quick words. On the "bright" side, there are no less than seven films I haven't been able to get my grubby hands on, so that will save me a lot of time. I'm going to keep this mostly short because I have fifteen minutes to do two hours of work, and because these are all up for best picture where I'll talk about them more. Bear with me, I don't have time to proofread.

  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Alejandro G. Iñárritu
  • Boyhood Richard Linklater
  • Foxcatcher Bennett Miller
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel Wes Anderson
  • The Imitation Game Morten Tyldum

Look beautiful man who makes beautiful films. This man whom I have adored since his short Powder Keg for BMW Films as part of the greatest cinematic ad campaign ever. Birdman is a far-reaching film, and Iñárritu very strongly accomplishes his vision. The long takes he brought on cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki for are without a doubt brilliantly conceived and achieved.

Look at this guy. He probably reacts to people praising his twelve-year filming process with, "Eh, it's okay I guess." No. It's brilliant. You've heard it already, I know, but it's true. The only time I ever did anything for twelve years was when I grew up, and, trust me, Linklater was far more successful in the end of his project than I was in mine.

What about this other white dude? He looks kind of like he could be Jesse Eisenberg's role model, which is fitting because he made one of the most boring and overrated films of the year. Spoiler alert: I won't be picking it for best picture. How do you take a movie about the richest of rich white dudes taking advantage of and murdering an Olympic wrestler? Have Bennett Miller direct it.

What's that? You want another rich white guy? Alright! How cool does Wes Anderson think he is? So cool that he thought Moonrise Kingdom could be passed off as art instead of some creepy, voyeuristic look at young people getting naked that made me honestly wonder if the F.B.I. would come knocking. I still haven't forgiven him. The Grand Budapest Hotel was a flawless execution of his vision, though, and that should be applauded.

Another dorky-looking white dude who thinks he's cooler than he is coming right up! Morten Tyldum managed to take a story about the father of artificial intelligence who broke the Nazi code and then got castrated by England, and, well, castrate the film. There was no film this year that was more "Hey, look at me, I should get nominated for an Oscar" than this. By that, of course, I mean that Tyldum took a great concept and castrated it by refusing to take any real risks.

Iñárritu, Linklater, and Anderson all executed their visions fantastically. I so wish I could give this one to one of my favorite storytellers, but Iñárritu made a very good film with some real faults. If only he got more out of his actors. Anderson, while really distilling himself into his film as purely and decadently as possible would probably win in any other year. But, seriously, Linklater. Boyhood. That's a game-changer.

Will win: Boyhood
Should win: Boyhood

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