I'm starting with my Oscar season only now, catching as many films as I can. I miss the pirated DVDs of Makati Cinema Square and Quiapo. Last year, by the time the Oscars was on I had already watched every nominated movie courtesy of those cheap DVDs.
There's actually scores of them in the sidewalks of BKK, but I don't have a TV with me, much less a DVD player. So every chance I get, I make the long bus ride to Siam Square where the "art films" are screened. Here's my take on some of the Oscar winners and nominees this year.
I watched No Country for Old Men a couple of days before the Oscars (it eventually won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay).
At that time I was already aware that it was considered as the front-runner for the major awards, including Best Picture, so I was looking forward to find out what the fuss is all about.
But hell, I could not even understand the movie because the accent was just too twisted, they sounded like they're gargling the whole time. I happen to follow the plot, but I missed big time the supposedly profound introspection of the characters, which carry a lot of the message of the film.
I do give merit the film's effectiveness in shrouding a sense of dread all over the film, at times I felt I was watching a horror film. Still, the accent just did not work for me, in the end, I was kinda disappointed -- more at my self than with the movie.
On the other hand, There Will Be Blood (winning Best Cinematography and Best Actor) simply took my breath away. It was enthralling in all aspects: the music, the acting, the cinematography, the editing. Major genius!
I'm such a big fan of PT Anderson, who also came out with Magnolia, one of my top-three fave films.
Anyhoot, between No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood, the latter has a stronger emotional impact on me. I was not particularly impressed with the performance of Daniel Day Lewis though. It's the kind of acting in which you can see that he's really acting rather than being the character.
Overall however, the movie is an experience that haunted me for days after I watched it.
Last Monday, I caught The Kite Runner (nominated for Best Original Score), which I've been eagerly waiting for since I finished reading the book about a couple of years ago.
The novel, to start with, is not a work of exceptional quality. If anything, it was pure emotional manipulation page after page after page (my sister was bawling the whole time she was reading it).
I did not have much expectations from the movie either. True enough, the film did not hit the spot. I did not feel invested in the struggles of the characters, despite such heart-wrenching situations they faced. It is simply ineffective.
And last night, I finally saw Once, the film that won the Best Original Song for Falling Slowly.
Again, the Irish accent was dreadful. I have a big problem with accents, ok?! Half of the time I did not have any idea what was was coming out of the mouths of those characters. The Thais had the benefit of subtitles and somehow I feel left out when they laughed at certain dialogs.
I enjoyed listening to the raw, powerful songs though. The film truly excelled in using music to string together the lives of the main characters, giving the viewer a some memorable songs that you want to Google the next day.
Acting-wise, the two main lead characters were very effective in conveying their conflicts and aspirations, I only have admiration for them.
This weekend, I'd try to catch Persepolis in faraway RCA House and hopefully Micheal Clayton in Esplanade. But really, I'm dying to watch Juno and La Vie En Rose (did I spell that correctly?).