Follow along on this Oscar Nomination list.
As you can see from this Big Hollywood article from Lawrence Meyers, a majority of these nominees are not worthy.
It’s clear that there is only one movie that you could’ve voted for in this category with a clear conscience: The Kids Are Alright.
Remove from this little family drama the gratuitous girl-on-girl sex, the guy-on-girl sex, and the ridiculously unnecessary and explicit images from a guy-on-guy gay porn film that no amount of hypnotism or bleach could ever erase from my mind, and what you have here is essentially a Lifetime Movie Channel melodrama with above average performances [...]
Because she’s eighteen, Joni is able to get the information on their donor daddy, Paul (Mark Ruffalo), the shaggy, hippy dippy owner of a organic food restaurant who’s something of a lothario (pretty much the same performance he gave in the vastly superior “You Can Count on Me“). With his easygoing manner, Paul is a nice relief from the uptight Nic and the neurotic Jules, so the kids understandably take a shine to him and turn a blind eye to his self-centeredness. Though obviously jealous, Nic and Jules do their best to encourage the burgeoning relationship and to make Paul a part of their family. This ends up taking an ugly turn when a sexually frustrated Jules, who’s tired of feeling inferior to the much more successful and centered Nic, engages in heated sexual affair with Paul.
The dreaded Liberal Tell ruins what could’ve been the most suspenseful and interesting part of this story. But because of the rampant political correctness that stifles creativity in Hollywood, because we know the lockstep way this industry thinks, there’s never any doubt that Jules and Paul will break up. They must. A gay person finding real happiness in a straight relationship is not an idea the Thought Police will even allow us to consider these days. So with the outcome inevitable, you’re left to sit through all the soap opera machinations that fill up the time before you arrive at the only conclusion the one-note politics of present-day Hollywood will allow.
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:
Javier Bardem for Biutiful should have been your automatic choice. Though I wouldn’t blame you for wanting to congratulate Colin Firth.
You probably wanted to praise Colin Firth up and down for appearing in far-leftist director Michael Winterbottom’s upcoming anti-Zionist “The Promised Land”.
Winterbottom was responsible for the lie-umentary “Road to Guantanamo” and “9 Songs” which consists of nothing but near-porn scenes and rock concert performances.
here’s a comment from imdb.com about The Promised Land:
Ok, not to get my hopes high or anything, but is this going to be pro-Palestinian or at least anti-Zionist?
Well, at the very least they’re saying it is set in PALESTINE, the Promised Land indeed, unlike what has it in the Zionist fake narrative that “Palestine and the Palestinians had never existed”. In addition, from the brief summary, it is a story about combatting the Jewish terrorism in the shape of the Zionist gangs such as Stern, who’s along with others were responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians when Palestine became “legally” occupied by them. The ethnic cleansing and genocide started in 1948/1949, and has been going on up until this very day.
So, any info?
Long live Palestine (from the river to the sea)!
Javier, though, is your obvious choice.
Yes, you undoubtedly wanted to shame him for appearing in the anti-Castro movie “Before Night Falls.” But there’s enough leftist content to almost balance things out. Plus there’s always his pro-euthanasia “The Sea Inside” to placate you for the time being.
The most important reason for voting for Javier should have been: “Biutiful” needing to be recognized and this is one of Biutiful’s only two nominations.
Reasons that Biutiful is important to the leftist: Its nihilism and because of this:
…Uxbal is a middleman who shuttles daily between a group of African immigrants and a group of illegal Chinese labourers. They work in the sweat shop that makes the fake designer purses the Africans sell. He then runs between these two groups and the bent cops with bribes to keep them from noticing. And when he can pick up a little money as a medium, ‘bringing comfort’ to their grieving families, he dashes to the odd wake or funeral home. Guillermo Arriaga, and his co-writers Armando Bo and Nicolas Giacobone are somewhat disingenuous in willing us to like Uxbal. They position him as a martyr or victim, when in fact, he’s a man who overlooks morality, legality and honesty to make a living out of human misery.
Uxbal, in contrast to the factory bosses at least, is supposed to care about all the immigrants, but his effort to help improve the Chinese workers’ living conditions turns into a disaster when he picks the low cost alternative. He is shown befriending Senegalese seller Ekweme (Cheikh Ndiaye), but he is also exploiting him. If Ekweme doesn’t see it that way, his wife, Ige (Diaryatou Daff), does, and in arguably the film’s darkest moment, she enacts her disproportionate revenge.
Iñárritu seems to believe that behind every evil doer in the world is an explanation consisting of oppression and suffering. The inequality in the world creates divisions and strife that make morality a luxury few can afford. So after showing us Uxbal at work, he shows us Uxbal at home and, thanks to Bardem’s uncanny talent, Uxbal transforms before our eyes into a pillar of strength and an object of sympathy…
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
There’s only one real choice: Mark Ruffalo. Duh.
Some good reasons, aside from the fact that he’s been nominated for The Kid’s Are All Right:
1. youtube: “Actor Mark Ruffalo reads union leader Eugene Debs‘ famous “Canton, Ohio” speech. Part of a reading of Voices of a People’s History of the United States (Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove) at All Saints Church in Pasadena, CA on Feb 1, 2007.”
