Saturday, February 26, 2011

Best Movies of 2010

As I always mention whenever I do my best films of the year list, I like to wait till around February or so to allow myself to be able to see some of the movies that don't go nationwide until the new year. I'm on a modest budget and I don't get to go to film festivals, so it's impossible for a Midwesterner such as myself to catch all the prestige films that are rushed to release during the Oscar season that manage to land on a lot of critics' year-end list. I feel that as long as I can do my list before the Academy Awards, it can still remain somewhat relevant and topical. This was also the first year that I got a subscription to Netflix and if you haven't jumped on board by now, I highly recommend it if you're a movie buff such as myself. It allowed me to watch more movies in a year than I have in a very long time and is partly the reason why this list is close to 60 and could have potentially been higher if I had the time to fit in everything I hoped to see.

1. I Am Love

One of the most visually impressive films of the year was not a flashy, big-budget Hollywood effort, but a brooding family drama from Italian director Luca Guadagino. The set design and wardrobes are rich with vivaciousness and detail that pop off the screen in an effective, subtle manner and reflect the tone and personalities of its scenes and characters beautifully. This is a movie that deals with contrast at nearly every corner, since the main character, a Russian woman played Tilda Swinton who married into an affluent Italian family, is an outsider in her own family and that idea is delicately exposed in nearly every frame. Technically, I Am Love is masterfully produced, but when it delves into the intentions and actions of its characters, the effect is poetic as it can be interpreted in many different ways. Even the film's final, grainy shot could have several connotations after repeat viewings (I've seen people refer to it as having the qualities of an ultrasound). I know I've come across a great film when I can't get it out of my head days later and I am constantly thinking it over in my head. As is the case with a lot of revered art, everything may not come to you the first time around, but along the way it forces you to ask yourself questions you never thought of before and enriches you in the process.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Live Blogging the 2011 Grammys:

6:49 Showtime is near. Checking out some of the awards handed out before the show and seeing how they matched up with my predictions. Some things of note: Black Keys won Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group and also took Best Alternative/Music Album, which was supposed to be a gimme for Arcade Fire. Huge upset. Also, "Empire State of Mind" taking Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration over Eminem suggests that it may not be his night after all. This could have huge ramifications for the general categories, specifically Album of the Year where Eminem is favored.

I'm probably more excited than I should be that "Empire State of Mind" won those categories. For one, it makes Record of the Year more interesting and "Empire State of Mind" is simply the better song.

7:05 Tribute to Aretha Franklin to kick off the show featuring Martina McBride, Florence Welch, Yolanda Adams, Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Hudson. Right now, Xtina is winning. Florence seems like the only who doesn't belong. Will have to wait till she gets her solo turn. Martina McBride is making a very strong case for 2nd place.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Grammy Predictions & Live Blogging

It's Grammy time once again and I'll be live blogging the event as usual this Sunday, Feb. 13. I'll be getting things started here a couple of minutes before the big ceremony. Also, make sure to check out my Grammy predictions posted at Prefix.