Lately we’ve encountered films that take place in a fixed location during their complete run-time. 2010 brought the two most notable examples in 127 Hours and Buried. The former deals with a mountain climber trapped in a canyon, while the latter deals with a man buried alive. Both films showcase career defining and Oscar-worthy performances, plus brilliant direction. Even though I really liked both of these films and consider them among the best films of 2010, I can’t shake the feeling that Buried is the film more worthy of attention.
In order to understand why one is an Oscar contender and the other isn’t, I’ve made a list of advantages 127 Hours has over Buried:
Tells a true story. (Everyone loves true stories).
It’s directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle. (Known director sparks immediate interest, especially when everyone is waiting to see what’s your follow-up to Slumdog Millionaire).
While James Franco isn’t widely regarded as a serious actor, his last performances have proved otherwise and showcased that he isn’t just that guy from Spider-Man.
The film has a hopeful and inspirational message. (Oscar voters love this)
Has a happy ending. (Again, Oscar voters love this)
So you can get a better picture, here are the disadvantages of Buried:
Directed by Rodrigo Cortes. (Who? Exactly).
While Ryan Reynolds is popular right now, he is far from being considered a serious actor. (Most people still see him as Van Wilder).
The film is bleak, hopeless and shows how people are unreliable even when your life is at stake. (Oscar voters don’t particularly like this).
Doesn’t have a happy ending. (No one like this, especially Oscar voters).
As you can see, Buried was doomed from the start. It doesn’t matter if your film showcases a career defining performance and astounding direction, if it doesn’t meet the guidelines that constitute an Oscar contender then it won’t be recognized. Which is a shame really because, just like James Franco, Ryan Reynolds gives one of the best performances of 2010 and it is a performance worthy of praise.
Here’s an article from a guy who shares the same opinion as I. He does a better job at explaining this predicament.
In 127 Hours, James Franco plays mountain climber Aron Ralston whose right hand gets trapped under a boulder causing him to remain there for 127 hours. During his ordeal he reminisces on his past and how his whole life has taken him to this moment right here. As most people know, Aron Ralston had to cut his arm in order to break free from the boulder and not die.
There is a lot of Oscar buzz surrounding this film, especially James Franco’s performance. James Franco is 127 Hours, he carries the whole film, manages to capture your attention and never lets go. What I really liked about his performance is that he is able to make you laugh and make you cry. There are bleak moments that feel utterly hopeless, but Franco manages to squeeze some humor here and there that never feels out of place. It makes sense that in a situation such as this one, it’s better to remain calm and try to smile a little instead of losing control and making things worst. But he is at his very best during the horrific and sad moments, we get to see a side of James Franco that most of us didn’t know it was there. He has an amazing emotional range and makes us feel his pain and desperation. And when the final moments come that he has to sever his arm, it is truly gruesome. That scene was easily the most horrific experience I’ve had at the movie theater all year.
Another aspect of the film that in a way is a character in itself is the score by A.R. Rahman. This score is the best score of 2010 and it deserves to win an Oscar. In a film that remain in a single place, there are elements necessary to keep the audience invested in the story. James Franco’s performance helps a lot in this regard, but so does the score. The score blends perfectly with each scene and is as dynamic as what occurs on-screen. I’m impress by how A.R. Rahman was able to create tracks that sound different but still fit nicely with the film and each other. The same has to be said about director Danny Boyle, editor Jon Harris and cinematographers Enrique Chediak and Anthony Dod Mantle. They all create a beautifully shot and engaging film.
127 Hours is a great film portraying a man’s unmatchable desire to survive. All of its numerous elements come together perfectly and James Franco gives the performance of his career. The last 20 minutes of the film are the most intense and gruesome minutes you’ll experience at the movie theater in 2010. Be advised, the ending makes any Saw and Hostel film seem like sissies.
Out all the live albums I’ve heard, I believe A Cross The Universe by Justice is by far the best. No other live album has captured the ecstatic energy and ultra-awesomeness like this one. You can’t listen to a song without just going apeshit, especially with this song. We Are Your Friends (Reprise) is everything a song a should be: energetic, awesome, infectious, undeniably memorable, etc.
P.S. I will forever be jealous of the people who went to this concert.
I’ve been listening to the score for Black Swan non-stop. I think that this will be the score that will finally give Clint Mansell an Oscar nomination. Every song is brilliant and filled with a sense of horror and imminent doom, especially this opening track.
A couple of days ago my sister and I were singing random songs, and at one point we started singing Hilary Duff songs. This reminded of how much I actually miss Hilary Duff. She was such a huge part of my teenage years and believe it or not, this song right here was my anthem in 2005. There was something about the supportive/inspirational lyrics and her voice that made me feel better about myself. It kind of gave me hope and a helping hand. I think that songs like this one are really key when you’re 15 years old, and all the drama of being a teenager starts.
But you know what listening to this song made me realize? That teenagers right now don’t have a song like this. They don’t have a song that tells them to just keep going and not give up. The songs they have right now are about a concept of “love” that they probably don’t understand and about Alejandro. God, how things have changed…
All it takes is one expression or a solitary quote, in order to deliver a message that will really dig deep inside of you. The most profound messages are achieved with relatively few words. It’s a beautiful experience reading such poetic command over language. Feist is one the few artist with this ability. Most of her lyrics are simple, short and sweet, but they are packed with strong conviction that prove to be very evocative without grandiose elaborations. She is simply one of the best female indie singers out there. There is beauty in simplicity.
