Monday, February 13, 2012

Oscar nominated films? Wuh?

Not a lot of posts since the film festival, huh? December and January were pretty busy months and the blog got somewhat left behind. It's not like I haven't seen many films recently but... truth be told, they've mostly been pretty good films. Which is unusual.

Chopping Mall was never meant to be exclusively about bad films, b-movies and grindhouse classics but it certainly wasn't meant to be focused on all the Oscar hopefuls either. As it is, I've seen several of the nominees over the last few months, as well as a handful of other classy films that hardly belong here. I'll gloss over them quickly and then it'll be time to resume normal service.

Scorsese's Hugo was a treat. There wasn't a huge lot of depth to it really - it's basically just a sweet story about acceptance and family that draws on cinema history - but it did everything it set out to do with style.  An absolutely stellar cast meant that this was about revisiting cinema history in more ways than one - Christopher Lee as a librarian was a welcome figure - and, as you'd expect, it looked beautiful.

My Week With Marilyn had an equally stellar cast, was equally obsessed with cinema history and was even more slight. There was nothing wrong with it, exactly, but it wasn't exactly a memorable experience. The film is little more than what the title describes - a fairly pleasant rich guy spends a fairly pleasant week with Marilyn Monroe who, it turns out, is fairly pleasant. The best thing I can really say for it was that it prompted a watch of Some Like It Hot, with the real Marilyn Monroe boozing her way through prohibition era comedy.

The Artist continued the journey through the current trend of cinema about cinema. Why the current vogue for films about film history? It's a neatly self-contained self-obsession and there's plenty of stories to be (re)told but... how much is too much? I hardly need to say anything about The Artist - it's already had more than enough written about it - but I may as well briefly add my voice to all the others. It's charming. It's fun. It's heart-warming. And pleasant. And nice. And lovely. Oh, it doesn't put a foot wrong and there's not a word you can say against it but... some of the praise has probably been overstated.

My final big Oscar film was A Separation, which is a beautifully told but fairly slow tale of divorce, family-ties, pride and lies from Iran. It's not cheerful stuff but as both a view of Iranian life and a sensitively told story of very human sadness it's certainly worth a watch.

I think that's about the lot. Phew. Done with all these classy new films. Back to the cult trash, James Bond and vampire flick. Those were separate, of course. As far as I'm aware no-one has yet made a cult trash James Bond and vampire flick. I'll be first in line when they do...

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