Sundry information, thoughts and links to sort us out

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Blind Side

Nominated for Best Actress and Best Picture, The Blind Side is based on the true story of football player Michael Oher. As a high school student, he is homeless and struggling. His father has been missing for most of his life, his mother is a drug addict, and Michael is left mostly to his own devices. A good-hearted neighbor manages to bring Michael to the attention of the football coach at a Christian school. Michael's athletic prowess is enough to get the coach to lobby for his admission. Once in school, Michael crosses paths with Lee Ann Tuhy, whose two children also attend the school. Lee Ann is inspired to take Michael in as she sees that he has nowhere else to go.

A bond forms between this large black youth and the Southern white family who has taken him in. Eventually, the Tuhys become his legal guardians and work to help him improve his grades and get into college. Oh yeah, he also plays football...very well.

This is a very good movie. Yes, it's predictable. Yes, it's got a "movie of the week" feel to it. But it is also a feel-good story with some good performances and a great ending.

Moms, I think the vote is split here. My mom loves football, but there is the issue of Michael being a virtual orphan until he is adopted away from his birth-mother (who, admittedly, is not able to care for him). Both our moms don't like violent or scary movies, and there are two definitely scary scenes (car crash, fight in the projects). But overall, I think this could be a really good moms movie, primarily for its messages of overcoming adversity, finding that family is where your heart is, and becoming who you're supposed to be.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Nominated for Best Animated Feature, and adapted from the book by Neil Gaiman, Coraline is the story of a young girl who has just moved to a new town with her parents. As they ignore her to complete work on their project (they're writers producing a gardening catalog), Coraline discovers the passage to a secret world behind a hidden door in the house. Each night she travels to this parallel world peopled with parents who love and play with her, neighbors who are friendly and adoring, and lots of fun things to do. Until she discovers the darker side of this world.

I wanted to see this when it came out, but it got passed over for other options. The animation is similar in style to The Nightmare Before Christmas; the look and story have a very similar feel as well. I enjoyed the movie, it was cute and clever, although fairly predictable in the end. If you like animated features in this style, it's probably worth a rental. It's not as creepy as you would have thought from the commercials, either. But, Moms, sorry, but I don't think this one is right for you either.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Hurt Locker

Nominated for: Best Actor, Best Director, Best Picture, Cinematography, Editing, Original Score, Original Screenplay, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing, The Hurt Locker is the story of elite soldiers serving in the Iraq war. SFC William James is a munitions expert and adrenalin junkie, who dives recklessly into his job of diffusing bombs and returns for a repeat tour because it's what he loves to do. Sgt JT Sanborn is the unit's trainer, he does everything by the book and James' fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants attitude bothers him immensely. Spc Owen Eldridge is overwhelmed, worried that even a minor mistake on his part might injure his comrades. The title of the movie is Army slang for being injured in an explosion.

There's a lot of buzz around this film. I've talked to people who really loved it, thought it was one of the best films they've seen this year. I didn't think it was all that and a bag of chips. What I got out of it was, "yes, war is hell," "yes, this war is insane and scary," "yes, some people get off on that sort of thing and can get in way over their heads," but that was about it. I don't know, though, I don't really like war movies much to begin with, so maybe I am subconsciously biased.

Either way, Moms, heck no, you do not want to see this film!