Hustle & Flow Reviews
Terrence Howard turns in a fantastic performance, utterly convincing as Djay, a pimp with musical aspirations. His character seems real, fleshed out, and interesting, and Howard's work carries the film.
The story is fairly basic, but I think the biggest problem is its misogyny. The filmmakers have to be aware of the ridiculous irony inherent in having a prostitute sing "Whoop that trick!" or "It's hard out here from a pimp." It's too ironic to be unintentional, yet I can't figure out what the intention is. After all, the film identifies with Djay's journey to such a degree that I have a hard time thinking of this film as satire, and trying to prove that prostitutes become agents in their own denigration isn't a productive insight.
Overall, this film is worth seeing if only for Terrence Howard.
"Everybody gotta have a dream."
Hustle & Flow is one of those movies that I didn't want to see end. The film had a lot going for it, from a natural knowledge of the small time hustlers and dealers to the surprisingly good music; and of course there's Terrence Howard in the role that really gave him a name.
DJay is a smalltime pimp and drug dealer living in Memphis with three of his women and a small child. He's struggling with life as he enters a mid-life crisis because of a memory of his father dying at the age he is now. To try to improve his life, he begins rapping. He meets an old school friend who is now a gospel music producer, and brings him and another producer on to help make DJay's demo tape.
This movie isn't overly original in anything it is doing, but the voice is good. The dialogue hits like a hard bass beat the whole film long. Especially when the words are coming out of Howard's mouth. Howard does a phenomenal job with his dialogue and the accent of the character. He basically is this movie and with it resting on his shoulders, it succeeds.
The content isn't for everyone as there's a lot of demeaning language toward women and what not, but it can't be slandered for its content. The content is dead on and this fictional story of a hustler turned actor has a basis in real life as many rappers used to be exactly what DJay is. As far as a urban, music, crime drama goes; Hustle & Flow is an entertaining and well-made one to get into.
While this film does present a familair story, it is not executed in a totally cliched and formulaic way. It is gritty and raw (in places), but not so much so that it becomes exploitative. It's not a sugar-coated fantasy either. It's a really good mix of things, and its real strength is that it is very plausible and realistic.
DJay is a Memphis pimp and drug dealer, but these are not his passions, jiust the things he does to get by. His real passion and dream is to become a rapper- something he discovered a talent for early on, but lost along the way. Brushes with his past, along with troubles with his women resurrect his dream and give him the fuel to make his dream a possible reality.
Terrence Howard had plenty of roles before this (and is bound to keep on working for a long time to come), but this is his star making performance. His portrayal of the pimp and pusher transcends gritty caricature. He's rough when necessary, and has a heart of gold when needed, but it's more than cookie cutter bullshit. Djay is a complex character, and he's fascinating to watch, especially because Howard so brilliantly brigns him to life. This may mostly be a vehicle for Howard, but the supporting cast is likewise brilliant, and all of them bring something to the table instead of just riding on the coattails of the lead. I especially liked the roles filled by Henson and Manning. Parker is good, but those two are excellent. All of the haraters are real and fleshed out, and believable. There is a lot of depth and humanity on display. That sentence can sum up the whole movie, because, despite the subject matter and the world on display, this is a work of art, and not exploitative garbage. D.J. Qualls and Anthony Anderson are known for comedic roles, and while they do provide some humor here, they aren't jsut comic relief. They also provide plenty of drama and emotion to push things forward.
There is a fair amount of subtext and depth with this film, but it's not heavy handed or preachy. There's bits of fantasy here and there, but it's mostly just a moving and absorbing slice of life tale about struggle, ambition, and hope. You don't really have to be familiar with rap music to like this film. It may help to like or appreciate(or at the very least tolerate) it though. You know this movie is mildly high brow when one of the songs ("It's Hard out Here for a Pimp") actually won a fucking Oscar. It shows that yes, ghetto life and rap music can be art and the subject of high culture entertainment. Some scholars may have an issue with the fact that a white man was behind this, and that somehow this movie may be trivializing a culture that's not his own, but that's not true.
Man, I just realized that that last paragraph reminded me of my seminar paper on blaxploitation films I'm struggling to work on.
Okay, enough rambling. Go see this. It's great stuff, and very worthy of viewing.
It could've been some lame rapper, rags to riches story, but instead it is a well thought out character study with good performances, some drama, humorous moments, and a look into the actual development of rap music.
