100 Words or Less is one of the staples here at FlickSided. We take pride in being able to get across the essence of a film in a short blurb of a review. That’s why we have decided to do each of the Best Picture nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards in this format all in the same post. If you were in a coma for the past 12 months, the following 1,000 words or so would bring you up to speed for tonight’s Oscars…
A careful exploration into the effect adult relationships can have on children who are not mature enough to handle them. Desperate to grow up, move out and become “cultured,” Jenny begins dating an older man who can take her to art galleries and the theatre. Swept away by the finer things in life, Jenny takes the audiences on a ride through the inner-workings of the naïveté of the adolescent mind. Carey Mulligan is exceptional as a 15 year old who grows up a bit too fast, and learns that sometimes being an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
A Serious Man
Who knew that watching every facet of a man’s life collapse around him could be so hilarious? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, though, as this movie was helmed by the Coen Brothers. Joel and Ethan have crafted a film that is so effectively written, you literally feel every moment of disappointment the protagonist feels, as he feels it. Yet, somehow, all of this despair and utter hopelessness doesn’t leave you depressed. Instead, it lifts you up and makes you laugh…and (gasp) think. A Serious Man is easily the duo’s funniest work since Fargo.
Why is James Cameron’s Avatar the biggest film of all time? Because audiences have never been planted so firmly in an action hero’s shoes. You feel like you experience the beautifully strange brand new world of Pandora first hand. When the final credits start rolling, it’s as if you just completed the greatest role-playing video game of all time. You changed your life, got the girl and saved the world, yet all you had to do was sit back and enjoy the fly. And because James Cameron was the man behind all of this, “you’ll be back” in the sequel.
The Blind Side
The Blind Side has been widely criticized for receiving a Best Picture nomination at this year’s Academy Awards. If we’re going to judge it solely on those standards, then, yeah, it probably doesn’t belong. However, if judged simply for its quality as a movie, it’s actually good. Everybody likes a feel-good, rags-to-riches story, and The Blind Side delivers. I feel any criticism related to the racial elements of the film are unfounded, as they seem genuine and it is based on a true story, after all. Additionally, Bullock’s performance lifts the film from typical Disney faire to something pretty special.
District 9‘s similar to fellow Oscar nominee Avatar in that it humanizes aliens and vilifies humans. That is where the similarities stop. This South African flick was small in budget, but big in ideas. Sci-Fi mockumentary style hasn’t been used this effectively since Orson Welles did The War of the Worlds on the radio. That’s because of star Sharlto Copley, who plays Wikus van de Merwe, the Michael Scott of alien immigration. His performance is just as breathtaking as the film’s look. Both suggest that you don’t have to break the budget to blow up at the box office.
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