2. youtube: “Actor Mark Ruffalo speaks out against fracking“
3. youtube: “Mark & Sunrise Ruffalo for HRC’s New Yorkers for Marriage Equality”
4. youtube: “A speech by Mark Ruffalo urging President Barack Obama to release torture related photographs and to prosecute war criminals and ex-top officials of the Bush administration.
This presentation was made as part of a press conference held by “The World Cant Wait“, a human rights and social justice organization, at the City of West Hollywood City Hall. Presentations were made by John Duran, West Hollywood Councilmember, Michael Rapkin, attorney, John Heard, actor, Debra Sweet, national director of the World Cant Wait, Paul Haggis, Academy Award winning film director and Mark Ruffalo, actor.”
5. Multiple appearances on Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now!” radio show
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:
Hmmm… This one’s very tough. You should’ve voted for anyone except maybe for Jennifer Lawrence.
1. Annette Bening since she was nominated for “The Kids Are All Right” and she’s a reliable Leftist.
2. Natalie Portman for being a very visible Obama/Kerry voter and campaigner.
3. Nicole Kidman to support “Rabbit Hole” which is more cinematic misery plus this:
…But it turns out he does have something to offer her: the “rabbit hole” supposition. Becca has no use for religion—for “God talk” and “God freaks.” Her mother tries to talk about how helpful she found the church in her own grief, but Becca won’t hear it. The only God she can imagine is a cosmic sadist who rewards his worshippers with more suffering. “No wonder you like him,” she snaps at her mother, regretting her words too late. “He sounds just like Dad.”
But then Becca encounters the idea of multiple worlds—the notion in speculative physics of alternate realities or parallel universes. According to some versions of the notion, all possible histories and futures are real; everything that can happen, does happen. According to this supposition, there are countless versions of you out there somewhere, with every possible life that you could have led. The film gives this notion a pop-culture sci-fi twist in the form of a homemade graphic novel depicting an endless maze of “rabbit holes”—a metaphor borrowed from Lewis Carroll by way of The Matrix and Alternate Reality Gaming (ARG)—connecting infinite realities to one another.
“It’s basic science,” someone ventures. “If space is infinite, then everything is possible … There are tons of you’s, and tons of me’s.”
“So … this is just the sad version of us,” Becca reflects. “But there are other versions where everything goes our way.” The notion that somewhere out there she’s having a good time strikes her as a comforting one: a kind of alternate myth in place of the religious sentiment she won’t countenance. A recurring structural element—images from the “Rabbit Hole” graphic novel in progress—give additional emphasis to the many-worlds theme, and by extension to the devaluing of religious hope…
4. Michelle Williams to support Blue Valentine (more misery-porn and anti-marriage content…)
and then there’s this, from a blog called “Upper Middle Brow”: ((SPOILER))
…Blue Valentine isn’t about a great romance that turns to s###. It’s about a relationship that never should have been, which becomes intolerable over time as one character comes to regret the decisions she’s made. It’s about the long-term effects of a mistake. And the aborted abortion is at the very center of the whole thing.
The movie, by skipping ahead, shows the consequences of a single decision. It’s like that story about the time-travellers who step on something prehistoric and return to the present to find their world and their language transformed.
The girl decides to keep her baby (who’s not Ryan Gosling’s, making the final shot a little easier to take) because of a confluence of factors, and that decision leads to a unhappy marriage, an eventual blow-up (shot gorgeously, with glass and reflections and screwed-up eye-lines that perfectly visualize what’s going on emotionally), and an ending that’s so downbeat I wanted to blow my brains out. If I only had a gun handy.
So the movie could be read as a dramatization of what happens if the wrong people have babies at the wrong time. In that light, it’s a political movie, and a profound one.
If the point of movies is to use narrative and the medium’s innate ability to invite identification, then movies’ political role barely needs to be spelled out. Movies dramatize and amplify whatever is going on in society, the economy, the zeitgeist, and shape people’s reaction to same. They’re a way of making sense of the world. The more people see them, the more meaningful they are. If they’re buried at a couple of theaters willing to play NC-17 movies, then they may as well not have been made in the first place. Which is why the ratings system is a political tool, too.
So when Gosling says, ‘I love you,” and Williams responds, “I love you” after a tiny, pregnant pause, you know she either doesn’t mean it or doesn’t know what the words signify, or just doesn’t care at that point. Here, characters you come to love, and identify with, take the path of least resistance and come to regret it later. I’m torn whether the poster’s tagline of the movie as ” A love story” is cynical or a misdirection. Both?
I’ll spell it out. Blue Valentine is a movie about abortion. It shows that, in certain cases, having one is a far, far better thing than not having one, and it does so in an engaging and dramatic fashion that may, in the future, ease the needless guilt of a woman facing that decision.
From that point of view, Blue Valentine is a political movie, and that is what freaked out the right-wing fanatics at the ratings board. They were smart enough to recognize a well-made, brilliantly-acted movie that gradually builds the case for a pro-choice point of view and leaves you devastated that the heroine has made the wrong choice. [...]