Terrence Howard, who has been in many movies before but gets his big break here, is great as DJay, a pimp who decides to try an make it in the rap game, and have a more prosperous life.
Armed with some old friends and his "employees" they go through the process of making a mix record and trying to get it into the hands of a former resident of their town, who has made it big.
This movie works because it is grounded in reality. It feels authentic and uses somewhat strange characters and gives them issues to come over and goals to reach. It also helps that with all the drama there are plenty of humorous and touching moments in the movie, as well as the presence of Isaac Hayes and some good musical sequences.
Key: Just because you got the bacon, lettuce, and tomato don't mean I'm gonna give you my toast.
[b][font=Book Antiqua][size=4][i]Oscar?![/i] I barely even know her![/size][/font][/b]
[b][font=Book Antiqua]By Neumdaddy[/font][/b]
[font=Book Antiqua]The Academy Awards. Even to the casual Joe Moviegoer those 3 words evoke an assortment of images, many of which likely involve various types of socialites being really rich around each other. With so much Hollywood superficiality at stake with these awards, you have to wonder who these string-pullers are. Perhaps you associate ?The Academy? with, say, pomp and prestige and the clinical stench of senior citizens, wherein the images conjured in your head may include monocles, yapping poodles, or Colonel Mustard. Or maybe you associate ?The Academy? with conspiracies and the Illuminati, producing visions of cigarette smoke in a dark room, alien autopsies, or cloaked persons wielding paddles (or poodles??). So while your ordinary laid-back Johnny Filmboy is dimly aware of the Academy Awards and may imagine it to be many things, he doesn?t truly know what comprises ?The Academy.? We have no strong idea what these creatures behind the curtain resemble, or anything beyond that.[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua]Except for Oscar. The anthropomorphosis of the Academy, we shall say. If we cannot find out about the Academy, we must learn more about Oscar. Who is he? What are his motives? Why does a bevy of talented cleavage, er, actresses want to take him home? So much to ask of such a tiny man inside his little golden sarcophagus / bachelor pad. Even the origin of his name is unconfirmed, far predating that of a certain green garbage can muppet (I ran file-checks on their bloodlines just to be sure). Maybe our little Oscar sprung out of Zeus? head and named himself, or hatched from an egg the Queen laid? The possibilities are ridiculous.[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua]Not intentionally trying to impugn the Academy?s reputation (okay, so I am), but truly these awards don?t mean jack, to which Oscar reluctantly agrees. Who cares, right? Well, actors, film crews, movie studios, yada yada, but probably not Danny Flickjunkie. It?s just another media institution predicated on our addiction to comparing everything under the sun with each other and ranking the ?best.? Which is fine from a business perspective. However, there seems to be heaps of significance rashly thrust upon the Academy Awards specifically, as opposed to the Golden Globes or BAFTA?s or SAG or goodness knows what else. An outstanding performance in acting doesn?t seem legit to Bobby Flickfan unless they get an Oscar for it. Some movies appear to be created simply to ?bait? Oscar into giving himself away, with the audience de-prioritized in whom the filmmakers are trying to impress (?Memoirs of a Geisha?, for example). This is not the case for even a majority of movies, but this is the kind of influence Oscar carries in the industry. There is a conflict of expectation, or what people think the Awards? intentions should be. Because of its popularity, it is thought the Oscars should be a better representation of the year in moviedom, and not simply popular movies with hype or controversy. Why is this? I thought people didn?t care? Oftentimes the nominations steam the clams of your average Billy Moviebuff because their favorite films, usually some critically acclaimed arthouse darling, was typically snubbed. That, my fellow Jimmy Cinemadudes and Anita Moviechicas, is just not acceptable. Or I guess it has to be. We care on principle, but don?t care on actualitization. These are the internal contradictions of the Academy Awards, and thus deepens the mystery behind our little golden crusader, dearest Oscar.[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua]As fun as it is to run little fantasy numbers through your brain, like cracking a lead pipe upside Oscar?s shiny dome or forcing him to drag a giant rock up a hill as a rites of passage for us (for all those years of snubs and lame nominations), we cannot force Oscar to submit. If you?re seriously contemplating such things, I suggest you stop reading, sell your children, and sail off to the Isle of Elba for a good while. Irregardless, the Academy Awards are a fun spectacle, however gorgeous or garish. We will all tune in, gasp in awe, then in terror, and then the camera pans away from Joan Rivers? face. Then we will probably watch the Oscars, too. Now that we?ve established proper levity?let the calliope sing and the carousel spin. Mystery or not, Oscar, be our guide![/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][size=3][b]Best Picture[/b]:[/size][/font]
