Month: February 2014

Best Picture 2014 Nominee – Nebraska

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If I had to choose one word out if the English language to describe the film ‘Nebraska‘, it’s this: straightforward. Plain, simple, and completely without flash and pizzazz. But that’s exactly what the film is…minus the part about the lack of pizzazz. There’s plenty of it, but not in a showy look-at-me-now sort of way. I didn’t know what to expect from ‘Nebraska‘, but of the nine Best Picture nominees this year, this one surprised me tune most and I’m so glad it did.

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Best Picture 2014 Nominee – Dallas Buyers Club

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I never thought I’d see the day when Matthew McConaughey starred in a movie where he didn’t resemble a beach bum, surfer dude, or golden boy of California nature. And when I say ‘golden boy’, there wasn’t a performance where he leaves me drooling to see his bare chest again and again. He doesn’t even have flowing, tossable hair.

But after seeing ‘Dallas Buyers Club’, I’m whistling a different tune when it comes to his acting. When McConaughey said for the last couple of years, he claimed he was the only guy in his corner believing in the actor he knew to be inside himself. I certainly wasn’t a supporter. After his work here, he’s certainly not a beach bum anymore. Combine his award-acclaim worthy performance with Jared Leto’s return to the silver screen after a six-year hiatus, and you’ve actually got Academy Award gold. They have a great reason to celebrate.

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Best Picture 2014 Nominee – Gravity

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Are you ready to experience a full 30-minutes of something that can only be described as an anxiety attack? Buckle up when you take your seat to watch ‘Gravity’. Not only is it visually stunning, but when hell breaks loose onscreen, you’re going to be holding on to whatever is around you, and if anything, you’ll feel a renewed appreciation for one of Earth’s most under-appreciated functions: gravity.

Seeing this film in 2-D stressed me out enough. I can’t imagine what 3-D was like. Perhaps they handed out barf bags along with a movie patron’s popcorn and soda? (Oh you know, JUST IN CASE!) Now, I should probably let you know, when I say this movie stressed me out, I mean it in a good way. The artistic approach mixed with dazzling special effects topped off with two very impressive acting performances from Sandra Bullock and George Clooney (Bullocks’ performance is even more impressive when you read about how they filmed and the attention to detail she and director Alfonso Cuarón went to make her being in space that much more believable)…..You’re going to love this suspenseful action space adventure as I do. When it comes out on DVD later this month, you better believe you’ll have it in your Target shopping cart.

gravity

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Best Picture 2014 Nominee – 12 Years A Slave

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I can’t lie about how terrible I felt walking out of the theater after seeing ‘12 Years a Slave‘. My mind was reeling, actually. How did America turn a blind eye to slavery for so long? Director Steve McQueen really puts it to the audience. While I say I walked out of the theater feeling terrible, I’m also highly thankful for the brutal honesty he puts on the screen. Unfortunately, slavery is a huge piece of American history and we cannot simply turn a blind eye to it. It happened, and we must bear that truth. ’12 Years a Slave‘ is the most honest storytelling I’ve ever seen, especially when it comes to the topic of slavery. While I enjoyed ‘The Butler‘ directed by Lee Daniels, it was more a showcase of the Civil Rights Movement than slavery, but it still carried the same sucker-punch feeling at certain times.

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Best Picture 2014 Nominee – Her

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It’s only fitting that I write my review of the most romantic Best Picture 2014 nominated film on Valentine’s Day. Naturally.

Long story short without giving away too much of the plot, a man falls in love with his OS (Operating System) and we follow him in his journey of love and every emotion that comes with falling in love (be it with a person or with a non-living “being”). Theodore, played by Joaquin Phoenix, is a writer for a website that makes letters for just about anyone, attempts to find himself a new path as he deals with a divorce to someone he’s been in love with since childhood. When he sees an advertisement for the new OS system that knows you better than any system ever before, he finds friendship and so much more with Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson.

HER

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Best Picture Nominee 2014 – Captain Philips

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When I first heard about an American freighter being taken over by pirates through the major news networks a few years ago, I really didn’t give it much thought, except for, “Pirates really do still exist, huh?” Aside from last year’s Halloween costume and the occasional Jack Sparrow binge, pirates aren’t something I worry about on a daily basis. As the film Captain Philips reveals, piracy is still very much a thing in this modern-day and age of technology. That alone intrigued me to watch. Add in Tom Hanks, an absolute nobody in Hollywood being compared legitimately to Hanks’ acting abilities, and its based on a true story…I’m all in.

You should be too.

captain philips

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Best Picture Nominee 2014 – The Wolf of Wall Street

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Sex. Drugs. Stockbroking. There…I’ve summed up The Wolf of Wall Street in three very exact words. But in case you’re dying for more, read on.

wolf

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