“I’m sorry, two words, I always think after you’re gone.”
10. Hammock by Howls —> From the soundtrack of The Vampire Diaries, which by the way is a great soundtrack no matter if you’re pro or against the show. (Listen)
9. Still Alive by Lisa Miskovsky —> Some songs are just simply infectious and 100% beautiful. Enjoy. (Listen)
8. Make The Bus (Feat. Of Montreal) by Janelle Monae —> Janelle Monae released arguably the best album of 2010 and this song is a perfect example of why that is. First of all, who would’ve thought that the combination between Janelle Monae and Of Montreal would result in one of the most up-beat and cool songs in recent years. Make The Bus is one of those songs that is instantly likable. You won’t be able to resist it’s utterly cheerful nature. (Listen)
7. Overpowered by Róisín Murphy —> Even though Overpowered deals with the overdone theme of being unable to get over a previous love, Róisín Murphy presents them in such a clever, freaky and hypnotic way that it makes this theme sound original. You’ll be intoxicated by the great chorus and be intrigued by the weird lyrics. It is one of those rare pop electronic songs that is actually interesting. And in an era where Rihanna’s overly cliche song Only One is a hit single, God knows we need Róisín Murphy to provide us with some substantial pop electronic music. (Listen)
6. Supertoys by Autolux —> Sinister, twisted, filled with excellent guitar riffs, intricate vocals and memorable beyond belief. You and I may not know who or what Autolux is, but this song will definitely spark some much deserved interest. (Listen)
5. A Strange Arrangement by Mayer Hawthorne —> It’s a throwback to the mow-town soulful songs. His voice captures you and brings you back to a mysterious and musically rich time. Heartbreaks hasn’t sounded this good in a while. (Listen)
4. Armchairs by Andrew Bird —> One of the greatest aspects of songs that cross the 7 minute mark is that, for the most part, they deliver a truly genuine and great experience. Armchairs is no different and the journey that places upon the viewer is filled with sentimental, captivating, grandiose and meaningful moments. (Listen)
3. Someone Like You by Adele —> There’s no denying that Adele’s voice is utterly brilliant and watching her sing live completely raises the bar on musician’s talents. I personally think that Adele sounds better live than she does in recordings. Listening to this song just brings chill down your spine and her facial expressions as she says: “nevermind, I’ll find someone like you.” This is a pretty conflicted song and we can feel how torn she is. (Listen)
2. Mr. Rager by Kid Cudi —> What really caught me off guard about Kid Cudi’s latest album was the fact that it sounds and feels so different from his debut album. But somehow it still feels very much like Kid Cudi. When an artist is able to achieve that then you know that he is an actually good musician. Now, I may not know yet who Mr. Rager is (an alter-ego perhaps?), but by God this song is one of the absolute best in that album. Thoughtful lyrics, infectious vocals and it’s a song with purpose. (Listen)
1. Oxygen by Björk —> If a song has the ability to stop you dead on you tracks and completely immerse yourself in it’s haunting beauty, then it is a song that deserves to never be ignored. Oxygen is such a song. (Listen)
Yesterday I took a plane back home and besides hating flying in general, I’m always looking forward to the films they feature. Inception was among the option but I felt that it would be a complete crime to watch it in such a small screen, no blue-ray and no home theater. So I made the horrible choice of watching Knight & Day and The Other Guys. Here’s the mini-review of each of them:
Knight & Day:
I knew from the get go that this film wasn’t going to be any good, those trailers for it didn’t work for me. I was hoping that the action would be at least entertaining just like Tom Cruise, who never ever is bad in a film. But dear God how awful everything is in this film, and I really mean everything. The plot is basically that Tom Cruise is an agent gone rogue who falls for Cameron Diaz and brings her along with him to solve something. What that something is not important and no one cares. Besides the fact that the acting is bad, the comedy doesn’t work and that they couldn’t make the action look even more fake, there’s the fact that they horribly underused some of the best actors right now. Peter Sarsgaard and Viola Davis have literally nothing to work with and I kept questioning why they ever agreed to be in this. The only kind of good thing about the film is Paul Dano who actually made me giggle a bit. Suffice to say that Knight & Day is easily one of the worst films of 2010 and I wouldn’t even tell my worst enemy to see this.
The Other Guys:
I had really high hopes for this film and judging from the reviews it looked like it promised lots of laughs. By the way, I hate Will Ferrell and think he is the most overrated comedian ever. He plays the same role over and over again and every time I just want to punch him in the face. So the main draw was Mark Wahlberg, who was funny in Date Night but not at all funny here. In all honesty, there’s nothing remotely funny about this film. Every time they said a joke or something my face was utterly expressionless, I didn’t even smile or giggle. I feel like I should’ve laughed but everything was just so stupid and unfunny that I just didn’t really care. We can add The Other Guys to the list of complete disappointments of 2010.
Note to self: next time just fucking watch Inception.