So if the lefties in Hollywood want to vote their conscience, they’ll nominate Michelle Williams — then give her the Oscar. When people give years of their lives to a vision, and a story, they deserve to be rewarded, otherwise all the other accolades don’t mean that much.
I want more Oscars to go to movies people see, like Inception and Toy Story 3, but this one is an exception. Blue Valentine deserves to be one of those movies people still reference in 2020.
5. Jennifer Lawrence: Well, I suppose I could see you voting for Jennifer if it’s meant to be a vote for the liberal director of Winter’s Bone:
Studio financiers who have apparently not seen her films, or at least not digested what makes them good, are suddenly keen to throw money at her next project. She wants to make a movie about bomb-sniffing dogs that return from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder, centred on a family coming to terms with the death of their son, but the people who own the rights can already hear patriotic strings swelling in the background.
“They want to see completeness, tied-upness, the dad healing. They said to me: ‘With the money that we’re offering you, you can have 500 people at the Purple Heart ceremony at the start of the film.’ I told them that I wasn’t going to have a Purple Heart ceremony, and they said: ‘Well, how do you show that the loss of his life was meaningful?'” She wonders if becoming a bankable, Academy-endorsed director will make it harder to do what she does best, without studio interference.
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
This one must have also been really hard for the opposite reason. There are almost no real choices for leftists.
There’s Melissa Leo, but I’m really reaching here… doesn’t sound like she’s a very enthusiastic hippie:
Her parents had an indelible influence on her, giving her a liberal, free-form 1960s childhood. Her father was an editor at Grove Press, which famously fought obscenity charges against American editions of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Tropic of Cancer and The Naked Lunch. After it went under, he became a commercial fisherman off Long Island, which is certainly, as they say, changing it up some.
“I often say that the hippy in me is easy to spot, but that it’s not by choice, it’s by birth,” Leo says. “Some of my upbringing was in a commune in Vermont – we’re still members. I just got a notice on the email that some trees need to be taken care of there, so the group will decide what to do about them. It’s a modern-day miracle that it’s still going. Each according to his need or ability. You have to allow it to work in the way it in fact works, keep the idea of it alive, but be realistic, let things happen, respond to circumstances, not force it too much.
and then there’s this about Helena Bonham Carter, I suppose:
Bonham Carter, 39, makes little of her Liberal lineage, but has admitted that her portrayal of a sensitive chimpanzee in Planet of the Apes (2001), where she met the director Burton, was helped by her family heritage.
Previously, she was famed for her roles as an English rose, after her breakthrough role in the Merchant Ivory classic A Room With a View (1986). “My agent said that Ari [my ape character] was from a dying, liberal dynasty,” she said.
“I said: ‘Then that’s the role for me.’ I am from a dying, liberal dynasty myself. My great-grandfather was the last Liberal prime minister of Britain.” Asquith, prime minister from 1908 to 1916 and the leader of the last Liberal government, bought the 18th century Mill House along with neighbouring Wharf Mill, where he lived, in 1912….
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:
“The Illusionist“. French. Next!
Wow, that must have been an impossible choice, eh True-Blue Leftist Hollywood? Not a single Leftist movie in the bunch.
Why you almost must have had to vote by film quality!
Roger Deakins is my favorite cinemtographer, but he never wins the Oscars that he’s nominated for. I don’t know why, he’s a big Social Justice-y Leftist.
As much as I love director Julie Taymor, her movies are reliably leftist. You must have voted for The Tempest.
Tom Hooper directed the John Adams mini-series. He’s out.
The rest? None of them jump out at me as a good choice for you guys.
David O. Russell maybe?
What a batch of Leftist nominees this year! Any would be fine for your voting needs.
1. Exit through the Gift Shop: guerrilla street art including Shephard Fairey!
Street artist, situationist and public-space japester Banksy is famed for his snogging coppers, simpering apes and for debunking Israel’s new West Bank barrier with graffiti. [...]
At the centre of the film is the apparent friendship between Banksy and one of his biggest fans, one Thierry Guetta, an LA-based Frenchman with a lucrative retro clothing business and a passion for making videos. Guetta got fascinated in the LA street art scene, followed the artists around and shot miles of unusable video in the hope of making a documentary. Eventually he seems to have made the acquaintance of Banksy himself, filming his “Guantánamo” stunt in the precincts of Disneyland: propping up an orange-jumpsuited life-sized doll near a ride…
here are some photos of Banksy’s leftist Israel stunt.
2. Gasland: “When Josh Fox is approached by a company wishing to drill for natural gas on his property, he begins a disturbing investigation into the environmental repercussions of the process.”
This documentary details the insidious Natural Gas Corporation’s treatment of the Planet and everyday people in America.
Gasland is a very shocking and important film. I suppose that is why it already has its detractors trying to smear the documentary. Debunking sites, debunking threads and 1 star reviews on IMDb have begun before a wider audience can get a chance to see this film.
The plain and simple truth is that Natural Gas Corporations are helping to destroy the Planet. Those in control of these Global Corporations are so morally corrupted by greed that some Governmental regulation is needed to control these rabid pillagers of the Planet.
Unfortunately our Governments have simply fallen into bed with the Global Corporations.
