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208. The Departed – Summer of Scorsese (#44)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn, Jay Coyle and Darren Mooney, with special guest Aoife Martin, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT.

This time, continuing our Summer of Scorsese season, Martin Scorsese’s The Departed.

Martin Scorsese is one of the defining directors in American cinema, with a host of massively successful (and cult) hits that have shaped and defined cinema across generations: Taxi Driver, The Last Temptation of Christ, Age of Innocence, KundunThe Aviator, Shutter Island, Hugo. The Summer of Scorsese season offers a trip through his filmography via the IMDb‘s 250.

Boston gangster Frank Costello believes that boundaries are fungible: sinner/saint, hero/villain, cop/criminal. Sending one of his young followers to infiltrate the local police department, Costello quickly discovers that something similar is happening to him. As the stakes escalate, the boundaries between policemen and gangsters blur, as Colin Sullivan and Billy Costigan straddle the gulf.

At time of recording, it was ranked 44th on the Internet Movie Database‘s list of the best movies of all-time.

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168. Little Women – This Just In (#—)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with guests Charlene Lydon, Rioghnach Ní Ghrioghair and Aoife Barry, The 250 is a fortnightly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Greta Gerwig’s Little Women.

Receiving an urgent telegram summoning her home, Jo March reflects on the life that she has lived. As memories come flooding back, Jo contemplates friendship and family against the backdrop of her New Hampshire upbringing.

At time of recording, it was not ranked on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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149. American Beauty – Summer of ’99 (#73)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guest Charlene Lydon, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT.

This time, continuing our Summer of ’99 season, Sam Mendes’ American Beauty.

1999 was a great year for movies, with a host of massively successful (and cult) hits that would define cinema for a next generation: Being John Malkovich, Magnolia, Fight Club, The Green MileThe Insider, Run, Lola, Run. The Summer of ’99 season offers a trip through the year in film on the IMDb‘s 250.

Trapped in a loveless marriage and father to a daughter who wants him dead, Lester Burnham finds himself going through a midlife crisis. In the year leading up to his death, Lester attempts to reconnect with his youth and rediscover the man that he once was before the embers die out for good.

At time of recording, it was ranked 73rd on the Internet Movie Database‘s list of the best movies of all-time.

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Non-Review Review: Winter’s Bone

In many ways, Winter’s Bone is the Best Picture nominee most typical of the modern Oscars (or, at least, the criticism of the modern Oscars). While The Fighter echoes the every man appeal of Rocky, The King’s Speech is the archetypal historical and “triumph over adversity” tale, The Social Network is classic morality tale with a modern sheen and True Grit is the nostalgic entry, Winter’s Bone speaks the “indie” attitude that we’ve seen become dominant in the past decade. It’s a film rich in atmosphere and mood, with a bleakness that threatens to escape the screen and devour the audience whole, but it favours this lush approach over pacing and engagement. To say it is glacial, is an understatement.

The road ahead is bleak...

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Should There Be a Distinction Between The Best Picture and the Best Director Oscar?

Ignoring the fact that, in practice, the Best Director Oscar simply exists to be a “runner-up” award in a really tight Best Picture race (like with Crash and Brokeback Mountain), with there being a huge overlap between the winners in both categories, I have been thinking a bit recently about whether there should be a more practical distinction between the two. Perhaps we should divorce the two awards, and decouple them in public consciousness. Of course, this is a purely academic argument (as the Academy voters will continue to associate them), but is the link between the two yet another indication of Hollywood’s director-centric culture?

Is it two for one?

 

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The Photo of the Oscars 2010

Kudos to The Film Cricket for pointing it out over at Screenwriter, but this has to be the photo of this year’s Oscars cermony.

Who says James Cameron doesn’t have a sense of humour? Either that or he really wants to put his ex-wife in the Hurt Locker.

It’s the Hurt Locker!

I’ll probably have a more well thought out reaction tomorrow, but woot! My brother owes me €10!

He looks kinda like an Oscar statuette!

Other than that though, didn’t this seem like the most predictable Oscars ever, with the acting categories all sewn up even before nominations were announced? Still, great to see Mo’Nique and Christoph Waltz win. I particularly liked Mo’Nique’s confirmation it could be “about the performance and not the politics” – though I’m cynical enough to see her season-long disengagement as a calculated political move, it still made me smile.

Best Picture Poster Porn…

Here’s a little treat to get you in the mood for this evening’s festivities. BAFTA hired artist Tavis Coburn to basically design retro-style posters for their own awards – you know, like Turner Classic Movies did last summer. Since there’s significant overlap between the Oscars shortlist and the BAFTA shortlist, it’s a nice way to get yourself geared up for an interesting night. It’s a shame there isn’t an Inglourious Basterds poster, as that movie is arguably the best suited to a retro reimagining, but I guess the recent charity redesigns will have to do.

The posters are below. Click for bigger versions.

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Did Paramount Back the Wrong Horse in the Oscar Race?

It’s fun to analyse the Oscars. It’s even more fun before any individual awards have been handed out. I’ve already given my thoughts on the Best Picture race and the acting nods, but I was just thinking specifically about Paramount’s Oscar campaign this year. Making the infamously misguided decision to champion The Lovely Bones at the expense of all others, they were left empty-handed and red-faced when the film imploded. In hindsight, it looks like they made the wrong choice in pushing forward their prospective Best Picture nominees. Maybe they would have been better-pushed to get behind Star Trek?

Saorse wasn't the only lost during The Lovely Bones...

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Non-Review Review: Up In The Air

Sometimes a movie lands (pardon the pun) at the right time. If you had told me that a movie about a guy looking to earn 10,000,000 frequent flyer miles in first class would be arguably one of the most interesting explorations of the recession that Hollywood would offer, I would have laughed in your face. But, against all odds, it works. That the guy in question is George Clooney and the man behind the camera is Jason Reitman undoubtedly helps.

It isn't plane-sailing for Ryan...

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