Slumdog Millionaire

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Postby Sabin » Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:27 am

WALL-E
Milk or The Dark Knight
Frost/Nixon
Slumdog Millionaire
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
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Postby Cinemanolis » Sat Jan 10, 2009 9:51 pm

My ranking would be

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Slumdog Millionaire
Frost/Nixon
Milk
Dark Knight
WALL-E

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Postby OscarGuy » Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:28 pm

Of those six contenders, having seen them all, I'd rank them as follows:

Benjamin Button
WALL-E
Milk
The Dark Knight
Frost/Nixon
Slumdog Millionaire
Wesley Lovell
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Postby The Original BJ » Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:08 pm

I'm finding it pretty hard to get worked up about Best Picture this year. I don't have a strong favorite between Benjamin Button, Milk, and WALL-E, though I'm not sure I outright adore any of them. I like Slumdog quite a bit. I'd prefer The Dark Knight not be nominated over WALL-E, but I found it entertaining and stylish.

My least favorite nominee will almost definitely be Frost/Nixon, which I found nothing remotely spectacular but perfectly enjoyable on its limited terms. In other words, I find this slate pretty unobjectionable, given that a lot of movies I like and none I dislike are really in the running.

Of course, now that I've said that, watch them toss Doubt and The Reader into the lineup just to spite me.

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Postby Penelope » Sat Jan 10, 2009 5:01 pm

Having not yet seen Frost/Nixon, I'd rank the likely nominees as such:

Slumdog Millionaire
Milk
WALL-E
Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
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Postby Eric » Sat Jan 10, 2009 4:54 pm

Mister Tee wrote:But I like the film, and won't be in Beautiful Mind/Crash mode if it wins the best picture race. (Since I've yet to see Milk of Button, I have no full opinion on that -- except I'd still vote for Wall E among those I've seen to date)

I'd probably rank out the best picture candidates in order of preference as such:

WALL-E
Slumdog
Milk
Benjamin Button
Dark Knight
... and I haven't seen Frost/Nixon, but I'd be surprised if it's any higher than last place.

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Postby Mister Tee » Sat Jan 10, 2009 3:46 pm

To weigh in briefly on the sub-topic: I've long been a Band Wagon over Singin' in the Rain guy. I first saw Singin' before it was a masterpiece, in early 1964 (freaky trivia note: It was originally scheduled for its TV debut on Saturday Night at the Movies November 23, 1963 -- but pre-empted, along with everything else, for coverage of the Kennedy assassination). At that point, it was viewed as a reasonably popular film, but nothing historically vital (it after all was the Gene Kelly musical of the early 50s NOT nominated for best picure). The Cahierists changed that, proclaiming it the greatest musical ever, and by the time I was in college, that had become the prevalent view. I've always found it fun enough, and Jean Hagen and the title sequence are clearly memorable, but it's never struck me as having any hidden depths.

The Band Wagon, on the other hand, I think of as the most beautifully gloomy musical of all time (as opposed to beautifully cynical, where Cabaret takes the prize). From Fred's opening By Myself, through the exquisite Dancing in the Dark (a duet that just about defines the term "alone together"), to the finale reprise of That's Entertainment that's closer to menacing than cheerful, the film feels closer to Brecht than MGM, and for me it's the best musical of the 50s by far.

Now...Slumdog Millionaire. I think alot of the conflicting opinions on the film arise from whether one views it as a movie or a film. The verisimilitude Boyle achieves in the early Mumbai (then Bombay) sequences, along with the torture scenes, misleads one into thinking it might be the latter. But the serendipity of plot developments almost from the start mark it clearly the former, a sense that grows as the film progresses. kaytodd's description of the changes from the source novel makes it clear it was a deliberate decision on the filmmakers' part -- the alterations sound as drastic as those that made the screenplay 3000 into Pretty Woman, and they all keep the film located fairly firmly in fairy-tale/wish-fulfillment land. At the same time, I think Boyle's vivid city visuals, and the occasional penny-dreadful incident, probably persuade some less-discerning filmgoers that they're getting some inside look at true Indian culture -- which doesn't improve the movie any, but it does probably improve its Oscar chances, as those folk can consider these elements "serious" enough to elevate the film to best picture level.

