Friday, February 21, 2014

Making the Most of the Oscars!

Last year, 40.3 million people tuned into the Academy Awards telecast.  Some viewers tune in for the fashion, some are true fans of cinema, some attend viewing parties and others are forced to watch with their spouse!  No matter what category you fall under, we have a solution to make this year’s Academy Awards a bit more enjoyable:  Watch the Movies!  You will have a lot more interest in the winners and losers if you have actually seen the nominated films!

On March 2nd Ellen DeGeneres will host the 86th Academy Awards, this gives you a little less than a month to get out and see some of the nominated films!  The cold weather and approaching snowstorms makes it a perfect time to take refuge in your local theater.  To help you better decide which movies to see, and which ones to skip, below is a list of the films nominated for best picture as well as a brief plot description:

American Hustle – an all-star cast including Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner worked close to home - filming most of this film in Boston!  With multiple nominations this 1970’s-set story of a conman forced to work with the FBI explores the world of powerbrokers and the mafia.  This film is rated R. This film is sure to surprise you and make you laugh - Jennifer Lawrence does not disappoint.  Rated R.

Captain Phillips – Tom Hanks plays the lead role of Alabama commanding officer, Captain Phillips.  This movie is based on the true-story of Captain Richard Phillips and the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.  This must-see film focuses on the relationship between Captain Phillips and the Somalian Pirate Captain that holds him hostage.  Captain Phillips is rated PG-13.
Dallas Buyers Club – actors Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto transformed themselves for their roles in this movie about the untold world of Americans living with AIDS.  Inspired by true events, the film focuses on the story of a Ron Woodroof, an electrician and rodeo cowboy living a care-free life that is blindsided with an HIV positive diagnosis and 30 days to live.  When he finds the lack of approved treatments in the US, Ron Woodroof crosses the border to Mexico with the help of his unlikely friend, he begins smuggling drugs into the US for HIV patients.  Both McConaughey and Leto have received multiple awards for their roles.  This movie is rated R.
Gravity  This is a great movie to see in an IMAX theater or in 3D.  Sandra Bullock and George Clooney prove it takes just two actors to make a great movie.  Their story of an astronaut and medical engineer stranded together in space is captivating.  Clooney and Bullock are tethered to nothing but each other in space.  We had our doubts about this movie, but it is worth seeing.  Rated PG-13.
Her – This we had to see out of curiosity, as it is a movie about a lonely, heartbroken man that meets and develops a relationship with ‘Samantha’ – a computerized friend.  Joaquin Phoenix delivers an award-winning performance in this film.  Her is rated R.
12 Years a Slave – A movie that barely has to mention that Brad Pitt is part of the film – it must be good.  This movie is based on the true story of Solomon Northrup, a free-man, sold into slavery.  The film follows his struggle to stay alive while maintaining his dignity, and his chance encounter with a Canadian abolitionist.  Rated R.
The Wolf of Wall Street – This movie is not for everyone – it has a strong R-rating.  It is long, and not shy on profanities or graphic scenes.  If you are okay with those elements – then go see this movie! Although it is long – the movie does not stop entertaining.  Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill give great performances portraying the rise of a wealthy stockbroker living the dream and then his falling; involving crime, corruption and the federal government.  This Martin Scorsese film is loosely based on a true story.
Nebraska – Hollywood veteran Bruce Dern stars in this story following a journey of an estranged father and son making a road trip from Montana to Nebraska to claim a “million dollar” sweepstakes prize.  This award winning film has a great sense of humor and was shot entirely in black and white.  It is rated R. 

Philomena – Dame Judi Dench stars in the story of a mother who had her son taken away when she was a teenage, inmate at a Catholic Convent.  In the movie, a journalist arranges a magazine assignment to follow the woman’s story.  It is a great story of two unlikely companions on this search to find her son.  Philomena is rated PG-13.

It is remarkable how many of 2013’s top films were based on true stories!  Pick one or two that sounds good to you and get out to the theaters!  After watching a few of these movies you may be inspired to host your neighbors for an Oscar party this year!