I did it! I was able to see all the Best Picture nominees and there are still three weeks left until the big night. I've been seeing movies like a mad woman. Luckily I was able to watch all but Boyhood in the theater. I prefer to see them that way because I get easily distracted at home and know that I don't fully appreciate movies from my couch. By the way, I'm going to be on vacation on the night of the Academy Awards and probably won't be tuning in. Boo. Carrie is my travel partner this time around and she's not that into movies. Maybe I can convince her to order in, get some snacks, and have our own little Oscar party in the hotel room. Anyway, here are my reviews!
The Imitation Game I loved it. I don't know anyone who saw it that didn't love it. It was inspiring, emotional, and educational all at the same time. And though it was a drama, there was a fair amount of humor. Benedict Cumberbatch played Alan Turning so perfectly it made me wonder if it was even a stretch for him. I'm not a big fan of Keira Knightly, but she won me over with her performance. It was just a beautiful, heartbreaking movie.
Boyhood I wasn't able to see this one in the theater and I know that takes away from my movie watching experience, so I really tried to get in the zone when I watched it at home. Not a lot happened, but not a lot needed to happen. It was a raw, real look at an American family and a totally unique coming-of-age story. Except for Lorelei Linklater (Richard really took a gamble on his own daughter, didn't he?) the cast was great. I loved how music, books, politics, and other aspects of pop culture guided the movie along the way.
American Sniper It has been pointed out over and over that the book and the movie don't show the same Chris Kyle, and that's ok with me. Almost all biopics leave out facts, stories, and character traits. I thought it watchable and engrossing, and Bradley Cooper was outstanding, but it didn't affect me half as much as recent war movies like The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, or even Black Hawk Down. The scenes at home were harder for me to watch than the ones in Iraq. I wish more movies would draw attention to PTSD and the lives of our servicemembers and vets. Of course Chris Kyle is a hero, no one should question that (that's what they're like whether you agree with it or not), but as far as movie making goes, I don't think this one was on par with the rest of the nominees.
Birdman I had to think long and hard about this movie after I saw it. It was weird. I usually like weird, so I was surprised that reviewers were going crazy for it when I felt like I just didn't get it. I completely appreciate the process. Long takes seem ridiculously hard, but turned out to be so stunning (especially the scene in Times Square). The cast had tons of dialogue, which they all delivered expertly. (Except for Zach Galifianakis. He flubbed so many times, it irritated me.) It was sad and funny and so different than anything I'd ever seen. Technically speaking, it was an amazing accomplishment. I still don't know how I feel about it though...
Selma So good, so powerful, so tragic, and so embarrassing, yet we're still dealing with some of this crap in 2015. Keep in mind, some facts for this biopic were also changed or left out, but don't let that stop you from watching. And don't think I mean "a boring story from a long time ago" either. This movie keeps you totally engaged and shows just how horrific the times were without gratuitous violence. The entire cast gave incredible performances. I'm still mad about the David Oyelowo Actor and Ava DuVernay Directing snubs.
Whiplash Easily my favorite movie of them all! And yes, it's a movie about college jazz band. I still can't get over how intense it was! Like, I had a stomachache and high blood pressure while watching it and my body hurt afterward from the anxiety. The movie was a roller coaster and it's unpredictability really surprised me. Or maybe I'm just dumb, because I didn't see a lot of things coming. I've always felt like Miles Teller was an actor to watch and this performance sealed that for me. He was amazing. But nothing beats J.K. Simmons. He deserves all the nominations and all the awards in all the land! He was scary good. Who knew drumming was so extreme?
The Grand Budapest Hotel I love everything Wes Anderson does. Everything. But this wasn't my favorite movie of his. The beginning was slow and it was a bit more depressing than most of his films, but there were many funny moments. It was pretty to look at, the cameos were perfect, and the acting (from characters big and small) was top-notch. Anderson's style is so quirky and awesome and only getting better with each film he makes. I'm so glad he's finally getting the recognition he deserves.
The Theory of Everything This biopic was inspiring and heartbreaking, like many other movies this year, but Eddie Redmayne just made the whole thing for me. His acting and physical transformation was insane. I was also surprised by Felicity Jones. I'd only ever seen her before in Like Crazy, which she was fine in, but this was on another level. Unfortunately, it's a pretty basic movie. Don't get me wrong, I loved it and feel like everyone should see it, but also that it only skimmed the surface of how hard their lives were. Still very beautiful and moving.
What do you think about the Best Picture nominees?
Which ones do you want to see? Which one is your favorite so far?
I love movies!