But, really, it's just a crowd pleaser, and I'd say one that works. Many people have mentioned Dickens, and you can't help thinking that when the Fagin figure turns up early. But isn't the film also something of an Oprah book? Intense degradation, leading finally to unimaginable redemption, success and love -- that's all it takes to to get the Winfrey crowd on its feet. (An odd element of the Million Little Pieces controversy was the little attention given to how easily James Frey had figured the way to press these buttons) I can't say I'm unreachable by this formula. Such elements as the traded-off cellphone, the crowds of slumdogs cheering him on (what Howard shot for in Cinderella Man and didn't capture nearly so well)), and even the basic plot device of the questions telling Jamal's life story may not be art, but they sure work as storytelling (though, like Penelope, I'd like to have seen more variance in the latter, as the story rhythm became a bit too predictable). If Casablanca, a wonderfully told but horseshit story, can be so beloved, I don't see the need to begrudge a modern-day descendant.

One odd element that stuck out for me: preserving Jamal's innocence and safety is obviously difficult for the filmmakers. It requires his brother to do all the dirty work -- killing the two men who would threaten his life at various junctures, and, in another area, deflowering Latika at a moment when Jamal is too young and/or shy to manage the deed. Is it my imagination, or might Boyle/Beaufoy have meant to suggest Samil (correct name?) was functioning as Jamal's id, preserving his full-on innocence for the triumphant finale? In some sense, could the brother be the Fight Club-like representation of Jamal's less virginal side? Just a thought.

Anyway, lest I appear too positive here -- I'm not saying I think this is a great movie, or that I understand the critical flip (I think in general they've been too entusiastic, though the film may have looked more thrilling viewed cold at Toronto than it does now in "is this the Oscar winner?" context). But I like the film, and won't be in Beautiful Mind/Crash mode if it wins the best picture race. (Since I've yet to see Milk of Button, I have no full opinion on that -- except I'd still vote for Wall E among those I've seen to date)

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Postby Big Magilla » Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:21 pm

I love both Singin' in the Rain and The Band Wagon, though I love Rain more and I'm a much bigger fan of Fred than I am of Gene.

I find Singin' in the Rain endlessly fascinating. I love all the inside jokes, especially the one the film-makers play on the audience with the glorious Jean Hagen dubbing Debbie Reynolds' singing voice when Debbie is, according to the plot, dubbing Jean's.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Postby MovieWes » Sat Jan 10, 2009 12:30 pm

I saw it last night and loved it! What a great movie! I don't really have time to go into detail on my thoughts, but I definitely wouldn't mind seeing it win the Oscar for Best Picture, even though I still need to see the other contenders.
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Postby ITALIANO » Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:01 pm

Uri wrote:
ITALIANO wrote:
Eric wrote:I think there's a nice minoritarian contingent that thinks both Singin' in the Rain and The Band Wagon are among the dozen or so best movie musicals ever.

And I even I - who find musicals so often unbearable - love these two.

Judas.

Hehe... But I agree completely with you about Singin' in the Rain,

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Postby Penelope » Tue Dec 23, 2008 3:16 pm

Oh, The Band Wagon is in my top 10 of all time. An absolutely dazzling film, with some of the most eye-popping musical numbers ever, and marvelous collection of characters. Singin' in the Rain has some bright spots--the title tune is, admittedly, absolutely joyous--but much of it also feels kind of tired to me, and Donald O'Connor is unforgivably annoying.
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Postby Uri » Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:37 pm

ITALIANO wrote:
Eric wrote:I think there's a nice minoritarian contingent that thinks both Singin' in the Rain and The Band Wagon are among the dozen or so best movie musicals ever.

And I even I - who find musicals so often unbearable - love these two.

Judas.

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Postby ITALIANO » Tue Dec 23, 2008 1:31 pm

Eric wrote:I think there's a nice minoritarian contingent that thinks both Singin' in the Rain and The Band Wagon are among the dozen or so best movie musicals ever.

And even I - who find musicals so often unbearable - love these two.




Edited By ITALIANO on 1230080398

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Postby Eric » Tue Dec 23, 2008 1:08 pm

I think there's a nice minoritarian contingent that thinks both Singin' in the Rain and The Band Wagon are among the dozen or so best movie musicals ever.

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Postby Uri » Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:55 pm

Penelope wrote:Well, there you have it, a feel-good movie I've never liked: Singin' in the Rain.

Is it war?

And we got along so nicely seeing through that worthless TDK.


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