How it is possible to change the current mindset of greed, privatisation and consumerism into one more caring towards humans, wild animals and the Planet is a challenge but it must happen soon.
See this Documentary!
3. Inside Job: “The financial practices that laid the groundwork for the global economic crisis are traced to their sources in an examination that lays the blame for the collapse at the doorstep of many who are still in power. Predatory lending, credit default swaps, and financial deregulation are subjected to close scrutiny and criticism in a primer on the situation that affected the lives of millions.” Narrated by Matt Damon!!
So, basically what happened here is that these bums – these crooks in suits – these educated idiots – these morally depraved criminals – took everybody’s money and gambled it every which way, knowing that no matter what happened, they’d get rich and everybody else would suffer. And so the economy caved, and they’re still rich, and 30 million people worldwide have lost everything – their homes, their jobs, their place in the community, their vision of the future, their identity.
We know this already. We’re all angry about it: Americans are good at getting angry. But there’s such a thing as smart angry, and such a thing as stupid angry, and after seeing “Inside Job,” audiences will be smart angry. They’ll know specifically how bankers, traders and economists brought on the recession. They’ll know who did it, and where to place the blame. They won’t be barroom cynics or monkeys holding signs, but educated citizens.
“Inside Job” was directed by Charles Ferguson, who made the best and most clear-headed documentary about the Iraq war (“No End in Sight”). But this documentary on the financial crisis is an even more impressive work of journalism. To make it, he had to master a highly technical story before he could tell it to us in clear and concise terms. Indeed, he had to become such an expert that he could go head-to-head with bankers, economics professors and politicians and know exactly when they were attempting to confuse. He had to be able to challenge them when they were trying to lie.
This took intellectual heft, but also a personal toughness that I suspect people who don’t do journalism for a living won’t quite appreciate. But just think how hard this would be: You’re welcomed into the office of some big shot, who is surrounded by the trappings of his success. You are treated warmly, collegially. The person is dressed well, smiles a lot, and compliments you on your work. He has pictures of his wife and kids on his desk. He is pleasant, intelligent and is genuinely doing you a favor by agreeing to be in your movie. And you have to sit there, friendly on the outside, but stone cold on the inside, willing to displace the genial atmosphere by demonstrating, to this man’s face, that he’s either the moral equivalent of a gangster, or a fool, or has the social conscience of Marie Antoinette.
Ferguson doesn’t do this once or twice, but over and over again, which requires fierce and rigorous commitment. The result is a first-class documentary that’s also a dedicated act of citizenship. Ferguson takes viewers through the whole chronology of the crisis, from the gutting of regulations, to the fleecing of Iceland, to the collapse of the financial monoliths. He also shows the culture of corruption that surrounded Wall Street, the parties, the drugs and the prostitution rings…
4. Restrepo: “The lives of soldiers at war are chronicled in an exploration of the experiences of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. Through conversations with the men over a period of many months, a portrait emerges of the devastating toll that war takes as lives are lost and those who survive struggle to find meaning in their devotion to their comrades.”
You’re supposed to review a film like this — although there is no other film like this one, a riveting, you-are-there, deployment to a godforsaken place where United States troops are pinned down by enemy fire almost every day — by saying it has no explicit politics, and that critics and defenders of the Afghan war can take from it what they will. That’s hardly ever true, and less so than ever in “Restrepo.” Juan Restrepo’s death in action, and his comrades’ determined efforts to honor him, were definitely brave and perhaps even heroic. They were also pointless.
The United States military’s counterinsurgency campaign in the Korengal accomplished nothing, or less than nothing. As we see in the film, American troops are rarely certain who’s a Taliban fighter and who’s a local herdsman. Civilian homes are bombed, women and children are killed and property is destroyed in a dirt-poor region where nobody has anything to begin with. Locals go from neutral or uncertain to openly hostile; after the men of Second Platoon, Battle Company go home, O.P. Restrepo and the rest of the Korengal are abandoned to the Taliban. [...]
As one of several firefights in “Restrepo” winds down, one soldier, exhilarated by survivor’s adrenaline, remarks that being shot at is like a drug high. “It’s better than crack,” he jokes. How will he readjust to civilian existence when he goes home, someone asks? “I have no idea.” Now, the only way to defend the entirely pointless and destructive campaign these men waged in the Korengal is to say that sending young men around the world to experience that drug high — the high of shooting, and killing, and possibly dying, as about 50 Americans did in that valley — in the name of vague notions about honor and patriotism and sacrifice is a good thing in itself. Because they sure as hell didn’t accomplish anything else.
If Restrepo shares the sympathy for its raw young subjects that marks most current films about the U.S. military abroad (Coming Home aside, such empathy was unimaginable during the Vietnam War), it is neither romantic nor sentimental about the impossibly contradictory tasks with which these men have been charged, and the sometimes clueless ways in which they try to maintain good relations with local communities even as they bomb the crap out of their villages. There’s a M*A*S*H-like black comedy in the unit’s heedless slaughter and barbecue of a villager’s cow and the haggling with elders about whether to recompense them in money or in kind. At the weekly meeting between the captain and the village elders, the camera settles on an old man with a bright red henna’d beard, trying to figure out how to push a straw through a plastic juice bag brought by his visitors, while the absurdly young platoon captain, who seems more interested in badmouthing his predecessor than in diplomacy, drones on through an interpreter.
