Monday, February 13, 2012

2011 Best Pictures in Few Words

For six years, an R-rated film has won the Best Picture award, and since 2005 at least 60% of nominees were rated R (100% in 2006 and 2008). But this year only one of the nine nominees is rated R. The R-rated hopefuls of the year were almost entirely overlooked in favor of mostly-“clean” PG-13 and PG films.

We now review, in short, the Best Picture nominees that we’ve seen (so far).

Midnight in Paris

A struggling writer is transported back into artistically-inspiring 1920s Paris, where he meets a pretty girl and must choose between past and present. Owen Wilson’s constantly whiny delivery makes an otherwise excellent film unbearable.

The Tree of Life

A mother seeks answers from God about her son’s death and a brother seeks to connect with his Creator. Half-hour interludes filled with nothing but music and scenery will either bore or enrapture in this incredible film.

The Help

A spunky young Southerner seeks to stop segregation and racism by writing a book from the perspective of the servants. Spot-on scripting, award-worthy performances and some delicious comedy make this a must-see.

A losing Oakland Athletics team decides to revolutionize baseball by playing the odds instead of good looks, and pulls out shocking wins. A lack of heart and interesting characters keeps this true story from hitting a home run.

The Descendants

A father seeks to reconnect with his daughters after finding out that his now-comatose wife had been cheating on him. Outstanding performances, redemptive story, and stellar, albeit profane, scripting make this a favorite.


A young boy lives in a Paris train station where he encounters film legends, cute girls and angry constables. A truly gorgeous film with brilliant direction but weak where it really counts with story and character.

The Artist

An egotistical silent-movie star copes with the loss of fame and fortune as “talking pictures” captivate Hollywood. This daring silent film overflows with nostalgia and boasts a dramatic but heartwarming story and gorgeous soundtrack. It’s this year’s Oscar front-runner.

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