Sunday, April 17, 2011

An Absolute Scream

There are some movies that you appreciate for their artistic value but don't really enjoy (though I really did like Jane Eyre, I can understand why others might have an "it's good but I wouldn't watch it again" response). Then there are some films which are utter guilty pleasures with no real artistic value (The House Bunny comes to mind--though talking from experience, it is the perfect movie to watch while sick). When a great movie is completely enjoyable from beginning to end, however, you know you've hit the jackpot. This year's greatest jackpot so far is Scream 4.

Monday, April 4, 2011

High Ate Us

A sad bear for a sad occasion: I'm here to announce a bit of a hiatus for Awkward is What We Aim For. The end of my first semester at university has just about killed me (and it's not even done killing me yet!), which has made this blog more of a chore than a joy. Obviously, readership has gone up immensely since things started amping up for the Oscars, and I'm truly appreciative for everyone who reads this as much as they do. But it's time for me to take a break, at least for a month or two.

This means that with very few exceptions, everything's going to be delayed--including Netflix Pix and Music Video Mondays. Chances are I'll do MVM entries every once in a while, but I'm going to end this season of Netflix Pix early and bring it back for a summer mini-season. Movie reviews, however, will still be posted fairly frequently.

But the blog will stay up and running--you can always read any of the entries we have up, including the massively popular premiere of Music Video Mondays, featuring Rebecca Black's "Friday" (viewed almost a thousand times since mid-March), my write-up of Winona Ryder's performance in Black Swan for StinkyLulu's Supporting Actress Blog-a-thon 2010, our coverage of Melissa Leo's fabulously bad FYC adsmy send-up of those ads, the Live Blog Bonanza for the Oscars this year (Part I, Part II and Part III), and my favorite piece I've ever written, my review of Black Swan. And of course, I'll be updating the Oscar Predictions regularly with Andrew assisting me throughout the summer and next fall.

Keep your eye here for when we do update (and trust me, I will update--I can't just quit cold turkey!), and keep aiming for awkward!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Inspiringly Insidious

With few exceptions, I am not a fan of the horror genre. Oftentimes it seems to be going for cheap thrills rather than truly entertaining an audience and keeping them on their toes. (For every The Exorcist or the original Nightmare on Elm Street, you get a Final Destination or remake of Nightmare on Elm Street.) So color me totally surprised when I tell you that I loved Insidious not just as a great movie-going experience (though the truly fantastic crowd did make it better), but as a movie individually. One of the best horror films I've ever seen, and I don't give out such hyperbolic praise lightly.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Almost Theyre

More than a few readers have likely read the novel Jane Eyre in school or for pleasure, but film adaptations of the book are hit-and-miss. As a result, I wasn't expecting much of this horror/prestige hybrid telling of the now-classic story of love between the titular Jane and Mr. Rochester. Imagine my surprise when I found myself charmed and fully riveted by this version starring the gorgeous Mia Wasikowska and the drop dead beautiful/talented Michael Fassbender.

The choices made by director Cary Fukunaga are effective ones, from the in media res story structure to the twinges of terror that keep the audience on their toes. The writing is an effective adaptation, though the language sometimes flies over the audience's heads. Large blocks of dialogue are slightly muddled when the actors (Wasikowska specifically) don't deliver them with any real understanding or punch. (One of the reasons True Grit worked so well was because young star Hailee Steinfeld had a dexterity with the wordy dialogue.)

However, the film more than overcomes its shortcomings. It's a captivating tale told with aplomb. The art direction and costume design are particular highlights--look for one or both to be recognized come next year at the Academy Awards. The supporting cast was absolutely phenomenal, from the understated Judi Dench to the fabulously bitchy Sally Hawkins, who I have officially thrown my allegiance behind (all it takes is one bitchy performance...right, Winona Ryder?)

The entire film is effective in ways you'd never expect. Truly a pleasure to watch, if not as effortless as it could have been. You can see the cracks, but you happily ignore them. B+