Talk about the fog of war: One soldier collapses into terrified hysteria when a colleague is mortally wounded. Others calm him with such courage and dignity that you want to cry, at least until you witness the lust for revenge that sweeps over the platoon when a total of 10 men go down. When, in a rare intervention, a voice from off-screen quietly asks an adrenaline-stoked warrior how he will adjust to civilian life, he replies distractedly, “I have no idea.” Right now, he couldn’t care less. Later, we now know, it will matter terribly.
5. Waste Land: “At Brazil’s Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest landfill, garbage pickers make a living scavenging among the mountains of discarded materials. Brazilian artist Vik Muniz, who uses trash to create his work, travels to the landfill to photograph the people whose livelihood is dependent on the things that others throw away.”
Across the world’s largest garbage dump, near Rio de Janeiro, the pickers crawl with their bags and buckets, seeking treasures that can be recycled: plastics and metals, mostly, but anything of value. From the air, they look like ants. You would assume they are the wretched of the earth, but those we meet in “Waste Land” seem surprisingly cheerful. They lead hard lives but understandable ones. They make $20 or $25 a day. They live nearby. They feel pride in their labor and talk of their service to the environment.
While the alleys of Chicago remain cluttered with ugly blue recycling bins that seem to be ignored and uncollected, the pickers rescue tons of recyclables from the dump and sell them to wholesalers, who sell them to manufacturers of car bumpers, cans, plastics and papers. They raise their children without resorting to drugs and prostitution. They have a pickers’ association, which runs a clinic and demonstrates for their rights. From books rescued from the dump, one picker has assembled a community library. The head of the association says he learned much from a soggy copy of Machiavelli, once he had dried it out. He quotes from it, and you see that he did.
I do not mean to make their lives seem easy or pleasant. It is miserable work, even after they grow accustomed to the smell. But it is useful work, and I have been thinking much about the happiness to be found by work that is honest and valuable. If you set the working conditions aside (which of course you cannot), I suggest the work of a garbage picker is more satisfying than that of a derivatives broker. How does it feel to get rich selling worthless paper to people you have lied to?…
The filmmakers deftly combine how Muniz creates his art with in depth studies of those who inhabit Jardim Gramacho. The citizens of the landfill scavenge the fresh deliveries to collect and sell the recyclable trash. It is a 7/24 business and the pickers amass and recycle the equivalent of the refuse discarded by a city of 400000. While this desolate landfill seems to be the bottom of the barrel for its workers, in fact it is a world where there is no crime, no drugs and no violence. The pickers live in harmony with everyone giving their all to their “job.” They pick through the rubbish of restaurant discards and one woman, a profession cook, creates amazing meals for the catadores and “no one goes hungry.” [...]
Techs bring out the beauty of a place that would be considered a blight anywhere else in the world. Dudu Miranda, lensing the documentary, photos “Waste Land” with vibrant clarity that brings out the quality of life in Jardim Gramacho. The behind the camera team makes palpable the unity and cooperation among the pickers as they work to become a political force in their country, a pickers’ union. This is an eye opening account of human dignity. I give it a B+. [...]
This wonderfully structured documentary addresses many subjects in one – the place of art in the world and its value, the ecological cost of not recycling, the pride people can take in honest work and the societal impact of briefly opening doors to the under privileged. Walker and Harley build upon the work that Muniz is creating with recyclable materials, turning their cameras on huge piles of garbage and the people picking through it with a poetic eye. It’s a surprisingly beautiful film with a strong humanistic slant. [...]
In addition to the directors and the beautiful camera work, editor Pedro Kos has done a great job building the material and Moby has composed a great score which is especially effective during montages….
DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT:
1. Killing in the Name: “This short followed a man’s quest to help eradicate terrorism following a bombing at his wedding in 2005 that left 25 people dead. Here he interviews the father of one of the bombers and a member of the group responsible while educating young children trained to be jihadists about their actions.”
You probably shouldn’t have voted for this one unless there’s a lot of trying to understand the terrorists.
Though maybe it’s okay to have voted for this one because of:
“In Alshraf al-Khaled the filmmakers have found a bona fide hero. His mission, at no small risk to himself, is equal parts inspiring and horrifying. He is the answer to every TV blowhard who seeks to paint the whole Muslim world with a single brush.”
2. Poster Girl: “A young girl just home from Iraq experiences post traumatic stress syndrome and begins to use her art as an outlet to help her deal with the horrors of war.”
This one sounds appropriate:
Poster Girl looks at all its big issues through the portrait of Iraq War veteran Robynn Murray who at the age of 19 went from all-American cheerleader to hard boiled machine gunner roaming the streets of Baghdad. Now, years later, she suffers from crippling anxiety attacks, has trouble coping the memories of war time, and has to navigate a labyrinth of red tape in order to claim her disability checks.
More than any of the other entries of this field Poster Girl leaps off the screen with a burn through intensity, largely due to the riveting presence of Sgt. Robynn Murray. You seriously can’t take your eyes off her as she boils with anger, crumbles in pain, and rages articulately with feelings of betrayal at the institutions she trusted. Poster Girl is a tough film to shake.
