Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

04 February 2013

Oscar Nominees 2013: Part 7 of 13

Mirror Mirror
1 Nomination
  • Costume Design: Eiko Ishioka (Dracula)
Director: Tarsem Singh
Cast: Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Lily Collins, Nathan Lane, Martin Klebba, Jordan Prentice, Danny Woodburn, Joe Gnoffo, Mark Povinelli, Sebastian Saraceno, Ronald Lee Clark

This movie claims to be the Snow White story from the perspective of the wicked queen (except that there is nothing dark or spooky about Mirror Mirror at any point in its running time. Instead it's a tongue-in-cheek, totally absurd, candy-coated version of Snow White. But unlike Snow White and the Huntsman, which is all about the wicked queen, Mirror Mirror isn't even really about the wicked queen. Instead it's about the handsome prince that's coming to save Snow White from the wicked queen. The handsome prince is Armie Hammer, so that's nice to look at, of course, and then there are the costumes – the reason I saw this movie on a giant screen instead of waiting for DVD. The costumes are by Eiko Ishioka, the legendary designer. And these costumes are out of this world. There is a dance/ball sequence where everyone wears a different animal headpiece, for heaven's sake. It is opulent. Tarsem, on the other hand, needs to get his act together and direct a good movie toute suite.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #60 out of 63

Frankenweenie
1 Nomination
  • Animated Feature
Director: Tim Burton
Cast: Charlie Tahan, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Sheen, Martin Landau, Winona Ryder, James Hiroyuki Liao

I really liked this little movie. (These days I tend to like Tim Burton's animated movies much more than I like his live-action movies.) Frankenweenie is disturbed, but also charming and cute. In a lot of ways it is a delightful tribute to Ishirō Honda and James Whale, but also references (in an interesting, charming way) Burton's own oeuvrewith Winona Ryder and Martin Landau serving as two of the voices. It's a retelling of Mary Shelley's Gothic novel, but with children and dead pets and a strong atheist sensibility. I was a fan. I am expecting this picture to win the Oscar at the moment, although Wreck-it Ralph just recently picked up the Annie for Best Animated Feature. Burton's movie is so much better than Wreck-it Ralph that it's not even worth comparing, but let me just say again how imaginative this movie is – an adaptation of a Gothic novel on a schoolyard... with a puppy. It's grotesque and lovely.
Will Win: Animated Feature
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #23 out of 63

Brave
1 Nomination
  • Animated Feature
Cast: Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Craig Ferguson, Kevin McKidd,

I liked this movie better when it was called Brother Bear. She turns into a bear?? Really? I was into this movie for a while. Little girl is into shooting a bow and hates sewing. Yes! Eschewing gender norms! But then the movie winds up being about how the girl needs to learn to be more like her mom – patient and generous and quiet. So I was rather impatient with Brave. The animation of her hair is extraordinary: I defy you not to love it. And her little brothers (tiny menaces in triplicate) are a laugh riot. The acting is great across the board (probably the best of any animated picture this year)... but the film left something to be desired. And it really is just a girl version of Brother Bear.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: Animated Feature
My Rating: #30 out of 63