Monday, January 28, 2008


I have seen more movies in a theatre in the last month than the last two years combined. This is not to say that I do not watch rentals (which I do on occasion). Patrick managed to convince me to watch No Country for Old Men some time earlier this month. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised about how good the movie was, and doubly so when I learned it was an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's book (he also had another film adaption called All The Pretty Horses, which in my opinion, was awful). Having read Mr. McCarthy's work and admiring his stream-of-conscious style of writing, I have to say that his love for the southwest was utilized appropriately and successfully in No Country for Old Men. The acting, notably Javier Bardem, was great. His character Anton still pervades my mind because of his image. That atrocious hairstyle haunts me. But I digress. Bardem does a superb job acting and portraying the hit-man/murderer Anton, coming off perfectly cold and indifferent to what he does. I must admit I have not seen the Coen brother's movie Fargo in its entirety. I have to say that the Coen brothers did a better job with No Country.

What made the movie so intense, and I suppose "enjoyable" was the lack of music. Yes, No Country for Old Men lacks a soundtrack which intensifies the feeling of the movie. Another thing was the setting: utilizing the desolate western Texas landscape magnified the tension. The cinemaotography, as I said earlier, set the mood and atmosphere for the entire movie. I know this may sound completely ridiculous, but the desolate landscape set the romantic, ominous mood
for the movie. Both Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin enhance to romantic feel with their Texan character portrayals. Coming from the west coast, we would automatically label the aforementioned characters as backward hicks, and they do it so well.

As far as I am concerned, this movie deserves the Best Picture nomination, and I hope that Javier Bardem receives his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

The other movie I saw, which was yesterday, was There Will Be Blood. I have to say that I was slightly disappointed with the story line and character development. Daniel Day-Lewis' performance was outstanding and intense, though it reminded me a lot of Citizen Kane. I believe that both Day-Lewis' character (Daniel Plainview) and Orson Welle's character (Charles Foster Kane) paralleled one another in terms of greed. However, Daniel Plainview is a loosely based character on Edward Doheny, oil tycoon of Los Angeles. The movie's setting takes place in California, somewhere in the desert, presumably in Bakersfield. Plainview was initially mining for silver, but eventually discovers oil in his mines. From there on out the story develops about his wealth, greed, and paranoia.

The movie, which was two and a half hours long, could have been shorter, or better done in terms of character development. Even though the focus was on Daniel Plainview and his drive for oil, there were many important characters in the movie that came in and went, with no real development later on. The disconnect was quite abrupt when the movie shifts from 1911 to the verge of the Great Depression. The beginning of the movie was a bit slow for my taste, and could have been shortened. The mood was set properly within the first five minutes of the film, and didn't need to be dragged out for an additional 10-15 minutes. What I did enjoy were the listings of all the oil saturated areas found in the Southern California region: Oildale, Santa Paula, and Signal Hill. I actually visited Santa Paula for my American Landscape and Dreams course (Geography rules) class fieldtrip. So I was pleasantly surprised for that accuracy.

That being said, Daniel Day-Lewis does a marvelous job portraying his character. He truly embodied the dynamic change from beginning to end, allowing his weakness to overcome his initial strengths as a person. I do hope he wins the Best Actor category for the Oscars. Unfortunately I do not believe that There Will Be Blood deserves the win for Best Picture. In fact, I am hoping that No Country for Old Men will take it. As much as I loved Juno, I feel that the movie is too cutesy to actually pull off the win. The only downfall I could perceive for No Country for Old Men is how the storyline is a little untraditional for the general viewers. Ironically, I felt that both No Country and There Will Be Blood had unresolved endings, but I supposed that just my opinion.

My predictions are as follows for the categories:

Best Actress: Julie Christy
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis
Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem
Best Supporting Actress: I cannot say. I'll say the girl from Atonement
Best Picture: No Country for Old Men
Best Director: Coen Brothers
Best Original Screen Play: Juno
Cinematography: No Country for Old Men
Art Direction: Sweeney Todd
Film Editing: No Country for Old Men
Best Adaptation: No Country for Old Men
Best Soundtrack (score): 3:10 to Yuma
Best Soundtrack (song): Enchanted
Animated Film: Ratatouille
Costume Design: Elizabeth: The Golden Age

I know there are other categories, but I really think No Country will sweep the Oscars. I could be entirely wrong.

Also, I can't believe I sat on my butt for almost 8 hours for movies. Ridiculous, thus the title of my post.

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