3. Strangers No More: “A Tel Aviv, Israel school takes in children of all different backgrounds and languages and unites them by teaching them Hebrew and provides all day care.”
Eh, I guess it has the theme of prejudice, but it doesn’t sound as good of a choice as the others.
These last two sound like good choices:
4. Sun Come up: “On an island near Papua New Guinea, the waters have risen too high due to global warming and have caused the local tribe to relocate. The film followers their struggles to move to a neighboring land and coexist with the people they once were at war with.”
5 The Warriors of Quigang: “The short, filmed over four years, shows a Chinese town’s efforts to shut down a factory polluting the area.”
No obvious choices.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
Quite the agonizing choice you guy must have had to make. All are appropriately leftist.
1. Biutiful/Mexico: already mentioned
A 2009 Cannes winner, Dogtooth is hyperrealist sci-fi detailing an (anti)social experiment gone awry. The matriarch and patriarch of an upper-class Greek family have taught their three nameless, college-age offspring an alternate language (“A sea is a leather armchair, like the one we have in the living room. A p#### is a big light”) to protect a larger deception: that the world outside the family’s high-walled home is so dangerous that the “kids” won’t be mature enough to explore it until one of their canine teeth falls out. The clueless guinea pigs while away their days playing mostly innocent, if bizarre, games of endurance and submission, often monitored by their father, who offers sparkly stickers as prizes for jobs well done—and enforces the boundaries of the closed state with violence. But this dictator’s efforts are no match for the trifecta of threats to his fascist regime: free-market trading, sex, and American popular culture. Director Giorgos Lanthimos lays out the rules largely through action rather than exposition, which allows Dogtooth to play as a richly satisfying, blackly comic mystery in spite of its delayed, horror-sourced housebreak plot. This pastel-colored portrait of disaster capitalism was made long before the Greek economic crisis, and that’s something of a relief: Straight parable could never feel as urgent and unexpectedly moving as the eldest daughter’s desperate drive to escape into Hollywood movies—not just by watching them, but by pretending to live them.
3. In a Better World/Denmark:
Spanning from a poor African nation to Danish suburbia, this sharp behavioural allegory connects these locales through Anton (Mikael Persbrandt), a recently separated physician whose stance on conflict is to be the bigger man and walk away. He works in Africa, treating a rash of women whose infants have been cut out of their stomachs by a man making bets on their gender, when not trying to imbue his values on his conflicted son, Elias (Markus Rygaard), at home.
Being bullied at school, Elias responds passively, as per his father’s doctrine, until a new boy aptly named Christian (William Johnk Nielsen) stands up for him, beating said bully with a bicycle pump, then holding a knife to his throat in the school washroom. Christian’s belief is that people will keep pushing others around unless they’re given a healthy dose of their medicine.
Herein lays the dilemma of the film, as neither ignoring hostility nor matching it provides an ideal outcome. As a viewer, it’s certainly more satisfying to watch people respond vengefully to d###heads, but as this complex, compelling story points out, such actions often compound one another, forcing the weight of morality onto the shoulders of he who passes the judgment of punishment…
Susanne Bier’s In a Better World is a fascinating look at the difference between revenge, pacifism and forgiveness. The lines become blurred in a beautiful exploration of human instincts and our interpretation of knowing what’s right and what’s wrong.
The story follows two Danish families brought together as a result of the newly formed friendship between Christian (William Johnk Nielsen) and Elias (Markus Rygaard), two ten-year-old boys coping with their own set of problems. Elias is dealing with the recent separation of his parents as well as a school bully that’s dubbed him Rat Face. Christian’s mother recently lost her battle with cancer and he’s returned to Denmark with his father (Ulrich Thomsen) whom he blames for “giving up” on his mother.
These circumstances lead to Christian standing up for Elias, using a bike pump to pummel the boy bullying him and a hunting knife to threaten him. You can rest assured this bully won’t be bothering them again, but the consequence of revenge gone “good” can turn into something altogether bad.
Based on the play by Wajdi Mouawad, Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s latest film has the skeleton of a Greek tragedy and the flesh of political allegory, reminding us that history repeats itself and that death isn’t always the end.
Having the short films Next Floor and 120 Seconds to Get Elected under his belt — both political criticisms in their own right — this sort of liberal plea is appropriate, even though his prior features have leaned more towards individual perception than global ideologue.
Opening with Radiohead’s “You and What Army,” a taunt decrying of Tony Blair’s New Labour government, Incendies is divided into several sections — each defined by bold red titles that cover the screen — telling the modern day story of twins Jeanne and Simon Marwan (Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin and Maxim Gaudette), and their mother Nawal (Lubna Azabal) in ’70s Lebanon. Handed two envelopes upon Nawal’s death, the twins are instructed to travel back to the Middle East to explore her past and possibly find their long lost brother, a child we see given up for adoption against Nawal’s will when the film jumps back in time.
