Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Unreasonable Movie Project (Vol. 17): Recapping The Slog, Previewing The Oscars

So I was planning on giving you a wonderfully insightful and entertaining recap of Les Misérables and Zero Dark Thirty, with maybe some Arbitrage and Bernie thrown in before I previewed the 85th Academy Awards Ceremony, but as Robert Burns once wrote, "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley." Can't you imagine fellow Scot Ewan McGregor delivering that line in an unintelligible brogue?

Here's what I am going to do: I will recap the last of the movies I did see, and give you the ratings of all 27 movies I saw over the course of The Unreasonable Movie Project. 27 movies. 48 days. Very unreasonable. It lived up to its billing.

Les Misérables: There were lots of people in the theater, so I sat on the side to give myself some escapability (I don't enjoy musical theater much). Then I was blocked from the aisle by a woman and her adult daughter, who proceeded to heave-cry through half the movie. I was trapped, and endured every minute. Anyone who enjoys musical theater will love it.

On screen, there's Anne Hathaway, who will win the Oscar for singing a single gut-wrenching song (she really really really wants to win an Oscar), Russell Crowe, dressed in his old Master and Commander outfit, not singing very well, and Hugh Jackman, looking very old and beaten up. Jackman can sing, but doesn't stand a chance against DDL or Joaquin Phoenix in the Best Actor category on Oscar night.

Rating: $6.50

Arbitrage: I rented Arbitrage to see if Richard Gere deserved his Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor, and came away relatively unimpressed. The movie itself is a capable thriller, with Gere as a very wealthy Wall Street investor who has a number of converging, self-made problems. Gere's character is more complex and sympathetic than the ruthless Gordon Gecko, but not that much more sympathetic. Brit Marling plays Gere's whiz-kid daughter, both talented and ethical, but there aren't many other likable characters.

Rating: $6.00

Zero Dark Thirty: This should be a real contender for Best Picture, but evidently isn't. The depictions of torture are a little too much for the Academy voters in Hollywood, so I hear. Of all the 2 hour and 40 minute movies up for Best Picture, and there are many, this was the only one that felt shorter than it was. I preferred this movie to Argo in the "Important Moments in CIA History" category precisely because it isn't as neat and clean as Argo, and Jessica Chastain has a real shot at Best Actress.

Rating: $8.50

Perks of Being a Wallflower: Not sure how this ended up being my last movie. It starts off as a cliché high-school coming-of-age movie, and gets funnier, more thoughtful, and more unpredictable. I was pleasantly surprised. It's the drugs and dorks of Dazed and Confused, mixed with the music obsession of High Fidelity, tied together with the sincerity of The Breakfast Club.

It's only problem is that all these high school kids seem like college students. Lead actor Logan Lerman, 21, plays a 15-year-old, and 23-year-old Emma Watson plays an 18-year-old. My wife thinks Lerman is actually the son of John Malkovich, who produced the movie. What would be the motivation for such an unusual arrangement? Not that Malkovich isn't weird enough to to do it, but my wife has no proof, and yet is absolutely convinced. "There are crazy similarities," she says.

Rating: $7.50

The Unreasonable Movie Project Final Movie Ratings:

Flight - $7.50
Cloud Atlas - $6.00
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - $6.50
Argo - $8.00
Brave - $7.00
Silver Linings Playbook - $8.50
Lincoln - $9.50
Hitchcock  - $7.50
Beasts Of The Southern Wild - $7.00
Skyfall - $8.00
The Sessions - $8.50
Rust And Bone - never gave it a rating
Frankenweenie - $8.00
The Hobbit - $7.50
The Master - $7.00
Moonrise Kingdom - $8.00
The Impossible - $8.00
Life of Pi - $8.00
Salmon Fishing In The Yemen - $5.50
Seven Psychopaths - $7.00
Looper - $8.00
Django Unchained - $9.00
Amour - $8.50
Les Misérables - $6.50
Arbitrage - $6.00
Zero Dark Thirty - $8.50
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower - $7.50

Don't forget the Oscars are Sunday, February 24, on ABC, 6 p.m. central time. Seth MacFarlane is hosting (yeah, the Family Guy guy) and the odds of a train-wreck are very high. I'll be watching, and will recap it for everyone on Monday.

It's almost over folks, hang with me...

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