[font=Book Antiqua]You know, they?re decent, these nominations. They?re all very typical, but they?re decent. Okay, let?s see here. Ah, the Clooney film, [b]Good Night, and Good Luck.[/b] Very good film. It?s modern political relevance and intelligent discourse on the function of media in society is finely-crafted piece that, to me, appears the most buoyant of the Best Picture lot in terms of how well it will hold up against years of scrutiny (good show, George Clooney). Not a very emotionally involving movie, but a thoughtful historical piece. I think it stands a genuinely good chance to win. My personal favorite is [b]Munich[/b], a beautifully composed, introspective examination into the mind-numbing cycle of violence between Israel and Palestine (depicted through the 1972 slaughter of Israeli Olympians in Munich), clearly an intended parallel for world conflict in general. I loved how the ?hunting? scenes (recon) were filmed with a kind of retro-grit. It?s a complicated, haunting piece by Spielberg, but it was not as well received by the masses, and the buzz on this film has tapered. Meaning, Munich won?t win. [b]Crash[/b] was a shockingly good exploration, and hypothetical decimation, of racial barriers that plague all of us, even on subconscious levels. I had it pegged as manipulative and Oscar bait, [i]but that?s why they watch the films before forming opinions about them![/i] Its power lies in each brilliantly-constructed scene of intense drama, but the correlation between all character arcs insinuate some sensationalizing, and could be a disconnect for some. Almost like a hyper-tragedy. Still, it did a great job of forcing the characters to test their own beliefs, however ridiculous we perceive them as, and see only the humanness that binds us all. It won?t win because it lacks the incoming hype and it just isn?t as strong as the other nominees. This is probably the longest shot. [b]Capote[/b] is a strong thriller while also working as a biopic of a critical stage of writer Truman Capote?s career. The narrative arrangement worked well (crossing between content of Capote?s book and agonizing process of creating the book) and the lighting gave a colder, metallic impression which suited the movie?s tone well. Capote is maybe the most ?indie? of the nominees, but earned its buzz without prelude and is performing well in awards season. It will not win probably because it, too, also lacks placement in Hollywood gossip, like that one as-yet-to-be-named ?gay cowboy movie? that many drone on about. I saved [b]Brokeback Mountain[/b] for last (gasp! I just named it!) because, in my opinion, it?s a step behind the other nominees (and trust me, there is absolutely no innuendo with that statement). It is a good movie, beautifully photographed and scored well, featuring strong performances from the two leads (Ledger & Gyllenhaal) and how life can be carelessly lived with little regard for other relationships we create along the way. But, the depicted romance just wasn?t convincing enough. It was asking the audience more to accept the idea of romance than showing us real romance, which left quite a few potholes in the emotional journey. This movie was dialed in long before its release as a pot-stirrer, and it feels like, simply because of a more serious handling of a taboo subject in our society, the media and Hollywood are trying to dictate what we should reward. ?Brokeback? has the majority of the buzz and stands the best chance at winning, unfortunately. It shouldn?t win, not against these other, better films. But it will. Or will it? Oscar can be a fickle nancy on the big night.[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar will submit himself to[/u]: [b]Brokeback Mountain[/b][/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar has strong second thoughts about_:[/u] [b]Good Night, and Good Luck.[/b][/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar could give a rip about Neum's preference[/u]: [b]Munich[/b][/font]
[b][font=Book Antiqua][size=3]Best Actress:[/size][/font][/b]
