Sunday, January 09, 2005

Oscar contenders - Hotel Rwanda and Million Dollar Baby

I must say, I heartily approve of the whole "Oscars in late February thing". It seems like relatively few movies are straddling the years on a platform release, and even the ones that do are making it to Boston fast. Resulting in good moviegoing experiences like today, although that just includes the time actually in theaters. Otherwise - sleet. Ugh. We've had snow, wind, slush, and sleet this week. My "bad weather bingo" card is a winner with either hail or freezing rain.

One thing I can't help but notice is how quiet Miramax is this year. The only year-end Oscar contender coming from them seems to be Finding Neverland, and even that doesn't seem to be getting a hard push. I'm not sure whether that's because of the department's budget allgedly being cut, or people simply choosing not to deal with the Weinsteins when options such as Fox Searchlight, Focus, Paramount Classics, United Artists, Warner Independent, Sony Pictures Classics, and Lion's Gate are available. Have they completely burned their bridges with talent or is this just a fluke thing?

Hotel Rwanda

* * * * (out of four)
Seen 8 January 2005 at Landmark Kendall Square #2 (first-run)

There can be no denying that Paul Rusesabagina, as played by Don Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda, is a hero. Some may dismiss the movie's worthiness based on that. I've had many conversations with people who say that heroes are boring characters, that strength isn't as interesting as weakness. They say, give me a protagonist seeking redemption for some past misdeed, or one with a dark side in opposition to their heroics, and that's an interesting character.

Read the rest at HBS.

Million Dollar Baby

* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 8 January 2005 at Loews Boston Common #14 (first-run)

I don't like Million Dollar Baby's subject matter. Others may find some sort of romance or nobility in a generally corrupt sport that involves little more than pummelling ones opponent until he or she can't get back up, but I cannot. I recognize the skill and dedication, but can't help but think it could be better applied elsewhere. Despite all that, Million Dollar Baby is an excellent movie.

Read the rest at HBS

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