Their investigation proves quite cumbersome, requiring travel throughout Lebanon to visit their mother’s old school and a village where she once resided, speaking with older locals and ex-militia leaders about orphanage records and hearsay whereabouts. These moments in the present never work quite as well as those in the past, as Nawal’s political motivations as a Christian fighting for the rights of slaughtered Muslims prove more compelling than the modern realization of such by her children. [...]
A scene midway through the film shows Nawal riding a Muslim bus towards the south end of the country, only to come under fire by rightwing Christian militants. This is easily the most harrowing, disturbing and compositionally beautiful sequence I’ve seen in recent memory, which makes up for much of the clunky exposition and plot machinations surrounding it.
5. Outside the Law/Algeria:
For France, the Algerian War was like our experience in Vietnam, but closer, more personal, and with bloodshed on domestic soil. France had already lost its war to retain French Indochina as a colony when we moved in. At about the same time, it was facing a revolt in French Algeria, which was much more important to it; indeed, many families had members living in either place and supporting either side.
“Outside the Law” is a big, expensive historical film that considers the war from an Algerian point of view. It assumes in a straightforward manner that the National Liberation Front’s attempts to throw the French out of Algeria were directly comparable to the attempts of the French Resistance to throw the Nazis out of France. This is heresy in some circles, and indeed caused right-wing demonstrations against the film, but as attitudes about colonialism shift, this view is gradually becoming more accepted.
Much of the film involves FLN activities in Paris as well as Algeria. But it isn’t an explanation of how or why the insurgent tactics were impossible to defeat; “The Battle of Algiers” (1966) has never been improved on for that. This is a more traditional, personal melodrama, telling its story through a few characters seen against the backdrop of history. At a reported cost of $25 million, it’s unusually expensive for a French film, and it’s a sign of changing times that the financing was available.
Rachid Bouchareb, a French director of Algerian descent, tells his story through the lives of three brothers. We meet them first in 1925 when French authorities throw them off the land their family has farmed for generations. Homeless and without a livelihood, they form a lifelong resentment, which will express itself in different ways.
They move with their family to Paris. Said (Jamel Debbouze), takes to the streets, works as a pimp, opens a club and sponsors boxing matches. Messaoud (Roschdy Zem) fights for the French in Indochina, where he observes the Viet Cong at first hand and begins to see parallels between its resistance to colonialism and the struggle for Algeria. He returns to France a revolutionary, and joins his brother Abdelkader (Sami Bouajila) in organizing for the FLN in Paris.
Their tactics involve violence. Abdelkader is inspired more by ideas and theory, and Messaoud’s energy comes from more basic emotions of resentment and hatred for how the French dispossessed his family. Cerebral Abdelkader is able to kill dispassionately; Messaoud finds it more personal and agonizing. After a certain point it matters not what they think, because they’ve passed a point of no return and are desperate and wanted armed men, fighting in an invisible army. [...]
Bouchareb takes these elements and essentially constructs a superior action picture. I’m sure it plays differently here than in France, where emotions on the subject are old and run deep. Imagine the feelings of Americans about a film where the Confederacy is viewed as heroic and the Union as murderous invaders. It all depends on which side you think is the right one. “Outside the Law” votes with the FLN. [...]
There’s a scene early in the film, during a boxing match Said stages for gambling purposes, when the cops raid what they perceive as a dangerous gathering of Algerians and open fire, causing a massacre. I understand this is a fictional version of a real event, about which there is much disagreement. We foreign viewers, not clued in, can only assume we know Said and so the authorities are wrong. [...]
“Outside the Law” is at the very least a superior action film, in which the action sequences are plausible and grounded in reality. It is also a parable in support of anti-colonialism. What it isn’t, at the end of the day, is a film about the larger picture. It’s about these characters and their stories. Well, most films are. It’s just helpful to be clear that you’re not finding out much about the larger issue.
Definitely not the anti-Gulag “The Way Back”
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE):
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG):
definitely not the Country song.
SHORT FILM (ANIMATED):
1. Day & Night: “When Day and Night meet, their mutual suspicion and jealousy give rise to an escalating competition.”
Pixar. Not a good Leftist choice.
2. The Gruffalo: “A tiny mouse goes for a walk in the forest and must outwit a fox, an owl, and a snake.”
I guess you could’ve picked this one:
The Gruffalo is at its most charming when it’s quietest, depicting the constant threats for those occupying the low end of the food chain. The moment when the mouse casually leads a line of bugs out of harm’s way is a high point…
3. Let’s Pollute: “The time-honored tradition of polluting is examined in a parody of educational science films from the 1950s and 1960s.”
Ding Ding Ding!
The weakest of the entries Let’s Pollute is glib and preachy, lacking the the satiric bite of the average Onion article. Not that it’s awful, but after you get past the premise Let’s Pollute doesn’t add anything insightful or constructive so much as hammer the one gag over and over. Its pro-environmental stance is the only explanation I can think of for this being nominated over other such vastly superior shortlisted films as the moving mother and son story Urs, or the raucously funny The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger. [...]
I have nothing but compliments for Let’s Pollute’s visuals, but I didn’t laugh at all. It was very much preaching to the choir, the kind of thing that I can imagine getting big applause on Bill Maher’s show.