[font=Book Antiqua]I?m gonna get all ?Henry Moviesnob? on you all and claim that this group of nominees, prima facie, do not exactly impress. There are 2 very good-to-great performances here, and the rest are just a regular kind of good. [b]Felicity Huffman[/b] did submit a worthy performance for the not-so-good movie ?Transamerica,? sticking the landing on a few pivotal, emotional scenes. But it was a performance no broader than her stunted smile, and the plot moved in directions that added layers to her character but never revealed in her now-diminished rendering. It almost feels like she was nominated for being the most screwed-up character by virtue of a pretty screwed-up plot and less for her actual performance. She may sneak the win as that odd-but-possible contender. I considered [b]Charlize Theron[/b] an absolutely frightful actress before her Oscar-winning performance in ?Monster? two years ago. After that, I considered her a frightful actress with one amazing performance under her belt. But with ?North Country,? she?s further cementing a reputation of competent, Oscar-caliber acting, and less of the ?Aeon Flux? variety. It?s still hard for me to forget that she was in ?The Italian Job? and ?The Devil?s Advocate.? Oh yeah, she won?t win. No buzz + one Oscar in the bag = Charlize stays firmly tucked in her seat. [b]Judi Dench[/b] receives her 5th nomination, and her 4th in a leading role. She?s always been charming and engaging, and she again struts her stuff in ?Mrs. Henderson Presents.? She makes it all look so easy these days, but I wonder if it?s really just the accent. No, she?s darn good, despite the movie?s shortcomings. But she won?t win this year. We?re all waiting for that crowd-flooring overdrive performance she?s got in her. [b]Keira Knightley[/b] had been known previously for being as thick as a #2 pencil with enough sass to suppress a dozen wild teenage girls into fetal positions. However, her turn in ?Pride & Prejudice? was a fantastic role for her natural elements, and she made the most of it, leading a strong cast (featuring Dame Judi) in a strong movie. This, and not another sultry magazine cover photo, is exactly what her blooming career requires. She will be the strongest competition for the heavy favorite, [b]Reese Witherspoon[/b]. In ?Walk The Line,? she?s no longer legally blonde but still radiant and ever so beguiling, going glottal with her own singing voice for all those June Carter songs. Reese will tear ?em to pieces, and Oscar is a sucker for singing talent.[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar will submit himself to[/u]: [b]Reese Witherspoon[/b], ?Walk The Line?[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar has strong second thoughts about[/u]: [b]Keira Knightley[/b], ?Pride & Prejudice?[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar hates the fact that Neum's preference will be the winner[/u]: [b]Reese Witherspoon[/b], [/font][font=Book Antiqua]?Walk The Line?[/font]
[b][font=Book Antiqua][size=3]Best Actor:[/size][/font][/b]
[font=Book Antiqua]This is a fine list of nominees, despite none of them being surprises. That sort of removes a bit of intrigue, but they all earned some recognition. Only one has been previously nominated (Phoenix for ?Gladiator?). All Best Actor performances were seen in films that were distributed to at least 1,200 theaters around the country, getting fairly significant exposure. Nobody snuck one in this year. [b]Terence Howard[/b] was the earliest power performer in the year for the surprisingly poignant ?Hustle & Flow,? where Howard plays a nowhere pimp in the south with a rediscovered motivation in life. It was a dynamite performance that garnered a hailstorm of positive advanced reviews, marking a big year for Howard after a strong presence in ?Crash.? While not the favorite, he could be a surprise victor. [b]Joaquin Phoenix?s[/b] voice was practically in perfect synthesis with Johnny Cash?s in ?Walk The Line.? The movie was a fairly bland biopic formula, like ?Ray? but with a country boy, but was elevated with both Witherspoon?s and Phoenix?s captivating onscreen charm. His perf was not as modulated as it could have been, but it was nice to see Joaquin?Joa?Hwah?(that gets deep within the throat, almost behind the uvula, that ?Joa? part)?so yeah, it was nice to see Joa-keen nominated. [b]David Straitharn[/b] was a bit of the opposite, actually, applying a very restrained, quietly determined ferocity to the Edward R. Murrow protagonist in ?Good Night, and Good Luck.? Each line of dialogue felt like it carried so much more subtext, visible only with just a glint in his voice fluctuations. While stoically professional round the clock, there was a keyhole of insight into his emotional status all along. So despite some seemingly regular lines, you felt like you knew mostly where he was speaking from. I thought Straitharn hit a home run, but he likely will not win due to insufficient buzz (man I hate that word anymore?from now on, instead of ?buzz,? I will use ?Chewbacca?). [b]Heath Ledger[/b], like Charlize Theron, also shed his acting reputation for a strong run in ?Brokeback Mountain,? hooting and hollering and being a gay cowboy on the silver screen. Okay, so he really did do well, also exercising restraint to where his delivery seemed to barely crackle out of him, giving the audience another angle of understanding on his character. Ledger is rolling with maximum Chewbacca right now, and may be considered the favorite. But, man, he?s still Heath Ledger. Didn?t he also just star in that ?Casanova? nonsense? He?ll be dueling with the other heavyweight, [b]Philip Seymour Hoffman[/b], who finally unfurled a knockout performance after many years of overshadowed darn-goodness. Hoffman channeled the power of the squirrel to maintain a believably squeaky voice, true to the fabric of Truman Capote, and appropriated many eccentricities for a truly effective composite of the bizarre homosexual novelist. I think he should win, and he might just have enough Chewbacca to tip the scales in his favor.