The Movie Buffer

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oscar Picks 2009

Here are my picks for this year's Oscars (click to enlarge, red dots are my picks). There are a decent number of good nominees, but I was pretty surprised by some of choices - Anne Hathaway for Best Actress, for instance.

I don't agree with Heath Ledger getting nominated for Best Supporting Actor either, but he's an extraordinary case. If the academy wanted to give out a pity award, they should have nominated him for the Lifetime Achievement award.

I hope that you have as much fun watching the show as I do. Though I am going to forgo the live blog and twitter following that seems to have become rampant at these events. Isn't a 3 hour broadcast enough?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009



No MSG! - mono-spoiler glutamate


Welcome back, 90-minute action thriller, I’ve missed you!

These days, longer seems better, but given a decent actor and relentless pacing, a short chase movie can be the perfect reprieve from two plus hour “epic” films.

This isn’t particularly new ground – father figure killing his way up a gang hierarchy to save his daughter from kidnappers. But this time the father is Liam freaking Neeson. He’s a genuine actor, so to see him dive into what should be a role for someone younger and greener in the biz, is an interesting juxtaposition.

Neeson plays a retired spy, Bryan Mills, trying to reconnect with his teenaged daughter, Kim, after missing much of her life. Even though he is uneasy about it, he caves to her request to go on a trip to Paris with a friend. Upon arrival at their Paris hotel, the girls are kidnapped and Bryan springs into action.

The draw of this kind of movie isn’t the story, though; it’s the star and the action. Anyone else and this would have been just a sub-par action movie, but with Neeson’s stone cold gaze and surprising brutality it’s a fun watch. The rest of the cast are set-pieces: the bereaved mother, the foreign goons, the wimpy French cops. They fulfill their roles by really making Neeson stand out and shine.

When it comes to the slick action film, we’ve seen many unlikely stars rise as action heroes, Matt Damn in the Bourne series and Daniel Craig in the Bond series, and Neeson has got his foot in the door with this role.

The main flaw about the film is that the story is so firmly entrenched in cliché. It will certainly be hit or miss with many viewers. See this film for the action, but remember the check your brain at the door, you won’t need it.