And don’t get me wrong, I’m a member of that choir. But I got tired of the same point being made even at that short length. To my mind The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger makes a similar anti-consumerism point in a much more inventive way.
4. The Lost Thing: “A young boy finds a strange creature on the beach and decides to find it a home.”
5. Madagascar, A Journey Diary: “A European traveler records his efforts to come to terms with the unfamiliarity of Madagascan culture.”
Another okay choice.
Hmmmm… according to this review snippet from thelmagazine.com, maybe all of these choices would be okay:
Yeah, Henry, now that you mention it, all these (save Let’s Pollute) are narratives of difference, short vignettes about encountering a person, group, community or nation that stands in sharp contrast to the main character’s experience. Maybe, as with the live action shorts noms’ reliance on kid characters to elicit immediate emotional attachment, so the animation field tends to position us as outsiders in strange and unusual visual territory, watching a character grapple with similar feelings of displacement and otherness. In that respect they do offer a welcome contrast to the white, Anglo-American bias evident in both the best picture noms and the live action shorts categories. Makes animation looks like the last space left for some sort of diversity in the unadventurous Oscar arena, huh?
SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION):
1. The Confession: “This is a quietly somber short about a 9-year-old boy who is nervous to make his first confession. What if, he worries, he doesn’t have anything to be sorry about? So he is and his friend decide to pull an innocent prank that will serve the purpose, but things quickly spiral out of control.”
“It lays on the Catholic guilt awfully thick at times.”
Ding Ding Ding!
from Blog Cabins:
It starts off cute, centering on a British Catholic school boy around the age of nine who is fret with anxiety over his upcoming inaugural trip to the confessional. He doesn’t know what to expect, but even worse, he’s not sure what to confess. Confiding in his mischievous best friend, the two set out to earn him some good ol’ sins so he’s got something to say to the priest when the time comes. And then…
If writer/director Tanel Toom has set about to make a film that demonstrates the pointlessness and inanity of spiritual rituals, then he’s made a wonderfully-shot short with an imprecise-yet-strong message. However, if he’s merely made a film about little boys who ought to be careful what they wish for lest they get it, the power of the film diminishes greatly in my eyes. What’s worse, I can’t tell.
But the best thing about this short was the quiet way it illustrated this menacing side of religion, Catholicism in particular: how the church feeds off sin, serves as a catalyst for transgression, creates more wickedness than it conquers.
2. WISH 143: “When a terminally ill young boy is granted a wish by a charitable foundation, he makes a surprising request.”
sounds like a leftist winner:
David, a teen-aged terminally ill hospital patient,is visited by the Wishman,who can offer him the opportunity to meet footballers or try something exhilarating before he dies. Sadly the Wishman cannot fulfil David’s one desire,to lose his virginity. A newspaper advert does not have the desired effect but, thanks to the friendly and wholly unconventional hospital chaplain, David does indeed get his heart’s desire in the company of warm-hearted working girl Maggie.
3. NA WEWE: “When the ethnic civil war in Rwanda spills over into Burundi it leads to a nerve-jangling confrontation as van full of civilians is stopped by a group of violent rebels who interrogate and terrorize them.”
“In 1994 Burundi, a busload of people from various backgrounds is stopped by a militant group and separated into groups of Hutus and Tutsis, the latter of which they wish to eliminate. By twisting up the militants in stories of their diverse heritages, each individual is able to save themselves and in turn show the absurdity of racism.”
4. THE CRUSH: “When an 8-year-old boy is devastated to find out that the teacher he has a crush on is engaged to marry a lout who doesn’t deserve her, he takes the surprising step of challenging her fiancé to a duel to the death.”
Doesn’t sound very leftist. “But there is this: And the sight of young boy waving a gun around will make some queasy regardless of the light-hearted resolution.”
5. GOD OF LOVE: “In the only purely comedic short director/star Luke Methany is Raymond Goodfellow, a jazz singer hopelessly in love with Kelly, his drummer who only has eyes for Fozzie, his guitar player and best friend. After months of non-stop prayer for assistance the Gods finally intervene with a gift of Cupid-style love darts to help him win Kelly’s heart.”
Nah. Brooklyn hipster comedy in black and white.
No obvious choices.
No obvious choices.
Your one chance to vote for “Hereafter.”
There is a sinister aspect to HEREAFTER. Eastwood uses every opportunity, and even some that are forced, to deliver liberal propaganda. For example: When George is let go from the factory due to cutbacks, rather than fighting the union on the grounds of his seniority, he expresses his understanding that it was more important to keep the guys with families working. Workers of the world unite! All hail Socialism! Stickers of Che are highlighted on the workers’ lockers in case you don’t get the initial reference. All the news reports given by Marie’s broadcast network are critical of conservative politicians and their views and Eastwood also takes the time to degrade both Jesus and Allah through internet clips dealing with life after death. Again, we have the running contemporary Hollywood theme of spirituality, not religion. Guess they are setting us up for the visitation from the twelfth planet on December 20, 2012.
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY):
Seems you must have had to vote based on writing quality.
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY):
Easy: you voted for the writers of The Kids Are All Right… or… leftist Mike Leigh.
Why not wash away all of the Liberal aftertaste with a Pro-Life DVD or two?