[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar will submit himself to[/u]: [b]Philip Seymour Hoffman[/b], ?Capote?[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar has strong second thoughts about[/u]: [b]Heath Ledger[/b], ?Brokeback Mountain? and [b]Terence Howard[/b], ?Hustle & Flow?[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar hates the fact that Neum's preference will be the winner[/u]: [b]Philip Seymour Hoffman[/b], ?Capote?[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][size=3][b]Best Supporting Actress[/b]:[/size][/font]
[font=Book Antiqua]An eclectic list of noms. Unfortunately I haven?t seen the one that will probably win, [b]Amy Adams[/b] in ?Junebug.? I guess she?s a hick, or something, with a struggling family, or something. Yeah. I want to see it, though. I hear she?s fantastic in it. Oscar may have already secretly tattooed her for victory. [b]Frances McDormand[/b] seems like she?s getting a nomination every third year now. Okay, not true, but she always seems to elevate the material in whatever film she?s in. This is probably not her last nomination, but she has no hype for her role in ?North Country.? [b]Michelle Williams[/b] looks oddly familiar. Wasn?t she in that one TV show? Where high schoolers spoke like they were reciting unrealistically brainy lines written for a TV show? Up to now, Williams didn?t have much for a film career, but this will probably kickstart things rather nicely for her. She played a broken wife & mother in ?Brokeback,? which seems to be the kind of role that always receives a nomination: ?Distraught wife of leading actor.? She shows happiness, sadness, screamingness, so I guess she deserves a nomination. She?s also Heath Ledger?s real-life fiancé and mother of a 3-month old between them. If that tidbit doesn?t help build her Chewbacca, I?m not sure what does. The usually charismatic [b]Catherine Keener[/b] has a bit of a departure from her normal charm in ?Capote,? playing novelist Harper Lee, friend to Capote, with steady, competent work. As much as I like Keener, this performance was nothing outrageous. The nomination is gift enough for her. I?m saving a particular hot mama for last, because she is, uh, one hot mama. I?m talkin? ?bout [b]Rachel Weisz[/b], nominated for her turn in ?The Constant Gardener.? And man, she is one hot mama. Actually, Weisz has always had this energy broadcasting from her, which certainly bolsters her charming appeal in all of her roles, and was more pronounced and utilized better here. But her characters are always strong, to some degree, and intelligent. Here she plays a courageous activist, a college student-turned-professor?s wife, who when confronted with healthcare corruption in Africa, decides to take matters into her own hands. There was enough gravitas and intrigue to make hers probably the most tangibly entertaining performance among the nominees, and she has a strong chance to win (she won the Golden Globe). In conclusion, she?s spicy.[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar will submit himself to[/u]: [b]Amy Adams[/b], ?Junebug?[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar has strong second thoughts about[/u]: [b]Michelle Williams[/b], ?Brokeback Mountain? or [b]Rachel Weisz[/b], ?The Constant Gardener?[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar will probably ignore Neum's preference out of spite[/u]: [b]Rachel Weisz[/b], ?The Constant Gardener?[/font]
[b][font=Book Antiqua][size=3]Best Supporting Actor:[/size][/font][/b]
[font=Book Antiqua]This category is usually strong, and this year it?s a little underwhelming, but still exciting. It?s a sort of who?s who of various big names, young and old, so it should be a curious result, whoever wins. [b]Jake Gyllenhaal[/b] has a head of steam simply because ?Brokeback Mountain? is all the talk these days. His performance was fine, though it was rather bourgeois as one half of the ?conflicted lover? tandem, and I believe a distinct gulf of merit exists between Gyllenhaal and the other noms. [b]Matt Dillon[/b], perhaps best known for a bunch of nonsense prior, and ?There?s Something About Mary,? plays a racist but noble cop in ?Crash.? The muscular storyline hurls his character into situations that reveal his best and worst, which is a testament to both the actor and the material. It?s odd to see Dillon in a critical performance, but he deserves it. He probably won?t win, though. [b]William Hurt[/b] has been a Hollywood notable for