Thursday, February 19, 2015

Best Picture 2015 Reviews

This weekend is the Academy Award so I had to hurry and watch every movie nominated for Best Picture to give a brief review of each.
These were the movies:

American Sniper
The Imitation Game
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Theory of Everything

I don't know what the rules are for nominations are but there can be between 5 and 10 nominees. This year there are 8 and I watched them all as the Internet quality finally recovered here in Latin America. I could buy all these on bootleg DVDs on the street, costing maybe $1 each, but that seems old fashioned  and all the dialogue would be in Spanish. So I watched them all on various streaming services although efforts are being made to shut down these sites because, well, it's blatant copyright infringement. But that's a topic for another day. Right? People are nuts! Christians believe a virgin mother gave birth to the son of the creator of the universe. This man was crucified and then came back to life, not as a zombie, but as a superhero with magic powers of levitation. A woman reports a rape and the same people turn into the world's biggest skeptics and act like she's reporting a UFO abduction. Moses, who lived 120 years, parted the 1700ft deep Red Sea, but 7 billion people driving cars can not affect the climate.  Grown adults are saying, "We should be able to insult all religions equally." and religious zealots promise to kill anyone who insults their religion...and this is somehow confusing for people. There is no predicting human behavior but there are many ways to dramatize it with film.

Film is an approximation of human experience and mostly films fall far short of authenticity. Their reach exceeds their grasp, market research both helps a film find focus and also drains any kind of originality from it. Traditional film theory and traditional story arcs rule cinema in 2015. Veterans like Clint Eastwood and Rookies like Ava DuVernay are almost indistinguishable from one another because all films are boiled down to a common totality. I can hear sweating producers asking, "Where's the Oscar moment?" and the editors scurrying to create one. This is at once required to maintain world order but it also has reduced cinema to an approximation of an approximation, which makes me an approximate pundit of an approximation of an approximation.

These 8 film reviews follow. Spoilers will only be omitted by accident:

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.