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Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World: Oscars 2011

You know what? I’m not actually that ticked off with the Academy Awards this year. In fact, as I mentioned in discussing the nominees, I was quite happy with the candidates up for the award. Now, nearly a week after the ceremony, I must concede that I’m generally relatively happy with the way that the awards were divided up on the night. CinemaBlend summed up the ceremony as a “group hug” to movies released in a great year for cinema, and I find it hard to object to that succinct summary.

By all accounts, the hosting was a bit of a drag...

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10 out of 10: The Ten Best Movies of the Year

Contrary to popular opinion, I was actually relatively impressed with 2010 as a year in cinema. It was no 2008, with a consistent string of impressive hits (both big and small). However, it wasn’t as bitterly disappointing as 2009 was, with letdown after letdown. Sure, there weren’t that many hugely successful sequels or reboots, but the vast majority of them weren’t soul-destroying wastes of film. So I’m quite happy. This year I actually had to cut several items from the list to get it down to a perfect ten.

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Where Have All the Good Movies Come From?

I know I wasn’t alone when I claimed that this summer had been (with a few big exceptions) a massive disappointment for movie fans. In fairness, with a few bright spots, 2009 wasn’t exactly an above-average year either. However, myself and the better half have been going to the cinema fairly consistently over the past number of weeks and I have to admit that I’ve been more consistently impressed by films like The Social Network, The Kids Are Alright, Easy A and The Town than I have by any run of films in at least the last year. Is it just me, or are things finally looking up?

A veritable feast of good cinema...

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Remember Me: The Box Office & Pop Culture Longevity…

I was reading an interesting article on Rope of Silicon which pondered whether Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was our generation’s iteration of The Big Lebowski. Much like the comparisons between The Social Network and Citizen Kane, it doesn’t matter whether the question is downright ridiuclous or even improper, it simple serves to illustrate the type of movie that people think of when they see these modern films. That people would even utter “Scott Pilgrim” and “The Dude” in the same sentence is a huge compliment to the latter, no matter what the literal result of the comparison. Of course, this is small comfort to the studio which is no doubt disappointed by the less than stellar box office returns. However, ignoring the obvious immediate and practical impact of box office receipts, do they speak at all to a film’s longevity?

Does the box office disappointment mean "game over" for Scott Pilgrim?

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The Whole Truth: How “True” Are “True Stories”?

Something that has always made me wonder is how close to reality film and television are or are not. Sometimes this is expressed in abstract terms – for example whether Baltimore is really as bad as it is made out to be in The Wire. However, it’s much more direct when one looks at what claims to be a true story. Reality isn’t film. Things don’t always break down to key “moments”. Events play out over the long term, and sometimes subtly. There isn’t always a bad guy or an antagonist. There certainly always isn’t a happy ending. So naturally amendments need to be made, because these events need to be translated to drama. But where is the line? How far can you stretch the truth until it breaks?

Staying true to yourself...

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