Best Picture: Titanic

titanic

I decided at the start of 2014 that I will do my best to watch as many of the Academy Award Best Picture winners that I have never seen before. Shockingly, it was a longer list than I anticipated. While I own a decent number of Best Picture winners, I haven’t sat down to watch many of them, and in the past two years, only watched two more members of the list in ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘Unforgiven’.

So, the first film on tap for the conquering of this list this year was ‘Titanic’, for two reasons. First off, if there is one Best Picture winner that I had absolutely no desire to see at all, it was ‘Titanic’, a film I have long considered to be the biggest chick flick of all time, so I might as well just get it out of the way. Secondly, it was a gift on Blu-ray to my fiancee with a promise to watch it with her, so it also fixed a long standing issue with the honour of my word.

As for the film itself, ‘Titanic’ really is two different films in one, and sadly, neither of them touched home with me. At the start it really is a slow-burn against type romance film, decidedly right up the alley of most of the female population. The second half really is a borderline disaster flick as the unsinkable Titanic goes to the bottom of the Atlantic.

Sadly, the latter part of the film cannot escape the earlier parts, as the sinking is really used as a backdrop against which the continued love story reaches its climax. Neither of these facets are really built for a guy like me. Don’t get me wrong, I can respect great film-making at any time, even if I might not like the story, and that is precisely what ‘Titanic’ is for me.

This series will be ongoing throughout the summer as I start to make my way through other Best Picture Winners from previous Academy Awards.

As always, for all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer. Cheers.

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Gravity

gravityThe big breakout film from 2012 , that no one knew what to expect from, was Ang Lee’s ‘Life of Pi’.  What was considered unfilmable ended up with Lee winning his second Best Director award at the 85th Academy Awards earlier this year.  I mention ‘Life of Pi’ as it seems to be a good correlation to this year’s surprise hit, ‘Gravity’, from Alfonso Cuaron.

If you are looking for what is more than likely the best visuals you can find in a film this year, than ‘Gravity’ is definitely the film for you.  Simply put, there have been very few films that have been must see in the 3D format since James Cameron revolutionized the format with ‘Avatar’, but Cuaron has added a definite must see film to that list.

The downside to all of this talk about the visuals and the 3D is that the acting is actually a tad sub-par in this film, and that is mainly due to writing that manages to take away from the film, instead of adding to it.

‘Gravity’ will more than likely go down as another ‘Avatar’ in the end.  A stunning film visually that covers up for writing and acting holes that are small enough to miss at times.  For the imaginative and risk-taking notion of setting the film almost entirely in the weightlessness of space, and pulling it off in a manner that sets the film apart as a must-see in theatres, Cuaron will most definitely be a nominee for the Best Director Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards next year, and should be one of the two favourites at the end of the day.

As for the rest of the film, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney feature as the only two actors present in ‘Gravity’.  This is another risky element of the film but one that works in tandem with the setting.  By limiting the number of people seen on screen, Cuaron really is able to set the scene and setup the thriller aspect of the film.

Many are lauding the acting job of Sandra Bullock and proclaiming her as a possible nominee for Best Actress, and depending on what other films produce for possible nominees, I can definitely see Bullock earning a nomination, based solely on the fact that she is the only person on screen for almost the entirety of the film.

George Clooney, very much in the same position as Bullock, could be a possible nominee for Best Supporting Actor as he really sets the stage in the film as the retiring, experienced astronaut and a major plot device as well.  This is a definite possible award winning role for the former ER star.

That being said, I do believe that the best lock for ‘Gravity’ at the Academy Awards will be in the Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing and Best Visual Effects categories.  Not bad for a film that was post-converted to 3D.

In the end, ‘Gravity’ should become the poster film for post-converting in 3D, as it is truly the first film to nail down that approach to 3D and is on par with ‘Avatar’ for taking your breath away.

Once again, ‘Gravity’ is the type of film that cinema is made for and to do this film justice is to see it on the biggest screen you can find and in the best 3D you can find as well.

For all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer.  Cheers.