This snowy weather (again!) makes me want to stay in all day and watch movies. Alas, that is not an option, but I wish it were. I could sit and watch movies for days on end. If made correctly, they’re so beautiful and give you a peek into another world, sometimes so different from you that you could have never imagined on your own.
With the Academy Awards less than a month away, I’m on a mission to see as many nominated movies as I can. You can see the full list of nominations here. While I still have a few to go, below are reviews of the movies I’ve seen lately. As I always say, take reviews with a grain of salt. If you want to see something, go see it. No matter what anyone says.
Wolf of Wall Street: B+
Here’s the short of it – the acting was phenomenal, but everything else was excessive. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill absolutely deserve an award for their work, but it was overdone with sex and drugs. I understand why Martin Scorsese did what he did, but I just don’t agree with it. It also could have easily been cut by an hour at least.
American Hustle: A-
You want to talk about beauty, this was a beautiful film. The clothes, the music, the hair, the music – it was all absolutely perfect for the era. (I was born in the wrong decade!!) This acting was also top-notch. Every single performance was terrific, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and of course, my love, Jennifer Lawrence.
I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed a film so much. Scratch that – enjoyed and been on the edge of my seat so much. The entire film was just breathtaking and Sandra Bullock was perfect. George Clooney was good for some eye-candy and comic relief (per usual). Alfonso Cuaron needs to win Best Director.
I give this one a minus simply because parts of it were just too odd. While we are in the day and age where this could legitimately happen, we’re not quite ready to embrace it. That being said, the film was wonderfully made, retro and modern at the same time. Scarlett Johansson was brilliant. She made you feel and believe simply by her voice. That’s true talent right there.
Blue Jasmine: B+
The story was interesting enough, but as a whole it just wasn’t quite there. The movie’s one redeeming quality was Cate Blanchett, who seems to shine in any role she plays. However, when you don’t have the supporting actors and the plot to hold you up, there’s only so much you can do.
August: Osage County: C+
This movie was just sad. And I mean that in several ways. Sad as in super depressing and sad as in, I was really looking forward to this movie and it did not live up to expectations. Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts were INCREDIBLE. Streep’s monologues were remarkable and reminiscent of a stage play, but the story was just too depressing to justify the performances.
On the top of the list to watch before March 2: Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Nebraska, 12 Years a Slave, Frozen
What do you think of the Oscar nominations?
Last night, I went to see Catch Me If You Can at the Walton Arts Center with friend Samantha. I went into the show completely blind – hadn’t read any reviews, heard any songs, heard any synopsis – which rarely happens, but I was looking forward to watching with a fresh eye. I did learn before the show that it was the same story as the movie with the same title with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, which I never saw, and learned it was based on a true story.
Plot Synopsis: Have you seen the TV show White Collar? The exact same story line. Con artist turns FBI agent. You can read more about the plot here if you wish.
The show began with a big enough bang, setting up the plot and opening with a big number with flashy costumes, dances, etc. “Live in Living Color” However, I immediately noticed something wasn’t quite right. The main character didn’t have quite a strong enough voice, the dancing was average, the sub-plot was difficult to follow, the supporting actors didn’t have enough depth. And this was the theme of the entire show. I kept thinking as I was watching that they needed juuuust one more week to practice until show time. Multiple lines were obviously flubbed and several dancers were off rhythm. As a performer myself, I completely understand the difficulty in the space, but when you’re paying at least $60 a ticket, you really expect more.
What was good about the show? The set, the orchestra and the costumes. I personally love when the orchestra is shown onstage and they did a fantastic job working it into the set. The set was also very fun, light, colorful and dynamic. I’ve already ragged on a few members of the chorus line, but boy did I wish I was onstage in their role. (Fun fact: Every time I see a show I wish I was onstage performing in it.) They had a ton of fun costume changes including Pan Am stewardesses (dream job), nurses and showgirls.
The bright spot of the show: when the main character goes to New Orleans to meet his lady’s parents. The parents’ acting was phenomenal and hysterical. At one point they were badgering him with all these questions, but really the most important was … Was he a Lutheran? As a Lutheran myself, I found it funny and relatable. The mom was overly dramatic, but it gave the show the punch it needed and the audience definitely noticed. Unfortunately that only lasted about 15 minutes, but if that energy had been throughout the entire show, it would have gotten a standing ovation from me.
Final rating: B
Other ratings from shows I’ve seen in the past month:
Billy Elliot, Walton Arts Center – A-
Dead Accounts, Broadway – F (I know, I know, but I’m sitting here trying to think of one tiny thing I enjoyed about it and just can’t think of anything…)
Nice Work If You Can Get It, Broadway – A+