years, and even owns two Best Actor Oscars from his days of shimmery youth. In ?A History Of Violence,? he gets maybe 15 minutes of screen time, playing Viggo Mortensen?s psychotic mobster brother with a Bostonian accent so thick and so slick you could probably drill it for oil. It was a scene-stealer kind of role, but maybe because he was allowed to overact a bit. He has a shot, but it is unlikely. Third time?s a charm for actor [b]Paul Giamatti[/b], who was arguably snubbed the past 2 years for ?American Splendor? and ?Sideways.? This year, he?s got a supporting turn in ?Cinderella Man? as Russell Crowe?s boxing coach that probably deserves praise, but it feels like a consolation nomination for Oscar thumbing his nose for his previous two great performances. Because of that intangible factor alone, Giamatti has a legitimate shot. The man with all the Chewbacca right now is [b]George Clooney[/b], who has 3 nominations this year (this one, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay). In ?Syriana,? Clooney plays a disillusioned CIA agent sleepwalking through missions until a greater purpose confronts him and invites him forward. His role depicts an effective osmosis from murkiness to ultra-clear desperation, and is maybe the most well-rounded, stirring role in an ensemble cast. He will probably win. You can see it in his teeth.[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar will submit himself to[/u]: [b]George Clooney[/b], ?Syriana?[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar has strong second thoughts about[/u]: [b]Paul Giamatti[/b], ?Cinderella Man?[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar hates the fact that Neum's preference will be the winner[/u]: [b]George Clooney[/b], ?Syriana?[/font]
[b][font=Book Antiqua][size=3]Best Director:[/size][/font][/b]
[font=Book Antiqua]I?ll keep this brief, as all nominated directors also have their films nominated for Best Picture. The clear favorite right now is [b]Ang Lee[/b] for ?Brokeback Mountain.? Yeah, beautifully filmed, well-told?he earned it. I want [b]Steven Spielberg[/b] to win for ?Munich? for reasons already stated, or [b]George Clooney[/b] for ?Good Night, and Good Luck.? Both films use their historical contexts to bring to life eras of yore, and generations of thought early in their evolution. Which I dig. But, I?m hesitant to shower Clooney with too much to brag about. [b]Paul Haggis[/b], the scribe for ?Million Dollar Baby? and director of this year?s ?Crash,? has a remarkable early resume so far that could reach crescendo on Oscar night with a win. Except that it won?t happen. The other newcomer (Clooney & Haggis are first-time nominees) is [b]Bennett Miller[/b] for ?Capote,? which is his first major motion picture. Because of that, he will not win, but he has a promising talent. Keep an eye on him in years to come.[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar will submit himself to[/u]: [b]Ang Lee[/b], ?Brokeback Mountain?[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar has strong second thoughts about[/u]: [b]George Clooney[/b], ?Good Night, and Good Luck.?[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar is stupid and will have nothing to do with Neum's preferences[/u]: [b]Steven Spielberg[/b], ?Munich?[/font]
[b][font=Book Antiqua][size=3]Best Documentary:[/size][/font][/b]
[font=Book Antiqua]It was an exemplary year for the feature length documentary, especially ones that aren?t directed by Michael Moore. Some notables, like ?Mad Hot Ballroom? and ?The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill,? were not nominated. I was unable to see [b]Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room[/b], to my chagrin. Chronicling the various interviews and audio tapes of the Enron execs and the most notorious corporate implosion in modern times, it seems to have struck a chord with many viewers. It received strong marks from critics as well, and sounds like it deserves its nomination, and may even compete for the win. I did not view [b]Darwin?s Nightmare[/b] or [b]Street Fight[/b], but it?s only unfortunate regarding Darwin?s. This is typically a difficult category to see everything in, because most of the films don?t travel the normal theater circuit. Based on the premise, I likely won?t see Street Fight, but someday I?ll see Darwin?s Nightmare. Any of you guys seen it? Are they any good? The two films I did see were [b]Murderball[/b], one of 2005?s greatest cinematic offerings, and [b]March of the Penguins[/b], the record-breaking documentary seemingly running on cruise control fueled by inordinate amounts of Chewbacca. ?Penguins? was a cute movie, which documents the seasonal migration of the Emperor Penguin, analogizing their struggles and endurance of harsh elements to a human level. It?s somewhat compelling, and good for those seeking the dreaded warm fuzzies, but nothing I couldn?t expect to find on the Discovery Channel. The footage was exceptional, but not enough. Yeah, yeah, a lot of people