Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Grand Illusion

There are approximately 800 things that I could, or rather, should be doing right now besides sitting back and watching a movie...but I can't seem to shake this grand illusion that, if I just slough off more and more of my school work to focus on the Best Picture challenge, I will eventually accomplish this daunting feat and somehow achieve a level of movie expertise to which few are privy. Unlikely, but I'm still clinging to the belief that I'm going to grow up to be the next Peter Travers.

So as long as we're playing pretend-movie-connoisseur, I think I'm going to discuss my feelings towards some of this year's projected big hits...but only a few. Notice that I have not babbled on about how pumped I am for Scorsese's pricey 3D flick or Spielburg's one-two punch at Oscar gold this year...I'm sticking with the four that have my wheels turning the most.
I've read only good things about upcoming "Beautiful Boy", which hit the film festival circuit in August of 2010 but has yet to enjoy a wide release. The story follows a mother and father- played by Michael Sheen and Maria Bello- as they struggle to cope with the news that their son shot up his college before taking his own life. The hype surrounding it has been hard to ignore and I'm getting all fired up for a release date to be announced.
It could find some competition in "We Need to Talk About Kevin", another upcoming movie that follows a strikingly similar plot line. However, the names atop this one are just a little bit grabbier (John C. Reilly and Tilda Swinton respectively can always draw a crowd). Could we be seeing Kevin take the lead sometime soon? This is a battle I'll be following all the way to the ticket booth...
And while there are other movies coming down the pipe soon that I've got my eyes on, no other work-in-progress gets me giddy with excitement like "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close", which will star Sandra Bullock and my all-time favorite, Tom Hanks. I absolutely loved the book and I can't wait to see what Stephen Daldry does with the film. We have a bit of a wait for this one, though, as it's currently still shooting.
Also: "The Tree of Life". An enigma, to me, because it topped many prediction lists for last year's Oscars and yet somehow has managed to elude release all this time. The date has finally been set (May 27- mark your calendars!), and it will surely open to a crowd given the vibrant anticipation attached to the picture. I've seen the trailer, and I have to admit it looks fantastic. My money's on Brad Pitt to go for the Oscar from his performance here (I hear it's super good...get excited!).

Oh, I almost forgot. The reason I actually started this post at all, my current movie. I conquered Crash (2005) tonight....and it was unbelievable. Seriously, why had I not seen this before?! I wasn't expecting such an affecting, sweeping drama- and what a cast. There were so many fantastic performances that I can't even list them all, or even pick a favorite. Everyone popped. And it was interesting to compare it to the last two movies I saw, as both of those also dealt with forms of racism (Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1966) and The Defiant Ones (1958) in case you need a refresher). This one brings our toughest racial quarries into today's world and forces us to look at an ugly side of society that we like to pretend does not exist. Peter Haggis wove many contrasting strips of story into one warm quilt of a film with effortless perfection- the type of smart, intricate delivery that we just don't get to see too often. Crash is brilliant in every way...and probably one of my favorite films in the challenge so far. If you haven't seen it yet, go get it. Right now.

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