liked it, and that?s fine. This is why my opinion builds kingdoms and theirs are tossed to the dungeon. The movie was but a stunning example of okayness to me. Rather disappointed, given its Chewbacca. [b]Murderball[/b] should pull the surprise win. I hope, anyway. A phenomenal example of how truth can outplay fiction more convincingly than another Globetrotters-Washington Generals smackdown. The amazingly-cinematic story of quadriplegic rugby players on Paralympic teams (Team USA, Team Canada, etc.) was never glamorized and is just as compelling as any other film this year. It has so much depth and texture and maturity, and hits you from many angles. Oscar? Can you hear me? Deliver me my request![/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar will submit himself to[/u]: [b]March of the Penguins[/b][/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar has strong second thoughts about[/u]: [b]Murderball[/b] or [b]Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room[/b][/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar agreed to thumb-wrestle Neum for decision rights[/u]: [b]Murderball[/b][/font]
[b][font=Book Antiqua][size=3]Best Animated Feature:[/size][/font][/b]
[font=Book Antiqua]In a non-Pixar year, the trio of nominees for the Best Animated film this year is actually unique and entertaining. Maybe that?s because Disney is not involved whatsoever, giving this list a refreshing absence of crap. My disappointment with [b]Tim Burton?s The Corpse Bride[/b] did not keep it from being fun to watch, but is a clear rung or two down the ladder from ?The Nightmare Before Christmas,? an all-time favorite of mine. There was probably a lot more industry Chewbacca for Burton?s return to stop-motion animation than for that other movie with clay heroes, [b]Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit[/b]. This is not only the best of these nominees, but it?s also one of the best movies of the year. If you?re familiar with any of their Oscar-winning short films, Wallace & Gromit are a whacky, eccentric master-and-dog twosome with a penchant for cheese and madcap antics. Simply a delightful movie. It may not be the simple Ricky Flickfan?s cup of tea, however. [b]Howl?s Moving Castle[/b] is Oscar-winning Hiyao Miyazaki?s much-anticipated follow-up to the masterpiece ?Spirited Away? (another favorite of mine). Once again, the enormity of this film?s imagination is incredible to behold, and the story is strong, too. However, it falls short of its predecessor in magic, and it does not have much hype this Oscar season.[/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar will submit himself to[/u]: [b]Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit[/b][/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar has strong second thoughts about[/u]: [b]Howl?s Moving Castle[/b][/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar hates the fact that Neum's preference will be the winner[/u]: [b]Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit[/b][/font]
[b][font=Book Antiqua][size=3]Best Foreign Film:[/size][/font][/b]
[font=Book Antiqua]I have no clue. They only just released about half of these in the theaters within the past week, in LA and NYC only. Convenient. Maybe a few of you Scottie Moviedorks have seen some of these already, in which case, good for you, but this is my article, punks! Anyway, the countries represented are South Africa (Tsotsi), France (Joyeux Noel), Germany (Sophie Scholl), Palestine (Paradise Now), and Italy (Don?t Tell). I?m probably going with the one that sounds the most fun to say. Behold my random guesses![/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar will submit himself to[/u]: [b]Tsotsi[/b][/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar has strong second thoughts about[/u]: [b]Paradise Now[/b][/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][u]Oscar shrugs this one off since Neum has no clue[/u]: [b]Tsotsi[/b][/font]
[font=Book Antiqua][size=3][b]Final Thoughts:[/b][/size][/font]
[font=Book Antiqua]There are no final thoughts. Sorry.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Hustle and Flow" is a fine character study of a man seeking to understand where his life went wrong and to correct its direction. Terence Howard gives a great performance with good support from Anthony Anderson and DJ Qualls. But it is not really a mid-life crisis that DJay is going through, as it is a gaining of responsibility as one of his prostitutes already has a baby child and another prostitute is very pregnant. The movie has a very questionable way of treating its female characters that goes beyond its main character being a pimp.(At the least, they are put off to the side and it is inferred that they are part of DJay's problems.) It is a lot fun to watch the music being created from scratch and under such makeshift conditions but the characters don't enjoy making the music as much as the dream of making it big. And the climactic scene is quite contrived. [/font]